Tag Archives: horror

It’s Complicated: Fantasy Novellas with Complex Relationships

16 Nov

Often with fantasy fiction and movies there is the “good” guy and the “bad” guy, but in two fantasy novellas I enjoyed recently, Tread of Angels and Nothing But Blackened Teeth, things are more complicated than that as are the relationships depicted between the characters.

Tread of Angels
by Rebecca Roanhorse

I had written previously about Rebecca Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky series so was curious when I was offered an ARC copy of Tread of Angels from the publisher. This story takes place in an entirely different setting from her previous works, in an Old West where the descendants of Angels and Demons reside. For a short work, it brings up a lot of complex issues about race, family, friendship, romantic relationships and what makes someone “good” or “evil.” Celeste, the main protagonist, can pass in appearance for one of the Elect, though she is of mixed descent and also part Fallen. When her sister is accused of murder she must try to find the truth, forcing her to seek the help of her former demon love for whom she still has feelings. The conclusion surprised me but felt satisfying to the story that was being told, which to me is always the signs of a talented storyteller.

Nothing But Blackened Teeth
by Cassandra Khaw

Nothing But Blackened Teeth was suggested by one of our Science Fiction and Fantasy book club members for our Halloween read this year, when we pick things that veer into the horror genre. It is set in an old Japanese mansion where a group of childhood friends go for a wedding, where the ghost stories they tell awaken the yokai, Japanese spirits, living there including the Ohaguro Bettari, a faceless bride whose only feature is her black teeth, a style that was popular with wealthy women in the Edo period to show they were married. This isn’t your typical haunted house story and like with Tread of Angels, I and the other book discussion group members were surprised by the ending. Again it is another work that will have you question who the “evil” ones really are. While some of the group members would have preferred the story be a bit longer, we had a interesting discussion about toxic friendships. I enjoyed the lush language throughout, which managed to bring beauty to the horror.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Information and Digital Services Manager

Subtle Horror: House of Salt and Sorrows

22 Jul

Whenever anything horror related is connected to fantasy, it often falls under the genre of grim-dark, things like The Witcher, A Song of Ice and Fire, The First Law series, and The Broken Empire trilogy just to name a few. All of these have elements of violence and some semblance of horror to them. But for all of the ones that have these elements out on full display, how many fantasy ones use it in a more subtle way? Horror can be a utterly shocking, but it can also be used to build up a quite atmosphere of dread and fear throughout the story it’s telling.

This is where House of Salt and Sorrows comes into play. Written by Erin A. Craig, it tells the story of the Thaumas sisters, once known as the Thaumas Dozen, four of them having died a tragic death prior to the book’s beginning. Our protagonist, Annaleigh, one of the remaining sisters is attending the funeral of the fourth latest dead sister when the book starts. When she starts to receive hints that the death of her sisters maybe no accident, she starts to investigate who could be behind the possible murders.

Part retelling of Grimm’s The Twelve Dancing Princesses and part horror suspense novel, Craig weaves a fantastical tale that will satisfy those looking for a story with strong fairy tale horror vibes.

Written By:
Lauren Lapinski
Circulation Assistant

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