Cons: A little straightforward
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
In Ron Ripley’s The Enfield Horror Trilogy, a massive storm reveals a damaged hunting lodge for the first time in a century. This didn’t just expose a building–this freed an ancient, hungry beast. Allied against the beast: Israel Porter, a farmer; Tom Henderson, with the police; Dr. Kyle Bennett, a professor of Eastern mythology; and other characters who come and go.
The bodies fall fast and frequently in this tale. The monster is an Eastern-style dragon named Ka-Riu, a king of dragons. How he got caught and trapped in the hunting lodge is something we don’t yet understand. The lodge itself, though, is also hungry, and as it feeds it heals itself. Ka-Riu eats the flesh of the animals and humans he attacks, while giving the lodge their blood. The two seem to have developed an interesting symbiotic relationship.
When I take notes on a book I’m reading, I try to keep track of names of characters and what they’re up to. In this case I had a long list of names without much information next to each. Ripley tries to give names and at least a line of characterization before killing someone off, which made this tale feel much more thickly populated than it is. I think it was a good choice in trying to outline and give personality to the massive numbers of deaths going on, although it occasionally made it difficult to figure out who was a longer-term character we were meant to care about.
Most of the book consists of Ka-Riu and the lodge destroying everyone they can get their hands on. Professor Bennett (a woman despite her male first name, Kyle) asks why a dragon king would be in this situation, and this never gets answered. As she searches mythology and her peers for answers, the only clue she obtains indicates that it will take a goddess to kill a dragon. (Making for an actual deus ex machina, assuming that works.) I will say I think there was enough other material to keep the reader from feeling short-changed, but I do wish we could have learned more about what the deal was with the lodge.