For this post, we are looking at some Halloween reads that aren’t classic horror. Instead of thinking Dracula and Frankenstein (but still go and read those), we’ve chosen some books that are quietly creepy, that are atmospheric and have aspects of darkness and fear in them. Does that sound fun? Yep. We hope you find something you like and feel free to answer the question we’ve left at the end.
Spare and Found Parts
by Sarah Maria Griffin
This is the story of Nell Crane, a girl with a clockwork heart whose father revolutionised her home of Black Water City by creating biomechanical limbs after a machine-generated incident named The Turn caused an epidemic to sweep through their land. In a post-apocalyptic world where code is banned, computers are feared and most inhabitants have their manmade parts on the outside, Nell feels like an outsider with her mechanical ticking heart. Spare and Found Parts is very Frankenstein-esque, plus it’s full of family mysteries.
Full review here.
The Female of the Species
by Mindy McGinnis
A young-adult contemporary bordering on the mystery/thriller genre. The book switches between three POVs – Alex Craft, a girl remembered solely for the murder of her sister, Jack Fisher, star athlete, valedictorian and the person every guy wants to be and every girls wants to be with and finally Peekay, nicknamed for being the Preacher’s Kid who is struggling to come to terms with heartbreak over her ex. There are mentions of animal abuse, sexual assault and murder. It also deals with rape culture, slut-shaming and gender discrimination. Despite it being about teenagers, the author does not shy away from the violence and acts of justice humans are capable of.
Full review here.
by Naomi Novik
This dark fantasy tells the story of Agnieszka, a young girl living in a village on the border of the Wood – a dark place that hangs like a shadow over her life. Her village rely on the wizard known only as the Dragon for protection from the Woods but in exchange, he demands a young woman handed over to him to serve for ten years. Agnieszka is sure the Dragon will choose her best friend but this time, it isn’t the beautiful Kasia he wants. This dark fantasy has a constant creepy atmosphere hanging over it and is perfect for this time of year.
The Boneless Mercies
by April Genevieve Tucholke
As well as being blessed with the most amazing cover, this dark fantasy tells the story of Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa, also known as, The Boneless Mercies. They are girls hired to kill quickly and quietly. However, Frey is tired of this life and longs to achieve more so when she hears about a terrifying monster ravaging a nearby town, she decides this is what the group have been waiting for. If they can bring down this beast, fame and fortune will grant them with a new life. This book has everything – badass girls but each with a driven character arc and also monsters. What more could you want?
by Claire Legrand
The book everybody is talking about and for good reason. It is the feminist horror to watch out for this year. It’s told from three perspectives: Marion, the new girl on Sawkill Rock who starts hearing a ‘bone cry’ after an accident on her family’s first evening on the island. Zoey, the down to earth daughter of the island’s sheriff who is determined to find out what happened to her best friend, who disappeared mysteriously like many other Sawkill girls have in the past and Val; the island’s Queen Bee, from a rich family who essentially run the island but who’s women carry a dark secret with them. For me, Sawkill Girls cleverly worked real life horror into fiction.
Full review here.
A Blade So Black
by L. L. McKinney
Is this a dark Alice in Wonderland retelling with a black protagonist? Damn right it is. When Alice is not dealing with life in real-world Atlanta, she is trained to fight the monstrous creatures in a realm known as Wonderland. Keeping the dreaded Nightmares at bay is a full time job but Alice is also dealing with an over-protective mum and a slipping GPA. However, when Alice’s mentor is mysteriously poisoned, she must venture deeper into Wonderland to find the cure. Caught between the two worlds, Alice must use everything she’s learned to keep her head… literally. This is the Alice in Wonderland retelling we’ve all been waiting for.
Everything About You
by Heather Child
This sci-fi thriller is frightening. Why? Because it is set in a world that could be ours in a very short amount of time. Freya lives in a technological world and her every whim is catered to by AI. When one day she gets a virtual assistant, she soon finds out that this machine knows everything she likes, everything she wants and especially, what voice she needs to hear – her missing sister’s. The AI has adopted her sister’s persona by using any data her sister left in the world but it knows things it shouldn’t and Freya starts to believe her missing sister is out there and trying to contact her. This thriller is psychological and scarily real and will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about technology.
What book really frightens you?
Let us know in the comments!
Lots of Love,