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Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 16 Nov 2011 12:53:23 AM Title: The Carnival, the Party, and the Empty Room

Oh Penny, there are just so many wonderful things about this story!  I love it in all its parts – ghost story, Gracie's redemption, a glimpse into a recovering Jericho 2 or 3 years out, the friendships, everything.  Just a really nice job.


I really went wild with my "Liked This Quote" list.  Hope you don't mind. ;-)



As dependable as this town still trying to make a fuss over a holiday, for the kids, even after the end of the world. She allowed herself a wry smile, and if someone had been there, she might've given them a sarcastic grumble, but it would've betrayed affection. She was all alone, however, so instead, she held onto the curtain a little longer, let out a sigh, and let it drop.


Such a good characterization, both of the town and the observer.



She had spent very little time out here, since the bombs. Truth be told, she was uncomfortable with the crowds. People had changed. The adults wore ravenous looks, grim looks, with eyes that told stories of hard choices that would have to be made. The children were different too. What was it about them that made them so different from the children of last year? It had been hard to see their faces when they were scared, but somehow, it was harder to see them now that they weren't scared. What did it take them, to have already adjusted to this world where no one knew anything, not even whether they would make it through the coming winter? She wouldn't admit it, but she didn't feel adjusted at all. Perhaps this was why she felt so strange, among them now. She had never felt more like a relic, a remnant of a time past, than she had this year. She wasn't ready to admit that things weren't going to get better.

This just sent chills up and down my spine.  Thank you for taking that step back from the situation and providing the wider view.  I often lose this perspective when I'm writing Jericho, so I really appreciate that you're giving it to us here, and also how well it fits with poor, doesn't know she's dead, Gracie.



She didn't pick up coherence in the next words of the voice, something about no one watching. She tried to focus on what her eyes were seeing, rather than her ears. Eyes were sometimes more reliable, as ears, she had come to think, colluded more often with the imagination. Why else was the gossip she traded over the counter less truthful in the long term than the secretive looks and clumsily covered up reactions she noticed when she watched the people around her?

Such an interesting observation!  All you have to do is watch  people, I guess, if you want know their real secrets.


Chilling, shocking cold, shot through her in dizzying waves. Accompanied by a horrible invading feeling somewhat akin to vertigo. A voice so near it could have been in her head only it was so completely, instantly alien and separate and wrong. And one of the glasses on the shelf in front of her was moving, rising into the air, and she knew it was one of them, there was more than one of them, for this was a different voice, this was a he. He was in her space and lifting a glass, and she turned, despite her fear, to watch the glass moving through the air, and felt he had moved out of her space and was going back into the area on the other side of the bar.

This creeps me out every time I read it.  How awful to be the ghost or person who accidentally occupies the same space as a person or ghost.  It's haunting, I swear.


Only the animal-man was still watching with a look of dismay. As the king glanced at him, he muttered “I am so not related to these people.”


The king chuckled. “Dude, you're the one dressed like a deer.”


 All the costumes were wonderful, and this was the best part of a lot of really good "costume talk".  And I have to agree with Stanley on this one.


Other things I liked in no particular order:

  • The return of Tracy, Jericho's best and most precocious ghost child.

  • Stanley's choice of costume for his family.  The Land of Make-Believe lives!

  • The argument over who's the best royalty.

  • And (okay this is in order – the most important) the gentle way Johnston clued Gracie in on her death, and showed her (along with Patrick) that it was okay for her to move on.  She can join the pantheon of Jericho's protective ghosts and be the happier for it:  One eye on Dale and the store… but both feet in a less troubling afterlife.



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