Slasher Girls & Monster Boys Edited by April Genevieve Tucholke

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys by April Genevieve Tucholke

Title: Slasher Girls & Monster Boys
Editor: April Genevieve Tucholke
Authors: Various
Series: N/A

Ghosts, murderers, and death bring plenty of frights in this horror anthology. Inspired by various mediums from films to classic horror novels to music, these fourteen short stories are filled with thrills, twists, and trepidation. And just when you think you have a story figured out, the surprises are fierce yet strangely satisfying.

“After a while, Richard started getting the distinct impression that someone was watching him sleep. There was a strange weight in his room, as if the furniture or the walls weren’t aligned quite right, and sometimes he would feel that weight press against his chest like a stone.”

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a great collection of horror stories perfect for October. I’m familiar with most of the authors in this anthology, having read books by a large majority of them. Authors like Nova Ren Suma and Jonathan Maberry are sure to bring their personal brand of the strange and thrilling, but I was most impressed by authors like Marie Lu. Best known for her Legend series, Lu weaves together one of my favorite short stories in this book. The Girl Without a Face takes something as simple as a closet that won’t open and turns it into a tale that had me glancing at my own several times, hoping it was empty. April Genevieve Tucholke’s The Flicker, the Fingers, the Beat, the Sigh takes you for a ride where you end up rooting against key characters. This is my first reading experience with this author and it won’t be my last.

There were several stories in this anthology which were so good at introducing intriguing characters and exciting storylines that I found myself wanting the authors to turn them into full-length novels. Jonathan Maberry’s Fat Girl with a Knife would make a perfect introduction to a novel about an unlikely heroine battling for survival.  Jay Kristoff’s Sleepless starts off like a cheesy horror-movie where you’re screaming at one of the characters to be smarter, but ends up pulling the rug out from under you and begging for more in the end.

Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is fantastic for those looking for a quick scare during this Halloween season. While ghosts and killers may be the obvious choice for a horror story, many of these authors select more unconventional characters and what results is a really diverse blend of frightful tales that will surely delight horror fans.

Rating: 4/5

★★★★

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Title: Dorothy Must Die
Author: Danielle Paige
Series: Dorothy Must Die, #1

Amy Gumm has been an outsider her whole life and her mother, the one person she is supposed to be able to count on, has mentally checked out. Amy just wishes to be anywhere but Kansas. She’s about to get her wish when a tornado whisks her and her trailer away. Now Amy finds herself in the land of Oz, but this isn’t the Oz from the movie. Here a war is being waged against Dorothy, who has usurped the throne and now rules Oz with an iron fist. Amy is forced to become a weapon for the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked who live by one single motto…Dorothy must die.

“The golden path led all the way up to the ravine and then dropped off into nothingness. In the other direction, it wound its way through the field and spiraled into the horizon.

It was a road.

‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'”

Amy immediately sucked me into her story. Feeling out of place in her own life, she has no one to ground her, so when she is swept into another world I think she finds it to be a bit of a relief. While in Oz, Amy must try to understand who she is before she can harness the power inside her. To help her on her journey is the wise Gert and the infuriating Nox. These relationships, though interesting, moved a little too quickly. It wasn’t insta-love between Amy and Nox, but Amy’s interest in him came about almost immediately. At the same time the story itself felt a little slow but I think this is because Amy was kept out of the loop with regard to the ultimate plan of taking out Dorothy. Unfortunately, because of this, much of the storyline lacked a clear direction.

Many will enjoy the unique world Danielle Paige creates, taking icon characters like the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man and altering them into something much darker and eviler than we remember. Because of the story’s pacing, I didn’t find the book as engaging as I’d hoped. The story I was looking forward to, after reading the back cover of the book, did not really develop until the very end. But I have a feeling the second book in the series will have better direction since we know what to expect going forward. The most intriguing part of Dorothy Must Die was the fact that Good and Wicked meant very little. Each character had ambiguous motivations and you’re never sure who Amy can trust.

Rating: 3/5

★★★