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Book Review: SLEEPY HOLLOW: CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Book Review: SLEEPY HOLLOW: CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION by Keith R.A. DeCandido

New episodes of Sleepy Hollow are back on television, and Halloween is only a month away. There’s no better time to curl up with a spooky book, and Keith R.A. DeCandido’s Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution is a fine choice. The novel is one of the first Sleepy Hollow books (the other is The Secret Journal of Ichabod Crane by Alex Irvine), and it tells a new story starring Ichabod Crane and Abbie Mills set towards the end of season one. DeCandido weaves a tale that feels like a natural extension of the show – in fact, it feels like reading the script for an unaired episode.

Like the series, Children of the Revolution blends a little history, fiction, and a healthy dose of the supernatural to delightful effect. Medals awarded by the Second Continental Congress to heroes of the American Revolution start to disappear one by one, and the thefts are accompanied by brutal and grotesque murders. Ichabod and Abbie soon realize that the medals are being stolen for nefarious purposes, and they work with Captain Frank Irving and Jenny Mills to investigate and stop the thefts before it’s too late.

With franchise tie-in books like this one, matching the tone and voice of the characters is key. DeCandido has definitely captured the spirit and serious but lighthearted charm, and even better, we get to spend some time inside the characters’ heads. If you think Ichabod’s reactions to the modern day are amusing, you’ll get a kick out of hearing his inner dialogue. The language of that dialogue matches the formal way Ichabod speaks, and it’s easy to hear it in Tom Mison’s voice. While it’s amusing, you get a greater understanding of the difficulty inherent to adapting to life over two hundred years after you died. It’s amazing Ichabod can even function in our world.

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Abbie gets similar attention, and when you watch the show, it can be easy to forget that her world has been rocked too. Before she met Ichabod and stepped into her role as a Witness, she had a normal career and was headed towards the FBI. In the book, Abbie has to testify at a trial for a previous case, and she sees the routine police work as somewhat of a welcome break from her current bizarre situation. I enjoyed getting more insight into her character.

The actual case explored in the book is right along the lines of what we’d see Sleepy Hollow tackle. DeCandido was inspired by a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and his story meshes right into the universe we see on screen. The medium seems to offer some opportunities that television doesn’t, and I feel like the murders are more grisly and the language is a little more colorful. But only a little.

A book offers the luxury of time and slow discovery that you just can’t get from a 42 minute episode. So, besides spending time with our Witnesses and the supporting cast, we get to learn more about the villains and their motivations. Seeing both sides build up to the boiling point together makes the danger feel more threatening and real, and I felt genuinely creeped out and jumpy more than once.

Occasionally I stumbled upon an overly flowery word outside of Ichabod’s thoughts that tripped me up, but overall, Children of the Revolution was an entertaining romp through the Sleepy Hollow universe. If you watch and like the television series, you’ll dig this novel. If you’ve never seen Sleepy Hollow, you could jump into the story but you may not appreciate it as much without context.
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Want to learn more about Sleepy Hollow: Children of the Revolution? Read our interview with DeCandido.

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