Book Reviews by Genre: Horror

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Lewis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, that has the misfortune of having to control and mask his alter identity, Mr. Hyde. After some unfortunate events partake, others begin to realize that the wise Dr. Jekyll has an alter identity. This novel has an unpredictable ending that left me stunned. I thought that the book was really good due to the continuously moving plot and the amazing characters that create a wonderous mystery throughout the book. I was required to read this book for school and I would definitely recommend it for readers that are in middle school and beyond that enjoy a great science fiction or mystery novel. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Stevenson, Robert Louis
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson is a novel about a scientist in London, Dr. Jekyll, who struggles with controlling his alter ego, Mr. Hyde. As he attempts to mask his other personality, horrifying events occur that present the horrible personality of Mr. Hyde. Other citizens begin to discover the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as the novel finishes with a jaw dropping climax and resolution. I was required to read this book for school and I would recommend it for readers middle school and above. I really enjoyed the progression of the plot and the ending that was unpredictable. Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Nicola
The Screaming Staircase
Stroud, Jonathan
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The Screaming Staircase takes place in London, where suddenly, ghosts have been popping up all around the country. For some reason, only kids can see and hear the ghosts. I decided to read this book because it was a part of a school project. I really enjoyed this book because it was full of suspense and mystery. I thought the characters were very well written and they all felt genuine. This book is in a series, so I have recently started the second book. The only thing I didn't like very much was that there were lots of different terms that the author used to name the ghosts, so sometimes I got a little confused. I give this book an 8;10 because it was one of the most interesting books I have read this year!

Reviewer's Name: Lotus
Frankenstein: or, The modern Prometheus
Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, published the year she turned 20, marks the beginning of one of the 21st Century’s favorite genres - science fiction. Written as a series of letters, the story is narrated by an explorer who encountered and rescued a scientist in the far north of Europe. He recounts an adventure told by the mysterious scientist, Victor Frankenstein, who had been fascinated by mysticism and modern science since childhood. Destroyed by grief from personal loss, Frankenstein spent his adulthood constantly occupied with experiments. The experiment that brought him near death and freezing to a stranger's ship had toyed with human life as we know it.

The book follows this experiment and Frankenstein himself as they goes through grief, excitement, devastation, apathy, loneliness, and fear. Mirroring experiences Shelley had gone through in her own devastating adolescence, Frankenstein is an achingly heartfelt book to feature such an absurdly impossible plot. This combination illustrated by such a talented author makes for an excellent book, and allows readers to experience a story that has deservedly become a hallmark of modern literature.

Note: For a book written by a woman, there are shockingly few female characters, and seemingly none with importance to the plot. But readers must remember - such gifted writers do everything for a reason. I would recommend looking into the moon as a symbol for maternity, and to the lack of female characters as an element that relates to the chaotic cycle of the story. This book is often a required part of high school curriculums, and therefore includes powerful themes that rest just behind the inherently dark storyline.

Reviewer's Name: Malachi
Into the Drowning Deep
Grant, Mira
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I was viewing some of the recommended books in the PPLD website and I
found this book. The title seemed suspenseful and interesting, and it drew me
in, so I decided to read this book. It's about mysteries wanting to be
discovered and uncovered. Years ago, the "Atargatis" filmed a documentary
about bringing ancient life back and discovering mythical creatures. It was
all going fine until the crew disappeared- and what's weird is how footage of
the crew getting slaughtered by mermaids got leaked out. Because of this, the
public grew suspicious and began to wonder if this was just to mock. Because
of this, Theodore Blackwell is curious and forms a new group of people to
voyage to the Mariana Trench. Each person in the crew has their own specialty
and has their own reason of wanting to explore the same area. Along the way,
they discover that a lot of the "myths" are true while finding fheir way to
safety.

Reviewer's Name: Trisha
Stalking Jack the Ripper
Maniscalco, Kerri
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I absolutely loved this fast paced murder mystery! With awesome likeable characters to an exciting plot, this book has it all. A good murder mystery should always have an exciting ending, and this book did not disappoint. I was totally engrossed in this master piece from start to finish, and cannot wait to start the second one. Stalking Jack the Ripper blew away my expectations and more.
Reviewer Grade: 9.

Reviewer's Name: Sage
The Eyes of the Dragon
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

This book is definitely over shadowed by many of Stephen kings other books, which is sad because it is SO GOOD! Not like his other works, this quick read is so fun it’s hard to put down. The main character is so easy to root for and the villain is so easy to hate. A great story, characters, and plot what more could you ask for? If you like Stephen king or old timely fantasy books definitely check this one out.

Reviewer's Name: Rylie
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Neil Gaiman's novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane gives an interesting perspective on the nature of childhood and the truth of reality. A folktalishly fantastical novel, this book follows a man as a he thinks back on his childhood and the magical and sometimes terrifying experiences he had as a kid. I at first found this book a little confusing because I didn't quite understand the time switch and whether or not it was meant to be serious or mystical. However, reading this book is very enjoyable as it gives very homely vibes and contains interesting mysteries to uncover. With an open ending that leaves the reader wanting, this is a great quick read for fans of Neil Gaiman or just general fiction enthusiasts.

