Rather than furthering the story, this is a collection of short stories. Enjoyable enough, but by far the weakest volume of the three currently availaRather than furthering the story, this is a collection of short stories. Enjoyable enough, but by far the weakest volume of the three currently available. The Skinless Boy is totes my favorite though ♥...more
I'm not a zombie fan, but the revivals in this series aren't like your typical undead. They look just as they did and pretty much carry on with theirI'm not a zombie fan, but the revivals in this series aren't like your typical undead. They look just as they did and pretty much carry on with their lives. The only difference is that they can't die. So in that sense, not your usual zombie fare and I thought this volume was EXCELLENT....more
If you're looking for a super creepy, intensely engaging read, look no further! My only criticism is with its early September release date: it's a litIf you're looking for a super creepy, intensely engaging read, look no further! My only criticism is with its early September release date: it's a little difficult to be spooked when you're sitting on your front porch in a tank and shorts. Reading this closer to Halloween would have only added to its creepy, haunting atmosphere!
While this book wasn't life-changing, it was one hell of a fun read - totally perfect for a lazy weekend when I didn't feel like doing much of anythinWhile this book wasn't life-changing, it was one hell of a fun read - totally perfect for a lazy weekend when I didn't feel like doing much of anything!...more
I'm quickly discovering that Jennifer McMahon has an incredible talent and I'm not about to let another year go by without reading more of her work. LI'm quickly discovering that Jennifer McMahon has an incredible talent and I'm not about to let another year go by without reading more of her work. Luckily for me, she's got quite a backlist! Needless to say I absolutely loved The Night Sister, easily ranking among my favorites of 2015. If you're new to this author, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this one.
Maybe I'm being too harsh here. I was in high school once! For these kids not getting a date is equivalent to the world ending. But when their whiningMaybe I'm being too harsh here. I was in high school once! For these kids not getting a date is equivalent to the world ending. But when their whining drags on for another hundred pages...I'm surprised Charlie didn't end things right then and there. Or maybe he did. I didn't get past page 70.
Guys, this book is over 400 pages and I read it in ONE DAY. That alone speaks volumes to King's mastery of his craft and his power over words. The jacGuys, this book is over 400 pages and I read it in ONE DAY. That alone speaks volumes to King's mastery of his craft and his power over words. The jacket hails Revival as a throwback to Classic King, with shout outs to Gothic powerhouses like Melville and Poe, with "the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written." While I didn't quite get that (and I was VERY disappointed I didn't lose sleep over the ending - this is Stephen King we're talking about!), Revival was a damn fine novel and one that left me feeling both mentally and emotionally drained upon finishing....more
Hemlock Grove is one of those novels that feels written especially for me. From the cheesy campiness to the numerous Pittsburgh shout-outs, I was compHemlock Grove is one of those novels that feels written especially for me. From the cheesy campiness to the numerous Pittsburgh shout-outs, I was completely on board from the very beginning. It's also one of those rare novels that didn't need to be virtually re-written for a screen adaptation, so it made picturing nearly the entire novel a joy. Although I'd definitely recommend this one for a Halloween read, Hemlock Grove is more than just a scary story: there's history, mystery, supernatural elements, romance, and one of my favorite bromances all thrown together to create a ridiculous fun ride.
While I could have done without Mackenzie's mood swings (for the past six months she hasn't wanted to let go of her child and Tanner, yet one day afteWhile I could have done without Mackenzie's mood swings (for the past six months she hasn't wanted to let go of her child and Tanner, yet one day after entering the dead spot she's already thinking about Grant), Dead Spots was a shockingly fun and blindingly quick read despite its length. I have no idea when the sequel will come out - or if there even is a sequel, but I'm already looking forward to diving back in this world (and catching up with Lucas~)!
A creepy religion, a wicked fun plot, and sea monsters all made Harrison Squared a pretty great read. Bravo to Mr. Gregory for not turning this one inA creepy religion, a wicked fun plot, and sea monsters all made Harrison Squared a pretty great read. Bravo to Mr. Gregory for not turning this one into a romance (not so much as a hint of it here, guys), though the ending was severely disappointing. I certainly hope this is going to be a series, because the way it ended was more than a cliffhanger - it felt like it ended halfway through a chapter and that's just not fair! That said, I think Daryl Gregory is a fantastic writer and his books are a ton of fun. Harrison Squared is actually a prequel to We Are All Completely Fine, which features an adult Harrison as a Monster Hunter - um why isn't this one in my hands already??
