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This Little Book Might Just Give Readers A Massive Fear Of Puppets
I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls has two qualities that have continued to stand out to me even after some time since I read it. One: it has an extremely unwieldy name to put into an article. And two: it is one of the scariest, most unnerving, most creative pieces of horror fiction I’ve come across as a reader.
And this is because of the sheer skill on display here. There are so many descriptions of what the puppets look like, how they interact with people, and the spaces they inhabit that feel straight out of a nightmare. I’ve read a lot of horror—a usually tropey genre—but I couldn’t guess what was going to happen at almost any point in this story. I had no frame of reference to pull from. The one time I did guess a plot point, the one time my critic mind caught foreshadowing, the story actively got me to disregard my own instincts.
And yes, it is a common thing to say a horror book plays out like a nightmare. Usually, that means it’s surreal, uses broken logic, evokes common phobias, or replays a rough approximation of nightmares people often have—but I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls is on another level. It has the loosening chain of events; it has the sense of fraying reality where some part of you knows it’s fake, and another part of you is clenched up, waiting for the horrible, deadly, scary thing to jump out. I have never read a book like this. I didn’t know a book could read like this.
This mood isn’t just evoked through the story and the scenarios, either. It’s done from the writing style up. At first, I thought the prose was a little stiff, and some of the dialogue wooden, but as the story continued, it only added to the fear, enhanced the nightmare. People don’t talk normally in nightmares. People don’t act normally in nightmares. It’s all about the descent.
This Book Has A Perfect Style For Scaring Readers
And what a descent it is. If you assumed this book was only about horrible monster puppets, then you’re in for a treat. Especially if you’re a fan of liminal spaces or cosmic horror. It’s actually hard not to spoil this book because to describe anything more than “there are massive puppets that kill people” is to diminish the effectiveness of the constant reveals that keep this book disturbing. It’s in it to mess with you right up to one of the most impactful, stick-with-you endings in any piece of modern horror fiction.
But no book is perfect, and I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls has a few issues. The first is a weird approach to explaining how any of this is happening. Firstly, because it didn’t need to explain much. Horror, especially short-form cosmic horror, doesn’t need to dive into much more than “this is some ancient power at work,” and it’s scarier for that gap in information. And secondly, the explanation given here might have run afoul of misrepresenting real-world religious beliefs. I can’t quite tell what I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls is referencing specifically, so maybe it’s all fictitious allusions or a grab bag of belief medlied to try to avoid offending anyone in particular, but it’s still worth pointing out. It’s also worth pointing out that, though most of the time the puppets are scary because they are moving on their own and have a quiet menace, sometimes the story presents the puppets’ motions as similar to how people with disabilities might navigate the world. That sort of thing is a particularly pernicious and toxic visual trope that the genre of horror, as a collective, hasn’t quite shaken out of its lexicon. I really don’t think it was deliberate here, and it’s not present for the bulk of the story, but there are a few moments of it.
A Few Small Choices Detract From The Excellence
Finally, one thing I praised does have an inherent downside. The dreamlike writing can be quite stilted—and it actually does take some time to ramp up to the pure unreality that makes this story so effective. The first chapter hits with such a hook that I was hoping for more puppets to show up right away. Or for the character to instantly dive deep into the strange between-place. But I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls doesn’t go full force right away. And it was right to do so. I’m glad it held out, letting things feel only somewhat off for a while before committing to full nightmare world. It just makes it all the scarier.
Frankly, I’m in awe of how scary I Found Puppets Living In My Apartment Walls is. Some of the concepts here are so inventive, so tapped into a certain vibe, that it feels like this tale could only be what it is. The book is short, easily read in a day, and as long as you don’t mind having trouble sleeping, I recommend you do so. You’ll find something truly special.
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