Genre: Horror

Audiobook Review – World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

Posted January 25, 2012 by Bonnie in Adult, Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Read in 2012 / 0 Comments

Audiobook Review – World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max BrooksWorld War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
Published by Random House Audio on August 30, 2006
Length: 6 hours and 3 minutes
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Zombies
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

“The end was near.” —Voices from the Zombie War

The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.

Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.

Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”

Note: Some of the numerical and factual material contained in this edition was previously published under the auspices of the United Nations Postwar Commission.

I did like this one surprisingly. I say surprisingly because this is ultimately a documentary of what happened in ‘World War Z’ and had great potential of being boring. I thought it was a nice change up in writing style. Considering the fact that all of these personal statements, made by different individuals involved, were conducted after the war was ‘over’ it didn’t have the excitement or in the moment terror that I always love in a zombie novel. Despite the fact that I didn’t enjoy the political aspects, they were nonetheless extremely interesting as they were detailed and very thorough. Everything was covered quite comprehensively in this book; it could be an actual testimonial of a real zombie war.

I had attempted to read this book before but failed to get very far; I found it hard to read something written in such a way. The audiobook was completely different for me. The audiobook added more to the story than was present in the ‘print’ story. Each individual making their statement regarding what happened was spoken by a different individual rather than the narrator alone using different voice inflections. This was my favorite part and what made it even more real for me.

Definitely a winner for any zombie lover out there.

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Short Story Review – The End of the Party by Graham Greene

Posted January 6, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2012, Short Stories, YA / 0 Comments

Short Story Review – The End of the Party by Graham GreeneThe End of the Party by Graham Greene
on 1929
Pages: 6
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
Amazon
Goodreads


five-stars

 

 

Peter and his fearful twin brother Francis attend a birthday party which ends in tragedy.

 

 

I read the occasional short story but I can’t for the life of me remember the last one that really stuck with me. This was the most brilliantly written short story I think I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I have several Graham Greene novels on my plan-to-read-someday list but I do believe those will be moved up the list; I was blown away by the power of his writing in this extremely short story. He was able to successfully establish an ample story and a potent relationship in a little more than 3,500 words. Bravo, Mr. Greene.

‘As a twin he was in many ways an only child. To address Peter was to speak to his own image in a mirror, an image a little altered by a flaw in the glass, so as to throw back less a likeness of what he was than of what he wished to be, what he would be without his unreasoning fear of darkness, footsteps of strangers, the flight of bats in dusk-filled gardens.’

Twin brothers Peter and Francis have been invited to a birthday party that Francis does not wish to attend.

”I’m afraid of going. I won’t go. I daren’t go. They’ll make me hide in the dark, and I’m afraid of the dark. I’ll scream and scream and scream.”

Regardless, the twins still end up attending. What follows is so terribly shocking and tragic. Suffice it to say, the ending left me breathless. Thank you, Wendy. Without your review I don’t believe I ever would have read this.

Free to read here.

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Early Review – Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1) by Lindsey Barraclough

Posted January 5, 2012 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2012, YA / 4 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Long Lankin (Long Lankin, #1) by Lindsey BarracloughLong Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough
Series: Long Lankin #1
Published by Candlewick Press on July 10, 2012
Pages: 464
Genres: Gothic, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Mark of Cain

four-stars

When Cora and her little sister, Mimi, are sent to stay with their great-aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Idas life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces arrival has reawakened an evil that has lain in wait for years. A haunting voice in an empty room; a strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard; mysterious words scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church . . . all point to a horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries, a truth that Cora, along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, must uncover before its too late for Mimi. A compelling, atmospheric novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft, and revenge, Long Lankin is a truly stunning debut from an exciting new writer.

‘Everything was all right until they came.’

When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to live with their Great-Aunt Ida, it is clear from the start that they are neither wanted nor welcome in her house. For the time being the children must stay with her but she immediately sends word to their father that he must come get them, and he must come get them now. Cora, intrigued by the mysteries of the house despite their Aunt Ida’s constant demands to ‘not do this’ and ‘not do that’, begins searching the house and the closely residing and equally mysterious church. Cora gleans information from various papers found in the house, from the local neighbors, and from strange carvings like the words ‘Cave Bestiam’ which is found in several locations. Cora finds out more than she bargained for: that her and her family are intertwined in the mystery, that no one is safe, and that there really is something very real to fear.

