I read Horns for the first time in 2011, and although I'd never really intended to re-read it, I was looking for a horror book one dark and rainy nighI read Horns for the first time in 2011, and although I'd never really intended to re-read it, I was looking for a horror book one dark and rainy night and decided I would give it another turn. I remembered that although it wasn't particularly scary, it was a book that gave me a lot to think about, and I was interested to see how my reactions may have changed over the past two years.
Horns is essentially the story of one man, Ig, coming to terms with the murder of his childhood sweetheart, Merrin. After a night of miserable drinking and mourning at the site of Merrin's death he awakes to find he has sprouted a nice set of horns.
The part of the story that I remembered, and enjoyed just as much the second time around was the reaction that Ig's horns caused strangers, family and friends. The horns allow Ig to read their innermost thoughts, and to tap into their memories - which although it sounds interesting comes with a pretty terrible price. The synopsis for Horns actually doesn't really convey Ig's character very well - although he is from a priviledged background he's actually a very down-to-earth character. Apart from his obvious love for Merrin, which is demonstrated through flashbacks to how they met and their relationship progressed, he's also a pretty average guy and that made him likable and incredibly easy to feel sympathy for.
At times I felt that there was a little bit too much of a focus on the past, and I wished there had been some more of Ig's mind-reading, but essentially the plot is, strangely, a type of love story. Ig is obviously devastated by Merrin's death and has pretty much lost all his passion for life, and Hill did a good job of making me feel that Ig really was at rock-bottom.
There's a strong paranormal element in Horns, and at times it was a little too convoluted for my tastes, but there's obviously a lot of imagination that has gone into creating the plot and the actual resolution is strangely satisfying....more
I first read Swan Song in 2011, shortly before I started blogging, and I was completely blown away by it. I read the whole 956 pages over the space ofI first read Swan Song in 2011, shortly before I started blogging, and I was completely blown away by it. I read the whole 956 pages over the space of just one weekend and I've always wanted to go back and re-read it, so when the audiobook was on sale a few months ago, I had the perfect excuse to go back and experience it again.
The characters are numerous, but there are only a few real key players in Swan Song - the good, the bad and the terribly ugly. After her mother breaks up with the latest in a string of loser boyfriends, Swan finds herself at a lonely gas station when tensions between America and Russia ends in nuclear war, and in the subsequent nuclear winter, travels across the country in the company of Josh. Swan is a character that is impossible not to love - she's calm, serene and intrinsically good, Josh is the friendly giant, who will do anything to protect Swan from the various evils that emerge in the human survivors around, and Sister is the former alcoholic with a sad past who is on a journey without knowing the reason or the destination. By the end of such a marathon book, I knew and loved all of them.
By focusing on just a few key characters so intensely, Mr. McCammon has ensured that they are all the complete package - and if you love to hate baddies, there are baddies aplenty in the pages of Swan Song - from the insane to the megalomaniacs who see the end of the world as the perfect opportunity to have their own kingdoms, no matter what the cost.
Good world-building is an important element in any post-apocalyptic story, and in Swan Song the world building is second-to-none - bearing in mind that the book was originally published in 1987, there are no extraordinary technologies, and instead characters survive just on wits and their ability to scavenge. As a horror novel, there are some very intense, confronting scenes that have some gore but it avoids falling into the slasher category as the scenes are well written rather than resorting just to shock tactics.
There are also a few paranormal elements that creep into the story, and although they are not the key focus of the book overall, it adds an extra element that made this more than the standard post-apocalyptic fare.
Although slightly predictable in some parts, the plot is fast paced and still kept my attention the second time around, even though I knew what the outcome of the story would be. I really like the way that the author ended a story that can never really be concluded due to the complexities of the plot, but worked perfectly for me and I finished it once again feeling very satisfied with the experience.
Swan Song is a post-apolcayptic horror at it's most entertaining - it's intense, dark and spine chillingly scary.
