Book Review; Wilder Girls – Rory Power

The island takes everything..

Page Count 368

 Publication date 2019/ Publisher Macmillan

GoodReads link

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Synopsis

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true. 

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Review

I can’t remember the last time I’ve been so on-the-fence about a book. Wilder Girls had been sitting on my wishlist for months before I suddenly got approved for a Netgalley ARC- 6 months after publication?

Needless to say I was thrilled and began reading immediately. It’s taken me one afternoon to finish it, so clearly the book did grip me no matter my overall opinion.

Positives? Rory Power can write some damn good body horror! There are some truly repulsive scenes in Wilder Girls, they gave the story an edge it definitely needed.
The atmosphere is beautifully done, I adored the bleak setting and the writing style during Byatt’s manic moments whilst unconventional was really effective.

 I loved the premise but the book was a little slow moving to start. There isn’t an explanation of the origin of the Tox; there are plenty of half assed ideas but to be honest I’d rather there were none if Power never intended on a reveal.

I can’t explain without spoilers but I found several gaping plot holes in this book, in the manner of problems/conflicts that could be easily solved with common sense. Including a massive flaw in the ending of the book that rendered the whole story pretty pointless.

However, I enjoyed the survivalist theme, the feral behaviour of the girls in such hopeless circumstances and the relationships built between the three main characters.

So as you see. Solidly on the fence.
Have to say though, very pleased to find another LGBTQ YA horror novel. If you read and enjoyed this may I highly recommend The Girl In Red by Christina Henry next?

Roxanne’s Reactions:

 

Book Review; Those Who Came Before- JH Moncrieff

People are dying at Strong Lake and the worst is yet to come…

Page Count 256

 Publication date October 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

GoodReadsLink

 

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Synopsis;

An idyllic weekend camping trip is cut short when Reese Wallace’s friends are brutally murdered. As the group’s only survivor, Reese is the prime suspect, and his story doesn’t make much sense. A disembodied voice warning him to leave the campground the night before? A strange, blackened tree that gave him an electric shock when he cut it down for firewood?

Detective Greyeyes isn’t having any of it―until she hears the voice herself and finds an arrowhead at the crime scene―an arrowhead she can’t get rid of. Troubling visions of a doomed Native American tribe who once called the campground home, and rumors of cursed land and a mythical beast plague the strangest murder case she’s ever been a part of.

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Continue reading “Book Review; Those Who Came Before- JH Moncrieff”

Book Review; Slash- Hunter Shea

The Wraith Is Back!

Page Count 256

 Publication date October 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

GoodReadsLink

 

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Synopsis;

Five years after Ashley King survived the infamous Resort Massacre, she’s found hanging in her basement by her fiancé, Todd Matthews. She left behind clues as to what really happened that night, clues that may reveal the identity of the killer the press has called The Wraith.

With the help of his friends, Todd goes back to the crumbling Hayden Resort, a death-tinged ruin in the Catskills Mountains. What they find is a haunted history that’s been lying in wait for a fresh set of victims. The Wraith is back, and he’s not what they expected.

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Continue reading “Book Review; Slash- Hunter Shea”

The Horror Of Sex In Fiction

I’ve found myself considering one of the biggest differences between my experiences of male and female writers of horror.

SEX…

A little foreword first;
What I want to say by no means encompasses all authors. My own reading choices make up a minuscule selection of the horror genre, I’ll be talking about my own opinion based on my reading experiences.
I’ll briefly reflect on my recent reading history to show you what I’m working from.
*****
This year so far I’ve read 87 books.
31 were horror. (I found this quite surprising actually, I’d expected the number to be above 36%)
10 written by 10 different FEMALE authors
20 written by 17 different MALE authors
(4 of these titles were Jonathan Janz)
1 Co-written
-SUB-GENRES included fantasy, thriller, gothic, supernatural, body horror, sci-fi, survival, post apocalyptic and coming-of-age.
6 of them could be considered YA and 4 of those are marketed as such.
It may also be interesting to note that all were published within the past decade with the exception of two male written horrors first released in the 80s.
*****
As I embark on my 32nd horror novel of 2019, (Jonathan Janz’ The Darkest Lullaby – review here) I’ve found myself considering one of the biggest differences between my experiences of male and female writers of horror.
SEX.
We’ve all seen terrible examples of men writing erotica on twitter. Those snippets of ridiculous, eye-rolling, sometimes nauseating scenes. Almost always throwing about words like cunt, snatch or whatever derogatory term they can think up for vagina.
In horror especially I find this irritating.
It feels like men are trying to disgust you with sex, making it as tawdry or just gross as possible to elicit shock or unease in the reader.
Let me tell you, it doesn’t work! I’m not shocked, I’m not uneasy. I’m just rolling my eyes at the transparent attempt to force emotion. I find it juvenile and it immediately lowers my respect for the writing.
Now I’m by no means prudish. But seriously? A third of the male written horror books I read put serious focus on genitalia. Specifically male genitalia.
There were giant slimy naked monsters with dicks longer than their arms- come on now, that’s just funny! All the effort you put into describing these fearsome beasts and now I’m imagining them tripping over their own penises.
Dicks growing out of a house interior.-Now that was bizarre. Being raped by a ‘hardwood’ floor? Door handles warping into cocks? Consider any suspense obliterated. If I’m not almost-laughing at such childish ideas then I’m definitely annoyed to have the atmosphere shattered.
There’s nothing more wasteful than spending pages, chapters even, building that sense of dread or slow creeping tension to have it culminate in a brawl where someone gets dick-slapped.
I’ve read about victims being swallowed hole by vampire vaginas and a fountain that pours out cum instead of water- that one was particularly gross actually. My stomach flipped at the thought so I guess maybe that guy got the reaction he wanted. But I can’t say it made me want to keep reading.
I’m not bothered enough by it to put the book down but I read horror to be scared, shocked, tense, thoughtful and many other things that do not count disgusted or a little queasy.
In all the female written horror books I’ve read I have never come across erotica being used to disgust. To scare? Yes, absolutely.
But rather than giant monsters swinging their impossibly big dicks around, (as found in 7 of the 20 male horror novels I’m discussing!) the women creep into your own psyche or put you straight into their characters shoes.
Using sex to frighten readers only has real impact for me when done by women. They bring a subtlety and purpose to the writing that evokes a completely different reaction.
Perhaps this is just because I too am female?
We could easily discuss the societal aspects of this topic but that’s not the point I’m making today.
Some of my favourite horrors are set between 1970 and 1999 so I’m really appreciative of the similarities arising in some of the recent publications I’ve read.
I love the small town, old school vibes I found in many of those 31 books.
But gentleman please, leave the sex-shock trend behind where it belongs would you? I’m bored with it.

Blog Tour Review; The Darkest Lullaby- Jonathan Janz

Page Count 304 / Publication date Aug 2019/ Publisher Flame Tree Press

Good Reads link

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Synopsis:

Ellie Crane doesn’t believe in demons or vampires, but she still hates the idea of moving into a creepy old house. But when her husband’s aunt bequeaths them a sprawling forest estate, Ellie finds herself stuck in a setting straight out of a horror movie. Then the real horror begins…

Continue reading “Blog Tour Review; The Darkest Lullaby- Jonathan Janz”