Waiting on Wednesday 02/22/23

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher (August 15, 2023 by Tor Books)

“From USA Today bestselling author T. Kingfisher, Thornhedge is an original, subversive fairytale about a kind-hearted, toad-shaped heroine, a gentle knight, and a mission gone completely sideways.

There’s a princess trapped in a tower. This isn’t her story.

Meet Toadling. On the day of her birth, she was stolen from her family by the fairies, but she grew up safe and loved in the warm waters of faerieland. Once an adult though, the fae ask a favor of Toadling: return to the human world and offer a blessing of protection to a newborn child. Simple, right?

If only.

Centuries later, a knight approaches a towering wall of brambles, where the thorns are as thick as your arm and as sharp as swords. He’s heard there’s a curse here that needs breaking, but it’s a curse Toadling will do anything to uphold…”

Book Review: Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Sister, Maiden, Monster by Lucy A. Snyder

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Tor Nightfire (February 21, 2023)

Length: 272 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

A deadly pandemic. Lovecraftian gods. Graphic sex and violent gore. Sister, Maiden, Monster is an apocalyptic tale of cosmic horror unfolding in the middle of an outbreak of PVG, or polymorphic viral gastroencephalitis. Told in three parts, it follows the lives of a trio of women who each take on the title roles in their own unique way.

The night Erin was diagnosed with PVG started off as the best day of her life. Her boyfriend Gregory had just proposed, and they had celebrated with a sushi dinner and a fancy desert, but by the end of that night, Erin had fallen horribly ill. After waking up in the hospital, she discovers she was one of the lucky ones who survived, but having been infected and recovered also means the virus has irrevocably changed her forever. For one, she now must consume brain matter for sustenance, and can become volatile if her cravings aren’t brought under control. Living with Gregory is out of the question now, of course, and forget about ever starting a family.

Next we meet Savannah, a sex worker and dominatrix in whom the virus had manifested in very different ways, turning her into a rampaging murderess who gets off on brutally killing off her clients. Believing she has been raised to a higher calling by her new gods to be an archivist, she revels in being a repository for the memories and experiences of the people she’s devoured.  And in the third section, readers follow Mareva, Erin’s coworker who has become sickly and suffers from multiple tumors, but as it turns out, everything that is happening to her might be just a single symptom of a grander plan.

While each character is affected differently by the infection, there are nevertheless parallels between their struggles. The story’s themes are also undeniably feminist, concerning the female experience as the narrative explores the choices of the three women and the manner in which they deal with the changes to their lives. Erin, Savannah, and Mareva are all connected to each other in some way, so even though the stories may seem disjointed at first, eventually the book progresses through the three different parts and we start to see the threads that bind them together and perhaps even begin to glean the ultimate purpose behind the virus.

Getting inside the minds of the three women was also fascinating, but they were often dark places to be. Fair warning, this book is not for the faint of heart. Full of visceral horror with gory descriptions that can hedge into the downright disgusting, I can see that being a contentious issue for some readers, not to mention there’s also a fair amount of sexual content—very messy, very graphic sexual content.

There’s not much else to say about this one without running the risk of spoiling things, except that it’s definitely not going to be for everyone. Reasons to avoid it might be 1) if you are not a fan of body horror or splatterpunk type books due to some of the extreme violence and gore, or 2) if like me you are getting a little tired of pandemic-themed books. It feels like every other book I pick up these days involves a deadly outbreak, but alas I don’t see this post-COVID trend ending any time soon. On the other hand, if you’re interested in trying out a different sort of feminist fiction and enjoy horror stories that are gross and weird, Sister, Maiden, Monster might be right up your alley.

Bookshelf Roundup 02/19/23: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads

Bookshelf Roundup is a feature I do every weekend which fills the role of several blog memes, like Stacking the Shelves where I talk about the new books I’ve added to my library or received for review, as well as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where I summarize what I’ve finished reading in the last week and what I’m planning to read soon. Mostly it also serves as a recap post, so sometimes I’ll throw in stuff like reading challenge progress reports, book lists, and other random bookish thoughts or announcements.

