3.75 out of 5
** THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MINOR SPOILERS **
This is my second novel by Rolfe. I had a similar experience with August’s Eyes as I did with Until Summer Comes Around. There’s a strong flow of events, mostly even pacing, and characters marred in drama. All of that is good. For the most part, I enjoyed the ride from start to finish.
The writing is a bit too personal, though. Rolfe will over analyze things to the point that he’s taking away from the reader’s imagination. These characters had a fight. We know what it’s about. But then Rolfe will keep talking it over, like “she has a point even if I think she’s wrong” or “I’m such an asshole, but I’m good for these reasons and bad for these reasons.” That sort of inner dialogue needed to be cut back big time. It was distracting and annoying.
Also, having a story about a child molester and murderer is horrifying enough. Sometimes adding a supernatural element can hurt the story, take the horror in a new direction (not necessarily desired). I wonder if I would have liked this better if August had been actually contained within John’s dreams. You’re led to believe he’s a hallucination in the real world for most of the book, but then it turns out he is actually there. That wasn’t explained very well, nor was the existence of Graveyard Land. Yes, we know why it exists, but I didn’t feel like I got a proper explanation of how the bad guy made it possible. However, the idea of John visiting a tainted spirit realm when he dreams is pretty cool, even if the aspect of Indian dark magic is played out and a bit controversial. I mostly didn’t like August stepping outside of it. In general, the very end of the book left me desiring a different showdown.
My complaints aside, this book is easy to pick up and get lost within. It flies by quickly, features a lot of drama and anxiety, and feels adrenaline-fueled for the most part. I also liked John’s depth and the inner turmoil he faces throughout. I’ll continue reading Rolfe when he comes across my table.