Unbury Carol by Josh Malerman

35274560Unbury Carol
By Josh Malerman
Publisher: Del Rey
ISBN: 9780399180163
Pages: 384
Genre: Horror/Fantasy

goodreads-badge-add-plus

Carol Evers is a woman with a dark secret. She has died many times . . . but her many deaths are not final: They are comas, a waking slumber indistinguishable from death, each lasting days.

Only two people know of Carol’s eerie condition. One is her husband, Dwight, who married Carol for her fortune, and—when she lapses into another coma—plots to seize it by proclaiming her dead and quickly burying her . . . alive. The other is her lost love, the infamous outlaw James Moxie. When word of Carol’s dreadful fate reaches him, Moxie rides the Trail again to save his beloved from an early, unnatural grave.

And all the while, awake and aware, Carol fights to free herself from the crippling darkness that binds her—summoning her own fierce will to survive. As the players in this drama of life and death fight to decide her fate, Carol must in the end battle to save herself.


My Thoughts

Unbury Carol landed hot on my radar when I initially heard of its upcoming April release. Malerman made a lasting impression on me with his dark dystopian tale Bird Box. So I was chomping at the bit to explore his work further. Not generally a fan of westerns (for no particular reason) I was uncertain of my initial encounter, but in the end, I was smitten.

The skinny..

Carol Evers suffers from an extremely unconventional affliction. She periodically falls into comas indiscernible from death. These episodes last for days, and unfortunately, the only two people who are aware of this condition are a money-grubbing husband and a long lost love. When Carol falls into her next coma and her husband plots to have her buried alive, that long-lost love and infamous outlaw Moxie hits the trail to save her from an untimely death. Unknowingly to both, Carol is aware of the events occurring around her and fighting her own battle to stay alive.

The monster, Carol thought, looks different when nobody’s watching.” 

What I appreciated..

  • A western that feels unlike any western I have ever encountered.
  • An innovative plot that stands beautifully on its own.
  • An eccentric ensemble of characters that kept the narrative fresh and engaging. The outlaws are truly the stars here.
  • A clever blend of fantasy, magical realism, and horror that feels balanced.
  • The open setting of the trail and each passing town feel well developed and complete. They offer a nice contrast to Carol’s isolated, internal entrapment.
  • Malerman’s bizarre and defining writing style keeps the reader on their toes.

“Passing the dark, low fields just south of Harrows, Smoke saw a scarecrow that reminded him, in shape, of his mother. Inspired by it, he imagined her burning. He imagined the dresses from her closet … the curls in her blond hair … the rims of her glasses … all of it and everything blistering, bending, burning.”

Challenges some may encounter..

  • Carol lacks presence or the ability to command it at times as a protagonist due to her condition.
  • Initially, the narrative can feel slightly muddled.
  • The ending may feel lackluster in comparison to the preceding events.

Unbury Carol will find a special home among those who can appreciate the peculiar and unexpected. Malerman delivers the tried and true tale of good vs evil in an anything but traditional style. The end result is a bizarre read that can easily be classified as pure entertainment.

tea cup

 

Pair this one with a nice cinnamon chai because it has a kick to it.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading,

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

Friday Favorites: Supernatural/Horror Anime

new Friday fave

Friday Favorites is a post where I incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes.  It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or at length, depending on my mood 😉


My appreciation of animated films and anime is no secret to anyone who frequents the blog. However, it is very rare that I discuss the major genres of supernatural and horror in anime, as I know it does not appeal to a large portion of my audience. But today. I have decided to give some of my favorites their much deserved praise.

another.gif

My Favorite Supernatural/Horror Anime

deathparadeDeath Parade

My Rating: 10/10

MAL Synopsis: After death, there is no heaven or hell, only a bar that stands between reincarnation and oblivion. There the attendant will, one after another, challenge pairs of the recently deceased to a random game in which their fate of either ascending into reincarnation or falling into the void will be wagered. Whether it’s bowling, darts, air hockey, or anything in between, each person’s true nature will be revealed in a ghastly parade of death and memories, dancing to the whims of the bar’s master. Welcome to Quindecim, where Decim, arbiter of the afterlife, awaits!

deadmanwonderlandDeadman Wonderland

My Rating: 9/10

MAL Synopsis: It looked like it would be a normal day for Ganta Igarashi and his classmates—they were preparing to go on a class field trip to a certain prison amusement park called Deadman Wonderland, where the convicts perform dangerous acts for the onlookers’ amusement. However, Ganta’s life is quickly turned upside down when his whole class gets massacred by a mysterious man in red. Framed for the incident and sentenced to death, Ganta is sent to the very jail he was supposed to visit.

But Ganta’s nightmare is only just beginning.

