I've only read a couple of Edward Lorn's short stories previously, but I'm a fan of the dude on a personal level. So, full disclosure time - I follow and occasionally interact with Ed on a variety of social media platforms, including Goodreads (his honest and candid book reviews is how I happened upon him in the first place), and I was thrilled to hear he had signed with DarkFuse for this release. This, however, has not impacted my view of the work, and the following is my honest review of the material.
Fairy Lights is a simple wrong place/wrong time horror in the woods story. Something dangerous is lurking in the forest, and a mother, her son, and his friend inadvertently stumble into the thick of things while on what should have been a fun weekend camping getaway.
This novella is a fun read, and it kept me engaged and entertained during my brief moments of lucidity as I battled to the near-death with the stomach bug from hell. It's also yet one more reason to add to the pile for why I won't ever go camping.
Lorn creates some pretty chilling monsters here, in both human form and otherwise. The violence is visceral and left me squirming a few times (one scene involving an arm and a machete is unlikely to leave my mind anytime soon). And the characters, thankfully, and for the most part, are pretty entertaining. The central leads are two teenage boys, and their snarky camaraderie reminded me of some of the circles I ran in during my youth.
My only real criticism is that the book feels a bit lopsided, and that's chalked up to the way plot is executed. There's a lot of sex and sexuality running through the book's first half, with hardly a chapter gone by without some reflection on penis size, pornography, or sex acts (consensual or otherwise). Some of this material felt a bit too extraneous in the grander scheme of things, particularly with its near-total absence in the second-half (granted, there is a reason, story-wise, for this, but I'm not going to spoil it). The second-half of the book, in general, is a lighter, almost breezier affair, as the characters deal with the fallout of the book's previous half and the nature of the threat becomes almost existential for a few of the survivors.
Despite a little bit of imbalance to the story as a whole, Fairy Lights is a fast-paced and entertaining horror romp.
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