One golem alone can be terrifying, but when multiple golems are at play throughout the plot, you’ve got the makings of a truly disturbing, in the best kind of way, read. Golems are difficult to categorize because they can be either friend or foe to those (a group of four friends in this case: Paul, Serena, Jessica and Matt) who bring them into existence. Warren does an outstanding job of keeping the reader guessing as to whom is a good guy or gal or golem! Plus, as “The Wretched” is ‘The Covedale Chronicles Book 1,’ there’s an open ending by design. The reader is left satisfied, however, as there’s no cold ending. Rather, there’s an adept story resolution via the denouement.
Peppered throughout the storyline are appearances by great supporting characters. Some that stand out are: the mysterious pale men in black suits (really hope to learn more about them in ‘The Covedale Chronicles Book 2’-in fact, I feel they’ll have a darkly delightful backstory), Emily and Malcolm.
Plus, golems aside, there are other things which are personified in a sense. Specifically, the Victorian House itself-that Paul, Serena, Jessica and Matt live in-and even the Cherry Picker (dwelling right outside the Victorian House). Wonderful that there’s a macabre vibe in the Victorian House as well, as that’s a gloomy element found in great Gothic novels.
Thematically, I believe two concepts stand out: wretchedness (hence, the title) and a perhaps more hidden one in metamorphosis. Serena sheds light with: “We may feel wretched, because of everything that’s happened…but we are not wretched.” Beautiful exposition! Metamorphosis is seen on so many levels as well. The golems obviously metamorphose, as does a creepy cool doll named Addy and even, in a more subtle way, the protagonists. Paul’s changing love interests is an example of this as is Jessica and Matt’s relationship. Perhaps the most noteworthy indication of the theme of transformation throughout is the mentioning of Franz Kafka’s novella, “The Metamorphosis.”
Looking forward to “The Covedale Chronicles Book 2!”