I found the writing to be quite gripping and reminded me at times of Susan Hill’s writing in The Woman in Black. I’ve read several books that write using multiple different points of view and they’re not always done as well as could be. I believe it takes a talented author in order to make a multi-point-of-view story not seem too terribly overwhelming; this is definitely one of them. The main focus is on Cora and Roger but you occasionally get an unsettling view of Cora’s Aunt Ida and the occasional glimpse into past events.

Okay, so, I’ll admit it. I refused to read this alone. I also required a lot of sunlight. And yes, I’m a big weenie. It wasn’t exactly creepy the entire time though. It was a bit like riding a wave, honestly. The book would lead up to a scene that would have you trembling in your boots and then everything would suddenly relax again and you’d be lulled into a false sense of calm before the next swell. Then the monster under the bed would jump right back out. Okay, comparing Long Lankin to the monster under the bed makes him sound like one of those monsters from Monsters Inc. Long Lankin… was not cute, fuzzy, or funny. Long Lankin was one scary mo-fo that I hope I never have a chance encounter with in a dark alley. Or in my bedroom. (Mental to-do list: nail windows shut before bed).

Cora was quite a spirited little girl and didn’t run in fear of anything, including Long Lankin on a few occasions. Cora? Pretty much my hero. She was an awesome big sister who didn’t shrink in fear of anything when it came to saving her little sister Mimi. Now Roger… Roger was damn adorable and the frosting on the cake/story. I loved how the occasional funny lines from Roger that were thrown in managed to lighten the overall tension that the story exudes.

So the ending lost a star for the overall rating because I can’t help but feel that the ending left a bit to be desired. Predictable is the word that primarily comes to mind. I would have loved some cool crazy twist to it or have some rabid monkey show up (okay, maybe not a monkey… a lion?) Anyways, it seemed far too expected and I kind of sighed in disappointment when I was done. Still have plans to nail windows shut though.

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Book Review – The Woman in Black by Susan Hill

Posted December 8, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 2 Comments

Book Review – The Woman in Black by Susan HillThe Woman In Black by Susan Hill
Published by Vintage on chttp://www.amazon.com/Woman-Black-Ghost-Story-Vintage-ebook/dp/B004J4WKLK/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384118367&sr=1-1&keywords=the+woman+in+black
Genres: Ghosties, Gothic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

The classic ghost story by Susan Hill: a chilling tale about a menacing spectre haunting a small English town.

Arthur Kipps is an up-and-coming London solicitor who is sent to Crythin Gifford—a faraway town in the windswept salt marshes beyond Nine Lives Causeway—to attend the funeral and settle the affairs of a client, Mrs. Alice Drablow of Eel Marsh House. Mrs. Drablow’s house stands at the end of the causeway, wreathed in fog and mystery, but Kipps is unaware of the tragic secrets that lie hidden behind its sheltered windows. The routine business trip he anticipated quickly takes a horrifying turn when he finds himself haunted by a series of mysterious sounds and images—a rocking chair in a deserted nursery, the eerie sound of a pony and trap, a child’s scream in the fog, and, most terrifying of all, a ghostly woman dressed all in black. Psychologically terrifying and deliciously eerie, The Woman in Black is a remarkable thriller of the first rate.

’Yes, I had a story, a true story, a story of haunting and evil, fear and confusion, horror and tragedy.’

Storyline

Arthur Kipps is a junior solicitor from London who has been asked by his employer to attend the funeral of Mrs. Alice Drablow in Crythin Gifford. He must also visit her residence in order to collect any important paperwork that she may have been left behind. Arthur sees the woman in black at Mrs. Drablow’s funeral and again at her residence at Eel Marsh House. She doesn’t appear to be a malevolent spirit so Arthur doesn’t worry too much and decides to spend the night at the house so that he can quickly finish his work and return to London. But that night, Arthur begins to hear unexplainable sounds and worries that he may have underestimated the woman in black.

‘…piercing through the surface of my dreams, came the terrified whinnying of the pony and the crying and calling of that child over and over, while I stood, helpless in the mist, my feet held fast, my body pulled back, and while behind me, though I could not see, only sense her dark presence, hovered the woman.’