I like posting reviews on release dates, but this one drops (ha) on my mom's birthday and I refuse to soil (ha) her day with this book. Instead, the rI like posting reviews on release dates, but this one drops (ha) on my mom's birthday and I refuse to soil (ha) her day with this book. Instead, the review will go live on the blog3/17
With my reviews, I tend to follow a format. Hyde, however, made me so angry - and nauseous - that I'm going to jump right into things. I apologize for the quotes below. I know they're gross, but so is this book. Avoid it.
I'm not alone. Believe me, I am not alone.
I was so looking forward to having a great, albeit creepy, time with Hyde. After all, it's a reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde, but one where Hyde is the hero and shown in a sympathetic light. Unfortunately, I didn't get that at ALL here. Hyde is foul and disgusting, fully willing to do Jekyll's dirty work for him and kill with no remorse.
The chapter titles confused me. They consist of four days, yet the story lasts far longer than that. I wasn't entirely sure what these days meant. At first I thought perhaps that was how long Hyde was in control of the body, but it quickly became apparent that wasn't the case; in one chapter we're with Hyde for over a month!
You would think Hyde would be a fascinating character, right? Sadly, it was the minor, secondary characters I felt more for. Jeannie, a sixteen-year-old prostitute Hyde frequently visits who winds up moving in with him (along with her younger sister) and ultimately becomes pregnant. At one point the sisters are cast out of the estate and that's it. Jeannie wasn't even given the chance to tell Hyde about the baby. I wanted more about her. Where did she go? What happened to the baby? Out of everyone, Jeannie was the character I was the most drawn to, and she was practically written out of the story and forgotten about. Another character I found intriguing was one who wasn't even in the story: Emile Verlaine. Before the novel starts, Jekyll experiences a bit of scandal while in France when a young boy under his care committed suicide. Through a series of narratives, we learn Emile had other personalities, much like Jekyll. These personalities were separate entities with their own characteristics and likes and dislikes. Again, however, the 'screen-time' wasn't enough for me and ended far too soon.
Hyde would have been a fairly lackluster story had I not noticed just how obsessed with fecal matter it was. At first it was a bird dropping on Hyde's jacket. This happened twice and two scenes seemed two too many. It was then it became apparent that Hyde was a book about shit:
Dr. Petit said that L'inonnu mixed his own feces into the paint. pg. 211
The fecal stink from Carew was still in my nostrils... pg. 225
Numbly, I picked at my buttons, dragging off my sticking clothes. I pulled down my trousers and drawers and stared at the filthy streaks down my legs, a blast of stench making my cover my mouth and cough. I had soiled myself. pg. 227
We passed a horse pulled up to the kerb who lifted his tail and ejected a pile of green droppings that steamed like hot food. pg. 258
He dropped the book into the pot, he turned and unbuckled his trousers, hunkered down, and strained out a dry painful curl of movement. He stood and looked woozily down at the soiled book. pg. 289
Nope. No thank you. I wash my hands (both figuratively AND literally, if you please) of this novel and it is with a hearty sigh of relief that I'm finally done with it.
Disgusting and unnecessary, Hyde is a novel that I honestly cannot recommend. To anyone. At the end of the book is the original story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and if you're interested in the inspiration (if you want to call it that) for Hyde, you can easily find a copy for much cheaper at a used bookstore. I hate writing negative reviews without anything positive to include, but there was nothing positive to be said about this book. It was less than 300 pages? I suppose that's a plus. It's really a shame; I love HMH's Young Adult books, but this Adult novel was such a disappointment. Do yourself a favor and avoid this one....more
One of the first reviews ever posted on the blog (back in August, 2011!) was Don't Breathe a Word, a deliciously creepy novel about the disappearance of a little girl who went off to marry the King of the Fairies and never returned home. That novel was my introduction to Jennifer McMahon and has stuck with me ever since, a perfect combination of horror and reality and how blurred the lines separating them really are.
Two years later I've got another McMahon novel under my belt and I'm itching for a third (and fourth and fifth...). Going off the two I've read so far it's clear McMahon has something of a formula, a recipe of sorts, that she uses when writing. Don't Breath a Word had a cop-out ending that I didn't care for at all - the final destination made the entire journey feel a bit worthless - and was a little worried the same would hold true for The Winter People. Despite my worries, I jumped right in and discovered a novel even better than the first.