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Received for Review

My thanks to the publishers and authors for the following review copies received, and be sure to click the links to their Goodreads pages for more details and full descriptions!

With thanks to Tor Nightfire, I received an ARC of Maeve Fly by C.J. Leede which looks to be a shocking horror read. Judging by that cover, it’s going to be a crazy ride.

Earlier this month I was also thrilled to receive an ARC of The Ferryman by Justin Cronin from the awesome folks at Ballantine Books! It’s been years since I read The Passage, it’ll be so exciting to read this!

Courtesy of Orbit Books I also received the following: The Combat Codes by Alexander Darwin was originally self-published but gained acclaim when it became a finalist in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off. The Lost War by Justin Lee Anderson was the book that won that year, coming out on top out of 300 contestants, and the author now has a four-book deal with the publisher. Can’t wait to read both books.

Thank you also to Head of Zeus and the amazing team at Kaye Publicity, I also received a review copy of Quantum Radio by A.G. Riddle. My feelings were sort of mixed on his last novel, but maybe I’ll fare better with a sci-fi thriller about quantum mechanics!

And finally, big thanks to Saga Press for sending me an ARC of The Splinter in the Sky by Kemi Ashing-Giwa. Looking forward to checking out this space opera in the summer.

Reviews

The Drift by C.J. Tudor (4 of 5 stars)
The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins (3 of 5 stars)

What I’ve Been Reading

Have you heard of or read any of the books featured this week? What caught your eye? Any new discoveries? I hope you found something interesting for a future read!

Book Review: The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

Mogsy’s Rating: 3 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of Moon Fall

Publisher: Tor Books (February 7, 2023)

Length: 672 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Clocking in at almost 700 pages, The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins is the second book of the Moon Fall saga, and considerably longer than its predecessor but ironically feels a lot lighter on substance. However, if you were intrigued by the premise established in The Starless Crown, I would encourage you to continue with this series as long as you are prepared to put up with some pacing issues and the occasional aimless ramble.

The story picks up where things left off in the last book, following former Cloistery student and inconstant seer Nyx as she travels across Urth to find new allies in her quest to avert moonfall, the disaster she foresaw that would bring about the apocalypse. Their planet has stopped spinning, which would bring eternal winter upon most of the population, but that’s small potatoes compared to what would happen next—the moon crashing onto the surface of the planet, essentially destroying everything on it.

Now Nyx sails board the ship Sparrowhawk on her own, on a separate journey from her companions. She must venture into an icy region of the world known only from stories to find a solution to fix Urth’s axis, but will encounter many challenges and dangers along the way, including an act of deliberate sabotage to her vessel. Meanwhile, we also have Prince Kanthe, second born son of King Toranth, who has his own hands full trying to avert all-out war. His party has traveled to another kingdom to engage in politicking and fact-finding, but all the while they may be attracting unwanted attention from some malicious factions.

With the fellowship forged from the previous book mostly split up, there’s quite a few storylines to follow in The Cradle of Ice. Rollins doesn’t waste time getting right back into the thick of things either, so there’s not much breathing room for catching up before he’s throwing even more characters, settings, and ideas into the mix. Having been quite fond of the relationship dynamics formed in The Starless Crown, I’ll admit to not being a huge fan of our group going their separate ways in this one, but thankfully plenty of time is also given to developing those characters we already know, especially Nyx and Kanthe, whose backstories are explored and given more in-depth treatment.

Once more we fall into the familiar rhythm of a quest narrative complete with the old-school fantasy vibes, despite Rollins pumping this sequel up with bigger action, bigger adventure, bigger magic—bigger practically everything. But bigger isn’t always better, and as I alluded to before, there were times where I felt like he was losing control of the multiple threads and struggling to keep up the momentum in each. These efforts weren’t always successful, as evidenced by the sections which dragged or where the pacing frequently stalled, and for one felt far less urgency surrounding the apocalypse this time around.

