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All Book Reviews by Genre: Horror

Ganymede
Priest, Cherie
2 stars = Meh
Review:

Now that I’ve read the first three books in the Clockwork Century series, any hope I had of some cohesive narrative is essentially gone. While following a new character for each book helps to provide a different setting of the steampunk alternate universe, when I know these characters won’t matter outside their own books, I kind of stop caring about them. Even previous heroines are relegated to cameo and minor character status as the persistent series of somewhat pointless events drags on. And don’t even get me started on the zombies, which are a distraction to any actual story in my opinion.

I think the main problem I have with these books is the fact that things happen without much lead-up or foreshadowing. Sure, there are some fascinating factors involved with making a submarine work in the Civil War era, but the resulting battle and conclusion went exactly as I expected them to. This isn’t foreshadowing as much as it is conforming to clichés. There doesn’t seem to be much at stake in any of the character arcs, which is made all the more prevalent by the relatively uninteresting characters themselves. Some have distinguishable quirks, but they all feel flat in a world that could be that much more interesting.

As for the “twist” near the end involving one of the characters, I feel it was poorly executed, let alone unnecessary. Considering the medical techniques at the time, even in an alternate universe, the individual in question probably didn’t have the necessary “assets” to convincingly pull this deception off. If anything, it was only hidden via clothing, but since there were no hints or foreshadowing about this surprisingly minor character, I had no way to even know if anything was off to begin with. I can believe that some of them might exist in that timeframe, but it just felt like a cheap add-in for the sake of “inclusion.”

Another steampunk book in a series that isn’t going anywhere, I give Ganymede 2.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
The Cask of Amontillado
Poe, Edgar Allan
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This isn’t a full length book but rather a short piece of writing - the first I read of Poe’s but by far the most entertaining. The piece is set in an unnamed Italian city during the Carnival season and depicts the protagonist, Montresor, inviting Fortunato, a former friend, to a wine tasting in his cellar. Fortunato previously insulted Montresor and this invitation isn’t one of forgiveness, but revenge. The language isn’t difficult to understand as most pieces from the 1800's are and there isn’t any research needed to be done beforehand in order to read this piece. The Cask of Amontillado possesses a dark, morbid theme which is entertaining depending on the audiences interests, for example, if increasingly horrifying character behavior is something that surprises you. I felt a range of emotions from suspicious to terrified throughout the piece and if there are any audiobooks you can get your hands on, that definitely assists in terms of establishing a more realistic setting. When I listened to the audiobook, echoes of their voices and droplets of water dripping from the ceiling of the damp cellar were included to contribute to an overall eeriness.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Isabella W.
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Wilde, Oscar
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

I read this novel on a whim - I had never read any of Wilde before and did not know too much about him as an author apart from the fact he was put on trial and imprisoned during his life. The Picture of Dorian Gray was thoroughly surprising and unexpected. Dorian Gray, at the beginning of the novel, is perceived by Basil Hallward as an individual worth obsessing over, he is infatuated with him and without knowing Dorian yet, the reader is too.
But then the reader is introduced to him physically and I realized he isn't all that. He's almost pompous but somehow clever and he's beautiful. Both Basil and his friend Lord Henry Wotton are influenced to see him more positively by that but I think the fact that Dorian is not tangible to the reader allows us to see him for who he truely is. According to Lord Henry, beauty is worth more than genius is, depicting which friend he prefers over the other. I wanted to sympathize with Basil because he was more sensitive than the others and I felt pity for him as I realized he was not a character anyone particularly cared immensely for. I preferred Basil over both Henry and Dorian because Henry's beliefs appeared rather traditionalist and were more controversial than common and the fact that Dorian was supposed to be a character without any fault was already a warning for me. Honestly, from the title, I did not know what direction the novel was going in from any point during the reading. To clear a few things up, Basil is an artist who paints a portrait of Dorian because he appreciates him in a more aesthetic manner than others who enjoy his company but the portrait appears to change into something more demonic as time goes on symbolizing how awful Dorian was becoming as a person. I mean, I needed to stop reading for a few minutes because I could not believe how little Dorian cared for others but I will admit that the absurdity of it all was entertaining. There is a lot of murder in this book which definitely makes the novel more interesting but then I guess I should also mention not get too attached to some characters.
Reviewer Grade: 11

Reviewer's Name: Isabella W.
I Am Legend and Other Stories
Matheson, Richard
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After listening to this audiobook, it became abundantly clear why this story was adapted into a movie on three separate occasions (the most recent being the 2007 movie of the same name). While this latest adaptation didn’t seem to emphasize the “vampire-ness” of the creatures as much as its source material, many of the elements of the story were still present. In fact, I now prefer the original story, as its prose was almost poetic at times in its descriptions of the main character’s struggle to survive. While the ending wasn’t particularly satisfying in either incarnation, the plot development was superb.