She remembered her parents' warnings when she was little: Stay out of the woods. Bad things happen to little girls who get lost out there.
The first thing you should know about me: I love dual time periods in novels. I live and breathe multiple eras so right off the bat The Winter People was looking good. The second thing you should know about me: the more character perspectives there are, the happier I am. The Winter People had a huge cast of characters, and the story played out over many of their points of view. Giddy from the get-go, I only came to love this book more and more the further I read.
An old farmhouse in West Hall, Vermont holds its share of secrets (some, literally). In the late 1800s, Sara Harrison grew up in the house with her siblings, father, and Auntie. Auntie's strange and otherworldly beliefs ostracized her from the rest of the townsfolk, yet when they needed a surefire way to win the eye of someone or needed a remedy the doctor couldn't provide, she was the person to go to. While growing up, Sara had heard whispers of sleepers, those returned from the grave, and on one occasion saw a classmate in the woods not long after having attended her funeral.
Now grown and with a child of her own, Sara Harrison Shea still lives in her childhood home. Unfortunately Gertie is in a terrible accident and her untimely death is too much for Sara to handle. As she sinks deeper and deeper into depression (or, as her husband and brother-in-law believe, madness) she faithfully pens her diary, filling it with knowledge Auntie had passed down.
Since then, multiple families have come and gone, and now Alice and her two daughters reside in the old farmhouse. As far back as the girls can remember, Alice has made it clear they are never to go into the woods, especially not the Devil's Hand as the locals call it, and if anyone should ever knock on the door they are never to open it. Never. Alice's sudden disappearance one morning sends the girls on a manhunt through states and decades as they discover hidden diary entries and realize the town's legends might be real after all.
The Winter People had me thoroughly creeped out in the middle of the afternoon! I think that's a pretty good testament to McMahon's skill as a writer, don't you? Broad daylight with the sun shining through my windows and there I was, jumping at every sound. More than once I steered clear of the closets, fulling expecting to be greeted by a sleeper. This novel is very much a winter read and not just because of the title. There's a stark coldness that's ever-present, and a resounding sadness that left me thinking in shades of blue and grey. Death is also a key theme and the novel explores the lengths some people would go to in order to see a loved one for one more day - or, in this case, one more week.
It's been a while since a novel has captivated me from beginning to end, but The Winter People did just that. In one case I was reading well into the night (not my best decision!) simply because I could not put the book down. I came to know and care for these characters: Ruthie and her little sister Fawn; Katherine and her anguish over the loss of both her husband and son; Sara with her sorrow and excitement. Despite the number of characters and eras, McMahon wove the story together flawlessly.
Again, however, the ending loses a bit of its magic. Ruthie doesn't so much make a decision as accept what's thrown upon her. While it does leave room for a possible sequel, I had hoped for more. Despite that minor bump I absolutely loved The Winter People and highly recommend it. If you're in the mood for a quick and compelling novel that will keep you guessing, this is it....more
"We don't run indoors. We don't disobey our elders. We don't speak too loudly. Sometimes we don't even speak at all, hmm? Sometimes children shouldn't say a word."
Victoria Wright is the best at everything she does. She wakes up at precisely the same time every single day, she expects her school uniform to be pressed just so, and all of her desk accessories are in clearly labelled boxes. Her parents brag about her to their friends - who certainly don't have children nearly as perfect as Victoria - and when her teachers assign 5-page papers she hands in 10.
Then came the day Victoria never dreamed would happen: she received a B in Music.
She had been too angry and ashamed in her less-than-perfect grade to notice the disappearance of her best friend Lawrence. Lawrence, who constantly needed reminders to comb his hair or tuck in his shirt. Lawrence, who loved his piano above all else - despite his parents' wishes to follow in their footsteps and pursue a career in dental care. Lawrence, who might be a fairly average student, but would certainly never receive a B in Music.
All her life, Victoria had never been one for tears. When people cried, it made her uncomfortable. People who cried couldn't handle their lives, and Victoria could always handle everything. Plus, crying messed up your face. It was disorderly and inconvenient.
When Victoria finally does realize Lawrence is missing, she immediately heads to his house to find out where he went. His parents casually mention a sick grandmother, but Victoria can't help but notice something is...off: their smiles are a little too wide, their eyes a little too bright. The more people Victoria runs into, the more she notices things aren't quite right. While her own mother is no stranger to skin creams and products, her neighbors are starting to look less like humans and more waxy and shiny.
