I know it’s not even fall yet, but I am so ready for the most wonderful time of year! I’m getting my Halloween game on early and just had to share.
I’m kicking off the list with a trio of are rich, velvety, neoVictorian gothic novels. After sitting on my reading list forever, I just finished The Night Circus and found exciting if a bit overly sweet, just like many of the circus’ confections. It has teens’ perennial favorite “instalove,” and readers will find it deeply enchanting.
Neverwhere is decidedly more creepy, and unsettling than The Night Circus. It’s a grown-up novel with great teen appeal, short and tasty and just the perfect disturbing world under London where nothing is quite what it seems. Early Gaiman at his most enchanting.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series is creepily odd and very Victorian, with a bit of action to keep the reader on edge.
Terry Prachett’s pervasive humor and excellent characters are a fun way to visit Halloweentown without getting actually scared.
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is deeply atmospheric and cloaked in every shade of black, but as there’s a good strong magical battle here, I believe it belongs with the other dark fantasy novels.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series is more for upper elementary/middle school, but as a favorite childhood series and my first introduction to neoGothic, Steampunk, and alternate histories, it still holds a special place in my heart.
Advent is by far the strongest member of The Dark is Rising trilogy, and I was surprised by the fun dark twists of familiar folktale and fantasy standards. Evil mermaids are the least of their worries.
The Night Gardener was mostly great, definitely seat-of-your-pants action, and the character of the gardener is scary! I just wish the moralizing hadn’t overwhelmed so much.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is just a tiny bite of the most perfectly creepy (non-murder) suspense thriller. Everyone else is paying homage as they best can, but I’ve still not met its match.
Through the Woods is an eerie selection of short stories in graphic novel form bookended by the idea of the Red Riding Hood story not being all it seems to be. This is another fabulous middle school read.
Coraline was my first re-introduction to 3D movies, but the book is beautifully far more strange and disturbing than the film. If you think I’m a big Gaiman fan, you’d be right!
On My “to be read” shelf
I hear the nicest horrible things about:
A swing and a miss
Nightmares and The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York (which I really wanted toe like for its awesome illustration) were overly moralizing to the point of pain, and The Faceless Ghost was abrupt, not eerie. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. I was mostly just a bit confused.