At the same time, old habits from Rollins’ thriller writing clearly die hard as some of the quirks I noticed from The Starless Crown are carried into The Cradle of Ice—the immediacy of his “telling versus showing” prose, for example, or his penchant for simplistic solutions to complex problems, almost like he’s waving a magic wand to change the rules on the spot to suit his needs. The story is a bit formulaic, and the author’s style is definitely not subtle, which might not work so well for the delicate nature of the political intrigue, which is so heavily featured in this novel, but on the bright side it does make for some sensational battle sequences.

Bottom line, I have no problem with tropes, and sometimes they can even be a comfort to fall back on when you just want to kick back with an entertaining fantasy adventure. This feels like what James Rollins is going for with Moon Fall, though hopefully he can continue to deliver future novels in this series without getting sucked into the pitfalls of the epic fantasy genre like overwriting and bloated plotlines just for the sake of an epic fantasy page count. Overall, if you enjoyed The Starless Crown you’ll want to also pick up The Cradle of Ice. Despite some hiccups along the way, I felt this sequel was worth the read and was happy to be able to continue the story.

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of The Starless Crown (Book 1)

Waiting on Wednesday 02/15/23

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Hemlock Island by Kelley Armstrong (September 12, 2023 by St. Martin’s Press)

“Laney Kilpatrick has been renting her vacation home to strangers. The invasion of privacy gives her panic attacks, but it’s the only way she can keep her beloved Hemlock Island, the only thing she owns after a pandemic-fueled divorce. But broken belongings and campfires that nearly burn down the house have escalated to bloody bones, hex circles, and now, terrified renters who’ve fled after finding blood and nail marks all over the guest room closet, as though someone tried to claw their way out…and failed.

When Laney shows up to investigate with her teenaged niece in tow, she discovers that her ex, Kit, has also been informed and is there with Jayla, his sister and her former best friend. Then Sadie, another old high school friend, charters over with her brother, who’s now a cop.

There are tensions and secrets, whispers in the woods, and before long, the discovery of a hand poking up from the earth. Then the body that goes with it… But by that time, someone has taken off with their one and only means off the island, and they’re trapped with someone—or something—that doesn’t want them leaving the island alive.”

Audiobook Review: The Drift by C.J. Tudor

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Drift by C.J. Tudor

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror, Thriller

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Random House Audio (January 19, 2023)

Length: 10 hrs and 49 mins

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Narrators: Richard Armitage, Nathalie Buscombe, Rachel Handshaw

The Drift was a highly anticipated novel for me, and it was one that C.J. Tudor herself had written at length about in the author notes that were included in her last book, the short story collection A Sliver of Darkness. Not only did she seem very excited for her fans to read it, it also sounded like a pet project into which she had poured her blood, sweat, and tears. Now that I’ve read it, I can attest to The Drift being Tudor’s most ambitious work to date.

Three storylines unfold in tandem in this taut thriller set to the backdrop of a pandemic. The world’s population has been decimated, with most having died to the deadly plague while those who survive it are left a shell of themselves. People live sequestered in isolated areas, sending infected individuals to places like “the Retreat”, a mysterious research facility which serves as quarantine zone and where government scientists conduct experiments to try to find a cure.

As the story opens, a young medical student named Hannah awakens inside a mangled transport bus after it had swerved off the road in the middle of a snowstorm. Trapped alongside a handful of fellow survivors, she must try to find a way out of their predicament, though soon it is revealed that their coach may have been sabotaged and there is at least one among them hiding a secret about their infection status. Meanwhile, another character named Meg is also awakening to total chaos and murder. The former police detective finds herself suspended high above the ground in a cable car with strangers, and one of them is dead. No one remembers how they got there, all they know is they were supposed to be enroute to the Retreat. And finally, we also meet Carter, an employee of the Retreat who returns to the research center after running an errand to find the power out and a corpse at the bottom of the pool.

As I said, The Drift is ambitious, as evidenced by the many threads it attempts to establish, and as someone who has read all of Tudor’s books, I can safely say none of her previous ones have been quite so complex. But sometimes, that can backfire. With so much going on, the story does demand a lot of patience, and I’ll admit there were times I felt a bit too overwhelmed to give much of it, especially in the beginning. Who were all these people? How are they all connected? Will any of this ever make sense?