Also, she can't help but notice the sudden swarm of bugs popping up all over town.
Victoria's investigation eventually leads her to the largest house in town: the Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Until now, Victoria never had a need to visit the orphanage and avoided it at all costs (who knows what kind of filth and germs those children would have!), but with time running out - and more missing children - Victoria will stop at nothing to bring Lawrence back.
"I must have imagined it," she told herself, slipping into her bed and shutting her eyes tight. "I imagined it, I imagined it. Houses don't move like that. Houses aren't alive."
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is a book that had been on my radar for a while now, but it wasn't until I received an ARC of Legrand's The Year of Shadows (out this August), that I made the decision to move Cavendish up a few spots on my list.
Spring has finally graced Pittsburgh and that means rain. Rain and gloomy, dark days. I can't think of a better atmosphere for a novel like this. I curled up on the couch with a cup of tea and a blanket and devoured this book in a sitting. Initially I had my doubts about Victoria. She was the quintessential definition of a snob, yet this was the main character! How on earth was I going to spend 300+ pages with her and her incessant quibbling over incorrectly ironed pleats?
Imagine my absolute shock when I realized I really liked Victoria! Her need for perfection would have been intolerable in anyone else, but with her, it was adorable. Her quirks came off as amusing rather than grating, and her no-nonsense attitude helped move the story along at a wonderful pace. The story doesn't really come alive until Victoria winds up in the Cavendish Home, but once she does, the book takes off beautifully.
The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls reminds me of dark, gothic stories I enjoyed enormously as a child. It's delightfully creepy and the sinister feel didn't let up once. Interspersed throughout the chapters are gorgeous full-page illustrations and every so often there are smaller illustrations of bugs. Ha, more than once I forgot they were just drawings and nearly threw the book across the room. That those drawings kept me on edge while reading only added to the overall feel of the novel and worked in its favor.
Though this is most definitely YA, there were a few moments that surprised me - unbeknownst to the children, they were partaking in cannibalism. These instances did nothing to hinder my enjoyment of the book, however.
Having one Legrand novel under my belt, I cannot wait to read The Year of Shadows! If you're in the mood for a dark tale, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls is for you!...more
Dead flesh and sharpened scalpels didn't bother me. I was my father's daughter, after all. My nightmares were made of darker things.
After a fairly lackluster start, I'm thrilled to say that 2013's books are picking up very nicely. I've said it before and I'll say it again (and again and again): I love retellings. I don't know what it is about them, but I can't get enough. Luckily for me, it seems the rest of the reading world feels the same way; retellings aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
The Madman's Daughter is a new take on The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells. The original brought the subject of vivisection - dissection on a living animal - to the attention of the public, and this new tale expands on it flawlessly.
An older gentleman came by once a week like clockwork, and Mother would send me out for chocolate biscuits in the cafe downstairs. He wore strong cologne that masked a pungent, stale smell, but Mother never said anything about it. That's how I knew he must be rich - no one ever says the rich stink.
Juliet Moreau is sixteen and one scolding away from living on the streets. Her childhood had been a lavish one: her father was the best surgeon in all of England until the scandal struck. Once Dr. Moreau left his family, Juliet's mother sold everything she could - including her body - in order to keep up with their lifestyle.
Once death took Mrs. Moreau, Juliet had nowhere to go. Thankfully there was still one of her father's friends who hadn't turned his back on the family and found Juliet a job at the university. Scrubbing bloodstains was far from the life Juliet knew, but it was far better than the alternative.
It is a nighttime dare that changes Juliet's life and spreads whispers through her mind that maybe, just maybe, her father might still be alive. England has nothing left for her, and with Montgomery - the former servant of the family - and Balthasar - a sweet, but horribly disfigured man - Juliet leaves the continent and sails to Australia in search of the truth.
Memories of my father flooded me. As a surgeon, blood had been his medium like ink to a writer. Our fortune had been built on blood, the acrid odor infused into the very bricks of our house, the clothes that we wore.
To me, blood smelled like home.
The Madman's Daughter was everything I hoped and then some. It's creepy and horrifying. Countless passages were so expertly written that I read them multiple times. There was one downfall to the story however: the love triangle.
I've been reading YA for quite some time, so love triangles aren't new to me. That said, I'm still not a fan of the romance taking over the story. I wanted more monsters, not moments behind waterfalls!