Thoughts

I quite enjoyed this quick little read and am glad I finally got around to reading it. I love ghost stories even though I tend to scare quite easily… and this book was no exception. The writing was beautiful and vividly creepy and definitely manages to get under your skin even though the real scary parts don’t even start till the latter half of the book. The descriptions were spot on and the whole book is simply eerie even though, in thinking back to it, nothing real huge actually happens. The ghost doesn’t come alive and smother him in his sleep or glue the windows shut or anything absurd like that. Nevertheless I was frightened enough to have to ask my boyfriend to walk upstairs with me to our darkened bedroom after I was finished. He still makes fun of me for that. Lol

Enjoying it as much as I did, I still didn’t give it 5 stars and the only reason for that was because of the ending. It left a bit to be desired for me and was a bit too abrupt for my liking.

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Book Review – Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies #2) by Rhiannon Frater

Posted November 8, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 0 Comments

Book Review – Fighting to Survive (As the World Dies #2) by Rhiannon FraterFighting to Survive by Rhiannon Frater
Series: As the World Dies #2
Published by Self-Published on February 17th 2009
Pages: 307
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The First Days, Siege, The Last Bastion of the Living: A Futuristic Zombie Novel

three-stars

 

Katie and Jenni have found new lives with the survivors of their makeshift fort, but danger still lurks. Nothing is easy in the new world where the dead walk and every day is a struggle to keep safe. As the elements, bandits, and the zombie horde threaten their safe haven, Jenni and Katie join the other survivors in fighting to survive as the world dies.

 

*Please note I read the older, self-published version. There is a newer, edited version available but my review is not based on that version.*

The Storyline
Fighting to Survive picks up a few weeks after The First Days left off: Katie and Jenni are helping establish a new life on the fort and working to minimize the ongoing danger of the zombies. Nothing much happens (in my opinion) in regards to the zombie as this book focused mainly on expanding on new characters, the growing of existing relationships, and establishing more problems outside of the zombie issue. The writing was still a bit stilted for me and I still love the zombie action scenes far more than the character interaction scenes.

The Relationships
So I totally get that everyone is living day to day not knowing how much longer one another will survive, but does that give everyone the right to become a bunch of hussies?

“We just decided today,” he explained. “Life is so short. We just don’t’ want to waste time. We’ve been sleeping together in my tent. Might as well make it official and be a family.”

Uhh… okay?

Jenni and Juan were already together in the last book and their relationship steadily progresses until they are eventually living together. Jenni and Juan’s relationship is strange though and I’m not positive whether they actually like each other or not. And I swear… I was going to snap if I hear Loca one more time.

Then there’s Katie and Travis. In the last book Katie kept trying to keep Travis at bay by continuing to remind him that she is in fact lesbian and no she will not be with him. Her reasoning behind this was explained in the last book as she didn’t want to tarnish her memory of her wife Lydia even though she did have feelings for Travis. View Spoiler » I felt that whole storyline and the ending was anticlimactic and definitely inevitable. But… View Spoiler »

Final Thoughts
Reading these books back to back has caused me to become quite cynical. I do plan on finishing up the trilogy but will come back to it at a later date when I’ve managed to forget some of my irritations. I’m hoping the third one has lots of zombie action scenes and EVERYONE gets eaten! hahahaha

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Book Review – The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Posted October 31, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 1 Comment

Book Review – The Night Eternal (The Strain Trilogy #3) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck HoganThe Night Eternal by Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro
Series: The Strain Trilogy #3
Published by HarperCollins on October 25, 2011
Pages: 560
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror, Paranormal, Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Strain, The Hollow Ones, Trollhunters

four-stars

It's been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There has been a mass extermination of humans orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers. The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, Dr. Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It's their job to overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.

Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master's demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved?

Night Eternal: the final installation in the Strain Trilogy. As the title may tell you, you’re in for a very dark and desolate journey. I will keep this short and sweet as much of this novel needs to be experienced firsthand, instead of through a review.

The Storyline
As the story opens, Dr. Ephraim (Eph) Goodweather is still reeling from the loss of his son, Zachary. Due to the vampire nature, his mother Kelly came back for him after she had already been turned.
”The insidious epidemiology of the virus spread in a vampiric perversion of human love.”
Norah and Fet are slowly developing a relationship between each other as Eph has been continually absent from Norah’s life.

The world they live in now is an extremely bleak one. The vampires control everything and you don’t get fed unless you work for them or reside in a blood farm.

“The farms were the only entirely different thing in this new world. That and the fact that there was no more educational system. No more schooling, no more reading, no more thinking.”

