Review: The Store by Bentley Little [audiobook]

The Store Audiobook.jpg
The Store
By Bentley Little
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My original THE STORE audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

In the very late 1990s/early 2000s, I worked at a local big-box retail store for several years while attending college. Employees had to attend pointless, monthly bull sessions, apparently to remind us on a regular basis of how awesome this particular retail chain was and why it should be oh so meaningful to us meagerly paid employees. At one point, my department manager notified me that the higher-ups were preparing to fire me because I was putting in too many hours at school and not enough on the sales floor, trying to con customers into up-selling their CD purchases with overpriced protection plans. If I hadn’t already mentally checked out on that loathsome job, threatening to fire me for going to school was certainly the clincher.

Maybe it’s because of those years of personal dissatisfaction busting my hump for The Man that I was so able to completely relate to Bentley Little’s The Store. I dug the heck out of this book, and nearly all of it was totally on-point for me.

The small town of Juniper, Arizona is about to receive its first high-end, discount retail store – think Walmart and you’d be on the right track. While jogging past the soon-to-be-demolished, and once protected, land, Bill notices dead animals on the lot. (As one character states later, “The Store is built on blood!”) To say that’s merely the beginning of The Store’s impact on Juniper is to woefully undersell this retailer’s impact. Soon enough, the town’s small business owners are in a fight not just for their livelihoods, but for their very lives. The Store sweeps over Juniper like locusts, destroying everything – and everyone – in its path. And that’s just for starters!

The Store is very much a work of social horror, and it has an important message at its core regarding the nature of consumerism and capitalism and highly powerful and influential corporatism versus government. While there are supernatural elements at play throughout, the most frightening aspects of the story are the ones that are absolutely real. It’s positively sinister to watch how The Store corrupts Juniper and its inhabitants, its many various tentacles reaching into the community to sow both paranoia and complicity. The cult-like nature of The Store’s employees, the manager’s fervent dedication to the retail outlet, and the bullying nature of a mega-wealthy retail giant and its corporate lobbying against a small-town local government are all disquietingly familiar. Although some of these horrors operate on a metaphorical level, they still resound a little too close for comfort.

Despite some scenes of violence and one unsettling and graphic sex scene, The Store is a work of quiet horror, and Little ensnares readers with a heavy, dark atmosphere and a highly unsettling tone exacerbated by small-town politics and plenty of personal conflicts. David Stifel excels at narrating Little’s writing, luring listeners in with his friendly, relatable tone, even as a sense of creeping dread mounts. He has a quiet approach that works perfectly in tandem with the material he is reading, giving the listening experience a personable intimacy. As a combined force, Little and Stifel certainly sank their hooks in deep for me, and I was appropriately wowed by both.

The Store was my first experience with Bentley Little’s work, and while it’s not entirely perfect (although I found it to be a little too long, I wish a bit more focus had been paid on fleshing out some of the supernatural elements) it was certainly highly satisfying. Little is now an author whose work I’ll be checking out more of in the future.

[Audiobook provided for review by the audiobookreviewer.com]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 4 [Edited by Brian James Freeman]

halloweencarnival4.jpg
Halloween Carnival Volume 4
By Kealan Patrick Burke, Ray Garton, Bev Vincent, C.A. Suleiman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Volume 4 of the Halloween Carnival series edited by Brian Freeman follows the same basic pattern as previous entries - five authors, five stories, all revolving around the Halloween holiday. Presented here are the following:

THE MANNEQUIN CHALLENGE by Kealan Patrick Burke
I can relate to Theo, Burke's central character and the office outcast attending his job's Halloween party when he’d rather be at home. I’m not sure I’d behave the same way, though, if confronted by a roomful of frozen, mannequin-like party-goers. The story itself is strange, with no explanations as to why and how, but it’s a fun little distraction. It's WTF quotient is very high, and, as with with every one of his works I've read, Burke proves to be a hell of writer even if this particular story wasn't one of my favorites.
3/5 stars

