Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Sir Dominick's Bargain" by J. Sheridan le Fanu

Little late in posting this, but I did in fact have it read before :P

Sir Dominick's Bargain is really everything you could hope for in a devil-related book. Guy sells his soul to the devil, and the devil comes to collect his end of the bargain. Pretty clean cut horror story. What was interesting about this story is that it's a story in the story. Our narrator is a man riding through the hills and forests of Ireland who finds an abandoned house, and since it wouldn't be a story any other way, goes exploring through the ruins of this once majestic building. While sitting on the staircase, enjoying the peace and solitude, an old man appears singing doublets about death and religion. Oh, okay. I mean, we are in a horror story after all, what kind of horror would it be if an old person didn't pop up out of nowhere?

So this guy's shown up, and proceeds to tell our narrator the story of the house they are in, a story about a young man, Sir Dominick, who blew all his money through drinking and gambling with his friends. After making an off-colored joke about bargaining with the devil, he sure enough happens upon the devil himself, who strikes a deal with him: money in exchange for his soul, you know, that whole chestnut.

This story strikes upon traditional tales of the devil; a chance meeting with a 'handsome stranger' in a forest or cemetery late at night, and always about greed and money. My favorite part has to be the very end, when the old man's tale ends and we return to our narrator, now somewhat shaken from the tale he has just heard. The description in those few final sentences is enough to unsettle my nerves, kind of one of those moments where the lightning strikes just at a truly shocking part in a story or something like that. Overall I think this was a well told story, and I really enjoyed reading it. Sure enough, this October fright challenge is proving night after night to have been a great decision :)

Updates!! I finished Throne of Jade this evening, and plan to have a new book review up tomorrow. I also watched the premiere of American Horror Story on FX tonight, which is a GREAT show to watch this month. Granted, the only way to really watch this show appears to be through your fingers; nearly the entire show is nerve-wracking in some way or another. I also plan on starting either Warm Bodies or The Last Werewolf sometime before the end of the weekend, and we'll see how that goes.


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