I appreciated how the author was able to strip away the superstition that surrounds vampires and look at these fantastical creatures in a more logical and scientific light. Why do vampires hate garlic? Why does a stake through the heart kill them? Do crosses work against vampires who are Jewish or Muslim? His explanations of these well-known trappings of the vampire were as interesting in their revelation as they were in their research. Almost makes me wish that other “horror monsters” had the same treatment since it helps to make their existence somewhat more plausible.

As for the “other stories” included in this audiobook, it soon becomes clear that Matheson is a master of the macabre. Even if the remaining stories don’t necessarily pack the same impact of I Am Legend, many of them are entertaining enough to round out the experience. The narrator’s voice acting certainly added to the characterizations of these other stories, even if seemed a little over the top at times. Overall, these other stories might have been somewhat unnecessary, as I Am Legend can hold its own by itself. Still, the whole collection was entertaining, so I’d recommend it to anyone who likes to read horror.

A poetic and logical examination of a vampire-induced apocalypse, I give I Am Legend and Other Stories 4.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Genres:
The Shining
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

One of the scariest and most tense books ever written, The Shining is a novel that will grab you by the neck and will not let go until you have turned the last page. The book is about Jack Torrance, a recovering alcoholic who takes a position as the off-season caretaker at a Colorado Hotel. However, he soon goes insane from cabin fever and tries to kill his family. I personally loved this book. The suspense that it is able to build is incredible. The characters are all fleshed out and unique, and the book is truly terrifying. In my opinion, this is one of, if not the best Stephen King book. I would recommend it to Stephen King or horror fans.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C.
Genres:
The Gunslinger
King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

While Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit have had their moments as fantasy epics, I believe that The Gunslinger, and indeed, the whole series, deserves to be placed right next to Tolkien's masterpieces as one of the greatest fantasy books/series of all time. Taking place in a medieval world that is somewhat similar to the Old West, but exists in a parallel time frame to our own, we follow the journey of Roland of Gilead as he travels across this universe in search of the nexus of the universe--The Dark Tower. The novel is filled with adventure, intrigue, suspense, humor, and action that keeps you reading, no matter what. While not a traditional horror novel like King is known for, it is still a worthy addition to the King collection. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great fantasy book series to read, or any Stephen King fan.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Salem's Lot
King, Stephen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

One of King's most famous books, Salem's Lot is a story about vampires that doesn't exactly rival King's other books in terms of plot and suspense. However, it's still a great book that is very enjoyable. The book is about a vampire that eventually turns the entire town into vampires themselves, and a small group consisting of a doctor, a priest, a writer, and a little boy all fight back against the outbreak. The book does a good job of building up the villain and the characters, but the horror is not exactly the preliminary theme here. Instead, it is more focused on the drama and action, which is fine, but for an author who is famous for his horror novels, this book was slightly underwhelming. However, I would still recommend it to Stephen King fans or anyone looking for a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Awards:
The Stand
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

After a super virus wipes out almost 90% of the entire global population, only a handful of survivors remain. That is where The Stand takes place; an America devoid of almost all human life, as the survivors attempt to rebuild their society, all while battling the sadistic Walkin' Dude who is out to destroy them. The novel is long, epic, and deep. It is, however, over 1,000 pages; however, give it time, and you will truly enjoy this journey. I would recommend this book to fans of epics like Lord of the Rings, Stephen King fans, or anyone looking for a good read.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Awards:
Meg

Meg

Alten, Steve
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

While Jaws may have terrified readers with it's suspense, Meg follows in Peter Benchley's footsteps for only a few steps-and then veers off in a completely different direction. This is a novel all about a small group of scientists trying to kill a gigantic megalodon shark after it escapes from it's hovel in the Marianas Trench. It also has a pinch of scientific mumbo-jumbo and horror to draw all sorts of different readers and to keep you hooked. The characters are diverse, likable, and fleshed-out, and the main antagonist, the 60 foot long megalodon shark, is so entertaining to read about. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action, suspense, or sharks!

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Awards:
Liu, Majorie
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

I chose this book because comics are a type of novel that I find interest in. This is a fantasy book that takes place where monsters and humans are divided after a war, and monsters who are caught by humans on the other side are used to be sold and experimented on. The main character, Maika, goes on the other side in search for hope of her mother. This is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys comics.

Reviewer's Name: Mona H
Took: A Ghost Story
Hahn, May Downing
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Took: a ghost story is about a family the moves to a not well known tiny town. The town has a person named Old auntie and her hog named Bloody Bones. They have been haunting the town for over 150 years. It is up to the 13 year old, Daniel, to stand up to the witch and make her stop. I liked the book because there was a good mystery factor. Overall, I would recommend this book to kids who like mystery novels.