The young protagonist is thrown into a world of sadistic inmates and enigmatic powers, to live in constant fear of the lethal collar placed around his neck that is slowed only by winning in the prison’s deathly games. Ganta must bet his life to survive in a ruthless place where it isn’t always easy to tell friend from foe, all while trying to find the mysterious “Red Man” and clear his name, in Deadman Wonderland.

hellsingultimateHellsing Ultimate

My Rating: 10/10

MAL Synopsis: There exist creatures of darkness and evil that plague the night, devouring any human unfortunate enough to be caught in their grasp. On the other side is Hellsing, an organization dedicated to destroying these supernatural forces that threaten the very existence of humanity. At its head is Integra Fairbrook Wingates Hellsing, who commands a powerful military and spends her life fighting the undead.

Integra’s vast army, however, pales in comparison with her ultimate weapon: the vampire Alucard, who works against his own kind as an exterminator for Hellsing. With his new vampire servant, Seras Victoria, at his side, Alucard must battle not only monsters but all those who stand to oppose Hellsing, be they in the guise of good or evil.

In a battle for mankind’s survival, Hellsing Ultimate proves that appearances are not all they may seem, and sometimes the greatest weapon can come in the form of one’s worst nightmare.

yamishibaiYami Shibai

My Rating: 8/10

MAL Synopsis: The mysterious, yellow-masked Storyteller is a man whose true name and origin are both unknown. He appears at dusk where children gather and recites sinister tales based on Japanese urban legends, to which his young audience eerily intakes. However, the Storyteller is no ordinary teller of tales. He incorporates a kamishibai, a traditional paper-scrolling device, to add visuals to his already demented narration.

A series of short horror stories, Yami Shibai begins with a bachelor who, after moving into a new apartment, immediately starts sensing a malevolent glare being pressed into him. A single talisman rests on his ceiling, but he has no way of knowing it is one of the few safeguards that separate him from a bottomless pit of suffering. Each story is more terrifying, more appalling, and more sickening than the last as the Storyteller’s audience find themselves being sucked into the vicious world of his words.

lost village 3The Lost Village

My Rating: 8/10

MAL Synopsis: A bus full of eccentric individuals is headed towards the urban legend known as Nanaki Village, a place where one can supposedly start over and live a perfect life. While many have different ideas of why the village cannot be found on any map, or why even the police cannot pinpoint its location, they each look forward to their new lives and just what awaits them once they reach their destination.

After a few mishaps, they successfully arrive at Nanaki Village only to find it completely abandoned. Judging from the state of disrepair, it has been vacant for at least a year. However, secrets are soon revealed as some of the group begin to go missing while exploring the village and amidst the confusion, they find bloody claw marks in a forest. As mistrust and in-fighting break out, will they ever be able to figure out the truth behind this lost village?

highschoolofthedeadHighschool of the Dead

My Rating: 7/10

MAL Synopsis: It happened suddenly: The dead began to rise and Japan was thrown into total chaos. As these monsters begin terrorizing a high school, Takashi Kimuro is forced to kill his best friend when he gets bitten and joins the ranks of the walking dead. Vowing to protect Rei Miyamoto, the girlfriend of the man he just executed, they narrowly escape their death trap of a school, only to be greeted with a society that has already fallen.

Soon, Takashi and Rei band together with other students on a journey to find their family members and uncover what caused this overwhelming pandemic. Joining them is Saeko Busujima, the beautiful president of the Kendo Club; Kouta Hirano, an otaku with a fetish for firearms; Saya Takagi, the daughter of an influential politician; and Shizuka Marikawa, their hot school nurse. But will the combined strength of these individuals be enough to conquer this undead apocalypse?

parasytemaximParasyte -The Maxim-

My Rating: 10/10

MAL Synopsis: All of a sudden, they arrived: parasitic aliens that descended upon Earth and quickly infiltrated humanity by burrowing into the brains of vulnerable targets. These insatiable beings acquire full control of their host and are able to morph into a variety of forms in order to feed on unsuspecting prey.

Sixteen-year-old high school student Shinichi Izumi falls victim to one of these parasites, but it fails to take over his brain, ending up in his right hand instead. Unable to relocate, the parasite, now named Migi, has no choice but to rely on Shinichi in order to stay alive. Thus, the pair is forced into an uneasy coexistence and must defend themselves from hostile parasites that hope to eradicate this new threat to their species.

tokyoghoulTokyo Ghoul

My Rating: 9/10

MAL Synopsis: Tokyo has become a cruel and merciless city—a place where vicious creatures called “ghouls” exist alongside humans. The citizens of this once great metropolis live in constant fear of these bloodthirsty savages and their thirst for human flesh. However, the greatest threat these ghouls pose is their dangerous ability to masquerade as humans and blend in with society.

Based on the best-selling supernatural horror manga by Sui Ishida, Tokyo Ghoul follows Ken Kaneki, a shy, bookish college student, who is instantly drawn to Rize Kamishiro, an avid reader like himself. However, Rize is not exactly who she seems, and this unfortunate meeting pushes Kaneki into the dark depths of the ghouls’ inhuman world. In a twist of fate, Kaneki is saved by the enigmatic waitress Touka Kirishima, and thus begins his new, secret life as a half-ghoul/half-human who must find a way to integrate into both societies.

anotherAnother

My Rating: 8/10

MAL Syopsis: In 1972, a popular student in Yomiyama North Middle School’s class 3-3 named Misaki passed away during the school year. Since then, the town of Yomiyama has been shrouded by a fearful atmosphere, from the dark secrets hidden deep within.

