Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
In this tale set within memory of the Revolutionary War, Dax Varley took elements of Washington Irving’s original version and--maybe with some inspiration from the Tim Burton movie--created her own story of malevolent ghosts, madness, witchcraft and YA romance. Ichabod Crane is now hot, more of the Johnny Depp movie character than the comically awkward one Irving imagined.
In preparation for reading Varley’s book I reread Irving’s story, which is wonderful, witty and entertaining, and it was then great fun to re-meet all the characters now in recognizable but altered form in Severed. Katrina, the teenage daughter of a wealthy farmer, has a small though important role in the original but she is the main character in Severed and the story is told through her. In Irving’s tale you are led to believe that the Headless Horseman may not actually exist outside the ramped up imaginations of the local people, but in Severed he is very real and has been terrorizing the town, most recently by beheading the school teacher. The replacement teacher is Ichabod Crane, and in this handsome incarnation he has all the young women swooning, including Katrina. But the distraction of a cute new guy in town doesn’t last long because soon the Headless Horseman is threatening Katrina’s friends, driving one towards madness, and then Ichabod himself is targeted.
Katrina is brave, headstrong and resourceful, and while for the most part characters in Severed don't expand beyond one dimension the story itself is dark, thrilling and suspenseful.