The blood farms were exactly as they sound: humans were rounded up as they were in concentration camps and they are drained of blood. Only the young and healthy were kept; the older humans simply weren’t kept around.

‘The darkly quiet exterior of the camp spoke to an oppressive efficiency that was almost as shocking.’

The Vampires
I had been anxiously awaiting how the authors decided to handle the creation aspect. I’ll keep this as a spoiler as some readers may be pleasantly surprised and I would hate to ruin this for them. View Spoiler »

The Writing
I had complained early on in the trilogy that the books read like a screenplay and that they would do fabulous as a movie, but left a little to be desired as a novel. The writing in the third, despite the bleakness, was completely enthralling and was worth suffering through the darkness. And dark it was; there was not one single of iota of happiness until maybe the very end and even that can is up for debate.

Final Thoughts
I’m quite pleased at how the trilogy was wrapped up. Ending a series well always seems like such a struggle in trying to wrap up all the storylines and loose ends but I think the authors pulled it off sufficiently. I’m not sure that it’s exactly what I had anticipated, not sure what I would have changed if I could, but you’re still left with a feeling of completion. All in all this is one of the best vampire series I have read; definitely one of my favorites.

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Book Review – The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Posted October 30, 2011 by Bonnie in Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2011 / 1 Comment

Book Review – The Strain (The Strain Trilogy #1) by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck HoganThe Strain by Chuck Hogan, Guillermo del Toro
Series: The Strain Trilogy #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 28, 2009
Pages: 612
Genres: Horror, Paranormal, Sci-fi, Thriller
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Night Eternal, The Hollow Ones, Trollhunters

three-half-stars

An epic battle for survival begins between man and vampire in The Strain—the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy from one of Hollywood’s most inventive storytellers and a critically acclaimed thriller writer. Guillermo del Toro, the genius director of the Academy Award-winning Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy, and Hammett Award-winning author Chuck Hogan have joined forces to boldly reinvent the vampire novel. Brilliant, blood-chilling, and unputdownable, The Strain is a nightmare of the first order.

The Strain is a new series by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. This book had a really great concept and it was quite original. The summary itself spooked me…

‘A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.’

…and it certainly didn’t stop there. This is not your average romanced vampire novel. This was a very exciting, fast paced, nail biter, edge of your seat kinda book. Not a recommendation before bedtime.

My one main issue that dropped this novel from 4/5 stars down to 3 was the writing style… it read to me more like a screenplay where nothing was really explained, like it would be better left to an actor acting out a script. I had a hard time connecting with the characters for this reason. This was overall a highly enjoyable novel regardless of my 3 star rating and I will definitely be continuing this series in the future.

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Book Review – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare Blake

Posted October 24, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA / 2 Comments

Book Review – Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna #1) by Kendare BlakeAnna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
Series: Anna #1
Published by Tor Teen on August 30, 2011
Pages: 320
Genres: Ghosties, Horror
Format: Hardcover
Source: a Giveaway
Amazon
Goodreads

Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.

So did his father before him, until he was gruesomely murdered by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father's mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.

When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn't expect anything outside of the ordinary: track, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he's never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, now stained red and dripping with blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.

But she, for whatever reason, spares Cas's life.

‘Anna is a murderer. Yet Anna is not evil. Anna kills, but Anna doesn’t want to kill.’

Anna was murdered and a curse was placed upon her that kept her forever locked inside the house where she died and she can’t stop herself from attacking and killing anyone who enters.

Cas is a ghost killer. He travels the country based on news and tips received about ghosts who are doing harm to humans… he only goes after the most dangerous ones. The second he hears about Anna he knows he’ll be going after her next.

‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ quickly became initiated into my Favorites shelf. This was one fabulously exciting novel that turned me into a wild page turning crazy person. I was initially intrigued by the cover but had thoughts that it would turn out to be cheesy and not worth my time… boy was I wrong. This was one extremely well written book. The storyline was original and I loved it. I’m a total sucker for ghostie books or anything undead in general so I knew I had to give this a shot either way.

CREEPY. Man! I would not have expected this, I suppose because it’s a YA book but wowsa… there were a few times I thought my eyeballs were gonna fall out of my head my eyes were open so far. Creepy, gruesome, but I LOVED IT. No fluffy bunny stuff here, beware.

