Tag Archives: horror

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

 

 

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
308 pages
Delacorte Press, 2009
Rating: 4/5

It has been awhile since I last read a YA book that sucked me in so much that I just HAD to finish reading it. Looking back, I can’t distinguish anything particular about this book that consumed me so much. Perhaps it was the world building and the creepy factor. The characters were alright, the plot was smooth with a few little bumps, and the pacing was a little weird but workable. Zombies freak me out and they were really well written in this story. I was afraid of what was beyond the fence, but knew that the characters would have to face it at some point. There were some plot holes that I glossed over, but nothing to be annoyed about.

I think it was a pretty decent book. I went into it blind which I think is probably the best idea. Apparently this book was hyped quite a bit so it unfortunately disappointed some people. I feel that it needs to be read with an open mind.

It toyed with the concept of faith and hope quite a bit. Duty vs emotional choice was another common theme. The main character was quite selfish, so that put a contrast towards the rest of the characters and made things a little more interesting. Some parts the pacing zoomed by, and other parts it dragged on. There were times when I wished more time was spent on a particular “scene in time” but if I had my way, the book would have easily been 500 pages long (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!).

So why 4 stars? I wanted to keep reading. It got to me emotionally. I thought about it before I slept and while I slept. It creeped me out.

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Possess by Gretchen McNeil

Possess by Gretchen McNeil
378 pages
2011, Balzer + Bray
My Rating: 4/5

Click the Cover Below to Purchase on Amazon!

Description(From Goodreads.com – shortened):

Rule #1: Do not show fear.
Rule #2: Do not show pity.
Rule #3: Do not engage.
Rule #4: Do not let your guard down.
Rule #5: They lie.

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, by the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear. Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this book. I was a bit hesitant at first because of the major Catholic themes in the book, but it all worked out. I am an atheist so I tend to roll my eyes over religious talk and I was worried that there would be a lot in this book that I didn’t care about. I was very pleased to see that there wasn’t much of a religious agenda at all and that the plot was great!

Bridget is our protagonist. She is half Chinese, which is something I haven’t seen in a protagonist before (in books, obviously), and her personality is quite spunky. She has a gay friend so I enjoyed that there were pro LGBTQ themes. The other characters were realistic and likable. I liked the variety of characters.

I was worried about romance, but I liked the direction this book took it. In particular, Bridget’s mom is involved in a love triangle that involves Bridget’s best friend’s dad. I thought that was an interesting touch because it isn’t often that we see a love triangle that involves the parents!

The plot was really well done and I think this was my favourite aspect of the book. Some bits were predictable, but there were so many layers to the story that I couldn’t help but try to anticipate what was going to happen next. The book read like a creepy mystery, and I found I especially loved the creepy scenes. There were several instances where I was creeped out and I really enjoyed that. Alongside the creepy scenes, there was a phrase that jumped out at me a few times for comic relief: “Sweet cartwheeling Jesus!”

This was a really nice read to have right before Halloween. I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to read a YA horror/paranormal story. Plus, look at that cover! It is so beautiful. 🙂

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Chasing the Dragon by Nicholas Kaufmann

Chasing the Dragon by Nicholas Kaufmann
133 pages
Chizine Publications, 2010
My Rating: 3/5

Description (From Goodreads.com):

Centuries ago, St. George fought and killed a dragon or so the legend goes. The truth is somewhat different. George failed in his mission, and the Dragon still walks the Earth, protected by an undead army, hiding in the shadows and slaughtering men, women, and children for its prey. Each of George’s descendants through time has been tasked with killing the Dragon, and each has failed. Twenty-five-year-old Georgia Quincey is the last of the line. But Georgia is also an addict, driven to the warm embrace of the needle by the weight of her responsibility and the loss of everything and everyone she has ever loved.

 

My Review:

I picked up the book knowing absolutely nothing about it. It was fairly inexpensive due to a deal the bookstore was having, so I read the back and became intrigued. I love anything that has to do with dragons and this book sounded like an adventure of some sorts that dealt with dragons. In a sense, that was a correct assumption. It should also be noted that I read this book at work, where I was often interrupted. Whether that affects my overall feelings on the book, I cannot say.

The book deals with quite a bit of history and intense moments. We are told of Georgia’s ancestors as Dragonslayers, but also of Georgia’s current issues in her life such as her addiction to drugs and lack of family and friends. In such a short book, it is difficult to fully convey the magnitude of these events, but the author does a great job setting everything up. The perspective on Georgia’s addiction is similar to what an addict would actually feel (as far as I know) of the conflict between what the body and the mind want, but the more intricate details of withdrawal were left out.  There were many action scenes with a great sense of gore; however, referring to the corpses as “meat puppets” took away all the horror for me and made it feel a bit comical at times.

I liked how the book tried to fit in all these different ideas and bring them all together. It was an interesting story, but there were missing pieces. I think that if the book were longer, then we could have gotten more of a grasp of the “how” aspects to both the dragon and Georgia’s back stories. Overall, it was a pretty good read but didn’t stand out to me.

 

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The Ruins by Scott Smith

The Ruins by Scott Smith
528 Pages
Vintage, 2008
My Rating: 2/5

Description (From Goodreads.com):

TERROR HAS EVOLVED

In the wild interior of the Yucatan, far from the lazy beaches of Cancun, two young couples and some new-found friends venture to the site of an ancient Mayan temple, in pursuit of another in their group. What started out as a day trip spirals into a nightmare when they reach the ruins … and discover the terrifying presence that lurks there.