Fortunately, the answer is yes, but the plot does take a windy, twisted path to all the answers. In the process, I did get to know the characters quite well. Hannah, Meg, and Carter are equally in dire straits, facing their own harrowing challenges. Hannah turns out to have the most intriguing backstory, as events gradually reveal more about who she is and where she came from. Meg’s story, on the other hand, is a more tragic one involving the loss of her young daughter, whom she is still grieving. Then there’s Carter, who isn’t trapped like Hannah and Meg are, but is in a tight spot nonetheless. In a way, he fills the role of the classic survivalist in an apocalypse, kicking ass and taking names. Expect a lot of bloodshed as the bodies pile up.

Speaking of which, there is some excellent world-building. Zombie horror has received renewed interest with shows like The Last of Us, and it was hard not to make comparisons and see some parallels while reading. Those infected by the virus in The Drift are called Whistlers because of the sounds they make due to their ravaged lungs. Gaunt, savage and pale, they roam the wilderness in groups, ready to pounce on the unsuspecting traveler. The government is also not to be trusted, as they will go to any length to eliminate anyone suspected of being sick. Existence in this world is like living in a dystopian nightmare.

If you enjoy these types of stories, I think you will have a great time. As a caveat, the plot can get a little confusing and meandering, not to mention how certain parts can go completely off-the-rails. Interestingly, I find this to be very different than C.J. Tudor’s previous novels which I find to be way more subtle and atmospheric, and which is what I actually prefer. For that reason, I wouldn’t say The Drift is my favorite of her books, though it was still a very entertaining and exciting read and I would recommend it for anyone in the mood for something wild, punchy, and suspenseful.

 

Bookshelf Roundup 02/12/23: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads

Bookshelf Roundup is a feature I do every weekend which fills the role of several blog memes, like Stacking the Shelves where I talk about the new books I’ve added to my library or received for review, as well as It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? where I summarize what I’ve finished reading in the last week and what I’m planning to read soon. Mostly it also serves as a recap post, so sometimes I’ll throw in stuff like reading challenge progress reports, book lists, and other random bookish thoughts or announcements.

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Received for Review

My thanks to the publishers and authors for the following review copies received, and be sure to click the links to their Goodreads pages for more details and full descriptions!

We’re kicking things off this week with A Shadow Crown by Melissa Blair, sequel to A Broken Blade. I would have to catch up with book one first to read this, but at some point I do want to check out this series to see what the buzz is all about. With thanks to Union Square Co. for the review copy.

Thank you also to Orbit Books for The Tyranny of Faith by Richard Swan, which I can’t wait to start! I loved the first book The Justice of Kings and this sequel is one of my most anticipated reads of this year.

With thanks also to the kind folks at Amazon Crossing as well as Wunderkind PR for a review copy of Hospital by Han Song. This one’s new to me, but a Goodreads description says it’s a dark sci-fi delving into the horror of a dystopian hospital system, which sounds absolutely twisted and I’m very curious.

Also thanks to Tor Nightfire for The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw, a fairytale horror about a vengeful murderous mermaid. Um yeah, sign me up please! And from Tor Books I also received Spring’s Arcana by Lilith Saintcrow. It’s been years since I’ve read her last book and I’m definitely interested in this Russian-inspired fantasy described as American Gods vs. Baba Yaga.

Earlier this week, my hardcopy of Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson also arrived, along with an enamel pin and other goodies as part of my Kickstarter backer rewards! It’s so beautiful!

Only one audiobook in the digital haul this week, but I was very excited to snag a listening copy of The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz, a locked-room mystery set in an old gothic mansion during a snowstorm. Sounds exactly like kind of book.

Reviews

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones (4.5 of 5 stars)
The Spite House by Johnny Compton (3.5 of 5 stars)

Roundup Highlights:

What I’ve Been Reading

Have you heard of or read any of the books featured this week? What caught your eye? Any new discoveries? I hope you found something interesting for a future read!