Reviewer's Name: Kate B.
Awards:
Genres:
Pet Sematary
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Review: If you have any pets, I recommend removing them from the vicinity!
This novel, coming in at around 400 pages, is a very chilling read. You follow an ordinary family in a not so ordinary town as they attempt to deal with the realization that anyone buried in the cemetery behind their house horrifyingly comes back to life. This all starts when they bury their cat, and they then find it beck in their house. This book is very good, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes horror, thrillers, or maybe people who like zombies.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Genres:
IT

IT

King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Review: This book is incredible. One of the scariest novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading is also one of the longest. In this book you follow the journey of seven characters - all brilliantly well rounded and fleshed out, if I may add. You alternate between their experiences during childhood and adulthood of facing and fighting the demonic and supernatural clown, Pennywise. I recommend this book to fans of horror and Stephen King, or anyone who enjoys a long read of a good book.

Reviewer's Name: Peter C
Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Hockensmith, Steve
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

As I’ve mentioned before in my review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies , I understand the concept of combining this classic piece of romantic literature with its complete obverse; it just felt like it was almost held back from its full potential by adhering to (most of) the original manuscript. With the prequel to this book, Dawn of the Dreadfuls manages to examine the ridiculous nature of this mashup in a way that’s so tongue-in-cheek that the tongue has practically ruptured the cheek entirely.
That is, this prequel doesn’t take itself nearly as seriously as the original Jane Austen adaptation did.

Even if the non-Pride and Prejudice and Zombies characters were mostly cartoonish in their representation of stereotypes and tropes, they were fun to read as they provided a delightful offset to the canonical characters of the Bennet family. Also, instead of trying to find some boring section of text wherein to insert some zombie excitement, Dawn of the Dreadfuls provides equal parts action and society to accommodate a balance that highlighted the extreme disparity between the two. In fact, when the two finally meet, it’s during the exciting climax of the story. Of course, knowing this is a prequel means there has to be some way out of the predicament; otherwise the original Pride and Prejudice and Zombies book cannot take place.

Despite all the things it has going for it, Dawn of the Dreadfuls suffers from a plot that seems to drag along like the un-functioning foot of a zombie. Sure, each plot point has its purpose, but they almost seem to belabor the point. There were a few chapters where I felt the plot to be somewhat repetitive if it weren’t for a slightly different outcome to show character growth. In any case, I’d still prefer this book over Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

A prequel that could fully explore a ridiculous combination, I give Dawn of the Dreadfuls 3.5 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin M. Weilert
Genres:
Dracula
Stoker, Bram
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Twilight, Count Von Count, Nosferatu, where do all of these vampire themed genres come from? Also, where do all the vampire cliches come from? I mean why do they hate garlic, can only be killed with a steak through the heart, and have no reflection in a mirror? All of this goes back to the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. This 1897 gothic horror novel was written during the Victorian Era, a period many consider of high etiquette and stern morality.
The best part about this novel is that there is no one point of view, the story is written in segments of diary entries and newspaper articles. We get to see the story from multiple characters’ views, which is absolutely phenomenal because it creates dramatic irony and suspense. In Dracula, we follow the story of 7 people as they discover the existence of Count Dracula as a vampire. When one of the 7 become a victim of the Count, the rest set out to exterminate the Count and rid him of the world. I recommend this book to all readers (high school and above as the vocabulary and style is somewhat
difficult) as this teaches all of us about the evolution of contemporary culture and the culture of the Victorian Era. Reviewer Grade 12.

Reviewer's Name: Joe T.
Genres:
Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Finney, Jack
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

Most people know this book by its numerous film adaptations, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956 and 1978), Body Snatchers (1993), and The Invasion (2007). In fact, I like to think that many facets of this story have become a part of popular culture, including the replication “pods” and Donald Sutherland’s scream in the 1978 film version. While the source material is inherently pulpy, a result of the genre and the era in which it was published, there is an entertaining quality to the story that has allowed it to survive for so long.

Simple in its execution, but brilliant in its reveal, The Body Snatchers builds up an inherent distrust of the people surrounding the main characters as they investigate why everyone seems “off” in this small, California town. While the full explanation of the aliens’ presence and purpose is relegated to an enormous information dump more than half-way through the book, it nevertheless contains some interesting ideas and concepts that could be plausible given the circumstances. I would have preferred better integration of this information into the plot, but sometimes the characters just need to sit down and explore these ideas in depth.

