There are both good and bad elements to Sam Stone’s new novel, Kat of Green Tentacles. The fourth in the Kat Lightfoot series of fantastical adventures, this story pits Stone’s feisty heroine (as there really is no other way to describe her) against a Lovecraftian menace that threatens the students at an all-girl boarding school.
On one hand, this is a tale that pleasantly rushes along at quite a pace, with barely a word wasted on any unnecessary fleshing out. The plot is intriguing for a book only 180 pages in length, and that incessant pace gives you little time to dwell for too long on any potential failings, and there are fun, if faintly preposterous twists and turns en route to the conclusion. The characters are generally pretty interesting, if drawn from obvious sources, and the writing style is “enthusiastic”, lending it an approachable quality if nothing else.
On the other, this is a tale that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. The references to Lovecraft are so bluntly unimaginative as to be almost plagiaristic, and there is no real sense of depth to the plot. The conclusion is confused and the characters are so extreme as to be entirely unbelievable, leaving you with more questions than answers as to their personal stories.
A contradiction? Without doubt. If you’re already a fan of this series, then you will no doubt enjoy this new addition but that in itself is the main problem. There are so many references to the other stories that as a new reader you simply have to skim past and hope one doesn’t become relevant later. Definitely for existing fans and sadly unlikely to attract new ones.
KAT OF GREEN TENTACLES / AUTHOR: SAM STONE / PUBLISHER: TELOS PUBLISHING / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW