Recent Spooky Reads: Hammers on Bone, The Silence of the Wilting Skin & Agents of Dreamland | Spooktastic Reads

Spooktastic Reads: a Wyrd and Wonder mini-event happening 19-31 October

Happy Halloween! πŸŽƒπŸ‘»

I have been in a blogging slump recently and writing long reviews seems daunting to me at the moment. However, I still want to discuss a few spooky novellas I read recently and I thought that writing a mini reviews would be easier for me and also more fun so, here we go!

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

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A government special agent tries to obtain information about a strange cult and his informants may not exactly be human.

Agents of the Dreamland is the first novella Kiernan’s Tin Foil Dossier trilogy and it’s the oddest story I read in a long while. From what I’ve heard, the writing in this book is reminiscent of Lovecraft’s style. Since I haven’t read any books by Lovecraft except one of his short stories, I can’t really say if it’s similar or not. However, what I can say is that I struggled with the writing. The writing felt overly complicated, hard to follow and, if it’s indeed close to Lovecraft’s style, I don’t think I will be anything by him anytime soon πŸ˜‚.

I listened to this story on audio and the format combined with the writing made it hard for me to follow what was happening. My mind can easily wander when I listen to stories and if I already struggling with the writing, it’s over for me.

Once I decided to switch to the ebook, I enjoyed the story a bit more. I enjoyed reading for the perspective of the mysterious Signalman, the government agent used to deal with the occult. Still, I don’t know if I’ll be reading the other novellas in the series since everything felt a bit too obscure for my liking and I’m not sure I understood half of what was going on.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hammers on Bone by Cassandra Khaw

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John Persons has been hired by a ten-year-old boy to kill his step-father. The step-father is abusive and violent, he’s also a monster. Persons would know since it takes one to know one.

I have read a few of Khaw’s short stories and I enjoyed them all so I was looking forward to reading a longer work by her. Hammers on Bone didn’t disappoint, it was exactly what I wanted. It’s atmospheric and gritty. It’s also a real page-turner.

Granted, this novella is pretty short but still, every time I finished a chapter, I wanted to keep reading. I even ate outside for lunch just to be able to read without being interrupted!

The characters were all interesting and fully fleshed-out. I liked Persons as the main character and I especially enjoyed learning more about him and his backstory. However, my favorite character was by far the ten-year-old boy! I can’t say too much but he was a surprising one to say the least!

I can’t wait to read the second novella in this duology. πŸ˜€

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Silence of the Wilting Skin by Tlotlo Tsamaase

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In a segregated African city divided a train track where trains take the dead to the afterlife, a nameless young woman is slowly losing her skin as her home is taking away by the ever-expanding white districts.

I read and absolutely loved The Thoughtbox by Tlotlo Tsamaase last year so I was very excited to read this novella and it was amazing!

It’s a peculiar story and I had to take my time with it to immerse myself into the odd world Tsamaase created. In The Silence of the Wilting Skin, the author discusses many social issues such as (among other things) racism, colonialism, queer relationships and culture loss.

The writing is gorgeous, it’s sharp and beautiful without being flowery. I highlighted a number of quotes and I can see myself re-reading it in the future. I think this novella would be perfect for fans of Okorafor since it blends science fiction, horror and African tales and traditions. I’m glad I finally read this novella and I will be on the lookout for anything else written by Tsamaase!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Have you read any of the novellas I discussed? Have you read anything by those authors? I would love to know! πŸ˜€

7 thoughts on “Recent Spooky Reads: Hammers on Bone, The Silence of the Wilting Skin & Agents of Dreamland | Spooktastic Reads

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