The Audio Version
Tom Stechschulte has narrated an impressive array of books in the post-apocalyptic genre and his voice is perfectly suited to the story - dark, intense and at times incredibly creepy. The only thing that I was missing was individual character dialogue really standing out, but overall the narration was a perfect match....more
Breeding Ground has been on my TBR since October 2011 and was on my wishlist for several months before that. And yes, this is a horror book about spidBreeding Ground has been on my TBR since October 2011 and was on my wishlist for several months before that. And yes, this is a horror book about spiders - arachnophobes beware.
The story begins with a young couple, Matt and Chloe who discover that, although unplanned, Chloe is expecting their first child. Their lives are typical of a couple in their early thirties, and although unexpected, both are excited about the prospect of their new arrival. It's only as Chloe's pregnancy progresses that things start to take a turn for the unusual, as she puts on weight rapidly and becomes moody and unpredictable.
The realisation that things are not normal comes slowly to Matt, and that's the first part of the plot I had an issue with. I get that he was caught up in his job and Chloe's difficulties, but he doesn't notice that something unusual is happening in his town and indeed around the country until the shit hits the fan late one night and it seemed unrealistic that he hadn't seen anything unusual on the news or even within his town.
In some parts of the story I liked Matt, at others I would have greatly enjoyed slapping him - he moves from woman to woman without much show of emotion (OK, he's a man but do we really need to be so stereotypical?) and he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer - he misses vital clues when another woman falls pregnant that are exactly the same as Chloe experienced only a short time before.
There's a cast of other survivors, some interesting, some completely annoying and a whole bunch that kind of melt together into one person rather than having individual personalities and I kept getting confused as to who exactly each of these characters were and I couldn't tell you their back stories by the time I reached the end of the book. It's fine to have unlikable characters, and it's even something I enjoy, but none of them were particularly memorable.
When it comes to the horror level, this is gory and scary - what the spiders do to the humans they capture is truly gruesome and nothing is held back in the descriptions. Killer spiders were never going to be anything else, and these spiders are particularly horrendous.
There isn't a full explanation of how the spiders came to mutate and invade, and exactly what their intention is other than nom-nom humans, but there is another book so I assume at least some of those questions are answered. The premise of Breeding Ground is chilling, but the execution lacks characterisation and enough background for me to have really enjoyed it.
This is one of the hardest reviews I’ve ever written. When I first started reading Deadfall I had to push myself to keep reading. I nearly abandoned it several times, but something kept drawing me back – Mr. Jeffrey’s writing skills. The first half of the book was action-packed but also a little bit too ‘military ops’ for my taste.
I liked the main character, Amber, from the beginning. Tough, relentless, no-holds-barred chick with a ‘tude – but for me Deadfall had a slow start, a little like treading water. I had a feeling the action was coming, but I was starting to get impatient. Amber’s interactions with her ‘partner’ Eddie screamed sexism but had me sniggering with their tit-for-tat encounters.
The zombies (and yes, I bought this book because it featured zombies!) took a little bit too long to arrive, and then just as background. But at the halfway mark Deadfall kicked up the action a full two stars. The zombies emerged from the darkness, Amber developed into an amazing character, and the seemingly secondary characters of Lofty and Jill occupied top billing.
As the story kicks into top gear, I was hooked – the characters develop their third dimensions, the writing becomes enthralling and spine-tingling, and the climax left me guessing, and cheering for Amber, Lofty and Eddie.
The added bonus of the alternative ending leaves Deadfall wide open for a sequel….is this another cliffhanger?
It must be really difficult to write a horror story. After all, we are battered to the point of death with it in so many ways - movies, television, anIt must be really difficult to write a horror story. After all, we are battered to the point of death with it in so many ways - movies, television, and books- that it’s easy to become a little immune and even a little cynical about the genre as a whole. A book must be so much more difficult – you don’t have any special effects, ghosties jumping out of the shadows in full surround sound in a dark movie theatre, or bimbos to shout ‘don’t go into the basement!’ at (and they are my favourite part!)
