Tag Archives: horror

Graphic Novel Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell

[Original story by Neil Gaiman, adaptation by P Craig Russell & chapters illustrated by Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott]

Published 29th July 2014 by Bloomsbury.

18738869Goodreads Synopsis: The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.

Inventive, chilling, and filled with wonder, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book reaches new heights in this stunning adaptation. Artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott lend their own signature styles to create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s luminous novel.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two will include Chapter Six to the end.

[View synopsis for The Graveyard Book here!]

My Review: I’m a really big fan of Neil Gaiman, and especially of his children’s novel, The Graveyard Book – so predictably, I was both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous when I was offered the chance to review the graphic novel! Excited, because I was intrigued to see the story told in a different, more visual formant… But nervous, because I read P.Craig Russell’s comic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline earlier in the year, and while it was okay, it didn’t seem to reflect the magic and horror of Gaiman’s story.

However, this adaptation of The Graveyard book was so different to the Coraline graphic novel; so original and magical and sinister at the same time. It’s really captured the essence of the original story, and is just as engaging as the book was. Though it’s been a while since I read The Graveyard Book, I could tell this was a very faithful adaptation of the story – and the images are exactly how I imagined they would be when reading the original book. I was completely captivated especially by one chapter about the Macabray dance, which was my favourite scene from the novel. It was so beautifully and flawlessy depicted.

The art in this graphic novel is stunning. Each of the chapters is illustrated by a different artist (and one chapter is a clever collaboration). I loved the diversity of the artwork – each was individual, striking, and perfect for each chapter. However, (and I get this with pretty much every graphic novel that does it), the frequent changes did annoy me a tiny bit, because I’d get used to one artist’s style then suddenly be introduced to another!

Overall, the graphic novel of The Graveyard Book was incredibly beautiful, and definitely exceeded my expectations. The adaptation was very faithful to Neil Gaiman’s book and the story was just as magical (and maybe even more so, in ways) in graphic novel form! Highly recommended to anyone. I can’t wait for the conclusion in volume two.

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of The Graveyard Book from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: THE HUNTED by Charlie Higson

*Synopsis contains spoilers for previous books in The Enemy series — review spoiler-free:)*

Published 4th September 2014 by Puffin Books.

20550277Goodreads Synopsis: The Hunted is Charlie Higson’s sixth terrifying installment in the thrilling The Enemy series. The sickness struck everyone over fourteen. First it twisted their minds. Next it ravaged their bodies. Now they roam the streets – Crazed and hungry The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all-alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous- because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…In the penultimate book in The Enemy series, the survivors’ stories cross with chilling consequences

My Review: I was so incredibly excited when this came through the letterbox! I’ve been a fan of The Enemy series pretty much since it began, and the first book was the second title I ever reviewed here. (I was eleven, ignore the awfulness:P) Higson is one of my favourite writers in the horror genre.

Needless to say, though, I’m always terrified when the latest installment of the story is released – partially because Higson is like JK Rowling and loves to kill characters I like, but also because I’m scared I won’t love the latest book as much as the previous one. However, I dived into The Hunted with pretty high expectations, and all of them were met. I really loved it.

I love siblings Ella and Sam in these books – Sam is a lot more central to the plot though, and the focus has never been entirely on Ella.. I was so glad The Hunted focuses largely on her. She’s such a small but brave girl and makes for a great protagonist. I loved her even more after this book. Her bond with Scarface, the unlikely ally she picks up along her journey, was really memorable and the plot twist that spirals from their friendship was so unpredictable – as was most of the plot!

I love horror books but I’m rarely genuinely freaked out by events in them – but Charlie Higson’s books are exceptions. I should probably be used to jump-scares and gory plot twists hiding around the corner in his books by now, but Charlie Higson is amazing at weaving eerie tension into his stories, and I found myself again jumping at the most horrific bits.

The only thing I disliked a little was the structure… I can’t actually remember if it’s how the other books were written, though! I was expecting alternating chapters between the two different groups of characters the story’s focused on, but the first half was one focus, then after a certain point it switched. Though I did enjoy that I do love alternating chapters more!

Overall, The Hunted was thrilling, gory, emotional and terrifying – just as I’d expected! I loved the characters Higson’s focused on for this instalment, and the story was so original and clever, with a genius ending that’s gotten me really eager to read the last book. There’s a lot of foreshadowing for the events in the next title, and I would talk about them more but I’m scared I’ll give spoilers… I’ll just say that I can tell the final book is going to be incredible. If you haven’t yet started The Enemy series, I highly recommend you do – and if you’re up to date on it, it’s definitely worth rushing to the nearest book store as soon as this is released later this week! (:

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Hunted from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

I received copies of the first two books in The Name of the Blade Trilogy (Thank you Walker!) by total surprise a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to start them. After reading them I thought I’d do a combined-review post… Enjoy!(:

The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Published 2013 by Walker books.

