2.5 stars Some nicely creepy moments, and along the lines of what I'd hoped for from Welcome to the Dark House--sort of a mad funhouse type of caper.2.5 stars Some nicely creepy moments, and along the lines of what I'd hoped for from Welcome to the Dark House--sort of a mad funhouse type of caper.
But the four kids' stories start running into each other and don't really go anywhere (I think it would have been better to cut down on the number of kids or to explore the stories more deeply), and the creep/tension aren't pushed far enough. The style of the black and white photographs and the set-up make it feel a bit like a very facile, slick middle grade version of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.
Nearly downrated the star rating because it was also annoying that the book ends abruptly, and apparently there's a sequel. No need for either. With more development, this could have been a perfectly good horror book on its own....more
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London H4.5 stars Love love love love love.
Fact and fiction are woven together in the infamous Whitechapel murders, ghosts, and the peculiar case of London Hospital's The Elephant Man, all from the perspective of a girl who has been severely disfigured by phosphorous necrosis. This story doesn't shy away from the gruesome nature of the crimes nor the rough realities faced by a woman without position, or a man who was put on display as a sideshow attraction. And yet it is imbued with a transcendent awareness of human dignity, and the beauty of soul and intellect.
Writing is textured and sharp, yet exquisitely restrained, the setting is vivid, and the historical details are seamlessly integrated. (I had such a good time looking up various figures and events referenced in the story!) I hope this author writes more historical fiction, because he has a knack for storytelling, an ear for dialogue, and an empathy for his characters that gives readers the rare sense of being completely immersed in the world he created. I felt the same level of excitement when reading this book as I did when reading my first Marcus Sedgwick and Sarah Waters novels, and I don't say that lightly.
Review to come. If you liked certain elements of THE MADMAN'S DAUGHTER or THIS MONSTROUS THING, you'll love this. ...more
Intriguing opening chapters (view spoiler)[this is how much: I downloaded the Serial Reader app and liked the first chapter so much I couldn't wait foIntriguing opening chapters (view spoiler)[this is how much: I downloaded the Serial Reader app and liked the first chapter so much I couldn't wait for the rest, so I downloaded the free Kindle copy (hide spoiler)] dreadfully dull middle, and suspenseful and exciting horror towards the end. In some ways the writing feels very dated, in others, it still manages to shock and titillate.
I really like Serial Reader, though! It's a new free app that delivers a new "issue," or section of a classic, to your phone every day, with the idea that it allows you to read books in short increments of no more than 20 minutes. Clean, pleasurable interface and reading experience, and it definitely makes tackling old classics you've been meaning to read feel less daunting and more manageable. Small selection so far, but they've just gotten started.
I downloaded the app because I posted a photo of A Tale of Two Cities to Litsy, and a couple of people told me they were reading it via SR. I love the idea of people doing that, since Dickens (and Wilkie Collins too) was so well known for having stories published via serials in newspapers. It's a modern day Victorian reading app! ...more
INSANE ASYLUM FOR GIRLS. That's enough to get anyone's attention, but unlike many slick, cheap-thrills books that quickly bore me, The Dead G4.5 stars
INSANE ASYLUM FOR GIRLS. That's enough to get anyone's attention, but unlike many slick, cheap-thrills books that quickly bore me, The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall is one of the most well-crafted YA horror books I've read in ages. It's a short but surprisingly thoughtful book, with good creepiness and suspense and sadness, as well as the right balance of teenage snark and feeling. It's hard to juggle humor and darkness, but the author does a great job of that here.