The two love interests were like night and day. Montgomery grew up with Juliet and was the family's servant. When Dr. Moreau disappeared, so did Montgomery. Now he's back and Juliet's childhood crush is back in full-force. Edward Prince is clearly of high society. He's found stranded at sea and from the moment the two meet there's a strange (yet undeniable) attraction.
Juliet bounces between the two and can't figure out her feelings. One paragraph she's thinking of one boy and in the next the other boy takes hold of her thoughts. Personally, I could have done without the romance.
The horrors that await Juliet on the island are unimaginable. Dr. Moreau had been experimenting with animals in an attempt to develop a creature that could walk, talk, and think like a human. Balthasar, one of the doctor's creatures, was easily my favorite and toward the end I truly felt for him and his fate. Ajax is Balthasar's polar opposite: while Balthasar is sweet and shy, Ajax is cold and calculating. He was the doctor's greatest success. Until the day Ajax became too smart. Now that blood has been shed, the islanders' animal senses are being awakened.
Maybe we weren't wicked, but there was something stained, something torn, in the fabric of our beings.
The Madman's Daughter is truly unforgettable. There was a twist at the end that I wasn't expecting at all and I'm definitely excited to see how it'll play out in the next book! This is one you definitely do not want to miss!...more
Title:The Infects Author: Sean Beaudoin Pub. Date: September, 2012 Summary:Seventeen-year-old Nero is stuck in the wilderness with a bunch of other juvenile delinquents on an “Inward Trek.” As if that weren’t bad enough, his counselors have turned into flesh-eating maniacs overnight and are now chowing down on his fellow miscreants. As in any classic monster flick worth its salted popcorn, plentiful carnage sends survivors rabbiting into the woods while the mindless horde of “infects” shambles, moans, and drools behind. Of course, these kids have seen zombie movies. They generate “Zombie Rules” almost as quickly as cheeky remarks, but attitude alone can’t keep the biters back. Genre: YA, Horror Rating:
Survival is for the ruthless. Everyone else is a hippie poet.
Nick is your average high school student: he lives at home with his dad and little sister (ugh, more on her later), is madly in love with a girl he can barely speak to, and has a crappy job at a chicken factory. It's not until he's fired from his job and swiftly arrested that his world turns upside-down.
Names don't apply at Nick's juvenile detention center. Instead they all receive nicknames. Nick becomes Nero and is known as Nero throughout the rest of the book. On an outing the group wakes to find their two camp counselors have turned into zombies and some unlucky boys were their dinner.
Naturally the boys don't stick around to see who's going to be the next to be eaten. They hightail it out of there and run through the woods in the direction of where the girls were going to be camping.
"It's eatin' time, Busta Rhymes!"
It took me about 100 pages to really get into The Infects, but once I did I devoured (ha!) it. This is a book that can easily be read in a sitting despite it's near 400-page length. The story is blindingly fast-paced and the writing is simple. Also, Nick/Nero's inner voice is reason is The Rock.
That said, a lot of the writing got to me. At first I thought it was because I'm not a 16-year old boy. However, as I read more, I saw that it wasn't me, the jokes and dialogue are just awfully immature. There's a character called Mr. Bator, y'all. Also, is Busta Rhymes still a thing? Is he still big enough that kids nowadays would know and like him well enough to reference him in an everyday conversation?
While I'm still on the topic is Things I Did Not Like, let's discuss Amanda, shall we? Nick briefly mentioned in the beginning of the story that part of the reason why he's working is to help cover the cost of her medicine. I don't remember what the illness was (if it was even stated), but reading entire scenes like this was WAY too much for me to handle:
"Amanda!" "Nick? Is that? You? Thank God, thank God, thank God, thank God. "Yeah, it's me. Listen-" "Miss you? Nick? Are you? Coming? Home?" "No, Boo. I'm really far away. Are you okay?" "Yes? Of course? Why?" "Is there...anything happening outside?" "Dunno? Can't go? Outside?" "Why not?" "Dad says? Not to?"
An unturned knob is like a collection of Hungarian folk poems or discount sushi: best left alone.
Once the zombie horde really gets going, there are awesome factoids sprinkled throughout the story. I. Loved. These. They were all really funny and basically called out every terrible cliche in zombie movies (don't pause to kiss your girlfriend; a zombie is guaranteed to be standing right behind you).
