Eamon and his friends visit the abandoned home of their favorite author, Addington, who wrote stories about animals who celebrate Barley Day with a massive feast. Those stories inspired and comforted Eamon for years after he was abandoned by his father. But now, when Eamon and other fans of the author visit the setting for those stories, they find that the truth behind the book is stranger and far more frightening than they could ever imagine. Because there is another Barley Day tradition besides just the feast… the Barley Day hunt.
I really liked Eamon’s character. He is a broken person, an orphan who finds it hard to connect with others. But he is trying to be emotionally healthy and have a good life. I was inspired by his growth and how he recognized his personal problems and tried to overcome them. I loved his jovial and teasing dynamic with his friends.
I thought the plot was really interesting! It was fascinating discovering the past history of the animals and people involved in Barley Day, and how it came to be such a violent commemoration each year. There was one big plot twist near the end that completely surprised me!
The past that is revealed is really dark with people or animals being tortured and abused in horrible ways. One pitiful animal has a problem with self-harm. It’s just really sad! However, it’s not too horribly “scary”. It didn’t give me nightmares. It just made me nauseated. Bleh.
When I asked the author if the book was scary, he told me that it is comparable to “Hunger Games”. I would say that is accurate, but with a bit more graphic violence.
There is a lot of violence in this book. A lot of people die really horrible gruesome deaths, and there are entrails and blood and guts everywhere. Ugh. And there is a lot of nasty profanity in this book. Those two things made it a three-star book for me, instead of the four-star that it probably would have been. That’s just my own personal thing.
If you don’t mind profanity and violence, then you would enjoy this book much more than I did.
Trigger Warnings: Profanity, Violence, Torture, Genocide, Self-Harm, Parental Abandonment, Parental Abuse.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a free and honest review. All the opinions stated here are my own true thoughts, and are not influenced by anyone.