William M.'s Reviews > Ghouls of the Miskatonic

Ghouls of the Miskatonic by Graham McNeill
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Oct 25, 2011

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bookshelves: horror

Inspired by the hugely popular board game, “Arkham Horror”, and based in the world created by H.P. Lovecraft, “Ghouls Of The Miskatonic” is an extremely well written novel published by game company, Fantasy Flight Games. While the flavor and tone of the book is consistent with many of the attributes of the game and Lovecraft’s mythology, the story felt like it could have used a touch more editing to keep a faster pace.

New York Times’ bestselling author, Graham McNeill, is a tremendous writer, but there were scenes that I though, although beautifully written, could have been trimmed down by 25% or more. The sequence in the speakeasy club, the Commercial, could have easily been cut in half. After all, readers for this book want as much suspense, atmosphere, and Cthulhu-action as possible, and can do without the minutia.

I was surprised at the large number of characters in this book. But McNeill describes them so uniquely that I was never confused at the players, each one richly defined and three dimensional. The rotation of the character’s scenes also helps move along the narrative considerably. McNeill’s spot-on descriptions and dialogue from the mid 1920’s feels very authentic and really helps to submerge the reader into his world. Until I reached the middle of the book, much of the story reads like it is aimed at young adults, and although I like my horror more graphic and intense, I didn’t mind the lighter PG-13 feel. However, the mystery regarding the identity of the robed villains was terribly predictable.

“Ghouls Of The Miskatonic” is book one of a trilogy, with a different author for each installment. The second book, “Dance Of The Damned”, is penned by Alan Bligh. While I wouldn’t tell people to run out and buy this book, it is certainly not a bad read. Once again, the quality of writing and prose is of a very high caliber. So if you have a hunger for stories involving Lovecraft mythology and the Old Ones, or are obsessed with the board game, “Arkham Horror”, you will certainly have a good time with this. Just know that it's not as dark as it should be and more suited for young adults.
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Andrew Actually, Dance of the Damned is the first book in a second trilogy, the "Lord of Nightmares" trilogy.


William M. Oh, wow. I just checked and you're right. But that seems very strange to me. Releasing a two separate trilogies out of the gate without testing the waters from a company known for boardgames and not really straight fiction. This makes me a little more excited to read Dance of the Damned since I was already growing a bit tired after the first book of The Dark Waters Trilogy. Thanks for the correction.


Andrew No problem. Looks like they're doing the same thing with the books based on the Android board game - two parallel trilogies. Definitely a gutsy move on their part!


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