Toni T

Review Dept. Manager

Toni works in the Strand Underground. In her spare time she enjoys reading any weird story she can get her hands on, writing any weird story that pops into her brain and all things BBC.

Would you like other recommendations? Email me at staff+toni-t@strandbooks.com

Toni T's Reviews

The Fireman: A Novel

by: Joe Hill

In his most recent book, Hill departs from “typical” horror to deliver a tale part sci-fi, part dystopian wasteland, part superhero. Set in a world ravaged by a virus, Hill shows how human nature and its inclination to “us” vs. “them” is the true tale of terror.

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The Scarlet Gospels

by: Clive Barker

Scarlet Gospels does what few books have done for me, it unnerved me. There’s a certain disillusionment that comes with being a lover of horror. After a while it takes a work of epic proportions to throw you into the realm of unease. It has been a long time since a book, movie or other form of horror media has been able to take me to the limits of what I can handle (and as someone who has watched both Nekromantik and Cannibal Holocaust with little flinching that’s a lot) but this novel did just that.

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Horns: A Novel

by: Joe Hill

There's a devil in all of us.

Such is the apparent running theme of Joe Hill's Horns. When Ignatius Parrish awakens the day after the anniversary of his girlfriend's death he is hungover, has barely any memory of the night before, and is sporting a new lovely pair of horns he at first thinks he's imagining things. No one else notices...so they can't be real.

Ignatius soon discovers that with these horns he has the power to find and exact his revenge on those who murdered his girlfriend. What transpires is part revenge story, part parable.

Hill, for those who don't already know, is the son of legendary horror writer Stephen King. Don't judge him on his father's repertoire though. Hill is a force in his own right. He can craft a suspenseful tale that leaves you wanting more, to know more. He's found that perfect balance between too much and not enough.

Horns is a great story. And while I'm not sure if Hill intended the underlying parable and lesson, it is there none the less.

Oh right! It's also going to be a movie. Starring Daniel Radcliffe as Ignatius Parrish. Read it before it hits the screen. You won't be disappointed.

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A Game of Thrones

by: George R. R. Martin

One of the most used cliches in all of high fantasy is that of the farm boy (or other “simpleton”) turned hero. Since Tolkien penned his Middle Earth stories, this trope has been wildly popular in the genre. One of the reasons I love Game of Thrones so much is that it completely ditches this typical cliche.

Martin writes his story in such a way that it grabs readers immediately. More than once I found myself unable to put the book down until I found out what had happened to the characters I had so quickly become taken by. With each chapter told from the viewpoint of a different character, it easy to pick favorites at the start. It also ditches the typical cliche of the fantasy trope, focusing instead on the individuals functioning as a part of the whole, with each character bringing something to the dilemma. And the dilemma is, what else in a medieval setting, a clash for power.

Game of Thrones, for me, reinvented the genre more than any other fantasy series. With five books and counting, I grow more and more attached to the Seven Kingdoms, and root for my favorite characters each time I pick up a book. Of course, there are downsides to the series. Most noteable and really the only negative of substance is that he doesn't write fast enough. For those who have seen the HBO series, I urge you to pick up the books. While the series is phenomenal, the books bring so much more to light. There is so much that you miss simply from watching it on TV. You won't be disappointed.

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