Monday, October 3, 2011

Reviews for 31 (or 13) Days of Halloween

I am going to be posting the reviews for the 31 (or 13) Days of Halloween here; so, here is the link for the list of possibilities.

Book #1: Playing with Fire Review: ****

Playing with Fire (Anthology of Horror)This is a great collection of horror stories. Perfect for October and reading in anticipation for Halloween. I totally felt myself getting shivers even snuggled in the warmth of my bed. 

I did not like the layout much though, it was hard to tell where one story started and another ended. I would have wanted to see a title page for each new story. I also did not like the fact that excerpts were included because after reading them I wanted to read the whole story. But, these are really the only negative thing I have to say about it. 

This anthology had a really good mix of different types of horror stories from ghost stories to zombies to dystopian end of the world type stories. I really enjoyed all of the stories but I am only going to talk about the complete works and not the excerpts. (I’m kind of boycotting those because they left me feeling unsatisfied -- now I have "I can't get no Satisfaction..." stuck in my head)

Best Served: Anna's character is fairly complicated, because you feel for her because her friend was killed but she is kind of unsympathetic in the fact that she went out with the intention of killing the murder. But you understand her emotions and the reason she wants to get revenge, but the act itself makes her just as bad as the murderers.

Widows of the Night: Warning: If you have arachnophobia, this story is  not for you! I really enjoyed this one, it is probably my favorite in this anthology because of the heightened emotions that the story evokes as well as the creepy, skin crawly way it ends.

Bitten: is about a man who gets revenge on his cruel wife after he is bitten by the family dog and becomes a Zombie. 
What makes this story interesting is that it comes from the husband (zombie's) perspective. I have not read any books or stories where it comes from the Zombie's point of view. I think it added some humanity to a usually shock/gore value type of story. I also think that Knight does a good job of giving us a mindless zombie but also giving him enough of a consciousness to make the character even more creepy than a normal zombie. Knowing that he had enough reason to not kill his wife but decided to any way just adds to the creepy factor.

Playing with Fire: is about a boy, Kalen, who discovers the monster that is lurking beneath the surface in himself. First of all I feel like I have been reading the name Kalen a lot lately or maybe I am just going crazy because I can't think of any examples. 

This story is interesting because of the revelations that are made about Kalen and his past. I don't think I have read a story quite like this. It had a Frankenstein feel but the monsters were more creative. They are a kind of cross between demons, vampires and gargoyles. Very cool. I totally felt sorry for Kalen and hated his father. Why would someone do that to their child?

Devil of a Ghost Tour: is about a couple, Lynn and Lee Holt, who go on a ghost tour only to have Lee become possessed by a demon called up out of hell by a man seeking fortune in 1885.

I really liked the fact that despite the fact that this is a short story, Coral Russell was able to show us two time periods without me feeling like the story was rushed. I thought the relationship between Lynn and Lee was very cute and the concept of a ghost tour was really neat. I have been on several ghost tours but  nothing nearly as eventful as what happened in the story happened to me (thank God!)

Key to a Haunting: again deals with a haunted house but the romance and family history added a new and unique quality. I liked the way Russell was able to take true historical events (if moved to a new location- I'm not sure if one such fire actually happened in El Passo) with the fire of a factory where factory girls perished because of bosses locking doors so employees could not leave until the end of the work day. I also liked the fact that the ghost hunters were carried over from the previous story.

Flawed: is a story about a house that brings out the worst in the people who live there. I think that this story was very creepy and suspenseful. It had a Stephen King sort of feel to it mixed with a Charlotte Perkins Gillman (The Yellow Wallpaper) feel where the house drives people crazy. The first sentence of the second paragraph is really great " At the moment I am barricaded inside my niece's bedroom while my eldest brother prowls the outside corridor like a modern day Cain, ready to strike me down."

I thought it was especially creepy because of the fact that these traits were already present in the people but the house just magnified them. And I liked the fact that it looks like this is just going to keep happening with every new tenant   

The Stuff Dreams aren't Made of: Despite the kind of clunky title, this is a really great story. Very shiver worthy. The world has become a place where sin and greed have taken over. The cities were abandoned because of the corruption but soon, the refugee shanty towns have become just as bad as the cities. Those fleeing the cities have brought the same sickness and corruption with them. The main character is a man who is willing to lose everything for a small moment of escape. He trades his blood or his life essence for someone else's happy memories. 

I find the whole concept very freaky because of the nature of escapism that is in  our culture with movies, books and video games catering to it. I could actually see someone giving up their life for an escape from reality. Very thought provoking.

This Dark Magic: is about a journalist who discovers that black magic is being used against him and other people in the city. I really liked that it sounded like a black and white detective movie it was very well written and suspenseful.

Book #2: Pride Predjudice and Zombies Review ****
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
I have to admit that I was not too excited to read this one. I was afraid that Seth Grahame-Smith had just added scenes of Zombies into the Pride and Prejudice story but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he was able to add them realistically into all aspects of the story. From the actual encounters with zombies to the songs they sing and the games they play. I did not really like Elizabeth's character in the original story (*gasp*, I know) but I really liked her as a Warrior and Zombie slayer. When she told Jane to slay Miss Bingley because she did not want Jane to marry her brother, made me laugh so hard. Also, there are ninjas, ninjas!! Need I say more?

Book #3: The Graveyard Book Review: *****
The Graveyard Book

I love Neil Gaiman's books. All of the ones I have read so far, and this one does not dissapoint. It was magical and immaginative and full of adventure, suspense and danger. It was absolutely perfect for a Halloween book. I loved that all of the dead characters were the ones I related to and loved and the living characters were the source of danger and suspense. I really want to know how Neil Gaiman comes up with his story ideas because I have not read any other books like his. I really did not want The Graveyard Book to end!

Book #4 White Witch Pond review can be found here ****
White Witch Pond

No comments:

Post a Comment