Reviewer's Name: Maddie
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 3
Gotouge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Volume 3 is a perfect introduction to the real world of the demon slayers. After Tanjiro faces off against two powerful demons, we meet Zenitsu, the second main protagonist. The lore of the demon race really starts to unfold in this volume, and seeing it be almost as fleshed out as that of the Demon Slayer Corps is very intriguing. As the exposition starts to pick up the pace towards the main plot, the action and drawing are beautiful. Again, I would recommend this volume to those continuing the series. This graphic novel is relatively light and easy to get invested in, so anyone could get into it!

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 2
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

While the first volume of this wonderful series was a straightforward backstory, volume 2 presents a glimpse at what makes Demon Slayer so entertaining. The sub-plots start being developed with Tanjiro joining the Demon Slayer Corps. Much of the main cast is introduced, and the real thrill and dangers of the series are introduced. The atmosphere of the series comes out in full force during these chapters, and as just the second volume, many events are set up perfectly. Overall, I would recommend this graphic novel series to anyone continuing the series. If you are looking to get into this fantastic world, starting with the TV show or volume 1 is the way to go.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Volume 1
Gotoge, Koyoharu
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The first volume of Demon Slayer serves as a fantastic exposition to the main protagonist Kamado Tanjiro. It builds up his basic backstory and also sets the plot of the story. The art style and designs of the graphic novel are captivating and seeing some of the intricate foreshadowings during a reread is entertaining. As much as I love the series altogether, the introduction is rather basic and is not very innovative other than through its concept. Overall, I would recommend this volume to anyone looking for a new graphic novel or series to get invested in.

Reviewer's Name: Steven
Unwind
Shusterman, Neal
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Okay let's get the bad stuff out of the way. To start things off, many times throughout the book it feels a bit slow. I find myself trying to read a part of the book, hoping that something exhilarating will happen, but it turns out to be slow. Following that, sometimes things felt the opposite and felt rushed. At some points of the book, I feel like some plot twists/reveals were forced into happening and being revealed. I would think to myself that it's a bit cliche. But otherwise, there's nothing else that really bothers me.

Now the neutral/mixed emotions. Sometimes the transitions are very good; making the audience know another character's POV at the time of an event. Other times... well it's a little dull. For example, one scene you'd be at an action paced-fight, the other, you'd be having a conversation. But yeah this is the only neutral/mixed emotion factor.

Now the amazing stuff. The characters are absolutely amazing, the plot is amazing, and the action-paced scenes are amazing. I cannot use words to describe how much I love Neal Shusterman's unique way of writing. The way that the characters interact with the world around them, and overcome the problems and struggles put before them really draws you in, and they dynamic between the characters themselves is also amazing. Really love it!

Reviewer's Name: Evelyn
The Wrong Train
De Quidt, Jeremy
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

A boy is trying to get home by train, but he ends up on a strange platform with no one around and no idea when the next train is coming so he can get home. A man suddenly appears and sits with the boy, telling him rather strange stories while they wait.

This book is a collection of short stories that revolve around a bigger story. All of the stories are creepy and mysterious. If you are the kind of person who likes to be creeped out just a little, but would still like to sleep at night, this book is for you. I am not a huge horror fan, but I could not put this book down. I found this book in the kids section (the little ghost sticker on the binding intrigued me, so I thought I would give it a try) so this could be the reason I found it more bearable and less creepy than other books of that genre. No matter what grade, if you are looking for a spooky book, you should give The Wrong Train a try (unless you find it not scary at all, in this case I suggest you read it anyway because it's still pretty good.)
Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: Emma
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Dorian Gray is a beautiful young man untainted by sin and unworn by his years, or so he seems. The Picture of Dorian Gray follows Dorian after having his portrait done by a friend, and finding the painting, not his face, bears every mark impurity of evil and age. As a result, Dorian acts however he wants, knowing the outside world will still regard him as innocent and youthful, with no suspicions of his true character. The novel carries important themes of honesty, virtue, forgiveness, and sin. Highly recommended for lovers of period drama, mystery, and light horror. The book is also quite short which makes for a quick read.

Reviewer's Name: Lily
Mexican Gothic
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Noemí Taboada is a beautiful socialite who loves wearing opulent purple gowns, riding in a convertible and smoking French cigarettes. A woman of her station, as the novel relates, "was expected to devote her time to the twin pursuits of leisure and husband hunting." Instead, this strong-willed, intelligent and brave woman seizes an opportunity not realizing it could lead to her demise. Neomi’s father receives a disturbing letter from his niece and recent newlywed Catalina. The frenetic message suggests a mysterious doom awaits Catalina, who may need psychiatric help and a divorce, a scandal the businessman wants to avoid in 1950s Mexico City. So Neomi negotiates her way into a chance to attend graduate school – rare in a country when women could not vote – in exchange for heading to the isolated High Place, a distant Victorian mansion once funded by now-depleted silver mines. Once there, she must find out if the letter is nothing more than “female hysteria” as Neomi’s father assumes, or something more sinister.

