Sadie Hartmann's Reviews > Cruel Works of Nature: 11 Illustrated Horror Novellas

Cruel Works of Nature by Gemma Amor
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it was amazing
bookshelves: scream-mag

Title: Cruel Works of Nature
Author: Gemma Amor
Publisher: Haunted House Publishing
Review originally published in SCREAM mag

As a first step out of the gate, Gemma Amor brings a collection of eleven horror novellas titled CRUEL WORKS OF NATURE. I was immediately attracted to the gruesome cover and the potential for even more graphic imagery since the back of the book promised each story to have an illustrated cover page by the author.
Gemma delivers! Each unique novella had the perfect sketch to introduce the story. My favorite was the one for, SCUTTLEBUG. I have an intense fear of spiders and Gemma’s drawing was so realistic, I almost couldn’t touch the page--but I did spend some time admiring her attention to detail. It was very lifelike and the story itself was terrifying. I definitely shouldn’t have read it before bed. It gave me the heebie-jeebies.
The funny thing about the order of the stories is that at the end of each one, I’d think, “This one will probably be my favorite.”
But then the next one would blow me away too!
Gemma has a natural ability for storytelling. As soon as you read the first few lines of a novella, you get a great sense of the narrator’s voice and personality. Each tale is told in such a compelling way, they are almost impossible to put down. It would be easy to find yourself devouring the whole collection in one fell swoop.
I really must highlight a few of my favorites:
JACK IN THE BOX was fun because I loved the narrator. He was funny and likable. He tells the story of getting his wife the worst birthday present ever and there were things he said that made me smile.
The ending was so unexpected, I read the last bit a few times out of shock.
Really great story.
BLACK SAND is so original! It starts off with this unsettling scene of some bodies washing up on shore in front of the narrator’s hotel room. She dismisses the whole thing rather easily but you, as the reader, hold that tension as some other strange things start unfolding. I enjoyed the sense of creeping dread and the ending was perfect!
GIRL ON FIRE is probably my favorite in the whole collection. It was one of those stories that has the ability to make your heart race--even though you’re just sitting quietly in the comfort of your own home. The main character was someone I instantly fell in love with. I could have read a whole novel about her. I don’t want to spoil anything about it, but it’s a must read for fans who get excited about strong, female protagonists.
THE PATH THROUGH LOWER FELL had a Stephen King vibe and the next story, HIS LIFE’S WORK felt Clive Barker inspired--which is always a treat for this horror fan. I’m not sure if the author was intentional about capturing the style of her horror influences but if she was--I applaud the homage to those two great writers! I loved both of those stories.
As a big fan of short story collections, it is my recommendation to pick this one up. It’s always noteworthy when a new, female author makes an impressive splash jumping into the horror scene. And she draws her own macabre illustrations! It’s a win for me. 5/5 skulls Sadie Hartmann
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Reading Progress

February 1, 2019 – Started Reading
February 1, 2019 – Shelved
February 1, 2019 –
page 44
12.79% "FOLIAGE- what a creepy and delightful tale"
February 4, 2019 –
page 67
19.48% "JACK IN THE BOX was funny, clever and shocking!"
February 6, 2019 –
page 120
34.88% "Black Sand was perfect. Back Alley Sue was scary in this dreamlike way"
February 8, 2019 –
page 145
42.15% "Girl on Fire. Might be my favorite so far..."
February 8, 2019 –
page 181
52.62% "SCUTTLEBUG! So horrible and nasty! Loved it"
February 9, 2019 –
page 196
56.98% "Lower Fell. HOLY. COW. SHIT."
February 9, 2019 –
page 230
66.86% "Barker-esque body horror. Terrifying"
February 9, 2019 –
page 300

Scarier than Krampus."
February 9, 2019 – Finished Reading
June 6, 2019 – Shelved as: scream-mag

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