Bites

Published: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Becket, walking her dog one winter evening, fears it’s an abandoned baby left out in the cold. But it is something else—something evil—and it tricks Becket into opening a doorway to another realm, letting a darkness into our world, a corruption that begins transforming Philadelphia into a sinister and menacing version of itself…but only at night.

The changes are subtle at first, causing Becket to doubt her senses and her sanity. But soon the nightmarish truth is impossible to deny: By day, the city is just a city, but at night it literally comes alive with malevolent purpose. Brick and steel become bone, streetlights turn into gallows, and hungry alleys wait to snare mortal victims. Terrified citizens huddle indoors after dusk, as others succumb to the siren song of the night, letting their darker sides run wild.

Once, Becket’s biggest problems were living up to her police commissioner father’s high expectations and a secret crush on her best friend’s boyfriend. Now she must find a way to survive and protect her loved ones…before the darkness takes her as well. (goodreads.com)

How horribly disappointing. It sounded so good and even the blurb by Kendare Blake, whom I love, said it was dark and horror-ridden and fantastic. I don’t normally give author blurbs any regard, but I love Blake’s work so yeah. It’s going to carry some weight.

The world itself was actually really awesome. This insidious infiltration of this other dark, fantastical world into modern Philadelphia was terrifying, the way things changed, the way things existed in the corner of your eye, maybe you were seeing things, maybe you weren’t. The build-up with that was fantastic. And then how people started to change and basically just live on their ids, creating terror where the constructs, inanimate objects come to life, couldn’t get. And how all of this happened at night and went back to normal during the day. It’s terrifying. It really is.

But that’s about all the good I found the book. Becks is a vaguely condescending teen who does NOTHING for 95% of the book before taking really dumb and poorly thought out action at the end that’s entirely antithetical to the “think everything through cop’s daughter” mentality she built up during the entire book. The entire book where if she’s not getting pushed around by her selfish friend, she’s either commuting to and from school or cowering in her house. Becks literally does not move the plot at all. It moves her. This is, like, a cardinal sin of writing. Yet here we are.

Right before I started reading this, I was listening to a bunch of podcasts that recap Point Horror novels and one book they were doing was real heavy in ableist language around mental illness. One of the podcasters deals with a mental illness on a daily basis and she expounded on how harmful this kind of language is and how likening a mental illness to the worst thing that could possibly happen to a person is so incredibly damaging.

Then I started reading NIGHTSTRUCK and was dumbstruck by the number of times terms like crazy and variations of spaz were used. Not to mention Becks thinking multiple times that she’d rather have a brain tumor than lose her mind (when trying to figure out if the night changes she was seeing were real). Had I not listened to those podcasts I don’t know if I would have been as sensitive to such language, but seeing as how I did listen, and how pervasive this language was, I felt like I was getting slapped every time I read it. It was incredibly heavy-handed in the first half of the book and then trickled down, but was still there. Kind of awful.

And then back to Becks’s condescension, because she’s supposed to be this enlightened, smart kid who’s in AP everything yet runs her mouth about mental illness like it’s nothing yet won’t call a dick a dick when she sees it in some iron work. It’s a phallic symbol. Every. Single. Time. Phallic symbol. And it was mentioned multiple times because it’s really what started drilling into Becks’s head in figuring out what’s going on. It’s the marker she uses to bring Luke into everything. Not a dick or a penis or a schlong. Phallic symbol. Yet she doesn’t know to cool her shit about mental illness. Slightly inconsistent there.

I wanted to like NIGHTSTRUCK so bad. The world is so creepy and how it comes into fruition is just fantastic. But everything else just sucks. Becks is a less-than-appealing character who is barely tolerable most of the time, inconsistent in her intelligence and decision-making abilities, and literally does nothing for most of the book. Great, so does she do a whole lot more nothing in the sequel? Guess I’m not going to find out because I’m not going to read it. And that makes me sad.

2

Published: September 25, 2013
Publisher: Image Comics
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Suzie’s a normal girl with an extraordinary ability: when she has sex, she stops time. One night she meets John… who has the same gift. And so they do what any other sex-having, time-stopping, couple would do: they rob banks. In the vein of THE 40-YEAR OLD VIRGIN and BRIDESMAIDS, Image Comics invites you to come along with MATT FRACTION (Hawkeye, SATELLITE SAM) and CHIP ZDARSKY (Prison Funnies, Monster Cops) for the series that puts the “comic” back in “comics” and the “sexy” back in “sex crimes.” (goodreads.com)

So putting the “sexy” back in ” sex crimes” is skeevy at best. Who thought of that? The more I read it the more grossed out I get. Yeah, let’s make violent rape sexy. Granted, that’s not what this comic is about and I imagine it’s just a play on words because there are no actual sex crimes in this book, but there are people who have sex and then commit crimes together. Yeah. Real shitty play on words there. Real gross play on words too.

