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Apart in the Dark: Novellas

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  207 ratings  ·  48 reviews
Now available for the first time in a print edition—two terrifying novellas from bestselling author Ania Ahlborn, “a great storyteller who spins an atmosphere of dread literally from the first page” (Jeff Somers).

New York, 1977. The sweltering height of the Summer of Sam. The entire city is gripped with fear, but all Nell Sullivan worries about is whether o
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 16th 2018 by Gallery Books
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Thank you to Ania Ahlborn for a signed copy of her book, Apart in the Dark in exchange for an honest review.
This book features two, previously released novellas that were available in Kindle format: The Pretty Ones and I Call Upon Thee.

The Pretty Ones: 3 stars.
This story started out well enough. I became immediately invested in the main character, Nell. She seemed likable but a little off and maybe just struggling with some weight issues and major insecurities. However, during the course of the
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it

Apart in the Dark is comprised of two novellas - The Pretty Ones, and I Call Upon Thee. They are strikingly different, and they are both amazing in different ways. I wish I would have written my review for The Pretty Ones as soon as I finished it because my brain is all wrapped up in I Call Upon Thee.

The Pretty Ones is about a woman named Nell who desperately want to fit in at her office, but her brother doesn't want her to become "worldly", so she is at war with herself and the people aro
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, horror
Apart in the Dark is actually 2 novellas, The Pretty Ones and I Call Upon Thee.

The Pretty Ones is set in 1977 New York. We follow Nell during The Summer of Sam. The plot twist is easy to figure out. i give this story a 3.

I Call Upon Thee- I listened to this on audio. This is my review i left for it.

i loved this book! I could relate so much to Brynn, well during my teenage years at least. i guess i should apologize to my little sister for always trying to scare her and making her watch scar
Mogsy (MMOGC)
Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

Last year, I had the pleasure of reading horror writer extraordinaire Ania Ahlborn for the very first time. I was glad I picked up The Devil Crept In, a novel about a boy who goes missing in the woods amidst a town with a terrible secret. It was legitimately one of only a handful of books to ever keep me up at night, and I vowed that I would read more Ahlborn the first chance I got.

That chance came with Apart in the Dark,
Janelle Janson
Thank you so much Sadie, Gallery Books, and the author for my free copy APART IN THE DARK by Ania Ahlborn - all opinions are my own.

I was incredibly lucky to win a signed copy of this delicious book! I have heard so many wonderful things about Ahlborn’s writing so I am glad I got to see it for myself. She’s an amazing writer!

The book is made up of two novellas: THE PRETTY ONES and I CALL UPON THEE. The great thing about novellas is that they get straight to the point. No “beating around the bush
Erin Dunn
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars.
My review for the book (including separate for both novellas) can be found here on my blog!
Missy (myweereads)
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Perhaps the horror isn’t in the story itself as much as it is in the knowledge that these characters are really you; the terror of it is that all you can do is sit and nod and do nothing....You chose this book. You chose this darkness.....”

Apart In The Dark by Ania Ahlborn consists of two novellas. The first is “The Pretty Ones” based around the horrors of the Summer of Sam. We meet Nell Sullivan who is seeking out friends at her work place but her brother Barrett is telling her she will never
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first novella, The Pretty Ones, was good but not great. I figured out the twist immediately and it felt to me like a drawn out story to a predictable ending. 3 stars.

The Second novella, I Call Upon Thee, was designed to scare the crap out of me specifically. It had all the elements required to spoil a perfectly good night of sleep. A Ouija board, those things have always creeped me out, even if I was the one moving it around when playing with my friends. A graveyard during a nasty storm, it’
Tracy Robinson
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow. Just wow. This is the 4th book by Ahlborn that I’ve read and it just shot up to the number 2 spot, right behind her novel BROTHER.

This book contains 2 novellas, THE PRETTY ONES and I CALL UPON THEE. Both of these tales deal with possession in one form or another and before reading it I just expected a pleasing experience because I ADORE possession tales. But I read a lot of them so I wasn’t expecting to be scared. Yeah - we are talking “look over my shoulder, what’s that noise” kind of sca
Out of the Bex
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite Ania Ahlborn.

