TITLE: Cruel Works of Nature: 11 Illustrated Horror Novellas
AUTHOR: Gemma Amor
AGE RANGE: Adult
Reality and the fantastic are blended seamlessly in these immersive tales, with plenty of mystery to lead the reader on a thrilling journey. Some stories are dark and macabre while others whimsical and lighthearted, together ensuring constant surprises and terrifying twists to keep you reading until the very last page.
That was a pretty excellent collection. I loved almost every story in it, and found that Gemma’s got an incredible unique and twisted way of storytelling. I went in with high expectations after loving some of her writing on the NoSleep podcast, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.
I gave 5 stars to almost every individual story (with the only exceptions belonging to a couple that were a little slow-paced compared to the rest), so it was hard to pick out my favorites. Here are a few that really stood out to me, though:
This story was what originally drew me to the collection; it was featured on a NoSleep episode and I thought it was brilliant. It followed a handyman who takes on a new job clearing out some overgrowth, and finds the most disgusting plants you could imagine.
→ Girl on Fire:
When Ruby is in a terrible car incident, she shoulddie, but instead, she finds herself rising anew with some interesting new powers. Finally the predator instead of the prey, she sets out on a journey to find a new beginning, and destroys anyone who gets in her way. Ruby’s a total power-house and I loved her newfound rage.
→ The Path Through Lower Fell:
This was my favorite of the entire book. A couple goes on their usual weekend hike, but they find an unsettling meadow and a herd of cattle that something has clearly gone wrong with. The twist went exactly in the direction I hoped it would and I loved it.
→ It Sees You When You’re Sleeping:
The next-to-last installment is a Christmas horror story that really made me look at Santa and chimneys in a whole new light. It’s so bloody and twisted that I couldn’t believe the direction it took at times (in a good way!), and I’m sure it will be one of those tales that really sticks out in my memory when I’m decorating for the holidays later this year…
When you add in how great the creepy little illustrations at the beginning of each one were, it’s no wonder I’m giving Cruel Works of Nature a resounding 5-star rating and will definitely be adding this to my list of favorite anthologies to recommend to other horror lovers.
Content warnings for infant loss, assault, death, gore, infidelity, body horror
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