‘It was a woman,’ she muttered, her fingers touching a necklace Verne hadn’t seen her wear before. It was made of three ammonites threaded on a grubby string. ‘A young woman, full of rage and bitterness.’
Aufwader’s Thoughts: I love that Verne is so excited to see the putrid cadavers that’ve fallen from their ancient graves into the world of the living. Honestly if my idea from The Whitby Child holds true and the Deptford Mice books exist in the Whitby of this universe, you just know Verne would be their number one fan. What a great kid. I’m so proud of him already.
Carrying over from last post where I mentioned the vaguely anthropological approach to the subcultures of Whitby that we see in this series, we now get a searing commentary on the modern-day witch, as represented by Lil’s rather overbearing mum. I admit that I wince a little at this, because it feels a bit like reading about a slightly tactless stereotype.
However, people like Mrs Wilson certainly exist, and this is an excellent portrayal of how they can and do use labels such as ‘witch’ and, in other contexts, ‘goth’, as part of attention-seeking behaviour. As a character, I find Mrs Wilson fascinating, but she doesn’t get her development arc until The Devil’s Paintbox, so for now I’ll just give my honest review and say that I find her introduction a little awkward.
(On another note, who else gets an involuntary shudder down their spine when she mentions ‘three covens’ operational in Whitby? I mean, we know the Black Sceptre are disbanded… we know… we’re sure…)
As for Lil herself, well, I hope she’s all right after that tour of Scaur Annie’s memories. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of that.
Matt’s Thoughts: I was just thinking that Verne and Lil might be the first kids in a Jarvis novel in a long while who have all parents intact (not otherwise divorced / drowned / killed by a dreadful god who lives in the sewers). But these are no stereotypical parents, and I love the idea of one set of parents running an amusement arcade and the other side running an occult gift shop.
You can only imagine what sort of upbringing the two of them had, with the strange environments they grew up in. But by the same token, it’s that familiar sense of community. Maybe they’re odd, but they get on well because they’re odd.
And, as always, some sly Jarvis humour with the television news interview, before the rather more creepy question: where is Scaur Annie’s head?