Now that I’ve finally torn myself away from election news (and feeling something close to joy? What’s this… positive feeling?) I can get back to the writing! Since we just left October here’s a couple of mini reviews for some spooky reads.
The Low, Low Woods – Carmen Maria Machado & DaNi
Over the last couple of years I’ve become a huge fan of Machado, after reading her memoir and short story collection. Machado now brings her horror style to the rich world of graphic novels, focusing on two high school seniors, El and Vee, who live in the dead mining town of Shudder-to-Think, PA.
I’m pretty sure the small town’s history was inspired by the real tragedy of Centralia, PA, which has been burning for over fifty years due to a coal fire. A town of 1,200 is now just seven residents. Shudder-to-Think is similar in many ways, but stranger and more haunting. From women waking up in random places around town, with no memory of what brought them there, to the disfigured creatures in the woods.
When El and Vee wake up with memory loss, El won’t quit until she finally uncovers the secrets of Shudder. But the more they find out, the more they are unsure whether they want to face these lost moments.
Personally I loved this graphic novel, but I’m going to forewarn other readers, the subject matter is heavy and delves into some uncomfortable topics. Combined with the artwork by DaNi, I think this was a really devastating story about trauma and how we as individuals and as a society handle and process it.
We Live Inside Your Eyes – Kealan Patrick Burke
In preparation for my post coming out this week about a short story collection, I read some ‘tales of shock and horror’! At least that’s what the cover of We Live Inside Your Eyes promised, and you know what, I think Burke delivered.
The collection is bookended by a story of a young man who finds his way to The Bone Mother, and must read these tales in order to open his eyes to her truth. As a whole this was a strong collection, one that had a lot of variety to it yet none of the stories felt out of place.
The first story, Land of Sunshine, I liked, but I think it was the second one, Traveler, that hooked me. The idea of not being in control of one’s body is a chilling perspective and I think Burke drove that one home. Burke has a great talent for leaving a lasting impression in such a short amount of time.
The crowning jewel for me was The House on Abigail Lane. I love haunted house stories so much, so I started dancing in my seat when I realized that not only was this the closer of the book but also the longest story in the bunch. The vibe of the story is great and I would probably put it next to David Mitchell’s Slade House.
I think if you love horror books I would definitely give this one a chance, I already put Burke’s other works on my TBR list. Here’s hoping for some more good spooky reads!
In the month of October I also read and reviewed:
Quick Lit is a monthly meme hosted by Modern Mrs. Darcy.