Book Review – Sparrow Hill Road

Title: Sparrow Hill Road

Author: Seanan McGuire

Format: Paperback

Year Published: 2014

You’ve heard the stories – a man picks up a girl on the side of the road on prom night, heads off with her somewhere, and it’s only the next morning that he discovers that she’s dead.

Her name is Rose, and she’s been dead for a long time, holding out her thumb and hitching rides, saving what lives she can. She was run off Sparrow Hill Road by a man named Bobby Cross – who needs her death to pay a price for him. Unfortunately, Rose isn’t okay with this idea, and she’s been running to stay out of his clutches for more than sixty years.

Sparrow Hill Road began life as a series of short stories, and causes the somewhat disjointed feel of the book. While there is definitely an overarching plot, and the stories do link together, there is no flow from one to another.

This is one book, though, where I will agree that the first-person POV was necessary – I’m not sure this book could have been told as successfully in third. We need to know what Rose is feeling and thinking and to make it an intimate experience.

I loved all the world-building that took place – dozens of ghost stories, and all with their own mythos, the different ways that they could play out, and still firmly rooted in the stories that are told around campfires. I liked the characters, too, and unlike some other recent books I’ve read, I liked the main character as much as the side characters. Rose is allowed to have flaws, and those flaws get her into trouble sometimes, and she is hurt (or others are hurt) because of it.

Beyond the disjointedness of the book, the biggest issue for me is that the big bad isn’t defeated, though that seemed to be where it was headed. They won a battle against him, but they don’t win the war. Not something I necessarily object to, but I was expecting something bigger at the end and felt let-down when I didn’t get it.

Over all, a 3/5, and I look forward to the sequels.


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