Moreno-Garcia does a wonderful job sprinkling in the antiquated language of classic Gothic horror to pace this atmospheric creeper while Neomi’s dread about the Doyle family and its hideous patriarch mounts, as does her dueling desires to stay and garner graduate school or flee for her own sanity. The oppressive feel of dead, rotting High Place hints at a history of violence, madness and even darker secrets as the 320-page novel’s protagonist soon finds out. Once there, she meets the drugged Catalina’s menacing and alluring husband, who worms her way into her dreams, which are becoming an evermore disturbing mix of lust and horror. Her only ally is the family’s youngest son, who seems a decent fellow, but hides secrets of his own. Follow along as the amateur sleuth learns more about High Place, its exploitive colonial past and its unique power as the novel – equal parts Daphne du Maurier, Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft –speeds toward a satisfying, albeit gory conclusion.
Awards: 2020 Goodreads Choice Awards Best Horror

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
I Hate Fairyland, Volume 1: Madly Ever After
Young, Skottie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I Hate Fairyland explores the concept of a young girl, Gertrude, falling into a fantastical world and taking on the quest of finding a key that would allow her to leave. After 27 years she has yet to complete her mission and is still stuck in her 8 year old body. She makes her way through Fairyland killing anything that offers her any semblance of inconvenience; after spending years trying to get back to her home, she has gone crazy, to say the least, and developed a murderous attitude. Young creates a blaring contrast between the excessive gore and violence and the fluffy backdrop of Fairyland. Young's writing and art is amazing as always, and I Hate Fairyland offers an interesting story backed by great visuals and lettering. The story explores a spin on the original Wizard of Oz type story, and any reader would have a fun time reading this humorously dark series. Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Julia
The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Gaiman, Neil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is set when the protagonist returns to his childhood town for a funeral. He drives aimlessly down a lane and arrives at the Hemstock Farm, where he starts to remember part of his childhood. Throughout the book, the protagonist recalls his fanatical past, which he forgot about Lettie Hemstock and the Hemstock farm. The author does a fantastic job of describing the protagonist and blending the fantasy world in perfectly. This book always surprised me, although some parts can be a little confusing, but personally, I found this book to be an interesting read and would give it 5 out of 5 stars.

Reviewer's Name: Lucia S.
Everything's Eventual
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I read this book because I watched the movie “1408” which is based on the short story by Stephen King thats in “Everything’s Eventual” and I wanted to see if the book was as good as the movie. Everything’s Eventual is a book that’s full of short story’s, and while I didn’t like a few, there was also a couple really good ones! I would highly recommend one of the short story’s called “The Road Virus Heads North”. It has actually become one of my favorite Stephen King stories. Also, I personally thought it was one of his creepiest. Overall, if you are a big Stephen King fan like me, I would recommend reading this book.

Reviewer's Name: Emani K.
My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. Book One
Ferris, Emil
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

A lot of people put down graphic novels as just comic books and many are little more than that. But there are a few that transcend this genre. My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Vol. 1 is such an example. This debut novel by Emil Ferris tells the story of 10-year-old Karen Reyes, a girl growing up during the turbulent 1960s in Chicago. Reyes is an aspiring artist and her story is told in her perspective with detailed drawings filled with B-movie horror monsters from her beloved matinees, all sketched by a very talented schoolgirl with a Bic pen in her spiral notebook. Her neighborhood is a scary place and so is dealing with her mother's late-stage cancer and her older brother's drug-dealing and pimping. It's why Karen wishes she was a monster -- to be safe from those she sees in real life. As just a family drama, this novel delivers. Then this beautifully illustrated work of art reminiscent of Robert Crumb and Otto Dix, becomes so much more. The ever-curious Karen decides to solve the murder of her enigmatic upstairs neighbor, a Holocaust survivor. That sudden plot twist turns this work into an historical epic, a detective story and a psychological thriller that garnered numerous industry accolades and award nominations worldwide. Vol. 1 is currently available through PPLD while Vol. 2, the conclusion of the story, is scheduled to be published in September 2021.
AWARDS: 2018 Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album-New, Best Writer/Artist and Best Coloring; 30th Annual Lambda Literary Award for Best LGBTQ Graphic Novel.

Reviewer's Name: Joe P.
Misery
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

Stephen King is my favorite author, so of course I wanted to read this book! I remember seeing the movie and also really liking it. Misery is about an author who gets rescued from a car crash by his Number One Fan. Things quickly go south when his rescuer, Annie Wilkes, holds him captive in her house. This book is really suspenseful and you never know what is going to happen next. I would highly recommend this book, in my opinion it’s one of his best!

Reviewer's Name: Emani