In the end, The Body Snatchers has plenty of strong moments in its plot. Sure, there’s the weaker section or two, and the more upbeat ending didn’t have much explanation other than the aliens’ annoyance of humanity’s persistence. Still, it’s a fun story, and even decades later it’s clear why The Body Snatchers is a timeless classic, even if it’s not “on par” with more significant literary titans. Maybe that’s its charm, though. By making it about the “everyman,” the horror and terror of everyone around them being replaced by emotionless beings is much more relatable on a visceral level.

A timeless pulp classic, I give The Body Snatchers 4.0 stars out of 5.

Reviewer's Name: Benjamin
Book Review: It

It

Stephen King
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

IT, is like no other when it comes to Stephen King classics. First, with the book cultivating a generation in 1986, then another with its film adaptation in 1990, and now, in 2017, with its revival. IT is timeless for thrill seekers who enjoy reading the horror genre. Stephen King craftly draws out the story for so long while keeping the audience captivated most of the time. Like any book, IT has some lengthy parts with extra detail that you could go without, yet I feel it adds to the story and the experience of reading the book. This book is highly recommended for attentive readers who are interested in a slow suspenseful story. The tone throughout the book is tense, and always seems to be building up to something creating thrill.
I was initially drawn to this book because I adore horror movies. I thought reading a horror book would give me the same sense of adrenaline. Boy was I wrong. Reading this book was scarier than any horror movie that I have ever sat through. Something about how Stephen King gives so much detail while still somehow leaving everything to the reader’s imagination is magnificent. I started reading IT just before the new movie came out in hopes of finishing it before I went to see the film. Yet, the book is so long I didn't end up seeing the movie the month it came out.
The story takes place in a rather odd town called Derry in the 80’s. It follows a group of misfit teens who are battling their worst nightmare. Their character development and growth as a child is phonomonel and continues as the characters return as adults to once again battle IT. The story takes place in two different time periods with the same characters and jumps between the two respectively. For me, however, it did get confusing at times, trying to keep track of if the characters were adults or teens while picking up where I left off. Other than that the book is consistent and addictive and I would highly recommend it.

Reviewer's Name: Emma K.
Genres:
Book Review: It

It

King, Stephen
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review:

This novel follows the lives of five kids in a town called Derry. They bond together over their terror of It, an evil being that has a hold of their small town. They struggle overcome It with little support or understanding from the world around them. I choose to read this book because I knew the movie was coming out but being the book freak I am, I wanted to read it before I saw the movie adaption. I have to say after seeing both the old movie, the new movie, and reading the book, that the book was the most scary of the three. King writes with zero censor and hits on topics typically labeled taboo. The thing I like most about this novel was its ability to really impact me and make my skin crawl. Since its a horror novel “creepy” or frightening things are bound to be included but for me the most alarming parts of this book were some of the more realistic events such as spouse and animal abuse. This novel was not at all predictable, you just had to keep reading to see how the story would unfold. I know most people are set off by the size of the book but I have to say I never found myself bored or thinking that the parts King wrote were irrelevant. This was the first Stephen King novel I’ve ever read but I would definitely recommend it and will be reading more of his work. Due to the fact that the story was unlike anything else I’ve ever read I would say it's one of the best books I’ve read this year.

Reviewer's Name: Olivia S.
Genres:
The Stand
King, Stephen
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review:

The book "The Stand" by Stephen King is a novel about a disease. It starts out at a gas station where the disease is first seen in the novel. This book has many different characters as it progresses. The main antagonist is the embodiment of evil. He is basically the Antichrist. Although I didn't like this book as much as some of Stephen's other works because I have a short attention span and some parts are not attention grabbing. It is still a very good book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes horror. This novel is very unpredictable which is one of the main reasons I like it as much as I do. Because there are so many characters in this book, it was very easy for me to relate to their situations.
Reviewer Grade: 9

Reviewer's Name: Tabitha V.
Awards:
Cell
King, Stephen
4 stars = Really Good
Review:

The book "cell" by Stephen king is a book about learning to cope with the apocalypse. The apocalypse in this book is very unique and diverse from your typical zombie virus outbreak. While the main character, Clay, is out getting ice cream he watches as people answer their phones. They all start going crazy after they've answered the call, spitting out nonsense and being extremely violent towards each other. He was the only person there without a phone. Through out the story new characters are gained and then lost. I liked this book because I have a lot of trouble finding books that grab my attention. I really enjoyed reading this book, it was very action filled. There were no dull moments. I chose to read this book because of hype around the movie "It". I really liked the movie so I decided to read some of his other work. I would recommend this book to anyone who like very exciting, sad, emotional, and/or mysterious novels.
Reviewer Grade:9

Reviewer's Name: Tabitha V.

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