Like I said before, The Infects doesn't dilly-dally. The main bulk of the action takes place over a single night. The quick story and humorous moments (and The Rock) ultimately led to an enjoyable book. The night I finished I had a dream about a zombie breakout, so I suppose that should count for something....more
I could simply say drop whatever you're doing and read this book. Now. That wouldn't do it justice, though. This is the kind of story that needs to be discussed, demands to be gushed over, and ultimately stays with you long after you've finished those last words.
It is traditional to end with the Last Girl, the sole survivor, a young woman in a blood-spattered tank top. She drops her chain saw, her sawed-off shotgun, her crowbar - these details differ - and stumbles out of the ramshackle house and into the light. Perhaps the house is burning. Dawn glows on the horizon, and the ghouls have been defeated (for now, for now - all happy endings being temporary). Perhaps she's found by her fellow survivors and taken to an enclave, a fortress teeming with heavily armed government troops, or at the very least gun-toting civilians, who will provide shelter until the sequel. Perhaps this enclave is located in Easterly, Iowa, about sixty miles northwest of the ruins of Des Moines. Perhaps the girl's name is Ruby.
So begins our story. To say this is a zombie story would feel like a lie. Yes, the main character is a zombie and, yes, there was a zombie outbreak. However, Raising Stony Mayhall is so much more than a horror novel. There is an unassuming elegance in Mr. Gregory's writing and it's clear he carefully deliberated over each word. There were countless passages where I lost myself in the imagery and forgot I was reading what was being put forth as a run-of-the-mill zombie tale.
There are few gorey scenes. There really is nothing in-your-face about Raising Stony Mayhall. It’s so much more than yet another book cashing in on a popular trend: it’s a story about family and to what lengths we go to protect those we cherish. Don’t expect a Lifetime movie though. Thankfully, it’s not quite that sappy.
Are you sleeping, Are you sleeping, Brother John?
The story opens in Easterly, Iowa in the winter of 1968. (The prologue was set in the present day, 2011.) On both coasts there has been a zombie outbreak and what's left of civilization is trying to pick up the pieces and attempt to return to some sense of normalcy.
Wanda Mayhall is a widowed mother of three girls: Alice, Chelsea, and Junie. One night while heading back to their farm, they come across the body of a young woman barely out of her teens. There's no hope of saving the woman, but Wanda is unable to leave behind of body of the newborn discovered in the woman's arms.
"We should call him Gray," Chelsea said. "He's not a cat," Alice said. "We shouldn't name him anything." "We'll call him John," Wanda said, surprising herself again. "That's it?" Alice said. "John?" "Brother John," Chelsea said. The boy looked up at them. Then he blinked. He hadn't blinked before. "A boy like this," Wanda said, "is going to need a normal name."
Despite all evidence that the boy is dead - no pulse, he's not breathing, his skin is grey & cold - he soon begins to move. At first it's just a twitch of an arm. Then his eyes open. His chest heaves.
They just rescued an undead. An undead baby, at that.
The Mayhalls live on a fairly secluded piece of land with only one other house in viewing range. The Chos are a Korean family who had moved out west with dreams of farming, only to fall back on a mechanic business. The Chos have a 5-year old son, Kwang, and shortly after meeting John, the two become inseparable. Stony - the name given to him by Kwang - grows as Kwang grows. He ages he Kwang ages.
Despite being taken into a loving family, a series of extremely strict rules have been set in place for Stony. He's never allowed outside, he is never to walk past the windows, any friends (and as they grow, boyfriends) of his sisters are never allowed over, and school is completely out of the question. Instead, Mrs. Cho homeschools Stony and later he educates himself with the aid of his sisters' textbooks.
For the first time in his life, Stony felt it. It ran like a hot wire, up from his spine, to the base of his skull. His mouth opened on its own. He wanted to bite. He wanted to bite hard.
With each page, I grew to care more and more for Stony. He's not the quintessential zombie that everyone immediately thinks of: moaning, shambling along oh-so-slowly, viciously attacking any living being. However, in a sense, he is: super-human strength, no pain whatsoever, he requires no sleep or food, physical exercise doesn't tire him. He is virtually indestructible.
Seeing things through Stony's eyes, knowing his thoughts and feelings, it's easy to forget that, technically, he is a monster. Mr. Gregory is wonderful at allowing the reader to settle into a period of comfort, only to bring to light the horror of the situation. And what a quiet horror it is. It silently sneaks up on you, greeting you around the corner. The climax was so eloquently written I felt as though I was in the middle of a zombie outbreak. I panicked when the zombies were in the stairwell. A flash of terror ripped through me with the lone zombie calmly ambling down the road while the policemen stood waiting.
