logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: classic-horror
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-16 20:46
Dark Mirror
In a Glass Darkly - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

This was the Goodreads Classic Horror Lovers Tales to Chill Your Blood group read in October 2017. I listened to it on Kindle. This volume contains five stories: "Green Tea" "The Familiar" "Mr. Justice Harbottle" "The Room in the Dragon Volant" "Carmilla" I will go through and discuss each story separately.

 

"Green Tea"--I have read this story before. It's interesting, although the way it's written is a bit on the dry side. It's told with detachment, which I suppose makes sense as it's told through letters written by Dr. Martin Hesselius, a paranormal investigator. The interesting component was the concept of green tea as a substance that can cause a person's third eye to open and to allow them to see into the spirit world. The unfortunate clergyman who is the focus of the story is able to see a monkey that continues to haunt him until it drives him crazy. It could have been more suspenseful, honestly. 3 stars "The Familiar"--A psychological horror story about a man who is being haunted by a figure from his past as a sea captain. Another use of the trope of a person being driven mad by his perception of something no one else can see. I was not particularly impressed by this story. 2.5 stars "Mr. Justice Harbottle"--a story about a judge who is haunted by the spirits of those he wrongly condemned to death. Nice build of suspense. I think the writing is much better in this story than "Green Tea" and "The Familiar". Ironically, I read the original version of this story, "An Account of Some Strange Disturbances in Aungier Street" (1853) out of another ghost story volume I was reading in October. I like that it deals with the concept of spiritual consequences for the wrong that one does, even when the person seems to be powerful in this life. The judge was not just a corrupt official, but he was also a degenerate who treated those around him poorly. 4 stars "The Room in the Dragon Volant"--This is more of a suspense story. It reminds me of something Robert Louis Stevenson might have wrote. It's one of the longer stories in the volume, with some involved storytelling. It's not a ghost or horror story, although there initially appears to be supernatural elements. Lots of nice twists in the story that did impress me. 4 stars "Carmilla"--Another reread for me. A very famous novella about a female vampire with some very obvious homoerotic overtones. Carmilla chooses exclusively female victims and uses her allure to develop their attraction to her. Carmilla is a create of simultaneous seductiveness and repulsion to her newest victim, Laura. Readers can plot this story out and see over time that there is something very wrong about Carmilla. The story builds to an exciting climax as Laura's father and other concerned parties work to deal with the evil vampire. This is old school vampire horror. Carmilla is the bad guy. Readers who enjoy the romantic angle cannot escape the fact that Carmilla is a sexual predator who is endangering the life of Laura. This was written during the Victorian age, in which sexual values were highly pruritanical, so it couldn't have been written any other way without national outrage. However, it was a night springboard for plenty of later vampire stories that focused more of the erotic aspects and less on the evil monster component. First time I read this, I found the flowery descriptions tedious. I enjoyed this a lot more this time around, maybe because I listened to the narration. 4 stars. Overall, I would give this 3.5 stars, which is an average of my individual ratings. Le Fanu is a good writer, but his style isn't my personal favorite. He's not the most active writer and I don't find his writing particularly scary (other than a couple of moments in Carmilla). However, he has some interesting ideas and concepts and his storytelling has been influential to the genre of classic horror.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2018-01-16 18:21
Let Me Tell You a Scary Story
Victorian Frightenings: Volume 1 (Horror Anthology Volume 1) - E.F. Benson,Edith Wharton,Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,Perceval Landon,William Mudford,Auguste de Villiers de l'Isle-Adam,Bram Stoker

I wish I had taken notes when I read this, but I didn't have the time. I found this enjoyable. There's a little bit of everything. There are some widely recognized classics in the horror genre here: "The Judge's House by Bram Stoker, "The Upper Berth" by F. Marion Crawford. Also stories by famous authors that might be lesser known, such as "The Lady Maid's Bell" by Edith Wharton, "Madam Crowl's Ghost" by JS Le Fanu. I didn't love all the stories, but generally they were all good quality. The best story is probably the first ones: "Thurnley Abbey", a ghost story with a hefty dose of psychological horror, and I admit it did make me giggle. It deals with how a skeptic deals with facing something beyond his perception.. Also, "The Room in the Tower" by EF Benson, about a man haunted by a horrible woman in a portrait. This was very creepy! The last two stories, "The Torture of Hope" by Villiers d I'Isle-Adam and "The Iron Shroud" by William Mudford are more like contes cruel. The former about a man who is imprisoned and allowed to believe he has escaped, only to find it was just a cruel way to torment him by his captors. The latter, about a man who is forced to face his own execution in his prison cell. It ends abruptly and makes the reader feel acutely uncomfortable. I don't like the way "The Judge's House" ends, but it's definitely a very effective ghost story with some real understanding of supernatural evil in that a horrible person's essence retains the malevolence it had in life. I listened to this on Kindle and that was a very fun way to experience these stories. It's well deserving of a four star rating.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-14 10:15
October 2017 — A Belated Wrap-Up!

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 14, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things are starting to get just a bit darker and the stakes higher when it comes to Ms. Marvel’s life! She has to think whether she should be blindly following orders, even if they do come from someone she has looked up to all her life:

 

She has to concede that she can’t go fight crime somewhere she hasn’t lived long enough to understand what is happening:

 

 

She realizes that others can be surprisingly kind even when they don’t have to be:

 

 

We are also shown a glimpse of her ancestors migrating during the Partition of the Subcontinent in 1947:

 

 

 

As hauntingly beautiful as ever! A good installment where we finally discover that people who loved Maika do exist! She remains her courageous self throughout the story.

 

 

 

Review to come later.