ACROSS THE TRACKS by Ray Garton
Ray Garton’s an author I’ve been wanting to try, and this story was a solid intro to his writing. A group of bullied kids in search of candy stumble upon a very strange Halloween party. The depiction of bullying and cruelty among children struck a particular chord with me. I had to deal with my share of bullies in school, and I found the ordeals this particular pack of teens face to ring true. While I never had to deal with torments like the ones depicted here, I found the kids and their situation very familiar and relatable. This one hit all the right notes for me, and I’ll be reading more of Garton’s work for sure.
4/5 stars

THE HALLOWEEN TREE by Bev Vincent
I couldn’t get into The Halloween Tree, unfortunately. It was a little too one-note, and not very exciting or scary. It’s another story following some kids trick or treating and facing their fears, but it pales in comparison to Garton’s story, and there’s just not much happening with either the plot or the characters.
2/5 stars

PUMPKIN EATER by C. A. Suleiman
What do you when you love Halloween, but your partner does not? This story of spousal dissatisfaction, was enjoyable, but there's not any real surprises packed into its short page count. It's entirely predictable, but Suleiman's characters sure made it all pretty darn entertaining.
3/5 stars

WHEN THE LEAVES FALL by Paul Melniczek
Haverville is a strange town, but everyone knows not to trespass on farmer Graver's land. Leave it to two kids to defy that small nugget of common knowledge on Halloween, though. What they discover will change their lives forever! WHEN THE LEAVES FALL was a pretty dry note to end this anthology on, and slightly more than half of this book's page count are dedicated to this particular story. It's slow and plodding, and asks way more questions than it can, or is even willing to, answer, but the biggest problem is how dull it all is. Even for a (longer) short story, I still found it a slog to get through.
2/5 stars

Having read now four of the five Halloween Carnival books back-to-back, I feel like I'm getting burned out on anthologies, and this series in particular. But there's only one more entry to go, and I'm determined to finish these. So, onto Volume 5...

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 3 [Edited by Brian James Freeman]

halloweencarnival3.jpg
Halloween Carnival Volume 3
By Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As with volumes one and two, Halloween Carnival Volume 3 collects five short stories centered around, as the title would imply, Halloween. Here's what's what:

THE WAY LOST by Kelley Armstrong
Kelly Armstrong kicks this anthology off on a strong note. Every Halloween, a child in Franklin goes missing. I've only read a few short stories by Armstrong, all of which I've enjoyed immensely, and she does a great job setting a particular mood here, and ends the story on a high note - and a very creepy one at that!
5/5 stars

LA CALAVERA by Kate Maruyama
DNF. Got about halfway through it and found myself severely bored by what felt more like a romance story than Halloween horror. No scares, no tension, no point. Moving on...
No rating

THE DEVIL'S DUE by Michael McBride
I'm not going to lie - one of the reasons I was interested in this series of Halloween Carnival books was because of McBride's involvement in this volume (Kealan Patrick Burke, Norman Prentiss, and Richard Chizmar were some more great reasons to invest some time in this series). I've become a big fan of McBride's work in short order over the last couple years, and this story reminded me a little bit of his Snowblind novellas (always good). Here, McBride delivers a fantastic tale of a small town that, every Halloween, offers up one its children in sacrifice. There's lots of chills and suspense in this one!
5/5 stars

A THOUSAND ROOMS OF DARKNESS by Taylor Grant
This story might have the catchiest title in this anthology. Thankfully, the story isn’t half-bad either. Grant sends up some pretty wild swerves in the finale, and it took me a bit to reorient myself to sudden changes. Overall, it was pretty solidly done and kept me hooked throughout.
4/5 stars

THE LAST NIGHT OF OCTOBER by Greg Chapman
Every Halloween, there's a knock on Gerald's door from a Trick or Treater unlike any of the other neighborhood kids. Now wheelchair bound and infirm, Gerald tries to shoo away his nurse before sunset, but the two quickly find themselves entrenched and in a struggle for survival. Chapman dishes out a really effective ghost story and I dug the heck out of this one! Good stuff all around.
4/5 stars

Halloween Carnival Volume 3 was probably the most consistent and on-point in terms of quality from this series thus far. I found myself enjoying the stories quite a lot more than in Volume 2, and the anthology keeps a pretty high standard of stories and talent for the majority of its page-count.

