Class: The Stone House by A K Benedict

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Class: The Stone House by A K Benedict

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A fun read for fans of the TV show Class, author A K Benedict brings her clever writing to this creepy tale of the unknown. Well worth a read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: October 2016
Publisher: BBC Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1785941870

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There's an old stone house near Coal Hill School. Most people hurry past it. They've heard the stories. But, if you stop, and look up, you'll see the face of a girl, pressed up against a window. Screaming. Tanya finds herself drawn to the stone house. There's a mystery there, and she's going to solve it. But the more she investigates, the more she realises that there's a presence in the house. One that wants her. Something is waiting for Tanya in the stone house. Something that has been trapping others in its web over the years. Something that is far worse than any ghost...

Class is a show airing on BBC3 - a spin off from Doctor Who, it focuses on a group of Young Adults in Coal Hill school, who struggle with the everyday pains of adolscence, combined with the horrors that come from a rift in space and time. Combining the fun, adventure and scares of a classic show like Doctor Who with the angst and growing pains of being a teenager, so far the show has been a great watch. Three spin off books from the series have been released so far, and Class: The Stone House is one of that number.

A K Benedict has published both original novels (The Beauty of Murder and Jonathan Dark or The Evidence of Ghosts are both great reads), and has also written Doctor Who and Torchwood projects too, so is a safe pair of hands forthis spin off book. She has a knack for writing supernatural thrillers that always combine the weird with the human - and it's a skill used to great effect in Class: The Stone House. Taking the old haunted house trope and adding Science Fiction elements to it, Benedict ignores the perhaps obvious path in this kind of book, and instead creates fascinating parallels to very real issues such as immigration and refugees. The themes would possibly come across as a little heavy handed if handled by a different author, but by telling the story through the eyes of the youngest of the Class gang, Tanya, they work remarkably well, and actually lift the story into something far more than it may feel like initially. The focus on Miss Quill in the later part of the book is also a fantastic choice - she's one of my favourite new fictional characters, and Benedict writes both the character and her interactions perfectly.

Cracking fun and occasionally rather creepy, Class: The Stone House combines an old trope with modern themes and characters to make a compelling and captivating read. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy, and for further reading I'd recommend Jonathan Dark or The Evidence Of Ghosts. Far more of a crime story, it nevertheless combines the eerie with the everyday to marvellous effect.

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