If you are a horror reader and haven't yet read Ahlborn you are truly missing out. Quit messing around and get one of her works already!

Apart in the Dark is a collection of two novellas, not a traditional novel like her other books.

The stories are both fantastic, unique in their individual ways.

The first is about a lonely, socially awkward woman whose attempts to force friendships become stranger and more twisted over time.

The second is like a classic southern spo
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Airport book store pick, but one of my better ones. A nicely paired package of two novellas by an established author I've managed to be oblivious to before now. I could only give the book three stars because the first story really fell flat for me, despite the atmospheric setting in late-'70s NYC. The second novella, however, is an excellent, tech-savvy page turner with a fantastic ending, something that's been lacking in my horror fiction selections of late. I'll be interested in reading more f ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The second novella, I Call Upon Thee, was fun and creepy. Bonus points for including my favorite things: goths, a spooky doll, a ouija board, and a creepy little girl ghost.

I need to read more Ania Ahlborn.
Suze Lavender
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Pretty Ones

It's 1977 and Nell works in an office in New York. Her colleagues don't like Nell very much. They're pretty girls who greatly care about their looks. Nell is plain and a little bit overweight, so she doesn't wear the right clothes. She's also sweaty and socially awkward and therefore the other girls don't include her in their social lives. Nell does her best to be part of the popular group at work, but the girls are mean to her instead. The Son of Sam, a vicious killer, is on the
Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: collections
I only read I Call Upon Thee for now, so my rating is only based on that story. But it's AMAZING, please read it if you haven't!
Ann D’Aleandro
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Based on the reviews I read, I am clearly in the minority opinion here. Ania Ahlborn’s two novellas, The Pretty Ones and I Call Upon Thee read more like YA novels. The pace was good, but both were rather predictable.

Both heroines were more annoying than scary. I was often confused as to when each heroine was in the present or harkening back in time, or being back in time. Ahlborn dribbles out explanations for situations or events slowly over time and I found that to be too much - too late in th
Edward Taylor
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
2 Novella sized stories from one of my favorite new authors that deliver emotionally charged haunts and family pains of the past.

THE PRETTY ONES - Talk about taking advantage of a panic to conduct clandestine murders of your own. Nell Sullivan's brother not only takes care of those that the Son of Sam would just as well skip over but those who hurt his sister as well. In the end, it's sibling love that holds it all together and that's what makes it even the more horrifying.

Caidyn (NO LONGER ACTIVE; he/him/his)
This review can also be found on my blog!

These were so good. I love Ahlborn’s writing. She’s an amazing author and I’m always impressed by what she writes. Even if I don’t love the story, I’m still impressed and amazed by how she turns the story.

This book has two novellas in it. The Pretty Ones and I Call Upon Thee. And, honestly, I could have read these two in one day. But, alas, school got in the way and I had to put off how much I could read.

Since there are two stories, I’m going to review ea
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Creep factor 5/5 ⭐️
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aniaahlborn
I feel like the second novella, I Call Upon Thee, was strong enough (and spooky enough) to carry this to a 5...although I might be a bit biased, because any kind of ghost story will always be my favorite, and will usually scare the crap out of me.
Rita Goodall-Mitchell
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Apart In The Dark Ania Alborn Horror
New York, 1977. The sweltering height of the Summer of Sam. The entire city is gripped with fear, but all Nell Sullivan worries about is whether or not she’ll ever make a friend. The self-proclaimed “Plain Jane” does her best to fit in with the girls at work, but Nell’s brother, Barrett, assures her that she’ll never be like them. When Nell manages to finally garner some much-yearned-for attention, the unthinkable happens to her newfound friend.
Audra (ouija.doodle.reads)
Full review here:

These two novellas, both around 150 to 200 pages, pack a killer punch, immersing the reader fully in the world of the main characters without all the messy and entangling structural work that a novel entails. Get right down in the dirt and make some mud, I say. Story, character, chaos—let the fun begin.