There have been a lot of comparisons between ‘Anna Dressed in Blood’ and ‘Necromancer’ and while I’m in complete agreement because of the sense of humor, but there is a subtle difference between the main characters. In ‘Anna’ Cas is fully aware of his powers at the start of the novel and what he is able to do and he has a confidence that is admirable and quite lacking in ‘Necromancer’. Overall, all of the characters were well written and extremely likeable and I enjoyed every minute of this.

Holy crap. That? Was some awesome shit.

I’m so excited for the next installment Girl of Nightmares… I’ll be getting my hands on this ASAP. I would HIGHLY recommend this book.

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Book Review – The Witches by Roald Dahl

Posted October 24, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2011 / 1 Comment

Book Review – The Witches by Roald DahlThe Witches by Roald Dahl
Published by Scholastic Press on August 16, 2007 (first published 1983)
Pages: 208
Genres: Classics, Fantasy, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: The Gremlins

three-stars

This Roald Dahl classic tells the scary, funny and imaginative tale of a seven-year-old boy who has a run-in with some real-life witches! "In fairy tales witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. REAL WITCHES dress in ordinary clothes and look very much like ordinary women. They live in ordinary houses and they work in ordinary jobs. That is why they are so hard to catch." Witches, as our hero learns, hate children. With the help of a friend and his somewhat-magical grandmother, our hero tries to expose the witches before they dispose of him.

“In fairy tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES.”

I decided to read this in support of Banned Book Week. So obviously I’m a bit behind schedule as this is my first time reading this and I know many of you had read this early on in your childhood. I’m 25 years old and am just now getting around to experiencing it. I positively adored Roald Dahl’s writing and am quite surprised that I never actually read a single one of his books.

“The curtains were never drawn in that house, and through the windows I could see huge snowflakes falling slowly on to an outside world that was as black as tar.”

Does it make me a total wuss to admit that this book really freaked me out a few times? And what about those pictures?! Holy crap.

That? Is some seriously scary shit right there.

Bottom Line… it was quite a charming little book and the relationship between the little boy and his grandmother was damn adorable.

“It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you.”

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Book Review – Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

Posted October 9, 2011 by Bonnie in Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA / 1 Comment

Book Review – Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl GregoryRaising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory
Published by Del Rey on June 28, 2011
Pages: 449
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Gifted
Amazon
Goodreads


three-stars

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.

The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret — until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

In Part I, the Mayhall family find a woman long dead on the side of the road with a baby wrapped up inside her coat. Shortly after, Wanda Mayhall realizes what he really is, yet decides that they are going to keep him anyways and hide him from the world. We watch Stony change and literally grow from a baby into a young man just as any normal living human being does. We watch him become an integral part of the Mayhall family and develop into his own unique person. This was my favorite part of the novel.

Following Part I, which I was absolutely in love with, there was a major shift in the story and I wasn’t exactly on board with it. It became overly political, it became slightly philosophical, and I realize in retrospect that this was the world that the author was creating but it wasn’t exactly how I thought the story was going to go (or how I would have preferred it to go). I did enjoy the scientific aspects of the story and how the Living Dead were researching to find out what made them the way they are and what made it possible.

’Here was Thomas’s blood before he died, six hours after the bite: perfectly normal. And here was Thomas’s blood after he passed, at the 6:12 mark: dark, viscous, waxy. The transformation had occurred between observations, like the state change in a quantum particle. Like death itself.’

Many parts of this book required a certain amount of imagination. The idea behind the zombies in this book was that “Consciousness was the key.” At one point Stony explains how he once removed one of his toes and yet it still failed to decompose even though it was completely separated from his body. Once the toe was finally off his mind and he had failed to continue checking on it and thinking about it, only then did it finally start rotting and decomposing. I found this to be quite an interesting concept yet extremely hard to understand. Was that the only thing that kept these zombies ‘alive’? That if they had stopped thinking about themselves as a living dead person would they simply cease to exist?

’Where one dead thing ended and another began was largely a problem of perception and definition.’

I was overall disappointed with this book; however, I think that was largely because I was expecting something different entirely. I thought the storyline with the LD ‘governments’ and the plans being hatched by them was pretty strange and largely unbelievable. I had a hard time understanding where all the money came from… how one person could be the sole benefactor of so many. Also, the ending was inevitable but a bit too anticlimactic I thought. I loved Stony in the beginning but I was pretty disappointed at how the rest of the story unfolded.

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