Review:

The premise of this book sounded promising, but it didn’t quite get there for me. We have a group of young adults (teens?) that go on a vacation to South America. One of the characters wants to meet up with his brother at some archaeological dig, so they make their way there despite warnings from the locals. The locals get referred to as “the Mayans” and once they cross a certain point, “the Mayans” won’t let them retreat. The idea is that there is something horrible lurking around the ruins, and everyone must do what they can to survive until help comes.

CHARACTERS
I felt it incredibly difficult to connect to the characters. They were your typical stupid, drunk group of people that ignored the only person with any sense of reason (Jeff). You had your space case girl (Stacey), some guy that didn’t speak English (Pablo), the token semi-normal girl (Amy), and the German guy that wants to find his brother (Mathias). Yes, the group can feel realistic but I couldn’t connect with any of them. My group of friends wasn’t like them at all, and in fact, they were all the types of people that I try to avoid in my own life. So I didn’t have much sympathy for them at all.

PACING
The first half of the book was very slow. It was realistic in that not everything was clear immediately, but still I wished something would have happened. A significant event happened to one of the characters fairly early on, but the main plot didn’t really get going until one of the girls jacked off one of the guys in the tent. I’m serious. That moment was significant enough to get the plot going.

WRITING
I enjoyed the writing. It was descriptive and had a good balance between dialogue, inner thoughts, and observation. This was probably one of the best parts about the book.

STORY
Like I said, the pacing was very slow. The thing that lurks at the ruins would be scary if you happened to be there. However, there were so many moments when I was thinking, “Why don’t they try this?” It was a bit annoying at times. The concept was interesting and I liked the little bits of information we are given about the thing at the ruins, but not all my questions were answered. I wanted to know where the thing came from, why it was there, what the Mayans had to do with it, etc. These aren’t answered. The story takes place in the present, and the present only.

Did you enjoy this book? What are some horror novels that you enjoy?

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Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
259 Pages
Feiwel & Friends, 2011
My Rating: 4/5

 

Description (from Goodreads.com, shortened):

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

My Review:

I didn’t know what I was getting into when I read this book, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It reminded me of the set up of the video game, Fallout 3. Something has happened that has wiped out most of human civilization and we are left with weird mutated ‘Freaks’ that need to be killed (or they will kill you). Separate, secluded territories are all fighting for the same goal: survival. Our main character, Deuce, is a female from one of these secluded territories and she hopes to become a Huntress – someone that protects the territory by killing Freaks. It is an honorable position to have within the social structure, but there are other options such as being a Builder or Breeder. I liked the detail of how the civilization was run day-to-day, and how both the positives and negatives were highlighted.

Of course, this book boils down to survival. There are some great action scenes involving the Freaks with lots of blood, gore, and creepiness. Every survival instinct is kicked in, and luckily, the author seems to know what she is talking about.

I liked Deuce. She was a strong character, but she was also stubborn. At first, her stubbornness was a bit annoying but she was open minded enough to consider different perspectives to alter her opinions. Fade was also a great character, but I felt a bit distanced by him. He definitely has that mysterious edge to him, so I am hoping to learn more about him in the future books.

The pacing was really well done. By the halfway point, a major plot change happened which opened up far more possibilities for our characters. Just like if it were real, as soon as the characters felt like they could relax, you knew something was about to happen.

I liked that we got some answers as to how the world got to be the way it is, but we don’t get all the answers. I am hopeful that in future books we will get more answers about what happened and what will happen. Overall, I recommend this book!

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Wishlist Wednesday (a day late!)

Here is my Wishlist Wednesday post! I put up a video yesterday, which you can watch below. If you would rather not watch the video, then all the information will be below the video.

The Books:

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The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey

 

The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
Monstrumologist series #2

424 pages
Simon & Schuster, 2010
My Rating: 3.5/5

 

While Dr. Warthrop is attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, his former fiancÉe asks him to rescue her husband, who has been captured by a Wendigo—a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh. Although Dr. Warthrop considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and performs the rescue—and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo. Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, and whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied? This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness. (source: Goodreads.com)

 

Another adventure between Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry is complete! But how did it compare to the first book?

Well, like many sequels, it fell a bit short for me but it was still an enjoyable read. Let’s break this down into categories.

1. GORE
This sequel had significantly less gore than the first book, and it felt like most of it was concentrated near the end in a final scene. I was expecting an equal amount of gore as in the first book with it being about as evenly spaced.

2. THE MONSTER
One of the things I loved about the first book was the description of the monster. It felt like it could really exist. In this book, the wendigo is a bit more loosely defined: we are left with the option of there being no monster at all, and instead perhaps a psychological or biological explanation.

3. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
We are introduced to Dr. Warthrop’s personal history. Much of the book is devoted to learning about his past and how it has made him the man he is today. I loved this aspect of the novel because it allowed the reader to see the doctor in a new light: he isn’t a stuck up asshole for no reason.
Will Henry also has a significant amount of character development, partially in that he becomes more comfortable with himself and his desires.

4. PACING
The first part of the book felt slow because the tone was very dreary. As the tone heightened in excitement, the events of the story started to fall into place.

5. CREEPY FACTOR
This book was less creepy than the first one. The monster wasn’t as scary and the setting offered a different kind of fear. For a portion of the book, our characters are essentially camping in the snowy wilderness of Canada while something *could* be running around in the dark waiting to kill them. That is a different type of creepy than what was offered in the first book, in that there IS something in a specific place and we are going to go check it out. The wilderness aspect added an edge of uncertainty and unpredictability.

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