20703287Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the Katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn how to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks not only losing her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

My Review: The Night Itself was such a brilliant book! I’ve been meaning to read something by Zoe Marriott for ages, as I’ve only ever read glowing reviews of her fantasy novels. I’m glad I’ve gotten around to The Night Itself at last, as I loved it! I was hooked in from the beginning – literally on the edge of my seat as I read about the freaky events taking place around Mio after she steals the katana.

I’ve fallen in love with Marriott’s writing:  it’s so gorgeous and I was completely immersed. She’s also really talented at crafting memorable characters. Mio was a really great main character, but I also loved her best friend Jack, who I found hilarious!

The plot was crazy and fantastical. I didn’t expect a lot of the aspects, but really enjoyed the story. Highly recommended if you love urban fantasy

My Rating: 

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Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

Published 3rd July 2014 by Walker books.

15723550Synopsis: Against all odds, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire. As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realizes that there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

My Review: I’m always a little bit apprehensive when starting sequels to really awesome books – but Zoe Marriott definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved how the romance developed between Mio and Shinobu. One character’s development that was most interesting (and shocking!) was Rachel’s, but she seemed a little bit forgotten about towards the end… I’m definite there will be a bigger focus on her, though, in Frail Mortal Heart. 

I wasn’t sure anything could terrify me more than the monsters in book one, but the new creatures after Mio in Darkness Hidden were terrifying! I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the most part – but there were points where I saw the jump-scares coming.:P

The ending had me in a complete mess. I honestly do not know what to do now until next summer, when Frail Mortal Heart is released.

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^Basically me. // All in all, though, I really highly recommend the first two books in The Name of the Blade trilogy! They were both fantastically action-packed and pacy, and I loved the originality of it. Urban Fantasy is becoming a popular genre, and Marriott’s books really stand out in the market, with the way she blends urban London with ancient Japanese mythology and horror.

My Rating:

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I received copies of The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Reckoning by Kerry Wilkinson

Published 22nd May 2014 by Pan Macmillan.

21243216Goodreads Synopsis: In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

My Review: I’m actually really mixed on Reckoning! I definitely enjoyed the second half of the book more than the first, but I’m a little torn on whether I liked or disliked the book overall. Largely, though, I did enjoy it- I think most fans of the dystopia genre will definitely love it.

Reckoning is set in a post-war Britain (Which made for a nice change; most dystopia novels I read are set in the US!) where England has been divided into four realms and is ruled over by the new king, who essentially restored order from the war chaos. Every year, The Reckoning takes place in July for all of the teenagers entering adulthood, and determines where, and how you work for the rest of your life, under either Trog, Inter, Member or Elite (Which felt slightly Divergent-y).  A random lottery of Reckoning qualifiers selects ‘offerings’ for the king, who must live in Windsor Castle and serve him directly.

There were quite a few aspects of the book that reminded me a little too much of other dystopia novels. It definitely disappointed me a little bit… Though of course with dystopia being such a big, popular genre still it’s common to find books similar to others. It did take me a little while to get properly focused on the story, as I just kept picking up on similarities, though I’m probably exaggerating a bit… Reckoning still has many original aspects. After about half of the book though, I did start to get really engrossed.

Reckoning has so many plot twists! I honestly had no clue where the book was going, for the most part. I read one huge twist on a school journey, and had to restrain myself from gasping out loud! xD Wilkinson’s writing lures you into a false perception of things, then shocks you when you least expect it. That’s a big reason why I did really enjoy the story.

I’m mixed on Silver Blackthorn, who is the protagonist of the novel. I struggled to connect with her, for most of the story; a big reason why I love dystopia novels is because I find most of the characters really relatable, though for some reason I just didn’t connect with her, mostly! I think a lot of people will like her character. I think that, just like with some of the plot, I just didn’t really connect with her.

Overall, Reckoning is a really great read if you’re a fan of the genre. I liked the setting for the book, and the plot twists are totally shocking. Kerry Wilkinson’s writing is very enjoyable; I think I will read book two if I get a chance to (Reckoning kicks off a new dystopia trilogy!). I’m really sad I didn’t enjoy this as much as other people… I just didn’t click with parts of the story. However, all the Goodreads reviews of it that I’ve read have been glowing, so I’m pretty sure most people will love this book. ;D

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Reckoning form the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Random bloggy note that’s too short for its own blog post:

Over the course of June and July I’ll be really busy with non-bloggy things; I have to revise for all of my end-of-year mock exams, and if I qualify on the next round on an extra curricular quiz team, I’m basically going to drownnnnn in revising for that, too xD Blog posts won’t always be as frequent from now on (Some of you might have noticed I only managed to get one published last week!).

I decided against going on a hiatus, because I don’t think I could manage leaving my blog for two months or so! However, hopefully blogging a little less over the next few weeks will let me get more reading done, and some more blog scheduling and planning for the future done, too. (: Thanks everyone for reading though, as always!<3

Book Review: The Fearless by Emma Pass

Published 24th April 2014 by Corgi Books.