Now on to Volume 4!

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 2 [Edited By Brian James Freeman]

e_freeman02_867x1300.jpg
Halloween Carnival Volume 2
By Glen Hirshberg, Lee Thomas, Holly Newstein, Del James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Brian James Freeman continues to set loose a handful of authors to explore some Halloween horrors in Halloween Carnival Volume 2. As with the prior volume, there are five authors with five stories, all centered around the best holiday on the calendar, although some of these tales are more strongly pumpkin spiced than others...

MR. DARK'S CARNIVAL by Glen Hirshberg
Hirshberg kicks off the volume with a wonderfully written short story filled with the rich lore of Mr. Dark's Carnival, as presented to us via a college historian who lives for Halloween. His favorite holiday, unfortunately, is tainted by the sudden suicide of a former PhD student who had previously been collaborating with him. I loved Hirshberg's prose, but couldn't completely buy into the twist ending and abrupt finish to this one.
4/5 stars

THE FACTS IN THE CASE OF MY SISTER by Lee Thomas
Halloween lingers deeply in the background of Thomas's short story, and the only ghouls to be found here are of the awful human variety. While it lacked that certain Halloweenish flavor, the story itself is damn good and involves a brother reminiscing about better times while his sister lays in her death bed. Although they've had a severe falling out and hadn't spoken to each out in years, he may be responsible for her current state of affairs, even if unknowingly. I dug this little powerhouse of a short story.
4/5 stars

MISCHIEF NIGHT by Holly Newstein
After two solid shorts, I guess it was time for this anthology to slow down a bit. Unfortunately, I didn't find Newstein's story to be anything special. While it's not bad, it's not wonderful either and it felt fairly contrived. It’s set on the night before Halloween, and involves an inadvertent home invasion after a prank-playing kid seeks shelter. It’s kinda bland, and like the prior story, with its lack of overt supernatural influences, it just doesn’t scream Halloween to me...
3/5 stars

THE GHOST MAKER by Del James
A low-life hitman gets invited to a Halloween party and frets about his costume. That’s seriously it, and it takes a long time before we even get to that part--long enough that I had to double-check and make sure I had opened the right Kindle book and was still reading a Halloween anthology. While there's some good one-liners, the story is instantly forgettable and the Halloween aspect feels like a poorly tacked-on afterthought.
1/5 stars

THE PUMPKIN BOY by Al Sarrantonio
After several stories disappointingly lacking in the Halloween spirit, Sarrantonio makes up for it in spades with his pumpkin-headed boy Frankenstein. There's kidnappings, a possible serial killer on the loose, urban legends, Halloween carnivals, and a nifty little culprit behind all these shenanigans affecting Orangefield. Thank goodness somebody remembered to bring the Halloween spirit with them!
4/5 stars

While this second entry in the Carnival series is significantly weaker than the prior installment, there's at least a few saving graces. My main complaint is that I just didn't get a strong enough sense of Halloween throughout, and some of the authors do little more than pay meagre lip service to the holiday.

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 1 [Edited by Brian James Freeman]

halloween carnival-1.jpg
Halloween Carnival Volume 1
By Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John R. Little, Lisa Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're looking for some Halloween goodness to get you in the spirit, volume one of Halloween Carnival is a pretty good place to start. Edited by Brian James Freeman, this one's a strong anthology overall, with more hits than misses, and I enjoyed four out of the five stories within. Aside from McCammon, I hadn't read any of the other authors involved, and I'm planning on checking out more work from the bulk of them. On that score, too, this anthology is a pretty big win for me. Since there's only five stories collected here, let's break it down!

