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Tag: Horror

Carrie

Carrie

Carrie by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

In a sense, Carrie is the book that launched a thousand nightmares. This was King’s first ever novel and, while not his scariest, we would have never been exposed to the tales that have terrified millions without it. I feel that Carrie deserves respect for that reason alone, but I confess that I was hesitant to pick it up. Often, when you find an author you love later in their career, going back to their first published forays into their craft can be a bit disappointing as their writing abilities have improved or at least changed over the course of that career. I needn’t have worried. Every page completely entranced me, and I was engaged through the very last page.

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Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Something I’ve noticed over the course of my recent reading life is that, if you’re in the mood for weird, you should definitely look into short story collections. Some of the strangest and most memorable fiction I’ve read in the past five years or so have been short stories. This is not a format I thought I enjoyed, as I prefer to dig more deeply into a story than twenty pages or so can accommodate.

Honestly, I probably never would have given short stories the chance they deserved if it weren’t for the fact that I started writing my own, and the fact that Neil Gaiman reads his own collections in their audio format. For those of you who aren’t aware, Gaiman has an incredibly smooth, sultry, expressive reading voice, very similar to Benedict Cumberbatch in my opinion. Listening to him read his own work is a fantastic auditory treat.

Because I’ve enjoyed Gaiman’s short stories so much, I decided it was time to try out some other authors known for their short stories. After doing some research, I decided on Kelly Link, as she’s a big name in both the short story form and the literary fantasy and horror genres. I’m so glad I did. While I didn’t love every story in this collection, there were quite I few that I really enjoyed. Below I’ve given each story its own tiny review. Overall, I think they came together to create a strong collected work.

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Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic (Pendergast, #1)

Relic by Douglas Preston
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

My introduction to Preston and Child was unfortunately lackluster. I found Relic to be solidly okay, the literary equivalent of tuning into a television show just to let it serve as background noise. While the premise was interesting and isn’t something I’ll be forgetting anytime soon, I just couldn’t make myself care. There were two main contributors to this lack of interest: poor characterization and an overabundance of science.

Let me start with the science first. This is very much a personal preference thing. Anytime a book begins getting very scientific in its content, I just start tuning out. It’s why I stay away from hard science fiction. I know that many people love when there is science present to back up a wild claim that is central to the plot, as it helps readers suspend their disbelief in the moment.

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The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror

The Amityville Horror by Jay Anson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s no place like home. As long as that home isn’t trying to eat you.

This book proved true the idea that, sometimes, fact is stranger than fiction. I had no earthly idea before last week that this was (billed as) a nonfiction book. Seriously?! I’ve always had this fascination with the macabre and the unexplained, so I would’ve read this book long ago had I known that it wasn’t entirely fictional. (Yes, I’m aware that the book has since been proven to be only loosely based on the truth, but it’s way more fun to pretend that it’s true while reading it!) I think there’s a reason the fictional horror genre is so successful and draws so many readers and viewers; horror speaks to the fear we have of the unknown and the unexplainable. We like the thrill of watching or reading worst case scenarios while knowing that we are safe from them.

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Night Shift

Night Shift

Night Shift by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Night Shift is exactly what I have always expected to find in Stephen King’s work, but which I have only experienced sporadically in his novels; it was genuinely scary. Short story collections are generally pretty hit or miss for me. Even those I’ve enjoyed aren’t usually overwhelmingly successful, giving me a handful of stories sprinkled liberally with mediocre tales. Not so here. I honestly enjoyed every single story in this collection.

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Boy’s Life

Boy’s Life

Boy’s Life by Robert R. McCammon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A coming-of-age standalone masterpiece.

Fantasy and sci-fi will always be my favorite genres to read. I’m not ashamed to say that I haven’t read a lot of novels outside SFF; mainly because I found the popular and the highly acclaimed non-SFF books to be mostly disappointing or just not satisfying enough. However, there will always be that rare occurrence where I pick up a random book outside of my favorite genre and realized that I have been transported by a magical portal. Boy’s Life was that kind of book; it grabbed my full attention since the prologue and it still dazzled me after I finished it.

Picture: Boy’s Life by David Ho

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The Dark Half

The Dark Half

The Dark Half by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There will be light spoilers in this review, but I tried to keep them on par with what would be revealed by the synopsis of the book. There was simply no way for me to review this while keeping every detail concealed.

King crafted something both horrifying and utterly fascinating from his frustration over the loss of Richard Bachman. For those who aren’t familiar with Bachman, he was King’s pseudonym, under which he wrote Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, and The Running Man before accidentally outing himself in his fifth publication, Thinner.

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The Twilight Pariah

The Twilight Pariah

Review copy provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

The Twilight PariahThe Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford has an interesting premise and ideas but unfortunately they were quite poorly executed.

In their last college vacation, Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted to get drunk and play archaeologist in a mansion located in the woods outside of town. During their excavation, the found a disturbing skeleton of a horned child which lead to their lives becoming a living hell wherever they go. Sounds quite good right? But in my opinion, the writing didn’t deliver any of the suspense and creepiness that books in the horror genre delivers.

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The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished this book over a week ago. Why haven’t you reviewed it and moved on already, you may ask? Well, I have this compulsive thing about reviewing a book immediately, so I’ve just been totally ignoring the fact that I completed it. This delay is partly due to the fact that I’ve been insanely busy and too tired to read more than a handful of pages a day, much less having time to properly formulate a response to what I’ve read. But the other cause for the delay is that mediocre books are the hardest to review. And as much as I’ve been loving King the past few years and have enjoyed binge-reading his work every October, that’s what this book was for me: mediocre.

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Needful Things

Needful Things

Needful Things by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Ladies and gentlemen, attention, please!
Come in close where everyone can see!
I got a tale to tell, it isn’t gonna cost a dime!
(And if you believe that,
we’re gonna get along just fine.)”

Are you a seasonal reader? I sure am. Winter is for classics and childhood favorites and romances. Spring is for fiction that builds my faith and fantasies that build intricate worlds in my mind. Summer is for rereads when I’m feeling lazy and new-to-me realms of fantasy when I’m not. But autumn is without a doubt the season that dictates my reading the most. For the past few years, October has been for horror in general and Stephen King in particular. This year, I kicked my King-a-Thon off a little early. And I’m happy to report that I started it off with a bang.

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