Tuesday 6 October 2009

The Spellbound Hotel by Tom Eglington.

Add ImagePages - 246
Challenges - RIP, Reliquiae, 100 books.
Published by Piccadilly Press in 2009.
First paragraph.
To Bethany's eyes, there were many peculiar things in the village, but by far the most peculiar was the giant Stoames mansion that dominated the skyline and which she couldn't help think was growing larger day by day. It seemed no matter which street she turned down or which direction she faced, there was some part of the stately home staring back at her. Whether it was the rows of glinting windows, or the turrets and alcoves of its jagged roofing, or even the walls of lumpy masonry, the house was always there, always watchful. And since they had moved to Stagtree Knoll it felt as if it was there a little more every time she looked.
The story begins after Bethany's parents move to a village called Stagtree Knoll, where everyone has an unhealthy obsession with the local sausages and a local bizarre TV series called 'What About Dave?' Everyone in the village seems to be hypnotised, except Bethany.
Determined to find out what is going on in the village, Bethany sneaks into the mysterious mansion that dominates the view from all over the village. Inside the mansion, she discovers that the mansion has a special use, it is a hotel for ghosts and spirits and non material beings. After breaking into the mansion, Bethany discovers she cannot get out and is set to work in the hotel, along with the guests who can't pay their bills. Bethany begins to realise that something really sinister is at the heart of the hotel and she must break the spell to free the spirits, as well as the rest of the village.
I will be honest and admit that I really didn't like this book very much. After reading other reviews on this book, I am beginning to think my tastes may be slightly off the wall, as so many people seemed to love this book, where as I found it a little disturbing.

It started off well and it had my interest, but as the story progressed there were parts that just weird and I felt uncomfortable reading it. There is a sinister existence within the hotel which I just found to be really quite nasty.
I really don't like to be negative about a book, but I do feel this one just wasn't right for me. I am trying to think about what I actually liked about it. It was definitely well written and very descriptive, but I didn't really connect with the main character at all and that is such a big part of enjoying a book. Bethany really didn't hold my interest and I found that I didn't really care what happened to her. I was more concerned about the giant who provides all the energy within the hotel. The rest of the characters appeared very two dimensional to me and none of them seemed to show a balance in their characters. I felt you only saw their dark side shining through.
This story has lots of creatures merging together as one and I found that a little repulsive to actually visualise. I wouldn't want my children to read this book, as it really is a lot darker than it comes across in reviews.
I suppose it is one of those books that affects people in different ways, the reviews on Amazon are fabulous for it. However, I personally did not enjoy it and I am so glad I didn't buy it.
Have you read this book? Have you ever been really disappointed by a book that everyone else seems to love?


  1. Dunno about this one, nothing tells me to read it...hm.
    But yes I have read books others loved and I didn't like. it happens

  2. Sorry to hear that the book didn't work for you.

    I had the same experience with a YA book that I read a while ago involving fairies. I think it's WICKED LOVELY.

  3. It all sounds a bit surreal - a whole village obsessed with a sausage? The cover reminds me of the mansion in the film Edward Scissorhands, my all-time favourite film.

  4. Sorry it was a let-down for you, Vivienne! I don't know that I would mind the darkness and creepiness of it, so I may keep in mind anyway. I must say that I really do love the cover!

  5. Blodeuedd - I wish I hadn't picked it up.

    Alice - I still feel bad about you not enjoying Wicked Lovely, when I was the one that sent it to you.

    Petty - it is surreal and the sausage obsession was just a step too far.

    Debi - I do hope if you read it, you enjoy it more than me. So many others thought it was fabulous. The cover is lovely though and that is what I believe I was drawn to.

  6. I've never read this book, but the cover looks great. Sorry it did not work out for you Viv.

  7. Sorry this one didn't work for you Viv. I find that when I can't connect in some way with the characters it ruins the book for me. I have had books I've read that others have raved about that were ok for me but not great. That's whats nice about having different points of view.

  8. I haven’t heard of this one! I am sorry to hear that the book didn’t meet your expectations. Anyway, thank you for your honest review. I have the same problem with The Children’s Book. I am reading it right now, but I don’t like it at all, even though everyone seems to love it. But that’s how it is, tastes differ!

  9. This has happened quite a few times with - films too.If a film is panned in the papers and on blogs I generally find that I love it. Same with books - I think we just all have different tastes. Have you thought about putting this review on Amazon too to give a more balanced perspective to buyers?

  10. Diane - you are definitely right about the cover.

    Dar - I really do hate it when I don't connect with the main characters. It just kills the book for me.

    Andreea - I am sorry to hear you are not enjoying The Children's Book. I have heard such good things about it. As Dar said we all have such different tastes.

    Carmen - not sure about putting it on Amazon. I hate to criticize on such a grand scale.

  11. This doesn't sound like my kind of book either.

  12. Sorry to hear this wasn't for you, Vivienne!

  13. Sounds pretty gross. I know I wouldn't like little things moving as one. I looked at the cover of this book in my reader and din't think this looked like something you would enjoy. I'm laughing that I was right.

  14. I haven't read this but I can answer your second question! For me that was The Historian. I bought that thing when it first came out in hardcover and by the time I got 200 pages in I was ready to throw it against the wall. Nearly everyone loves it for some reason though.


Hiya, thanks for stopping by, it is always nice to hear what you have to say, so do leave a comment if you have time.