So my last two “horror” books were flops, but I was happily surprised by the next few I tried! Sure, neither of them were sleep-with-the-lights-on scary, but they definitely both had that creep factor.
The first one I want to highlight is Through the Woods by Canadian author Emily Carroll. This is a graphic novel that is guaranteed to spook your socks off. At first glance when you open it up, it looks like it could be for kids, but it DEFINITELY isn’t. I don’t know what it is about graphic novels, but I always just assume that they’re for kids. This one has some adult themes and is almost Gaiman-esque in its execution.
The illustrations are bold and gorgeous. I love that Carroll uses lots of bright colours (albeit in the darker variety of colours, like reds, blues, etc.) and everything in the book is so vivid to look at. There’s a beautiful flow to the whole book, an almost old-school, gothic quality.
AND this is a collection of short stories told in graphic novel format. All are very, very spooky. My favourite story in the book is about a woman who marries a man and starts hearing voices in the house, coming from the walls. Slightly gory, this one will get the hairs on your arms to raise … it’s not for the faint of heart!
Beautifully haunting, this is a book that will stick with you and maybe creep into your dreams at night. Worth not just one read, but many more after! I’m lucky my library had it — and that they found it! Apparently it wasn’t where it was supposed to be on the shelf. I would’ve hated to miss out on this gem!
The next book was a gift to me from Teresa (@NeedNewSpace). I had commented that I really wanted to read The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd and she sent me an extra copy she had! Yay! Of course, then it sat for about a year on my shelf and I finally, finally got to it this week! Why did I wait so long?
The Madman’s Daughter is a retelling of The Island of Doctor Moreau, a book I have not read, but one that I’m very much interested in now. This book was just plain creepy and weird! It’s a beautifully gothic tale about a girl who had fallen from society after her father was caught doing something illegal — vivisection, or operating on animals without anaesthetic. Super creepy, if you ask me. Anyway, she feels like her father is still alive and her suspicions come true when she finds an old childhood friend who had been a servant of her father. She’s taken to a mysterious island where nothing is as it seems.
Everything about this book was gorgeous! It even has a bit of a love triangle which I wasn’t totally against (and you all know how I hate love triangles). The islanders were creepy, Juliet’s father was downright strange, and even her love interests had their interesting quirks to them. The entire story was just a bit disturbing (and at times a little gory!). This book is even part of a series, which again I’m totally okay with because that means I get to experience more of Megan Shepherd’s gorgeous writing! Not to mention the ending that I started to suspect would happen (about a few pages before it did) … I need more!
I love a good gothic novel, so reading this one after reading Kenneth Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor was just what I needed. It really made me want more of the genre. I find that there are YA books that very much seem like YA but I find that once you get into the gothic novels there are ones that stand out and seem older than they are, in a good way. This is definitely one of them and I look forward to getting the next book in the series!
Have you read either of these books? What did you think?