Book Review: The Spite House by Johnny Compton

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

The Spite House by Johnny Compton

Mogsy’s Review: 3.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror

Series: Stand Alone

Publisher: Tor Nightfire (February 7, 2023)

Length: 272 pages

Author Information: Website

So, the title and the cover and the description of this book was a bit deceiving. I went into The Spite House thinking I was reading a horror novel, but quite honestly there was nothing too scary about it. What it can rightfully claim to be though, is a southern gothic novel dripping with atmosphere, spiced up with a dash of the paranormal.

The story opens with an introduction to single father Eric Ross, who is on the run with his two daughters Dess and Stacy. Originally from Maryland, he has made his way to Degener, Texas, where dwindling resources have forced him to lie low and find work. A black man new in town with no work history or anyone to vouch for him, Eric is faced with limited options. He ends up answering an ad in the newspaper for a caretaker post at a property called Masson House, not knowing its history. As it turns out, it is an oddly constructed spite house, built for the sole purpose of antagonizing neighbors or anyone with stake in the land. Standing on a hilltop overlooking an abandoned orphanage, it is also said to be haunted.

In fact, Eric’s new employer is hoping he could help keep an eye out for any paranormal activity while he is staying at the house and is paying him handsomely to do it. Certainly the money would go a long way in solving his problems, providing a future for him and his girls, but is it worth it? The longer he stays at Masson House, the more Eric feels like it is taking a toll on his sanity. The place is practically drowning in negative energy, and as he learns more about the house’s history and what happened to its past owners, Eric begins to fear for the safety of his family.

For all the talk of ghosts and hauntings, I thought The Spite House was startlingly sparse in the chills department. Still, what the story lacked in horror it more than made up for with its tantalizing mystery. The questions hit you almost right away, with the most burning ones being: Why is Eric on the run, and what is he running from? Author Johnny Compton keeps the answers quite close to vest for most of the novel, not revealing them until quite far into the book, but when he does, wow, what a doozy!

Eric himself is a compelling and deeply sympathetic protagonist. He clearly cares a lot about his daughters and is fiercely protective of them. From the occasional chapters we get from the girls’ perspectives, it was also clear they were a close-knit family, better to keep secrets among themselves. Amidst the uncertainty and fear in this chaos of emotion, there is also love and a heartwarming connection while they are staying in this strange house.

Speaking of which, before now I had never heard of the term spite house, and only thought it made a cool sounding title for a book. Turns out they are pretty common and you can find spite houses all over the country, pretty much anywhere you have super passive-aggressive individuals with neighbors they want to annoy. Some of them, as I later found out while doing further reading, have even become tourist attractions because of how odd they look. Of course, the Masson House in The Spite House has its own harrowing story behind why it was built, taking readers on a wild journey through some dark history and memories.

In truth, I started The Spite House expecting a more traditional haunted house story and was only sightly disappointed when that turned out not to be the case, mainly because of the complexity of its other elements. The atmosphere was a mix of both modern and southern gothic, and its mystery kept me hooked through the whole book. I also liked Eric Ross as a character, and rooted for him to get to the bottom of whatever was wrong with Masson House, even if it took him down some dangerous paths.

In sum, how you feel about this book will depend on your expectations. Diehard horror fans will likely not find the thrills and frights they seek here, but if you enjoy a good twist on a ghostly tale, especially one infused with mysterious vibes, you’ll want to pick up this impressive debut.

Waiting on Wednesday 02/08/23

Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that first originated at Breaking the Spine but has since linked up with “Can’t Wait Wednesday” at Wishful Endings now that the original creator is unable to host it anymore. Either way, this fun feature is a chance to showcase the upcoming releases that we can’t wait to get our hands on!

Mogsy’s Pick

Medusa’s Sisters by Lauren J. A. Bear (August 8, 2023 by Ace)

A vivid and moving reimagining of the myth of Medusa and the sisters who loved her.

