epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

  • Music:

Book Reviews: Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina + Off Season + Path Of Needles + A Judgement In Stone

Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina: Book One The Crucible - Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Robert Hack
This is a tale of ‘Sabrina, The Teenage Witch’ as you’ve never seen her before. She’s a teen witch who loves Harvey, has a talking cat named Salem and lives with her aunts Hilda and Zelda. There is also satan worship, Madam Satan, madness, murder, cannibalism, goat sacrifice, Betty and Veronica, necromancy and police brutality.

Set in the 1960s this is a deliciously dark horror masterpiece that would make Melissa Joan Hart run away screaming. The ending sets up even more warped possibilities for Book Two. Included is a ‘Madam Satan’ strip from 1941 which is lurid in its colours and dialogue. This is dark magic horror with blood and inescapable disaster.

Best Lines:
“The woods are the devil’s cathedral.”

“What am I hacking?”

“We stand in his shadow.”

“We are the cold October wind that blows through the corn...”

“You’re terrible.”
“Yes, deliciously so.”

“Bring forth the coals of truth.”

Off Season by Jack Ketchum
This dated once -infamous horror was originally published in 1980 and centres on a small town named Dead River. A gang of inbred cannibals lurk in a cave undetected and speak grammatically correct English. This 2006 reprint is rewritten and uncensored after the 1980 original was denounced and disowned on release. It is hard to see what all the fuss was about in these ‘Game Of Thrones’ days.

5 city types (with very dated attitudes and opinions) visit Dead River. They are menaced by the cannibal gang after a 100 plus pages of set-up. This was not even briefly disconcerting. Just a lot of rich Me Generation whiners making dated references and griping and getting eaten alive. There is no moral discomfort or anything that explains the people eaters and their parenting decisions.

They’re just bad people who act harshly and have no empathy and see everyone else as food. The city folk engage in high risk behaviour to survive. This is a nebulous contribution to the horror genre. But it’s still better than anything by all purpose letch Edward Lee. The cannibals have predatory instincts and lack any definite motives. There is a sequel apparently. This was not fascinating, just wholly inadequate.

It does not disturb or horrify as the city folk must do vehement and vicious things to survive. This is a hoary vintage tale of shattered serenity and dirtied innocence. This hits the top register of desperation in this non-transgressive allegory.

Best Lines:
“A posed picture on the cover of a brunette lying on some wall-to-wall carpeting, trying to fend off some guy with a big saw,”

“Didn’t she know that it was better to be dead now?”

“The crab had found its evil little niche.”

“A deadly patience.”

“Ragged crazies scuttling through the night.”

“He had a smile on him that I never want to see again as long as I live.”

Path Of Needles by Alison Littlewood
From the author the wholly terrible ‘A Cold Season’ comes this fairy tale inspired serial killer tale which rests on a surer footing. Cate is a police officer who sees hints of a fairy tale in a posed murder scene. Silly Alice is somehow a college lecturer on folklore and a fairytale expert who is brought in to assist on the case.

Then another body is found and the two women must learn who is twisting fairytales for deeply personalised reasons. Also they must reflect on the emotional response to their investigation by others. Who is requisitioning and twisting the narrative? Who through sheer personal endeavour has been rendered capable of sacrificing anything? This was a good tale of darkness and the bleak simplicity of oral folklore. It is a shame that Alice is such a drip and an idiot.

Best Lines:
“Interfering things, sons.”

“Unfortunately for him, that hadn’t gone unnoticed.”

A Judgement In Stone by Ruth Rendell
A servant plots against her employers for ridiculous reasons.
Tags: 2nd hand book store find, book review, chilling adventures of sabrina, riverdale

Comments for this post were disabled by the author