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Book Review

Book Reviews


By Alix Harrow
Oct. 5, 2021
128 pages

‘A Spindle Splintered’

If you’ve been following along, you’ll have likely caught on to my addiction to fairy tales, myths, timeless stories of all varieties. So it’ll be no surprise to hear I’ve fallen head over heels for this gorgeous, deliciously subversive retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

Zinnia’s life revolves around three things: she is sick, there’s no cure, and death is her only future. She works hard to keep her distance from living, and her efforts result in an obsession with folklore — Sleeping Beauty in particular. As she gets closer to the foregone conclusion of her short life, she is given a chance to change her story and that of others just like her. Her unlikely adventure changes her views of fate, hope and happily ever after.

I’m officially an Alix Harrow fangirl, at this point. I just can’t get enough of her wry humor and knife-sharp turns of phrase. There are so many sentences in these short 128 pages that wrecked me with helpless awe, it’s a wonder I made it through the book at all. I can’t wait for the sequel to break me all over again. ♦

— Review by Julie Goodrich

CNA - Stop HIV Iowa

By Cassandra Khaw
Oct. 19, 2021
128 pages
Tor Nightfire

‘Nothing But Blackened Teeth’ 

Halloween starts earlier every year, but I just can’t get in the mood until I read something that chills me far more than the autumn weather. Luckily, this gorgeously spooky novella found me at just the right time to tingle my spine. 

A destination wedding in Japan has a few extra layers as a group of friends meets in a notorious mansion. The creepy story of a woman buried alive in the foundation is actually a feature for the bride-to-be, as she has a yen for magic, mystery and ghosts. The group gets a bit more than they bargained for, however, as they taunt both the ghosts and each other to horrifying ends. 

Khaw’s brilliant, sharp writing makes what could be a flat copy of “Hill House” into something so much stranger and starkly beautiful. This is a modern story for a clever audience that still feels timeless and real. It’s unsettling but also funny and deeply creepy. It is highly recommended for anyone bored with the usual horror offerings. ♦ 

— Review by Julie Goodrich

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