Twenty-six years later, 15-year-old Kouichi Sakakibara transfers into class 3-3 of Yomiyama North and soon after discovers that a strange, gloomy mood seems to hang over all the students. He also finds himself drawn to the mysterious, eyepatch-wearing student Mei Misaki; however, the rest of the class and the teachers seem to treat her like she doesn’t exist. Paying no heed to warnings from everyone including Mei herself, Kouichi begins to get closer not only to her, but also to the truth behind the gruesome phenomenon plaguing class 3-3 of Yomiyama North.

Another follows Kouichi, Mei, and their classmates as they are pulled into the enigma surrounding a series of inevitable, tragic events—but unraveling the horror of Yomiyama may just cost them the ultimate price.

BlackButlerBlack Butler

My Rating: 10/10

MAL Synopsis: Young Ciel Phantomhive is known as “the Queen’s Guard Dog,” taking care of the many unsettling events that occur in Victorian England for Her Majesty. Aided by Sebastian Michaelis, his loyal butler with seemingly inhuman abilities, Ciel uses whatever means necessary to get the job done. But is there more to this black-clad butler than meets the eye?

In Ciel’s past lies a secret tragedy that enveloped him in perennial darkness—during one of his bleakest moments, he formed a contract with Sebastian, a demon, bargaining his soul in exchange for vengeance upon those who wronged him. Today, not only is Sebastian one hell of a butler, but he is also the perfect servant to carry out his master’s orders—all the while anticipating the delicious meal he will eventually make of Ciel’s soul. As the two work to unravel the mystery behind Ciel’s chain of misfortunes, a bond forms between them that neither heaven nor hell can tear apart.


Do you enjoy darker anime or films? If so, have you watched the above or do you have any favorites to recommend?

Happy Friday!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram

The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg

35035160The Merry Spinistery: Tales of Everyday Horror
By Mallory Ortberg
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
ISBN: 9781250113429
Pages: 240
Genre: Retellings/Horror/Short Stories

goodreads-badge-add-plus

From Mallory Ortberg comes a collection of darkly mischievous stories based on classic fairy tales. Adapted from her beloved “Children’s Stories Made Horrific” series, “The Merry Spinster” takes up the trademark wit that endeared Ortberg to readers of both The Toast and her best-selling debut Texts From Jane Eyre. The feature become among the most popular on the site, with each entry bringing in tens of thousands of views, as the stories proved a perfect vehicle for Ortberg’s eye for deconstruction and destabilization. Sinister and inviting, familiar and alien all at the same time, The Merry Spinster updates traditional children’s stories and fairy tales with elements of psychological horror, emotional clarity, and a keen sense of feminist mischief.

Readers of The Toast will instantly recognize Ortberg’s boisterous good humor and uber-nerd swagger: those new to Ortberg’s oeuvre will delight in her unique spin on fiction, where something a bit mischievous and unsettling is always at work just beneath the surface.

Unfalteringly faithful to its beloved source material, The Merry Spinster also illuminates the unsuspected, and frequently, alarming emotional complexities at play in the stories we tell ourselves, and each other, as we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Bed time will never be the same.


My Thoughts

The Merry Spinster is a collection of short stories in the form of retellings. Each is presented in a unique manner with an often unsettling or brooding twist. Some are easily recognizable while others are not so familiar.

It is immediately evident that Ortberg offers each story with a distinct prose that is graceful and laden with metaphors. Her writing entices the reader and promises an experience that will be hard to compare to any other. For that alone, I found some appreciation within. But that is not to say I did not struggle with certain elements in the grim and often strange collection.

What I appreciated..

  • The elegant prose and truly original re-imagings of childhood classics.
  • The author’s ability to find a common ground between the often over the top joyous portrayal of fairy tales we encounter today and their darker, more disturbing origins.
  • A set of morally defined tales with an often feministic approach.
  • A psychological tactic to presenting discomfort and the unsettling that was refreshing in this genre that is usually riddled with horror of late.

Challenges I encountered..

  • At times the symbolism was muddled and bordered confusing. I struggled to make sense out of some portions.
  • The brevity of each story frankly limited their impact.
  • Stories were a hit and miss. Enjoy one and be tempted to skim the next.

A few of my favorites:

The Daughter Cells
The Six Boy Coffins
The Rabbit

Overall, this was an engaging and fast-paced read that offers a nice reprieve from the usual. Ideal for busting up some of the monotony and combatting a slump. Fans will appreciate the familiar and savor the unfamiliar. However, do not expect a significant amount of depth, as brevity is likely to be an issue.

*I would like to thank Henry Holt & Company and Netgalley for this copy. The above review is my own, unbiased and honest opinion.

tea cup

Serves well with a nice cup of chamomile to settle in for an easy, evening read.

Grab a Copy: Amazon.com Book Depository

*Disclosure: I use affiliate links and may earn a small commission for purchases made through them. Click here for details.

Happy Reading!

Danielle ❤

Connect With Me: FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram