I know, I know, the laziness of the gif review is inexcusable. Mea culpa etc etc. But in my defense, words are hard, and words about words are even harder.
Today, I’m writing about a genre I usually don’t touch: horror. But Robyn, you are probably (not) asking yourself, why don’t you like to read scary books? Aren’t you a self-confessed horror addict who has seen every scary movie ever made?? (That’s not hyperbole, by the way, I think I could probably write a PhD or two in horror film studies.) Yes, dear reader, you are correct. I love scary movies. They’re my comfort watch. When some people turn to light-hearted rom-coms or nostalgia-oozing childhood favourites, I watch Rosemary’s Baby and The Shining. Literary horror, however, has never been my thing, though the precise reason for this disinterest has always eluded me. Peter Straub, Dean Koontz, even Stephen King of Horror himself; none of their works ever made a single hair on the back of my neck twitch. (Okay, maaaaaaaaaybe Pet Sematary gave me a teeny weeny case of the creepin’ willies, but I am only human and that book is messed up).
(Why did I post that, I am gonna have myself some fucking nightmares tonight, believe)
(Actually, I think it might be because of sound. Scary movie soundtracks are the terrifying cherry on the dread-seeped sundae that is a horror film. Whenever the characters start getting slashed, I don’t cover my eyes. No, instead I clamp my hands over my ears so that my frantic heartbeat drowns out whatever nightmarish score is playing over the Final Girl’s artfully piercing shrieks).
Enough chin-wagging. To the Review!
Today, it’s Ararat by Christopher Golden, which won the 2017 Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel.
Boring. Yeah, it obviously depicts the setting of the novel, but still. Lazy. I would have preferred something either more stark, all white maybe, with only a ghostly outline of the titular mountain, or even better, something much much darker. The British cover went with the first option. I like it better, but can’t find any HQ photos to link to, deal with it.
The Summary Heist:
When a newly engaged couple climbs Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces them to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah’s Ark. When a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses. The artifact tempts their professional curiosity; so they break it open. Inside, they find an ugly, misshapen cadaver—not the holy man that they expected, a hideous creature with horns. A massive blizzard blows in, trapping them in that cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain…but they are not alone.
It’s a demon. Oopsie daisy, my bad, um, spoiler alert? It’s a demon and he possesses them one by one and then the group begins to turn on itself, bad people die and of course some good people too, sacrifices are made, but in the end it’s worth it because the enemy is vanquished, but oh, w h a t ‘s t h a t, surprise surprise, twisty ending on the last page, demon still chillin in a host body, winner takes it all, final shot of The Omen with Damien breaking the fourth wall and looking back at the audience, aaaaaaaaaaaaand scene.
What a wet-towel of an ending. What a three-days past the expiry date on a carton of milk story. What a colossal, earth-shattering, white-guy-blinking-in-disbelief.gif of a book.
Some genres can have stories that are predictable. That’s ok – look at romance. I know what I’m getting, and if I didn’t get a predictable happy ending, I’d be livid. But horror novels are meant to be scary, and generally, predictability is not scary.
(And I should mention that I thought the characters were all flat, the writing was mediocre, and the only thing that kept me reading was the desire to keep up my Goodreads challenge numbers.)
Sorry, guys. I know I’m being mean, and yeah, I haven’t even managed to finish writing one book, so this author’s already light-years ahead of me… but this is a book review blog, after all, and not all reviews are good, eh? These are savage realities of literary criticism, and here on my shitty little wordpress blog, there is no room for false kindnesses, we are here for bookish real talk, bitches, so sometimes, it’s gonna get mean.
Yeah I’m gonna go ahead and say you might be better off exploring some classic horror films you may not have seen, given that film is a severely underappreciated medium in terms of its cultural and artistic value, and that no genre is more unfairly maligned than horror, especially international horror. Suggested: Rosemary’s Baby, Suspiria, and House.
Actually wait, here is how I envisioned the young, probably good-looking guide who takes the idiots up the mountain.
Okay, so yeah, that author didn’t say he was drop-dead gorgeous, but like, he didn’t not say it either, so????? i apologize for nothing.
Book Boyfriend material:
2 out of 10 biblical demon mummies (fuck, there I go again with the spoilers, somebody stop me)
ROBYN’S FINAL THOUGHT:
Okay, I know I’ve just roasted this book so badly it could be Sunday night dinner, but you know what… it might actually make a pretty good movie.
Titus is sleeping, so you will not be treated to his unique brand of savagery today.