Firefly Haven by Aaron Gritsch is a series of tales within a tale, told by various characters and a narrator. The main plot involves a set of friends who enjoy hunting down hauntings and other paranormal events, and a family whose life has taken a series of bad turns. The friends and this family converge at a park called Firefly Haven, an idyllic location where things go horribly wrong.
What I love about this novel is the storytelling, especially the ghosts and other paranormal stories. I think switching around from tale to tale in the novel is well done. It gives the reader the sense that something sinister will happen, you just don’t know exactly when. I also enjoy the characteristics of the friends. They are well-defined and distinctive. I especially enjoy the dichotomy between Luci and Didi, who should have been unlikely friends as one is quite devious in nature (Luci) and the other a bit innocent and naive (Didi). With the family characters – Daniel, Jennifer, and Jessica – there is always that sense of foreboding with a touch of optimism. It too is an interesting contrast. Gritsch definitely nails plot, characterization and storytelling in this novel.
However, there are quite a few things wrong with this novel. It could use some serious professional editing. For instance, Gritsch’s constant misuse of ‘to’ that should be ‘too’. I thought this was a one-off, but it is instead a continual practice throughout the novel. Two other areas really distracted me – the overuse of the elliptical instead of proper punctuation and incorrect quote tags. I can forgive the elliptical being used in conversation because it can denote a pause, but this was not the case the majority of the time in the novel. It was used mostly within the narration of the story and far too often. The quote tags were badly constructed. Occasionally they were used correctly, but the majority of the time they weren’t. There was also a lot of odd wording for sentences, especially the constant use of ‘mainly due to the fact’ and ‘referring to the fact’. These are colloquialisms that would be okay if used in conversation, but they weren’t. They were used by the narrator and it was quite annoying. And finally, a few times, Gritsch changed verb tenses mid-sentence, or within the same paragraph.
All in all, this has the potential to be an amazing novel. The plot is exciting and intriguing. The characters are interesting. You want to know them and and discover what makes them do what they do. And the tales within this story really keep you on the edge of your seat. I would love to give this novel a high rating for those reasons alone, but sadly, I cannot. The novel really does need extreme editing and because of that, I just cannot give the high rating. Does this mean you shouldn’t read it? If you aren’t a literary snob like I am, then you will probably overlook most of the issues that I found and could enjoy the novel. The only things that may stop your enjoyment are the oddly worded sentences, but I could even be wrong there. All I can say is it isn’t the worst plotted novel I’ve ever read; however, it is one of the worst edited novels I’ve read so far.
Rating: 3 star
Genre: Horror/Ghost Tales
To Purchase: Amazon