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammon
Our first stop in this Carnival and pretty a wonderful opening at that. Here, readers are confronted with the eternal dilemma: What do you do when you find a strange, unwrapped hand-shaped piece of sugar-coated candy at the bottom of your Halloween loot bag? EAT IT! Obviously. I was expecting something macabre and ghoulish, but McCammon travels another route entirely. The tenderness at the heart of this story surprised me. It's pretty rare that I come across a Halloween Feel Good story, and this one certainly worked well (although it felt a bit too repetitive given the shortness of the story, but I'm OK giving it a pass all things considered).
4/5 stars.

THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin Lucia
I haven’t read Kevin Lucia before, but after THE RAGE OF ACHILLES I’m gonna have to dive into his catalog of works. It's also another heavy emotional hitter, but one that's on the opposite end of the spectrum after McCammon's story. This was a wonderfully tragic story about a father’s loss and a priest's commitment to his church's worshipers. I gotta say, this one was really well done!
5/5 stars.

DEMON AIR by John R. Little
It's here that Halloween Carnival hits a jolting, disruptive bit of turbulence. This one was just flat-out lame, with too many coincidental things crammed into so brief a story. A demonic airplane ride (!) should not be this boring. Cool premise, but goddamnit, the author just didn't know what to do with it, how to execute it, how to end it, nothing. There's no cohesiveness, the pacing was crap, and it feels like the author figured out he had no clue what to do with the story and abruptly ended it. The only saving grace to DEMON AIR was its brevity.
1/5 stars.

LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa Morton
Unlike DEMON AIR, Lisa Morton's LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS good and truly worked for me. A washed up American actor heads down to Mexico to co-star in a horror film and finds himself stuck in a real-life horror adventure. This one's set in the 1950s, and I could pretty easily imagine this as a classic black-and-white horror film with plenty of deep shadows. I dug it.
4/5 stars.

#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan Gunnells
This one's a novella and comprises 50% of Halloween Carnival's page count. Thankfully it's time well spent! Like Morton's story, this one gave me a strong cinematic vibe with it's focus on a modern-day slasher story. After a fledgling horror writer makes a Facebook post with an off-the-cuff hashtag, #MakeHalloweenScaryAgain, he finds out his post has gone viral in a wholly unanticipated way. This was fun story, and although I had the killer pegged pretty early on this didn't dampen my enjoyment and I had a good time watching everything unravel.
4/5 stars.

Now on to Volume Two!

[Note: I received an advanced copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley.]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Audiobook Review: Feral by James DeMonaco and B. K. Evenson

feral-audio.jpg
Feral
$10.20
By James DeMonaco, B. K. Evenson
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My original FERAL audiobook review and many others can be found at Audiobook Reviewer.

I got my first inklings that Feral, by James DeMonaco (creator of The Purge franchise) and BK Evenson, was going to be a troublesome narrative right from the very start. Allie, a high school girl who the male authors want to make sure we understand sleeps in the nude, wakes up to a text message prompting her to click an innocuous link, which ends up taking her to a site where she can watch her best friend having sex. It’s clear to Allie that her friend is being secretly filmed, and she’s awfully gutted over this discovery. Thankfully, after Allie tells her friend that the boyfriend had invaded her privacy, secretly filmed them having sex, and then mass mailed the video to their entire high school, the bestie is totally OK with all this! It’s awesome news, in fact, the bestest thing ever since chocolate and Pornhub. She’s gonna be so popular now, like OMG! And then, on an otherwise completely unrelated note, the apocalypse hits.

So, look, I had some issues with Feral. In order to discuss them, I’m going to issue a BIG OL’ SPOILER WARNING FOR HERE ON OUT. Please consider yourself warned. Cool? Cool.

The apocalypse takes the form of a bioengineered virus that affects only the men and turns them feral. Once infected, they possess super-strength, super-speed, and are super, super-violent. The target of their rage is any and all women, and faster than you can say GamerGate, these rabid dudebros are ripping apart cheerleaders, attacking teachers, and beating their wives to death with their bare hands. Allie manages to escape the school, and then we cut to three years later, where the world has turned into basically ever single other zombie story ever told. The women keep themselves secluded in camps, occasionally sending sorties out into the demolished towns, where the threat of crazed, killer men lurks around every corner.