And boy, does she.

This is a period piece set in New York City, 1977, during the reign of the Son of Sam, a real-life notor
Jessie (Zombie_likes_cake)
Ahlborn is really up there for me with the big names in Horror writing (or just writing) at the moment. Which makes me happy because most of my favorite writers in that regard are male and that breaks my female heart, on the other hand it makes it difficult for me to stick to one of my reading rules where I limit myself to read a max of 1 book per year by a writer (Stephen King being the one exception because he just writes too damn much). First world reader problems, I know!

What I really enjoy
Ann W
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, owned
This book has 2 stories in it. The 1st, "The Pretty Ones" wasn't for me. I figured it out pretty early on. The main female character got on my nerves. As for the ending, not sure how that was gonna really follow through, if you think abt it. The 2nd tale "I Call Upon Thee", again, main female character was getting on my last nerve. I made it to ch4 and was done. My rating of 1.5🌟 is for the 1st & dnf for the 2nd. I'm not giving up on this author, it's jst that this book wasn't for me. I hope oth ...more
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the first story in this book, The Pretty Ones. It was unique, odd, and kept me hooked all the way through.
The second story, I Call Upon Thee, was good too.. but this one dragged on for me. It took me too long to get through. I'm not sure why I found it so boring. Over all it was a neat story, but I think it just needed more oomph. I don't know. It was cool to read the afterword about it relating to the author's life though! I sort of wish I knew that before reading.
Casey Dundore
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I Call Upon Thee may be the best novella I have ever read. Highly recommended!
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was so excited to read this book and it did not disappoint! Ania Ahlborn did an amazing job to bring about feelings of dread from the very first lines of her book.

The first story, The Pretty Ones, brings us to New York during the Son of Sam era. You are introduced to plain-jane, mousey, Nell, who lives with her mute but oppressive brother. Nell longs to be a part of the "pretty girls". One day she gets the attention of one of the "prettier girls" and thinks she's finally made a BFF. When Nell
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking for another female horror writer similar to Shirley Jackson and yes I found her! Ania Ahlborn!
Apart in the Dark is composed of 2 novellas which were an excellent pair to read one after the other. I've been trying to get a hold of her bestsellers but unfortunately they're not available here. But I'm happy that I was able to find this at the recent BBW Sale and I think this is a good starting point for all of her books. I can't wait to read more of her writing!

The Pretty Ones
Sep 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“M is for Mommy, Madness, Massacre”

Apart in the Dark is why Ania Alhborn is the queen of horror. This duo of novellas is haunting and bone chilling and I'm sad it's over!

I loved how both stories were completely different yet shared similar traits (mommy, madness, massacre) The Pretty Ones was a psychological story about a how far a girl will go for the love of her brother and for the hatred of her mother. I identified with some aspects of Nell's personality (definitely not all!) I am shy and do
Rebeca F.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
I have really mixed feelings about this book. I had read some great reviews and was pretty excited to drown into it. However, I hated the first story. I mean, really, really, really hated it! If I should rate it based on that one, it would have been 1 star, something I've never done before, I think. It wasn't scary, but it was ugly, sordid, disgusting... and it was predictable, at least for me. I guessed the final twist pretty much from the start. I like my horror beautiful, gothic, mysterious g ...more
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Both of these novellas were so good, for their own reasons! I think the best way to put it is to take from the introduction:

"But, isn't that the fundamental basis of great horror---the ability to see yourself in a circumstance that you wouldn't wish upon the world?"
"These are the broken. The weird. The lost."
" aren't that much different from Nell or Maggie or anyone else you'll find within these pages."

The Pretty Ones, a story about Nell Sullivan, the self proclaimed "plain Jane" w
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Born in Ciechanow Poland, Ania has always been drawn to the darker, mysterious, and sometimes morbid sides of life. Her earliest childhood memory is of crawling through a hole in the chain link fence that separated her family home from the large wooded cemetery next door. She’d spend hours among the headstones, breaking up bouquets of silk flowers so that everyone had their equal share.

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