…Major Spoilers Warning…
Happy Friday 13th folks! 🙂
Spiral is the second book in the original Ring trilogy from Koji Suzuki.
…possible spoiler warning for those who haven’t read book 1, Ring…
I read this book many years ago, after the Americans released their more modern remake of the original Japanese horror movie, Ringu. Back then, this trilogy terrified me, especially since I could picture those horrifying dead faces from the movie in my head, sending chills and goose-pimples down my spine. So much so, that when I found these novels on my bookshelf and decided to re-read this trilogy for Halloween 2020, I found that I couldn’t quite bring myself to begin reading it late at night. Preferring to wait for the comfort of daylight instead.
…possible spoiler warning…
For those not already in the know, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to Stephen King’s famous novel The Shining, and the book begins almost exactly where The Shining left off.
…warning: spoilers ahead…
When it comes to Stephen King, I tend to struggle a little. A lot of books begin with a fabulous premise, full of promise and excitement, but somewhere along the way, they branch off toward tedious side streets and monotonous never-ending twisty plots. In a nutshell, I end up bored and these type of books can be difficult to finish. However, The Shining is one of those rare masterpieces that keeps me turning those pages and staying awake to read long past bedtime. Binge-reading chapters for hours on end.
Most people by now are probably familiar with this story: Recovering alcoholic Jack Torrance begins a new job as Winter Caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in Colorado. He relocates his family, wife Wendy and five-year-old son Danny, to the remote location with him. As Jack struggles with his sobriety and anger management issues, the family hope that this will mark the start of a better future for them.
The main premise follows Danny, who has the supernatural ability known as The Shining. This essentially means that he has precognition or clairvoyance. He is more susceptible to paranormal activity, such as seeing ghosts of the past, and can also catch flashes of other people’s inner thoughts and feelings, or witness events before they happen.
As the Torrance’s arrive at the Overlook, Danny instinctively knows, thanks to his ESP (extra-sensory perception) that bad things are going to happen there. He’s not wrong, slowly but surely things go downhill for the unlucky family.
This is a bit of a slow-burn novel that gradually develops over time, it might not be to everyone’s taste as it’s a lot more thriller than it is horror. However, for me personally, I love this story with its leisurely pace and isolated location. It also has good character development, with the subtle change of Jack Torrance from his sober state to that of a mallet-wielding madman.
Having read this again after the passing of many years, I can understand the bad reviews and harsh critiques this gets for being dull and long-winded, but I honestly find it really enjoyable. I can always binge-read The Shining in a few days, despite struggling desperately with loads of other Stephen King stories. I also prefer it to the film, which for some reason didn’t really appeal to me much. The two formats are vastly different, and I find that most people will connect with one, but not the other depending on their own individual preferences.
Initially, this used to be a 5 star novel for me, but now I’d probably have to give it 4 stars at most. I love the little flecks of humour that are interspersed within the story, which always get me laughing-out-loud and cracking a smile. However, I often forget that Danny is only a five-year-old kid, as his character and inner dialogue quite often comes across as more mature and adult at times. My one other negative note is that my copy of this book had a few quality issues with spelling, which really shouldn’t exist in a professionally printed Stephen King paperback.
Beware if you’re looking for this book to scare you though, as you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Tori is a Nursing student seeking an apartment to rent close to the University campus, which will allow her to continue some extra classes over the summer, and hopefully allow her to graduate a little earlier than usual.
She finds herself inexplicably drawn to a small studio apartment in Moorlake, which is both close enough to the University for ease of travel, and also far enough away to allow her the peace and quiet that she needs to study.
With some free time on her hands before the summer semester begins, Tori invites some friends over to catch up. However, when Cat Meyers produces an Ouija board from her bag and announces that she wants to conduct a séance, the four girls decide to have a little drunken fun and call on the spirit of Tori’s dead mother. What could possibly go wrong?
It is unusual for a horror novel to get under my skin and truly frighten me, however Ambrose does a fantastic job with this incredibly spooky story. Written in the first person narrative, through the eyes of main character Tori, the plot begins in an entertaining enough fashion as the young student adjusts to living on her own for the very first time.
The book has a nice even pace, not quick enough to feel rushed, but yet not too slow or boring either. Both the story and the characters gradually mature and develop which keeps the reader interested and intrigued. While not exactly a long novel, it manages to pack in quite a lot of action and suspense within its meagre 170 pages.
