Quick question, have you ever eaten a book? No? Awesome, great, me neither. Our main character in this chilling novel, on the other hand? Well, let’s just jump on into this review, shall we?
Horrid is a beautiful, captivating novel in the horror genre that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions when it concerns haunted buildings and the small quaint towns of Maine. Didn’t expect that state, did ya? Neither did I, but let me tell you I was quite happy discovering the primary location of the text. As a Maine state resident myself, I love reading novels that take place in the same area since it feels like I can become more involved in the reading. So, what is Horrid, and is it as horrid as it sounds? Yes, yes, it is.
The novel focuses on the main character Jane North, who moves to a small town in Maine with her mother following the recent death of her father. With money running scarce and the house payments in California being a little too pricey for the two to handle on their own, Jane’s mother remembers an estate left in the family name. All sounds great, right? Not so much. Jane has never visited Maine before, and Jane’s mother hasn’t been to her childhood home since she left after she hit the age of eighteen. Neither of them know what to expect upon returning, and Jane most certainly isn’t prepared for things to go bump in the night (though who ever is?). An interesting side note on Jane: she eats books to appease the anger dwelling within her.
This novel kept me hooked for a day straight (that’s how long it took me to finish it) and I am more than eager to pick it up again once Halloween rolls back around. Some of my favorite aspects of the novel (aside from the stunning cover which we’ll talk on later) is the great use of repetition and the descriptions. Leno has such a unique, stylized voice with writing that it hooks the reader instantly.
“She ripped a corner from the page and put it into her mouth.
The house creaked again.
She imagined the paper re-forming in her belly. She imagined the words dissolving off the paper and sinking into her bloodstream. She imagined her body fill with words. Made up of them. Words instead of blood, words instead of organs.” — Horrid, Katrina Leno
In this quote, you also get a sweet taste of the repetition I mentioned. The continued use of “she” helps to create a compelling rhythm that flows either through the mind or directly off the tongue.
“Hours later, days later, years later, she opened her eyes.” — Horrid, Katrina Leno
Again, we have some nice repetition with the word “later” that pulls forward a good reading flow and atmosphere in the text. Pay attention, writers, because this is an excellent tool to add to your belt. Repetition can be a great way to add a uniqueness to the narrative that can hook the reader, but it can also be a major turnoff to a reader if it’s not used right. I’ve seen both instances, so if repetition is something you have trouble with, I would definitely recommend checking out this novel as an example.
Alright, onto the cover because I can’t not discuss it. The one you’ll see here is the one I received in the mail thanks to the subscription box Owlcrate (not sponsored, but I wish I was). I wanted to include this one, though, because of the stunning use of red giving off an evil, chilling atmosphere as they cover Jane’s eyes and crown her head. The regular cover features black roses. Both colors of roses appear in the novel. This entire image pulses with a mixture of life and death. Life in the roses and vines crawling over Jane as if consuming her whole while we can get a sense of death from the flowers that cover her eyes. I know when I first laid eyes on the novel a chill ran through me at the sight of it. I knew I was in for more than just a horror story with some romance in it. While there is a hint of such in the novel, it’s more so focused on Jane and everything she’s going through, which was a pleasant change of pace from what I’m used to reading. Sometimes, horror stories can get bogged down or lose sight of their primary purpose because the writer gets so focused on the love story between characters that all else falls to the back burner. This book doesn’t have that problem.
Alright, that about wraps up my review. If you’re interested in checking out Horrid, you can find the novel on Amazon (link below). If you want to see more from this author, check out Leno’s author page. I hope you’ve enjoyed this review.
Until next time.