Stony looked up. Calhoun was staring at him, hollow-eyed. His skin was glossy, his teeth perfectly white, but his eyes were ancient and terrified. Calhoun was more afraid of death than anyone he'd ever met. While so many LDs were becoming sleepers, throwing themselves into the abyss, Calhoun was doing everything in his power to pave over it, seal it up. He was going to the stars, damn it. He was going to be immortal.
I loved how the book progressed through the decades. The novel occurs between 1968 and 2011. When Stony is a teenager, something happens that changes his life forever. He lives the majority of his adult life on the run (what part isn't spent in hiding).
It was this part of the book that didn't grip me as the beginning did. There are new characters involved (one still rubs me the wrong way) along with some sub-plots that weren't entirely clear. I longed for Stony to return to being a 5-year old on the farm.
The mailman reached the fence, planted two hands, and vaulted over without breaking stride. The move looked so practiced that Stony wondered if he'd learned it in postal school. Advanced Canine Escape Techniques.
Mr. Gregory has a deliciously wicked sense of humor. I'd never hail Raising Stony Mayhall as a comedy or as a wacky, zany story because it certainly isn't. That said, there are plenty of great one-liners and witty quips that brought a smile to my face and made me giggle.
Thanks to Romero's endlessly replayed documentary of the outbreak, everyone thought the living dead shuffled around like geriatric patients. But those were the fevered dead, brain-damaged and confused, at the mercy of recalcitrant limbs jerking to their own rhythm. After the fever passed, a sane LD only had to tell the muscles to move, and they moved. Jump, and they jumped. Free will, or its compelling illusion, was restored.
No zombie tale is complete without a shout-out to Night of the Living Dead. I wonder if Raising Stony Mayhall wasn't supposed to be a sequel or a spin-off of some sort. NofLD premiered October 1, 1968...which was when the original outbreak occurred in Raising Stony Mayhall. Also, NotLD takes place in Pennsylvania (in the area where I live, which is pretty awesome), and Stony discovers his birth mother was from Evans City, PA.
The more I think about this, the more I wonder if this wasn't the case. And if so, this book just became all the more incredible.
All LDs were going to hell in an inescapable handbasket. The graveborn said they understood more because they'd gotten closer to the other side than anyone - they had a better idea of what was spiritually at stake. The bitten LDs argued that they'd all died, and the graveborn were putting on airs.
I could ramble on and on about how much I loved this book. June seemed like an odd time for release, but I suppose since Raising Stony Mayhall isn't your typical zombie novel, it wouldn't receive an expected Halloween publication date.
Prior to writing this review I had a massive list of quotes and lines and entire paragraphs I loved enough to write down. Mr. Gregory's style is so effortless and beautiful. I will definitely be hunting down his other works.
I highly, highly recommend Raising Stony Mayhall, even for those of you who aren't normally into zombie books (I know I'm not). You won't be disappointed!
The fevered dead didn't attack animals, or invade butcher shops. They craved human meat, human and nothing but, as if taking revenge for being kicked out of their former species. The Payback Diet.
On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.
Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.
From the first moment I heard of this book I was intrigued. It seemed like a fairy tale for grown-ups. I was finally able to read it over the weekend and completely devoured it.
The chapters alternate between Pheobe (present day) and Lisa (fifteen years ago) which I thought was neat, particularly how the events relate and intertwine. I will admit I wasn’t expecting such a dark story (don’t pick this book up thinking you’re in for a light-hearted tale). It’s not often I come across a book that I will happily sacrifice sleep for, but Don’t Breathe a Word was one. Unfortunately, I’m a bit of a baby and the trapdoor-under-the-bed/shadow-figures-in-the-corner seemed all too real in the middle of the night.
When I read mysteries, I love trying to see if I can figure out Who Did It. I had my suspects, but in the end, I couldn’t have been more wrong. (I was a little disappointed with the big reveal. It just didn’t seem fair for readers playing along at home.)
Even though I absolutely loved Don’t Breathe a Word, I still have lingering questions that were not answered.
Glancing at the rest of Ms. McMahon’s books, it seems the covers are all very similar: close-up of a girl’s face. A bit uninspired, yes, but this one was perfect. The girl on the cover of this book was Lisa in my eyes. She looks every bit the part of a girl who wanted to be whisked away by the King of the Fairies.