The writer manages to instil an extremely creepy and spine-tingling fear of both the macabre and the occult, as Tori is stalked by a terrifying spectre in her cramped, stifling and run-down studio apartment.
This novel gave me cold chills and unsettled me in ways that I can’t quite explain, making me view Ouija Boards in a whole new and rather disturbing light.
There are a few spelling-mistakes or misused words that caused me a little irritation at times, and confusion at the very beginning with some irregular, jumbled formatting, but not really enough to detract from the chilling story.
The Séance in Apartment 10 is extremely likely to disturb those susceptible to the spiritual or paranormal world. I would not usually consider myself a believer in such occurrences, but this novel at 4.5 out of 5 stars, definitely left me feeling a little uncomfortable.
The short but creepy Séance in Apartment 10 by Ambrose Ibsen is a chilling read, so prepare to be spooked this coming Halloween.
Four Past Midnight is a collection of four different horror novellas from Stephen King.
This is by far one of my favourite Stephen King stories. It is a science fiction, horror, mystery thriller with a chillingly spooky time travel theme. You can read my full review of the Langoliers here.
Secret Window, Secret Garden
This story of a writer accused of plagiarism is probably known better in film format, as it starred Johnny Depp. However, as a book I couldn’t really get into it, finding it rather dull, boring and predicable.
The Library Policeman
This one held the promise of an intriguing tale to scare the kiddies into returning their library books, but it just seemed to be a never-ending story. It started well, but eventually I just couldn’t wait for the end. Far, far too long. I lost interest altogether.
The Sun Dog
The final novella is part of the Castle Rock Series and gives me goosebumps and chills all over, with its terrifyingly realistic descriptions and paranormal events. Don’t read it in bed at night when its dark, or you’ll be apt to get nightmares. Fair warning to those faint of heart.
Overall, at 4 out of 5 stars this is a great collection. With my personal favourites ‘The Langoliers’ and ‘The Sun Dog’, the best picks of the four stories.
Since I am currently reading an ARC (advanced readers copy) of Lincoln Cole’s newest novel The Everett Exorcism, due for release later this month, I felt that this was a good time to republish my earlier review of his World on Fire series.
In Raven’s Peak the first instalment of the World on Fire paranormal fantasy series, Abigail Dressler is defying orders from the Council of Chaldea, an organisation intent on protecting the world from supernatural threats. Her mentor, Arthur Vangeest, has went missing after an altercation with a powerful demon, and despite being advised not to pursue that line of enquiry, Abigail is determined to find him. Her search leads her to Raven’s Peak where the local townsfolk are acting in a really bizarre manner.
The follow-up and second novel in the World on Fire series is Raven’s Fall. The Council places Abigail on trial to answer for her recent actions and dissent in the town of Raven’s Peak. Believing her to be a security threat to the organisation, Aram Malhotra, leader of the Council, petitions to have Abigail charged with treason and removed from the Order of Hunters, by having her executed. Can her friends save her before it is too late?
Raven’s Rise is the third and final novel in the World on Fire trilogy, and thanks to Aram’s deceit and treachery the Council of Chaldea now lies in ruins. A powerful threat looms over the few surviving members of the Council and the Order of Hunters, and the Catholic Church has turned against them. Can those remaining prevent the demon from completing the ritual and unleashing an evil entity upon the world?
At first I was sceptical of this series due to the religious cults and secret organisations, fearing that the constant talk of religion would result in a rather boring and disinteresting story, but thankfully religion doesn’t play a major role, as the book concentrates more on the emotional and physical after-effects of demonic possession and the psychic links between demons and their hosts, rather than on the banishments and exorcisms that you may expect from other demonic possession novels, such as The Exorcist.
Raven’s Peak is a riveting page-turner which constantly leaves you craving more, and with no filler material added to help bulk up the story, this is a fantastic, past-paced novel for fans of both horror and fantasy. You can read my full review of Raven’s Peak here at onlinebookclub.org.
Both sequels, Raven’s Fall and Raven’s Rise, continue in the same manner as the first, reeling in the reader with their strong, action packed storylines, keeping you on tenterhooks and cliff-hangers as the tale quickly unfolds.
Once you begin reading this series it will be a struggle to stop, until you have devoured all three books in quick succession. While not always a fan of the paranormal, I found Lincoln Cole’s World on Fire series to be a very surprising, thrilling and entertaining read, with all three novels scoring a full 5/5 star rating.
Please keep an eye out for my review of The Everett Exorcism which is due for release on October 24th.