Feral has an awesome premise, and it could have been something special, something that could have paralleled and spoken to the inequities women face and the abuse some of them endure at the hands of men. And for a little while, it does! There are flashes of insight here and there, moments where I thought the authors were going to strive for meaning and use the horror, as horror often does, to make some kind of relevant social commentary. Unfortunately, this all gets squandered as DeMonaco and Evenson opt to travel far more mundane roads, regurgitating every single zombie trope imaginable, while somehow avoiding so much of the commentary baked into the far better stories told by George A. Romero. While the ferals aren’t exactly zombies, there’s not a whole lot to distinguish them either, and this book is built like a frigging zombie story almost right from the get-go.

Allie, for her part, has adapted well to the apocalypse and is a brilliant heroine – she’s smart, she’s tough, and she’s a brilliant tactician. The end of the world suits her and has given her purpose and meaning. She’s a bad-ass feral/zombie killer. Apparently, she also has a sister, but Kim is such an unimportant figure in this book that both Allie and the authors often forget about her entirely. Anywho. Allie’s awesome, an epitome of girl power and a survivor.

Never fear, though! There’s still one man in the whole human race who is uninfected, and he’s here to help restore gender stereotypes and save all these women-folk who have been faring for themselves just fine without him for three years now. Once Sam shows up, tough-girl Allie quickly becomes a damsel in distress, one who requires Sam’s rescuing not once, not twice, not three times, but four! Kinda makes you wonder how Allie was able to cope and survive at all lo these several manless years without a big tough guy to keep her safe.

Sam’s been abused by women, though, as the search for a cure and the continuation of the human species has brought him into contact with some unsavory survivors. You know how I said there wasn’t any kind of social commentary here? Well, I might’ve been a smidge wrong. Evenson and DeMonaco attempt to, in the grand tradition of zombie narratives, draw some parallels between ferals and the survivors. Turns out that by using their heartless scientific method to try and create a vaccine, the women are little better than the crazed, bloodthirsty men seeking to rape and kill them. Luckily, Sam and Allie have insta-love and his high cheek bones and her thick, lustrous hair just might save the world after all.

Fucking really.

On the narrative front, Feral is a steaming, mendacious, tone-deaf pile of scat. On the narration front, it’s actually pretty well done and the story’s shifting points-of-view are told by different women. Structurally, this book is also a mess, with some chapters in third-person omniscient and others in first-person, usually for little rhyme or reason, and mostly just because, with occasional narration shift between Allie and Kim, when the authors or Allie can spare a moment’s thought for the poor, burgeoning twelve-year-old actress. The narrators are solid and adept in their readings, and I didn’t find any flaws in their delivery of the material or in the production of the audiobook itself. I just wish they would have had far better material to narrate.

Feral is well-packaged and well-narrated, but ultimately it’s just not very good. At its core, it’s essentially little more than poorly done Young Adult fiction strapped into a zombie harness. There are no shocks and even fewer surprises, other than how badly this whole damn mess was conceived and executed.

[Audiobook provided for review by audiobookreviewer.com.]

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: The Halloween Children by Brian Freeman and Norman Prentiss

TheHalloweenChildren-eBook-large.jpg
The Halloween Children
By Brian James Freeman, Norman Prentiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley over the summer, but given the awful state of affairs with my perpetual TBR stack I didn't manage to get to this novella until now. But damn if October certainly isn't a mighty fine time to read something like The Halloween Children.

Early on in this story, authors Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss write about how an apartment complex is the perfect setting for a haunted house. You don't need an ancient Native American graveyard or a scene of senseless mass slaughter (although they certainly help!). Apartment complexes present a transitory population, often times with rapid turnover, various cultures, ethnicities, and beliefs - a virtual melting pot, really, for ghoulish horrors to develop and mingle over years or decades.

Or this bit of stage-setting could just be ramblings of insanity told by the damned...

