Welcome to the third review in my Spooktober Halloween Reads series! I heard about New Fears, an anthology of horror stories edited by Mark Morris through Titan Books. While I don’t usually read horror stories (I can be a bit of a scaredy cat), I thought that this sounded awesome and I very luckily received a copy from the publisher! Each short story is around thirty or so pages long, so I decided to try and read one a day. Keep reading for my spoiler free review of New Fears.
Each story was so individual and thrilling; from haunted airport lounges, to grandparent imitating creatures to a doctor that stumbles upon a terrifying scenario on an isolated island, there’s a horror story for everyone.
Of course with so many different writing styles from the number of authors, there was always bound to be a couple of stories that weren’t my cup of tea, but each instalment was short and snappy meaning that even if something wasn’t to my taste it was still super easy to sail through each story.
There was definitely a constant undercurrent of creepiness throughout, and I did find myself casting a few backwards glances down the stairs every time I
walked ran up them in the dark, just in case, you know? The thing that scared me the most throughout the book was that New Fears isn’t filled with typical and traditional monsters. While some do feature a demon like creature, a lot of the stories play on human fears and terrors which makes the stories much more realistic and therefore all the more terrifying.
I won’t review story by story because then we’d be here for a pretty long time, so I’ve cherry picked a couple of my favourite tales. I definitely feel that the stories got creepier and creepier, as the following are all from the last quarter or so of the book.
The story that affected me most was definitely Dollies by Kathryn Ptacek. It left me feeling super uneasy and I’m pretty certain that a chill went down my spine, literally. Dollies is about Nonny, a young girl who is gifted dolls throughout her life which all die of smallpox. The story definitely took a turn that I was not expecting, and I guess that’s a prevalent theme throughout the book: expect the unexpected. I finished Dollies with an audible release of breath and a “wow”. To call it my favourite wouldn’t be quite right considering what happens, but it definitely had an effect on me that the others failed to do.
Another chilling tale is The Abduction Door, which is a story by Christian Golden about exactly what it sounds like: a door through which children are abducted. But the door moves. And the door a child is abducted through may not be in the same place through which they return, if they’re lucky enough to escape. The stolen children can be saved, but at a cost.
The House of the Head by Josh Malerman definitely freaked me out. Whilst nothing particularly scary happened, the whole premise of the story made me feel apprehensive; Evie owns a large doll house and loves to send time playing with her dolls, until they start to move. And they start to die.
New Fears is a fresh take on the classic horror story, with stories that will definitely stick with you long after you finish reading them. I gave New Fears 3/5 stars, and it was definitely refreshing to read a genre which is worlds apart from my preferred, high fantasy, though I did find myself skipping a couple of the stories that didn’t take my fancy. Thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy to review, and make sure to check out the rest of my Halloween Reads reviews: Wunderkids and There’s Someone Inside Your House.