epiphany_maria (epiphany_maria) wrote,

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Book Reviews: Monster + Vox + Nightmare's Realm, part 1

Monster by CJ Skuse
Unwanted girls are left in a boarding school coming up to Christmas. There have always been rumours of a beast in the woods near the school, now the unnurtured students will find out if there is any truth to that. This starts out well as a homage to ‘Hound Of The Baskervilles’. But half way through there is an abatement of interest as the plot gets ridiculous and obvious.

This has no trademark bite, trauma or grim chuckles. This is not scary or overwhelming; it’s just full of moral problems and blasé conversations by morose idiots. This was discardable and not extremely creepy, real or relatable. This was a series of disasters and nobody acts sensibly or effectively. People act to the detriment of those around them. Serious consequential damage is inflicted. This was not thrillingly raw, just improbable and full of incompetence and ineptitude.

Vox by Christina Dalcher
Jean McClellan lives in a dystopian America that dismisses and silences womens voices and institutionalised misogyny has women limited to only be able to speak a 100 words a day as part of a return to proper values and domesticity. There is casual sexism, violence and women’s voices are ignored and dismissed. Jean sulks, resents her husband and sons and carries on an unthinkingly reckless affair.

She also comes up with a way to bring down the patriarchal system of zealous religiosity. This is very good but one doesn’t really care for Jean. She cares only about her lover and ignores her children and husband. She has no absolute despair only petty whining about not caring to clean her house. She doesn’t care about social exclusion but only justifying her adultery by recounting the failures of her husband and rhapsodising about her lust for her lover.

Also the plot wraps up too quickly and conveniently and she goes from not wanting her lover’s lovechild to caring more about it than her other children. Flaws aside this was an alarmist, fraught tale. But could such entrenched separation and conspiratorial whispering really be swept away? The cultural environment changed. Would such a stifling social code change back?

Best Lines:
“It’s frightening what she’s grown to accept as normal.”

“There’s no chance of going now.”

“Letters! Bad!”

“No idea of the hell he’s about to unleash.”

“Eking life out in a twisted Little House On the Prairie existence.”

“I note an uncomfortable absence of windows, or of an interior handle on the rear doors.”

Nightmare’s Realm: New Tales Of The Weird Fantastic edited by S.T Joshi, part 1

Joshi babbles about dreams.

Best Line:
“All but impassable barrier.”

To A Dreamer
By H.P. Lovecraft, who wasn’t a poet no matter how he tried.

The Dreamed
By the wildly over-rated Ramsey Campbell. This was not grimly compelling as a man faces despair on holiday in this dismaying charmless irritatingly annoying story.
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