The Shrike and the Shadows is a fantasy novel written by A.M Wright and Chantal Gadoury. It is an adult retelling of the famous tale Hans and Greta, hence it contains a lot of graphic violence, and sex. This novel was kindly gifted to me by the author A.M. Wright and I am infinitely grateful for that because let me tell you, I absolutely looooved it. The story was so intriguing and captivating that I read it in one sitting — which is a thing that had not happened since March.
In this retelling, we meet Hans, Greta, and the creepy, ghostly, witchly Shrike. At the beginning of the novel, there is a foreword which says :
Shrike [Shrahyk] : any of numerous predaceous oscine birds of the family Laniidae, having a strong, hooked, and toothed bill, feeding on insects and sometimes on small birds and other animals: the members of certain species impale their prey on thorns or suspend it from the branches of trees to tear it apart more easily, and are said to kill more than is necessary for them to eat.
Hence, it directly sets the mood of the novel. It acts almost like a warning, screaming : « This story is not about cute little birds, it’s about hunger, it’s about birds of prey, it’s about sorcery. » Although the choice of bird is very surprising since in my head, a shrike is very small, and could not hurt anyone except the voles, or the worms. However, shrikes impale their prey on thorns in order to eat them ; and that sets the whole plot of the story.
Hans and Greta live in the small village of Krume, near the Woods. They live alone in a small cabin after their mother and father died. However, the fear of the Shrike makes the people believe that both children are cursed and when they are banished from their hometown, they have nowhere to go but to run in the Woods. Together, they will have to fight the Shrike’s will to take Hans, as well as find a new home. The Woods will do everything in its power to prevent them from being safe, and who know if it succeeds ?
This horror retelling might be the novel you need for Halloween. It is spooky, scary, gruesome, gore sometimes, and sexy sometimes too. The characters are very well depicted and I loved how both twins were so different from another.
In a nutshell, if you love a good tale retelling, don’t hesitate to read The Shrike and The Shadows, for its complexity, and the secrets hold within its pages are really worth the detour.