I love horror, but it’s been a long time since I read one that was truly spooky and made more than a passing impression on me. For that alone, Ms. Ahlborn is already ahead of the game.
I was sold right from the get-go – the fluid writing and vivid, but not overpowering, descriptions of the Deep South had me swatting imaginary mosquitoes and dreaming of fried chicken. The Winter’s are the average struggling-to-make-ends-meet family, which makes them all the more likable and believable – the kids are cute, Aimee is the loving mother and Jack is the father who just wants his family to be happy and safe while working hard to build a better life for his wife and kids.
It’s difficult to write a review without a spoiler, so all I will say is if you love horror buy this book. You just may want to consider carefully whether you read it alone in the dark!
(And finally, it’s no wonder this book was right up there for Goodreads Choice Awards for horror!) ...more
High Moor is my first ever werewolf novel. I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or apprehensive. I’m not good outside my comfort zone (it’s called comfHigh Moor is my first ever werewolf novel. I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or apprehensive. I’m not good outside my comfort zone (it’s called comfort for a reason!).
We begin with a prologue set in England in 2008, with a man shutting himself in his basement and a Rottweiler mutilated and killed in a local park. Despite the short prologue, the scene is perfectly set for what is to come.
The story really begins in High Moor, 1986. The descriptions of the down-trodden and depressed town which has been sliding into decay since the closure of the local mines are enthralling – I was instantly transported into the gray world of semi-poverty, fish and chip shops and small town bullies seen in so many TV series, movies and documentaries about 1980’s England.
As the story progressed, I found myself more and more drawn to the werewolves and The Pack, the illuminati of the werewolf world, and the characters within the book. The characters were so vividly drawn, I could hear their northern accents and visualize the way they moved and their homes and surroundings.
The return to High Moor in 2008 is also fantastically described and again conjures visions of small working-class north-England towns and the connections between the residents, who have been born, grown up and will die in the same place, surrounded by the same people.
High Moor is fast-paced, creepy and gives a completely enthralling concept of werewolves that I hadn’t imaged would be contained in this book.
Will there be a sequel? I bloody-well hope so! I was incredibly disappointed when High Moor ended (in a good way!) – I want Moor! (see my joke there?)
I understand this is Mr. Reynolds’ first full-length novel and he has a lot to be very proud of.
*High Moor was kindly provided by the author for review, but this has not influenced my opinion in any way, shape or form. ...more
The word ‘catharsis’ is the act of purging emotions or relieving emotional tensions, and in the case of this book, is more a purging of e 3 1/2 stars
The word ‘catharsis’ is the act of purging emotions or relieving emotional tensions, and in the case of this book, is more a purging of evil or bad influences. Set in the small town of Spring City, Catharsis starts by introducing a range of unique characters going about their daily lives as a severe storm closes in and quickly cuts the town off from the rest of the world.
As the story progresses and the residents become more and more isolated, the true characteristics of the townspeople, and the stories of the lives are revealed as tensions start to reach breaking point.
The ghosts of the town past aren’t the kinds that go bump in the night, but instead the type that gradually seep into the lives of the townspeople and begin to influence them to reveal their true colours.
There are a lot of characters in this book, some not being introduced until nearly the halfway mark, which was a little confusing. With each character switch (unless they were obvious stand-outs), I had to stop and try and remember what part they played in the story. There are a lot of bad people in this story, and you may question just how so many psychos ended up in one small town, but it is connected to the town’s past.
The writing is good and the creepiness factor is high, but I found the ending quite disappointing as it seemed too fast for the pacing of the rest of the book, and there wasn’t really a resolution nor a ‘to be continued’ kind of moment. The story itself would have benefited greatly from more background of the history of Spring City. Overall this is a good book, an interesting premise but needs a little more work to be a really enthralling read.