It is Winter, 1347. There has always been something slighty strange about William - he was the only one to walk away from a fire that devastated his whole family and he has the rare gift of the sight: the ability to see what exists beyond the edges of the human realm. Since the fire he has been taken in by the monks of Crowfield Abbey and put to work. His life is hard but normal ... until he rescues a trapped hob. And then it begins - a world of secrets and hidden dangers, of encounters with the fay and mysterious travellers. William gradually learns that somewhere in the forest behind the abbey is a grave. And in that grave is a creature Will never thought could exist. But he is not the only one who knows about it. Something else knows, too - something not human.
My main problem was the writing. I have written my own children's manuscripts and had them edited and workshopped and all the rest. I love the process, but it does take time and effort. And when I read a book that is full of everything (technically and stylistically) I have just been told to cut and rework, it does make me go 'huh?' I mainly had trouble with over-use of adverbs, especially when modifying verbs, and way too much filtering (too much thinking and feeling when to show it through action and dialogue would be far more compelling). Some of the descriptions were uninspired. I also felt that the way characters spoke was not altogether fitting with the time period they came from.
Are these things forgiveable, because it is a kid's book? Do they help the younger reader to see and understand? Do children bring fresher eyes to a book and thus these stylistic choices are not as obvious? I can make a few allowances but when they are used so often, as in The Crowfield Curse, then they actually drag the pacing of the story down and just feel like lazy writing.