18160146Goodreads Synopsis: The Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect – anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. All Cass has left is her little brother – and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

My Review: I really loved ACID by Emma Pass last year. Ever since I found out Emma had written a new book, I’d been really excited, so I did a little dance when I got the chance to read this on Netgalley!
The Fearless begins with a completely scary prologue, where ten year old Cass and her parents experience the Invasion and are forced to risk everything and leave everything behind to get to a safe place: an island called Hope. I made the stupid mistake of reading the prologue before I went to sleep. It freaked me out. A lot. :O

The world building in The Fearless is awesome: I could really visualise this post-apocalyptic, almost, world- where England and (so far as we know!) the globe has been destroyed by a rapidly growing, almost zombie-ish army. The Fearless felt like a really original dystopian; it’s got that zombie invasion feel, but at the same time, it’s linked to the military and soldier serums and it’s really unique- I haven’t read anything like it!

Cass is a great main character- we see her grow a lot within the first few chapters- where we see her become a teenager intent on finding her brother, from a ten year old girl watching in horror as the Fearless rip her world to shreds. I was terrified for her, but she was a strong protagonist throughout. Emma Pass has expertly crafted another loveable, kick-butt heroine! There’s a… slight love triangle… but I coped with it. I have a tendency to really dislike love triangles, but I was okay-ish with this one! It was a little bit predictable, but I really grew attached to one of the love interests.

Overall, The Fearless was a really great second book from Emma Pass. I’ve been looking forward to hearing more from Emma since loving ACID last year, and though I think ACID is probably my favourite of her two books, The Fearless is definitely worth reading if you loved ACID or if you’re a dystopian fan! Emma Pass’ début novel was already dark and terrifying, and I didn’t think her next book could get scarier, but it did. the Fearless will freak you out, and keep you on the edge of your seat.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Fearless from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

5 reasons to read say her name by james dawson

Say Her Name is James Dawson’s latest spine-chilling horror novel, out soon from Hot Key Books! I decided to make a graphic about it. It looks relatively freaky so that’s cool. The idea behind it?

“In five days, she will come…”

Say her name five times in the mirror, and in five days Bloody Mary will come for you… so, here’s five reasons to read the book!


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I hope you enjoyed that, as I enjoyed making it, and hope that you now feel like picking it up- it’s definitely worth it! (: When you’re tweeting about the book, or if you want to find more info on it, use the hashtag #SayHerName.

Mini Reviews: Looking for JJ and The Naturals

More mini reviews… as I’ve not yet actually written any proper, long reviews for recent ARCs yet! *hangs head* I decided to do these two as mini reviews for now, though I may do discussion posts on them later, because both were really, really interesting. Looking for JJ and The Naturals are both chilling, crime-based books- I enjoyed both of them. They’re pretty dark YA novels… (:

Looking for JJ by Anne Cassidy

Published by Scholastic, August 2013 (10th Anniversary edition). Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

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Looking for JJ is a really unpredictable book. I’ve heard a lot about it in the past, but I’ve never picked up a copy before! Hot Key Books were kind enough to send me a copy, because they’re going to be publishing the sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones, very soon. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the sequel has in store now. The main character here is under witness protection, after a traumatic experience in her childhood, which the media became obsessed with. The pot unwound in a way I would never have expected, and I was hooked right from the beginning until the very end. The main character, Jennifer Jones, is very relatable and understandable; even after I learned the truth about what happened in the woods that day…. *shiver* I think the only part that I couldn’t get used to was the format… I wasn’t expecting it to be set like that; starting with the present, then going to the past, then back to the present at the ending. It confused me, because JJ also had the flashbacks in the present… I just got a bit muddled at points! However, highly recommended- and I’m sure the sequel will be just as break-taking.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Looking for JJ from Hot Key Books, the publishers of book two, in exchange for an honest review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published by Quercus, November 2013. Click here for the Goodreads synopsis and profile!

18769818The Naturals was… wow. It blew my mind. The story was so original and clever, fast paced and action packed. The plot focuses around Cassie Hobbes, whose mum went missing, supposedly murdered, due to the terrifying evidence Cassie found years ago in her dressing room. Now, Cassie has been recruited to work in a secret branch of the FBI, solving mysteries with her talents.Cassie’s talent reminded me a lot of Sherlock Holmes. She’s amazing at breaking things down and solving mysteries. It was easy to connect with her, and I really enjoyed seeing her character develop a lot. As she’s solving a mystery, she realises it’s more dangerous than she ever could have imagined. I enjoyed it so much! The plot was really fast paced and addictive; I was left completely stunned. I think some parts seemed a little too… freaky? I know Liz, who let me read her copy, definitely saw this too! It’s a seriously chilling book, and definitely not for the faint hearted… there’s something about the murders that sends a shiver up your spine, stronger than a lot of other mysteries I’ve read.

My Rating:

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I was given a copy of The Naturals from Liz, who told me I’d probably like it. Thank you so much!! 😀

I hope you enjoyed those reviews! both are spine-chilling books that you probably won’t want to read in the dark for the most part… Definitely recommended! (: