The Skull Collector - Paris Singer

"Collecting seems to bring out that primitive instinct for the hunt in some of its devotees, who stalk their prey with skill." - Alicia Craig Faxon

a little girl is overwrought with grief and despair over the disappearance of her parents. alone, miserable and lost, she finds herself sold to the Doll-Maker who promises to reunite her with her loved ones in exchange for collecting skulls.

this was such a dark and gripping tale of innocence lost, exploitation and betrayal. the creepy setting, the macabre task the little girl had to go through each night, the mysterious Violinist and his murder of crows plus the Doll-Maker's bizarre doll-making methods only added to the strangeness of it all. yet it had its morbid appeal - albeit unconventional for the most part.

i found myself emotionally drawn to the poor little girl's plight, sympathizing with her ordeal and wishing i could wrap my arms around her to shield her from all the abuse the Doll-Maker inflicted on her. alas, i could only read on and wished for everything to end well for her.

although i found the ending a bit predictable, it was also a relief to note that our little girl's trauma and agony were finally over and the greedy, abusive Doll-Maker deserved what he got.

i have a few niggles though. sometimes i found the abuses too much and kept wondering how the little girl's frail body could have survived them all. the Violinist's behavior in the last few pages were quite confusing and i found his motive for doing what he did questionable. in other words, i was left to ponder on some details and was contemplating if they were truly resolved or not. maybe, it was the author's intention to leave things as they were and allow the reader to form his own conclusions.

despite these, i was fascinated by the whole story. maybe if i read it again, i would find details that i might have missed or i might be able to discern some answers that were there all along but were merely hiding in the shadows.



*received a copy for review