My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's late. Dark. A boy rushes to catch a train, leaping aboard just before it pulls away. Suddenly he realises that it's the wrong train. He's annoyed of course, but not scared...Yet. He gets off at the next station, but the platform's empty, and it doesn't look like any station he's seen before. But he's still not scared...Yet. Then a stranger arrives - someone with stories to help pass the time. Only these aren't any old stories. These are nightmares, and they come with a price to pay...Scared yet? You will be.
I read this book in one sitting and it certainly kept me entertained and wanting to know what was going to happen.
This is the first book I have read by Quidt and to be honest I didn't know what to expect. I had heard that it was quite a scary book, and scary books are not my type of thing so was a little apprehensive when I picked it up. There was no need to be though, I didn't find this very scary. It was intense at times and I did hold my breath on a couple of occasions.
I thought this was a very cleverly written book. There is the over arching theme and plot, which is broken intermittently with a collection of 9 short stories. These stories were fast paced and kept you interested throughout. I began to become more and more intrigued with the boy and the old man, wondering what his intentions are and how the boy was going to go home. At one point I thought I had worked out the ending, mine actually would have been scarier than the actual ending, but would have been very abrupt!
Although a short read at just over 210 pages, there is such a lot packed in that you don't notice the page length. This is a different type of book that I normally go for, however I am so glad I gave this a chance as I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would be interested in picking up more from Quidt.
I don't want to say too much about the book, as to not spoil your enjoyment of it. If you like jumpy books, that send a shiver down your spine I would recommend this one to you.
The only reason I have given this book 4* and not 5 is down to the ending, although it did surprise me, I had worked it out once the boy had got home. I think the ending could have been a little stronger.
I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.
Jeremy stopped by with a guest post too, I asked him about his favourite scary stories.
Sam asked me to post about Spooky Stories - to give you my top 10 adult and children’s scary books - and that causes me a bit of a problem because as a genre, I’ve never read spooky stories. Not ever.
Given what I write, that might sound a bit unlikely, but it’s true.
As a small child and growing up through my teens I had such nightmares. Not just bad dreams but real nightmares - screaming, tear the heart out of the dark, nightmares - night after night. If you’d like to know all about that, then take a look back to the start of this tour because I told Beth at Readers Corner all about those days.
The long and the short of it is that the younger me could fill the hours of darkness with enough terror of my own making without ever needing to look in a book for it. So I never did. Not once. Never got into the habit of it since.
They said that as a child I had a dark imagination. They didn’t know the half of it. Its legacy is that I have a very clear recall of what frightened me then and I use that now when I need to. It’s like dipping a pen into old familiar ink.
Though I can’t tell you about spooky books I’ve read, I’ve got a mental list of scary books that if I were inclined to do some exploring, they are where I’d start. So, I’ll share that list with you and who knows, we might one day end up having gone over the same ground.
Here we go, adult stories first and in no particular order -
1. Dracula by Bram Stoker. You can’t write a novel that fixes a character in global consciousness without it being an extraordinary story. Maybe the style will have dated, but the substance? No. This has to be on the list.
2. The Shining by Stephen King. What makes so many people so very frightened by the stories that Stephen writes? If I’m going to find out, then I’ll look at this one. An isolated hotel, murder, possession and the supernatural. Makes me want to walk away from it right now.
3. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This is a novel from the end of the 50’s but it’s considered by Stephen King to be one of the finest horror novels of the late 20th century and that is some recommendation. A house with a dark past and people misguided enough to want to uncover its secrets.
4. The collected short stories of MR James, Sheridan LeFanu and Saki. These I have to confess I’ve read. Gems from another age and written with such skill. Perfect for dark winter’s nights, candlelight and the embers of a fire.
5. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. A travelling carnival and a Midwestern town whose people are lured into darkness. Why not give this one a go? I like Bradbury’s writing though I’ve not read this. He’s very readable, like a daydream happening. Only this will be a dark daydream.
and for children -
1. The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. Ghosts, hauntings and spectres appearing throughout London, all hunted down by Lockwood and Co. Jonathan’s writing is always a pleasure. He’s creative and funny and I just know that he will have the tone of this spot on.
2. The Witches by Roald Dahl. Of course I’ve read this, and it’s frightening and touching on a variety of levels. There will be something unsettling enough for just about every reader.
3. And then what about Roald Dahl’s Book of Ghost Stories? Fourteen stories by other authors but curated by Dahl. This more for the Young Adult reader. I think this will be like a box of pearls assembled by a master jeweller.
4. Breathe by Cliff McNish. This is one I’ve read. An asthmatic child and his mother in a house with benign and far less benign supernatural forces about them. It really is very good. It makes you look at the emptiness of a room and wonder if it really is that empty.
5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman. Ghost children’s souls and a child’s lost parents all mixed in another world. Sinister and memorable. A read alone or read-out-loud story. Buttons and eyes will never be quite the same.
There, ten stories all spooked and lined up ready for you.
I’ll just turn out the light now.