Mini Reviews Reviews

Saturday Smalls — November 9th, 2019

November 9, 2019

This week’s mini review round-up includes:

  1. queer adult horror novella
  2. YA horror/zombie novella
  3. adult horror comics
  4. feminist YA horror graphic novel

45463236. sy475 TITLE: To Be Devoured
AUTHOR: Sara Tantlinger
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 62pg
SOURCE: Kindle Unlimited
What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts. 
Her girlfriend, Luna, tries to help Andi battle her inner darkness and infatuation with the vultures. However, the desire to taste dead flesh, to stitch together wings of her own and become one with the flock sends Andi down a twisted, unforgivable path. Once she understands the secrets the vultures conceal, she must decide between abandoning the birds of prey or risk turning her loved ones into nothing more than meals to be devoured.
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Can dead flesh hold anger? Mine would. Mine would be the most excruciatingly bitter of them all.

After hearing so many people rave about Sara’s writing, I’m so glad I finally had the chance to check out her work. I went into To Be Devoured with high hopes and solid expectations, and I was not disappointed in the least. It’s a tremendously twisted, ridiculously messed up novella about grief, rage, mental illness, and looking for acceptance in a world that often makes us feel out of place — but it’s also a disgusting, graphic piece of work that turned even my stomach (which honestly happens very rarely!).

What saccharine horror waits, harbored in the darkness of the woods where the vultures circle?

There isn’t much I can say about the plot within these pages without spoiling things, so I’ll only tell you that it’s a roller coaster worth taking a ride on. I also genuinely appreciated the fact that it’s a horror story featuring a lesbian as a main character and it doesn’t shy away from the sweet and steamy aspects of her relationship with her partner — that representation is surely something we don’t see often enough in the horror genre, and as a fellow queer woman, I enjoyed it a lot (even if that relationship does frequently come to some shocking and dreadful places).

Altogether, To Be Devoured is a story you just can’t afford to miss if you enjoy graphic, hard-hitting horror. It got under my skin in a way most authors and stories aren’t capable of doing, and I don’t see it crawling back out any time soon.

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

violence, death, mentions of suicide, mentions of child death, animal abuse and death, body horror, cannibalism, racial microaggressions

d i v e r s i t y →

sapphic relationship, POC love interest (described as “brown-skinned”, and another character likens her to Jasmine, a microaggression which is immediately challenged in-text)

5stars

48611637. sy475 TITLE: Dead Meat: Day 2
AUTHOR: Nick Clausen
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: YA
PAGES: ~150pg
SOURCE: Author
The dead have awakened.
Driven by insatiable hunger.
In eternal search of fresh meat.
The infection spreads like the plague.
Nothing stands between the undead and humanity.
Is it too late to save the world from disaster?
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I thought Day 1 was a lot of fun, but it was nothing compared to the quick-moving suspense of Day 2! Reading the Dead Meat series feels like watching a zombie TV show in action; the short formatting of the installments works brilliantly, and there’s no need for build-up or loads of scenery as it’s one punch of action after another, making for a tremendously fun and captivating read. Plus, these cliffhanger endings are killing me (in the best way), because I need Day 3 right now!

Day 2 continues to follow along one of our characters from the first installment, but it also introduces new characters, and brilliantly blends their stories together. These poor kids are just going through absolute tragedies and Nick Clausen really doesn’t pull any punches for them! Without spoiling anything, I’ll let you know that nobody seems to be safe in this series, and frankly, I don’t have a clue who to expect to make it out of this whole thing alive. I know I gushed enough in my review of Day 1, so I’ll just repeat what I said before: if you love fun, quick-paced, bloody zombie stories, you can’t go wrong with the Dead Meat series.

Thank you so much to the author for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

violence, death, gore, zombies

d i v e r s i t y →

5stars

34356516TITLE: The Bloody Best of Lenore
AUTHOR: Roman Dirge
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: Adult
PAGES: 176pg
SOURCE: Hoopla
Celebrate 25th glorious years of Lenore (The Cute little Dead Girl) with Roman Dirge’s The Bloody Best of Lenore – a selection of Lenore’s funniest and most manically silly adventures collected together for the first time.
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Okay, first of all, Lenore is dark. I don’t mean it’s going to terrify you, I mean it features stuff like kids dying, fluffy little animals being abused/killed, a little girl torturing living creatures with or without meaning to… It’s a whole mess and if you’re easily bothered, sickened, or upset, you might want to steel yourself (or avoid Dirge’s work altogether). That said, I’ve gotta be honest: I loved this weird, fucked-up little collection of comics.

Lenore is so twisted, and her little companions are just as disturbing, though even they get a little creeped out by her nightmarish tendencies at times. That said, the horror is presented in such an absurd — and, at times, cheerful — way, I couldn’t help but laugh my head off. What can I say? I grew up on Invader ZIM and Jhonen’s other works, and always loved Roman’s writing on the show, so finally reading his most famous comics feels like coming full-circle. If you (like me) grew up an ~edgy~ little goth kid in the 2000s, I’d love to hear if this felt as much like coming home to you as it did to me. 😂

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

violence, death, gore, child death, animal abuse and death, body horror, torture… the list goes on

d i v e r s i t y →

4stars

41546163TITLE: Man-Eaters, Vol. 1
AUTHOR: Chelsea Cain
GENRE: Horror
AGE RANGE: YA
PAGES: 128pg
SOURCE: Hoopla
Adolescent girls can be real monsters. Maude is twelve, about the age some girls turn into flesh-eating wild cats. As her detective dad investigates a series of strange mauling attacks, Maude worries she may be the killer.
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This has a lot of potential, and I think, with a few key changes, could honestly have been flawless. The tongue-in-cheek parallels to real-life sexist comments thrown at people on their periods is very on-the-nose and super amusing (if a little too real, if you think about it too much) and there’s a lot of symbolism at play here, plus the art is adorable and colorful and everything I want from a graphic novel’s art style.

That said, as some other reviewers have pointed out before me, it’s an extremely cis-centered take on things… and the entire 4th issue (so, 1/4 of this volume) is nothing but fake advertisements, which would’ve been really fun sprinkled throughout here and there, one or two at a time, but quickly became overkill in this instance.

I’ll definitely continue the series, but it sadly wasn’t a perfect first volume for me.

c o n t e n t – w a r n i n g s →

violence, murder, blood, mentions of menstruation/puberty, misogyny

d i v e r s i t y →

3halfstars

destiny

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