The Halloween Children is a multi-POV narrative, with the chapters structured as interrogation interviews, recordings made by Harris (the apartment complex's handyman), his wife's journal, and e-mails from a college student recently moved into the complex. Between these various devices, Freeman and Prentiss keep the tension ratcheted up high and left me guessing as to who the ultimate culprit - or culprits - were in this story of madness.

Between some solid scares, psychological shenanigans, and brief yet brutal depictions of horrifying violence, this one's a winner. I found The Halloween Children to be a perfect kick-off to this season of the witch.

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!

Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King

sleeping beauties.jpg
Sleeping Beauties: A Novel
$19.50
By Stephen King, Owen King
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Aside from Gwendy's Button Box earlier this year, it's been quite a few years since I've read anything from Stephen King. Although I count him as among my all-time favorite authors, and consider myself a fan, I regret that I've become something of a lapsed Constant Reader. Nevertheless, I had been looking forward to Sleeping Beauties for quite some time and when it finally released I had worked myself up into a good old solid hankering for an epic horror tome.

Unfortunately, Stephen and his son, Owen King, just didn't live up to my expectations and hopes. While the premise is incredible, I found the execution to be sorely lacking. This book is a slog. It's slow, and the majority of its 700 pages present an awful lot of leaves to be bored by. This sucker is jam-packed with characters, most of them one-note and forgettable, while others are simply uninteresting. Dr. Norcross, for instance - one of the lead male figures and prison psychologist (an Appalachian women's correctional facility is the main locale for the majority of Sleeping Beauties), Norcross has a heck of a backstory with his youth spent in the foster care system. The events that have shaped and built his life are wildly intriguing, but the adult we're presented with is pretty damn dull, and his marriage is on the rocks thanks to some half-baked and cliched marital melodrama the Kings tossed in. I might have found to reason to care about the slippery slope the Norcross's marriage was sliding down, but frankly I didn't much care for his wife, Lila, the town sheriff, either.

King (Stephen, at least; I haven't read any of Owen's work previously) is a master at building memorable characters, and yet I struggled to find any reason to sympathize or care about any of the what felt like hundreds of names dropped into this sucker. Even the central antagonist, Evie Black, with her cell phone video game obsession, penchant for sleeping above the covers, and Biblical fantasy roots, is a pale threat. If you're looking for personalities like Stuttering Bill, Roland, Pennywise, or Leeland Gaunt, you'll be sorely disappointed. I doubt Sleeping Beauties will be making its way to the top of legendary King titles anytime soon. Instead, it's more redolent of lesser King works, particularly Under the Dome, which I hated. But while Dome felt an awful lot like a remix of better, more memorable King hits, Sleeping Beauties merely feels redundant, hitting on a lot of the same derivative elements. It's a better book than Under the Dome to be sure, but once the women of the world start falling asleep and chaos ensues, Appalachia feels almost identical to Chester's Mill.

It's not all bad, thankfully. There are a few moments, here and there, that impressed me and convinced to stick with this book (and honestly, if it were anybody other than King, I would have quit this book pretty damn early on). Without spoiling too much, the polar opposites between Appalachia and Our Place were really well done; as one world burns, another is built, and those moments were intriguing as all get out. The nature of the cocoons enshrouding the sleeping women, and what happens when their sleep is disturbed, presented some fantastic moments of horror. And the last hundred pages or so showed the Kings hadn't forgotten to put some gas in the tank after all, giving us some pretty solid action to wrap everything up.

I've seen other reviewers comment on this novels' political nature and how the Kings were standing up on a soapbox. It's not an impression I walked away with, but this is a book about the sexes and what happens when the balance between men and women is significantly altered. The disparity between sexes is inherently political, but I never found this book to be extreme in its presentation of political ideas one way or another. Frankly, if Stephen and Owen had been more polemic Sleeping Beauties might have been way more interesting for it. As it stands, it's merely tepid at best.

View all my reviews

If you have enjoyed my free-to-read writing and reviews at this blog, in ebook form,
or elsewhere, it's easier than ever to donate and support my work on a monthly basis.

Become a Patron!