 

 

Read my review and the status of Project Frankenstein.

 

 

As long as you expect the MC not to talk to each other and resolve the major conflict in two pages or one of them just picking up and leaving the other to”protect them” or the big baddie being dealt with in the last two pages, you will enjoy this series. I do, so I did! The humor shines through in the books and I love reading them when I need something funny and light. My favorite quote from the book:

 

 

 

 

Simply beautiful and so on point with the current events that it is scary! These four issues are just the beginning though. I hope it continues to be this awesome. Here are some scenes for you to feast your eyes on:

 

 

 

 

Take a cute cozy mystery and add some seriously messed up and furious ghosts to it and you will have created Southern Spirits. I liked the upping of the violence level, which kept this book from becoming just another cozy mystery. I also liked that the MC didn’t wait around and got down to work even when she was quaking in her boots. My favorite quote from the book:

 

 

 

 

Read my review here.

 

 

So, this is one of those instances where not reading the book blurb or any reader reviews came back to bite me in the ass! The story is the original Mary Shelley story; this book has simply some steampunkish art strewn about. Visually appealing? Hell yeah! Original? Not so much! Even so, I can now cross off this book from my list.

 

 

Review to come later.

 

 

 

While playing Work Book Bingo, I got: A Book Purchased for its Cover. That was when the misery began! I looked around in all my bookshelves trying to spot a book that I had purchased just for that reason. There weren’t any.So, I searched my Kobo library and this was the best that I could come up with.

 

I had so many issues with this book that began with the inclusion of overused tropes and ended at a TSTL protag. Yeah, I didn’t like it and these quotes can easily show why:

Ciardis gave her a look like a deer facing the glow of a bright lantern in the dark forest.

(after talking about candidates dying of asphyxiation)…I hope I never hear of such a thing happening with you, Ciardis.”

“No, of course not!”

Prince Heir or not, Sebastian’s hand-kissing technique, with a bit too much saliva involved, left a lot to be desired.

There was a scene from the book where a prophecy is made about one of the characters coming into enough power to “rend the Empire asunder”. On hearing it, the characters remained unaffected and the prophecy wasn’t even mentioned again!

There was a sprinkling of terms like the Madrassa and Hammam that have an Arabic origin. Yet the worldbuilding included none of the other elements common to Middle Eastern culture.

 

The protag gets whole dossiers full of information about her patrons-to-be. They mention everything about the persons in question. Yet they fail to mention that one of them, a General, has a bastard son who is also a mage. How do you leave out that important a bit of information? If the information gatherers didn’t know, then what good were they?

 

The protag had to undergo a 3-day long contest that would decide if she is worthy of a patron or not. One of the rules for the contest was that the activities of the first day must be hidden from her yet she could be told what would happen in the next two days. I mean, why? Was the author simply making it up as they went?

 

Another major character, the Prince Heir (who gives hand-kisses with too much saliva) went on a quest. This quest was supposed to unite him with the land he is to rule. Yet…yet…he forgot to take matches with him to light a lantern as part of the ceremony in that quest. WHY?! Oh wait, he also forgot to pack a knife that he would need for the bloodletting part of the same ritual.

 

 

A fun if a bit slow paced cozy mystery.

 

 

 

A short, classic horror read. It wasn’t even marginally close to the world-changing Frankenstein, which was also written during the same horror story writing “contest”. Yet I liked it! Like the vampires of old, this one also exuded an aura of evil that affected its victims immensely more than the actual drinking of blood did.

 

Image 

Image 2

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-17 11:03
Carmilla (Valancourt Classics) - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,Jamieson Ridenhour

So this is a short book, today it would be a novelette and the publishers apparently decided that 85 pages of story needed a 37 page introduction and 72 pages of other matter. I should have skipped the other stuff. It turned the story into a school read and I was not well disposed to that.  The footnotes were also occasionally intrusive, the editor provided a dictionary (from the Oxford English Dictionary) definition of things like "languor" and "traces" so the reading experience felt like a school edition.

 

It's an early vampire novel, one set in Austria, and honestly my only previous experience of stories set in Austria are of The Chalet School stories.  From what I've read of Le Fanu's life he never went to Austria, but he did have experience of a sickly sister.  Maybe some of the ideas of there being some sort of cure was wish fulfilment of sorts, that the defeat of Carmilla would be like the defeat of the illness his sister suffered from? You know what, I could speculate (and the editor of this edition did, at length) but overall it was an interesting read of a root text, rather like reading Dracula a few years ago, to see where some of the ideas and tropes came from that have lingered into modern fiction.  It is also interesting in not being very judgemental about the lesbian overtones but mostly the story left me wanting more from it.  The illustrations were pretty overt as well with mostly bedroom scenes depicted (yes you can see Carmillas body through the nightgown on the cover), so the sexual overtones of the vampire legend are present, even in this ur-text.

 

Without the surrounding literary matter this would probably have been 3.5 stars but the matter got in the way of the story for me. It's the Bookclub read, and I'm glad I did but I wouldn't recommend this edition for the casual reader.  It falls into gothic, vampires, genre: horror, classic horror, and could be used for supernatural in all likelyhood, I'm using it for Classic Horror

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-15 16:32
Carmilla by J. Sheridan Le Fanu
Carmilla - Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

 

After my re-read of this classic, I  give Carmilla 3.5 stars. I loved the atmosphere and the language, even if I thought it was a bit too flowery at times.

 

I know that it's wrong to judge a work of this age by today's standards, but man, everyone in this book seemed stupid and too naive to be believable. The whole time, I was thinking "My God, man, wake up!"

 

I'm glad I re-read this one but I think that shall be it for me with Carmilla.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?