I have no idea what he hell this is. The main character lost her dad in some weird office mishap where he was thrown out the window. Mom circled the drain and Suzie found orgasms? I have no idea. It’s supposed to be funny but that’s not what I was picking up. I mean the tag line on Goodreads is “A sex comedy for comics.” So written by dudebros for dudebros? I don’t want to judge the authors based on this one comic because I haven’t read anything else, and the blurb is more than likely by the publisher, not the authors. But this is just all kinds of gross in the way it’s marketed.

And the story is lackluster. Again, girl loses dad, mom circles the drain while Suzie finds orgasms. She has some kind of synesthesia when she comes and when she meets a guy who sees the same thing when he comes they somehow start robbing banks or something. I have no idea. The story is disjointed at best. You’re not missing anything. If you want sexy go watch Cinemax or something. At least it’s more visually appealing and you don’t have to concern yourself with a story.

1.5

I received a copy of this comic from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have the glorious honor of being a guest recapper at The Devil’s Elbow, a site dedicated to recapping and reliving all the glorious cheese that is Point Horror, Goosebumps, Fear Street, and all manner of 80s and 90s YA horror. Guys, I’ve found my people. I’ve been reviewing cheese going back to early 2011 when I had my resurgence of 90s YA horror love and started hoarding all those books again. It’s been a stunning love/hate relationship ever since.

And then I find this place run by, of all people, two of my fellow original members of the Lost Boys fandom from way back in the mailing list days. Life is full of circles, people! Full of them. So now I’m contributing recaps. First one up is Carmen Adams’s THE BAND:

Leather-clad creatures of the night who call themselves “The Band” are constantly on the lookout for new recruits to play music with them and to follow them into the darkness. (goodreads.com)

I have already reviewed this book here if you want to dig through the archives or check out the review on my Goodreads page. Coming up is Carmen Adams’s SONG OF THE VAMPIRE (which this and THE BAND are filled with so much Lost Boys love I can’t even take it) and then into the fall I’ll be recapping LJ Smith’s The Forbidden Game series (which is filled with Labyrinth love, can you tell why I adore these books???).

So be sure to bookmark pointhorror.com to follow along not only with my recaps but everyone else’s as they snarkily wade through some of the dredge that spawned during this early time for YA horror (and YA in general). Some books end up loved. More often than not they’re skewered and left to roast. And stay tuned because I’m getting slated as a guest on their podcast as well. Download those if you haven’t already. They’re rather awesome. Oh I can’t wait to chat cheese!

Published: February 22, 2017
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

In celebration of the 35th anniversary of Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, return to the world of Thra in an official sequel to the beloved fantasy film. Discover an all-new race of creatures called Firelings that live in a realm near the planet’s core, based on official character designs by Brian Froud. Years have passed since the events of the original film, and though Jen and Kira have ruled Thra as King and Queen, bringing Gelfling back to the land, they have become distracted by power and can no longer feel or see the needs of the world the way they once did. Thurma is a young Fireling tasked with stealing a shard of the Dark Crystal to restore power to her realm. Along the way she’ll befriend the young Gelfling Kensho, bring back the Skeksis and Mystics, and embark on one incredible adventure. (goodreads.com)

I was never a Dark Crystal fan, but I picked this up at BEA. Might as well give it a try. And I have to say it’s a good story. I’ve only seen the original movie once, if that, so I’m not really familiar with the story itself although I’m more familiar with some of the characters.

I definitely liked the art here. Visually stunning and eye-catching. I think it told more of a story than the words themselves. Not that the story wasn’t good. It’s this little fire creature trying to save its kind by obtaining a shard of the crystal itself. Which, of course, is sacrilege. And it ended up waking up the two main characters there, who were in stasis, which is even worse than asking for a shard.

So it has its fair share of drama. It’s still not really my thing. I’m probably not going to keep reading in the series. But I can see how The Dark Crystal is a fan favorite and I can definitely see how the comic is sure to be really popular. It just doesn’t resonate with me, unfortunately. I was hoping it would. Like I said, it’s not bad. But it’s not for me.

3

I received a copy of this comic from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Published: October 8, 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry. (goodreads.com)

Not to be confused with volume 1, which collects the first six in the series. This is just WYTCHES #1.

That being said, it’s creepy as hell. Between the art and the story itself . . . because I needed another reason to be afraid of the woods. Lucky for me I don’t live around them anymore so NO WORRIES.

It’s certainly a compelling story that starts decades in the past with a woman basically being consumed by a tree, which is horrifying. And then fast forwards to the present about a girl being heinously bullied and that ending . . . poorly. Not for the victim, though. Although it’s not anything she’s going to be able to forget for a while.

It’s got a bit of a chosen one syndrome going on with the main character there although I doubt her path is going to be saving the world. Eaten by tree wytches, maybe.

I do like how the witches in this world aren’t traditional witches, which is why they’re spelled wytches. They’re these gnarly, beastly things that require blood sacrifices in order to stay alive. Again, horrifying. Didn’t need another reason to fear trees. Really didn’t. But this is good because I actually find the story creepy. And the art. The art is kind of terrifying too. I need to get me the rest of the series now.

4.5

I received a copy of this comic from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.