Jest (It Waits No Longer) by David Warren (Book Review)
Plot: College student Nicole Carzon is stunned to find herself named heir to her grandfather’s castle in England. When she and her friends arrive there, they are overwhelmed with the history and nostalgia pulsating from the 600-year-old Bodlum Castle. However, they soon come to realize, this castle has an ancient occupant that has been lying dormant and patiently waiting for hundreds of years. It waits no longer.
My Review: I was contacted by the author to give this one a shot, and quite frankly I had no idea what to expect from this one. The cover and name obviously had something to do with a Jester and I’ve actually never read anything about them before so I wasn’t quite sure how I’d like this book.
The book starts off at an old Castle where the owner currently lays dying from Cancer. He speaks about rewriting his will and we later learn he’s left the castle to his granddaughter, Nicole, a 22 year old college student, not her father. Her father is very angry with the situation, quite frankly he seems to be a bitter angry man over a lot of things, and he expects her to give him the castle as it rightfully belongs to him.
Turns out Nicole and her friends have been talking about traveling somewhere for a great vacation since they graduated from high school. Inheriting the castle (and money to travel to it) happened at the perfect moment. She invites her best friend Danielle, Danielle’s boyfriend Al, her best male friend (and love interest) Brad, and Wayne, who feels the need to bring along Brad‘s ex (Alexis) because he thinks she likes him only she wants to go to get closer to Brad.
I honestly enjoyed all the characters. They weren’t annoying or anything of the sort, and I had an easy time of picturing them all and what they were doing. The beginning scene where Nicole and her father argue was a little rough to get through, it just felt like it could have had better dialogue or maybe more description of what was going on then all the odd dialogue. I almost always have a hard time getting into new books so maybe that was just me because after all of that there were no issues with the rest of the book.
A good portion of the story is getting to know the characters in the castle setting. A setting that really worked for this book, it wasn’t like any other horror setting I’ve read about. It worked great for explaining why cell phones didn’t work, how they were all trapped inside it, how the killer could pop up just anywhere, and how they kept getting lost.
They get a tour of the castle by the caretaker, Roger, and meet the other two employees that will be staying there as the rest are off for a few weeks mourning her grandfather. Beatrice, the maid, and Jonathan the cook. Arriving later is a lawyer who wants Nicole to sign the castle over to him. And unknown to Nicole her father is also on his way with an unknown motive. So we really do have a cast of possible suspects here, and at one point after the kids know people are being killed off, they even argue about how the killer could be one of them. Even though one of them claimed a Jester attacked them.
Ah yes, the Jester. There is a wax figure of him in one of the bedrooms since the castle had been undergoing renovations to become a tourist attraction. Roger tells them about how Timothy, the jester, used to work for one of the kings 400 years before killing whoever his master wanted him to. He was thrown in the dungeon for life when a new king took over, but nobody ever heard from him again and no body was ever found.
The rest of the book consists of people getting lost, being attacked and killed, and trying to find someway to escape the castle. It really does play out like your usual horror movie with most of the action taking place in the last third of the story. Without going into spoilerish details I’ll just say that I was very satisfied with how the book ended.
The gore isn’t over the top. Its not extremely graphic at all. Its more like giving you a gist of how the person is killed without going overboard with descriptions. This is definitely a book for young adults. Which I didn’t know going into, but still enjoyed it as I do enjoy YA horror books. As an adult the way its written it doesn’t feel like an adult book even with the real deaths and descriptions of them. However it is NOT aimed towards children, like R.L. Stine books, as it does include semi graphic deaths.
My reviewer’s copy on the Kindle had formatting issues, but that was a conversion problem on my part, not a problem of the editors or publishing company. At first this really bothered me and made it hard to get into the book, but then I hardly noticed the issues because I was so sucked into the story. The only real sort of editing issues were the overuse of the characters last names, and a wrong word used twice in two locations and even that wasn’t until 70% into the book, so the one reviewer on Amazon who stated that the writing was terrible obviously nitpicked for some reason unknown to me.
Overall: If I had found this book as a teenager I would have salivated over it, as most of the horror books I read as a teen didn’t really have gore in them. Heck some of them avoided death altogether. While it’s definitely a young adult book, it’s also exactly like a slasher movie should be. I got to know and like the characters with some comedy and spookiness mixed in at a great location. This could easily be turned into an adult novel or movie by adding some swearing, partying, possibly some sex and more gore. I would highly recommend this if you are a fan of authors like Christopher Pike, Richie Tankersley Cusick and so on. Or you are a fan of YA books & slasher movies. I didn’t know what I was getting into with this one, but I’m glad I read it. It was a fairly quick read and I had fun with it.