Horror Reviews

The Monsters of Heaven

by Nathan Ballingrud

[rating:4/5]

“The Monsters of Heaven” is a story that faces the very real tragedy a family has to deal with when they lose a child through abduction. Throw in supernatural monsters and a father slowly twisted by the untenable circumstances into a monster himself and you have one creepy horror story. The short story was published in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008 and Inferno: New Tales of Terror and the Supernatural.

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The Last Worders

by Karen Joy Fowler

[rating:3/5]

“The Last Worders” is a fantasical story with some horror elements that definitely leaves you with a chill at the power of words. The short story was published in The Years Best Fantasy and Horror 2008. The story centers around twin sisters who have journeyed to the fictional town of San Margais chasing after a boy they have both fallen in love with to make him choose between them. On the journey we learn more about the twins, the town, and the poetry that seems to bind them together in a mesmerizing and faintly eerie story that is ultimately about the power of words to unify and to destroy us all.

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The Graveyard Book

[openbook booknumber=”9780060530921″][rating:5/5]

Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy.

He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead.

There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy – an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer.

But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack – who has already killed Bod’s family…

This book was an amazing middle grade coming of age novel and I loved it! From the author that penned Coraline comes The Graveyard Book a book about a young boy whose parents are brutally murdered (off camera) when he is a baby and left unattended he wanders into a graveyard. To protect the boy from the serial killer Jack the graveyard inhabitants adopt him and raise him as their own. They even give him a name of their choosing, Nobody. He grows up surrounded by ghosts and ghouls and other creatures more mysterious and left unnamed. Somehow with their help he must grow up and learn about this world and with the help of the dead be given the tools he needs to live his own life, hopefully before the serial killer comes back and snuffs it out permanently.

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Zombies vs. Unicorns

[openbook booknumber=”9781416989530″][rating:4/5]

Which is better, the zombie or the unicorn?

Justine Larbalestier says that zombies are our own walking deaths. Funny, grim, and terrifying, they cannot be escaped. Unicorns are sparkly and pastel and fart rainbows.

Holly Black says that unicorns are healers, arbiters of justice, and, occasionally, majestic man-killers. Zombies drool and shed and probably carry diseases.

Some of today’s finest writers have chosen their side, creating dazzling stories about both creatures. So read on, and decide for yourself:

Are you Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

Just for the record I am Team Unicorn all the way. I have loved unicorns since I was very small. I had stuffed animal unicorns, my little pony action figures that were unicorns, even unicorn wallpaper on the walls of my bedroom (oh yes, there were rainbows too, why do you ask?). I was a huge fantasy fan even then. Zombies have been a much more recent addition to my life and while I do find them frightening intriguing frightening, but in an intriguing way, I don’t normally get much enjoyment out of reading about them.

With this attitude I cracked open Zombies vs. Unicorns, a short story anthology edited by Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. The purpose of this book is to have a show down between short stories about zombies and short stories about unicorns to see which one would come out on top. Some of the best YA fantasy authors contributed to this collection and it shows. Even the stories that weren’t as powerful as some of the others still had a shine to them that I appreciated and I didn’t feel that there was a dull one in the bunch.

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The Forest of Hands and Teeth

[openbook booknumber=”9780385736817″][rating:4/5]

In Mary’s world, there are simple truths.

The Sisterhood always knows best.

The Guardians will protect and serve.

The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown in to chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

I think that The Forest of Hands and Teeth works out as a fantastic and well written introduction to post-apocalyptic zombie fiction. It was realistic, engaging, horrifying and managed to both keep that realistic and well done horror and be accessible to a young age group. I absolutely loved it.

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