Within the Dark Places by Duncan Thompson – review

There’s something lurking in the shadows of Druid Wood and it’s terrifying…

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As an avid fan of horror, I don’t scare easily but ‘Within the Dark Places’ is the closest to terrified I’ve been for quite some time whilst reading a book.

This story follows a small group who decide to spend their weekend in a woods with chilling results. From the very beginning there’s a stack of mystery and intrigue as to what exactly is lurking in the shadows which starts to play on the readers imagination more than anything; something which is text book horror and also very effective in a book like this.

It reads like a modern horror flick by way of a well written page turning style giving the reader no rest-bite between the sometimes graphic but always creepy fate in which the characters face. And believe me it does get graphic in a few places. This one isn’t for the faint of heart but I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a good scare.

Its paranormal and ‘creature feature’ combined with some of the usual tropes seen in horror but some cliches will always work and they do so very well here. Although this novella is on the short side, the whole story is delivered effectively and makes for some great horror reading.

4 Stars – I have already added the sequel to my TBR list! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Blue Rabbit by Jimena Novaro – Review

A unique young adult fantasy story with multiple characters…

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Blue Rabbit is an intriguing tale that follows a group of school friends who discover a gateway that leads to another world. As the story opens we learn that they have been visiting this place hidden in the Knoxville trees that seems like a forest but is a world totally different to their own full of creatures and immersive imagination by the author. A school kid called Mike follows this group one night and is seemingly captured by the creatures that reside in this other world and becomes a missing person. It’s up to the group of friends to find out where Mike was taken and look for a way of bringing him back, that is without knowing much about this other world.

The strength of this story comes from the multitude of great characters that help tell it. Five friends; Erika, Haley, Nathan, Sandra and Dorian all seem to take it in turn at the beginning stages to tell the story although Erika eventually breaks away from the group and becomes the lead somewhat with her assured confidence and even sarcastic style; something I enjoyed, even if she did come across as a being full of herself. And to begin with I wasn’t sure about any of the group, but over the course of the story they earned my affection, Sandra and Nathan’s chemistry over the course of the story added to the many dimensions of believable and relatable characters this story has. These five friends and their journey together and as individuals makes for some rewarding reading much like the book as a whole which is highly readable and immersive.

There are several original concepts that carry the story to a level that becomes quite epic in the latter stages with some action and real tension leading towards saving the day and world. Other characters such as ‘Riven’ and ‘Chloe’ really galvanized this story as a character led adventure with twists, turns and plenty of drama.

“I’m going to save the world. Who’s with me?”

4 Stars 

Building 51 By Jennifer L. Place – Review

Urban exploration horror filled with tension and some truth…

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Building 51 follows the events of seven friends as they embark on an exploration excursion. Their destination the Hudson River State Hospital for the Insane; a real place with a real history that can be described as harrowing to say the least.

Exploration of abandoned places is a specialist niche in the genre of horror and one which I very much enjoy. Films such as ‘Grave encounters’ and ‘House on Haunted Hill’ come to mind but in terms of books, Building 51 is the benchmark and makes for a roller coaster tension filled read.

Fusing elements of real history and the paranormal make this story and the characters in it feel like something is lurking and watching them. Something is and this gradually becomes apparent manifesting itself in a range of unique and creepy ways.

The overall flow of the book is cinematic and even nods to the horror movie rules, some of which the characters unfortunately fall into. Many horror stories tend to run out of ideas near the end but not in Building 51 where the strong premise stands all the way to the end.

5 Stars – a great read that I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of horror and the urban exploration genre!