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.
As odd as it is for a horror fan to say, “The Pram” is the first thing I’ve read by Joe Hill, the son of the most famous horror writer in the world, Stephen King. But, from what I’ve heard through the grapevine of criticism, they share a fair number of stylistic flourishes.
The Call of the Flame initially worried me that it would be a repeat of my usual concerns with Epic Fantasy. In my very recent review of The Legacy Saga, I talked about how stories in this genre can lack strong inciting incidents or story hooks because it’s too busy with worldbuilding. And several times, The Call of the Flame almost fell right into the same trap but miraculously continued to pull back and keep things understandable.
Before listening to The Storage Papers, I never thought a podcast could scare me as much as The Magnus Archives. That the mind-melting, the dark-is-dangerous thrill it gave me was the peak of horror storytelling.
The Legacy Saga taught me an interesting lesson about tropes, genre conventions, and storytelling methods that I simply cannot enjoy. In the grand scheme, there’s nothing terribly wrong with The Legacy Saga, no glaring sin, but it was a slog to listen to for any amount of time. The minor issues stack up quickly, and what could’ve been a fun experience turned into a malaise.
Black Tide was a different sort of book than I expected. The premise of a cosmic horror-style alien invasion was interesting by itself, but Black Tide marks the first “bottle episode” book I’ve ever read.
Campfire Radio Theater is an anthology horror series tied to no apparent central themes, no reoccurring characters, and as a bit of foreshadowing: not a consistent approach to storytelling. I picked the episodes semi-randomly, going mostly off if the title or premise seemed interesting.
Civilized is a first for me as a reviewer: it’s an improvisational podcast. Meaning the actors are just playing off each other. And as such, I can’t really judge it on its plot progression. Narrative, themes, writing quality: all out the window. There really isn’t even a storyline to speak of yet, just a premise.
Calling Harrow Lake a disappointment is perhaps too strong a phrase, but the book does fail to deliver in a few key aspects. There was a missing ingredient, a piece withheld, that made it appear mismanaged.
Let’s get this out of the way because I’m going to be typing it a lot: The Circle of Ter-ROAR is a silly name for a book. Be Careful What You Wish Fur is at least a clean word change—“The Circle of Terror” would’ve been fine. But, oh well. This is, as far as I can tell, the last in the Disney Chills series, and it may as well end on the worst of the puns.
Alba Salix, Royal Physician is such a departure from most podcasts I’ve come across in my career as a critic. It’s basically a cartoon but in an audio-only format. Each of the first three episodes is an isolated, silly situation with very little seeding for any future plots. It’s episodic, is what I’m saying—the point is to be a fun distraction and to make you laugh.
Weeping Cedars promised in its description to be a slow burn. And they weren’t kidding. The first three entries have a glacial pace, relying on their other strengths to carry the listener through. Basically, not a lot has happened yet.
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