The end of the story is only the beginning…

Even before they were transformed into Gorgons, Medusa and her sisters, Stheno and Euryale, were unique among immortals. Curious about mortals and their lives, Medusa and her sisters entered the human world in search of a place to belong, yet quickly found themselves at the perilous center of a dangerous Olympian rivalry and learned—too late—that a god’s love is a violent one.

Forgotten by history and diminished by poets, the other two Gorgons have never been more than horrifying hags, damned and doomed. But they were sisters first, and their journey from sea-born origins to the outskirts of the Parthenon is a journey that rests, hidden, underneath their scales.

Monsters, but not monstrous, Stheno and Euryale will step into the light for the first time to tell the story of how all three sisters lived and were changed by each other, as they struggle against the inherent conflict between sisterhood and individuality, myth and truth, vengeance and peace.”

Book Review: Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.

Don’t Fear the Reaper by Stephen Graham Jones

Mogsy’s Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Genre: Horror

Series: Book 2 of The Lake Witch trilogy

Publisher: Gallery/Saga Press (February 7, 2023)

Length: 464 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

You’ve got to hand it to Stephen Graham Jones. Returning to The Lake Witch trilogy with Don’t Fear the Reaper—which, amazingly, is even more of a love letter to the slasher horror film genre than its predecessor, My Heart is A Chainsaw—this sequel is sure to delight fans by offering a bigger, better, twistier take on final girls, slasher flicks, and the power of self-determination.

Once obsessed with random horror movie facts and trivia, Jade Daniels is a little less enthusiastic about the topic these days. After all, the trauma of having to live through a real-life slasher attack on you and your town can have a way of changing your perspective. Going by Jennifer in this novel, our protagonist has returned to Proofrock, Idaho, four years after the bloody Independence Day Massacre that shocked a nation. Now both she and the town are trying to heal from the tragedies and horrors of that day by moving on and putting the past behind them.

But for Jennifer, that’s easier said than done, especially when a bad storm blows in for the holidays, and a convicted killer escapes his convoy into the wilderness around Proofrock. The crimes of Dark Mill South have become legendary at this point, as he has left close to three dozen bodies in his wake, all murdered in the most gruesome ways. Thanks to the incentives the town has put forth to rebuild itself, Proofrock has seen an influx of new residents in recent years, particularly families with high schoolers who have come to take advantage of free college, meaning more hapless victims for Dark Mill South to prey on. Jennifer, who thought she’d left her obsession far behind her, is once more called upon to save the town by diving into her vast repository of horror film knowledge.

Don’t Fear the Reaper is a special novel that somehow walks that fine balance between paying homage to the slasher flick genre without being too over-the-top. It also remains true to the tone of the first book while feeling more sophisticated and self-possessed. For instance, very much in keeping with the spirit of a slasher sequel, Jade-now-Jennifer returns older and wiser but also more cynical. All the police scrutiny and the media attention surrounding her case over the last few years have changed her, disenchanting her to the horror movies once gave her such joy. Recalling the way she was in My Heart is a Chainsaw, I couldn’t help but feel for Jennifer. Name change notwithstanding, she doesn’t have the choice to just walk away from her past. And yet, despite how much her personality has been transformed, I still felt a deep attachment to her character.

But one area I felt was greatly improved from the first book was the plot as well as its pacing. Plus, can we please just take a moment and talk about Dark Mill South, the serial killer in this story who is more monster than man, complete with a hulking frame and a hook for a hand? Everything about him, from his physical description to his brutal backstory, is designed to evoke the kind of sheer terror we get from our favorite horror movies. The deaths are a compelling mix of frights and gore, a nod to the classic slashers that inspired them, but at the same time featuring enough innovation to make this novel profoundly unique. Even when homage edges closer into parody, the tongue-in-cheek jokes are done in moderation and we’re not going overboard with pop culture references.

All told, I found Don’t Fear the Reaper incredibly entertaining, just the right amount of chills and thrills. Did you enjoy My Heart is a Chainsaw? Are you a fan of Stephen Graham Jones? Do you love horror movies and cheering on the final girl? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you certainly won’t want to miss this!

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of My Heart is a Chainsaw (Book 1)