Books from Hell #3: Horrorstor

Read my earlier post to find out why I’m reviewing this book.

I have never in my life come across a more whimsically designed book than Horrorstör. You can tell from the look of this faux catalogue that the designer had so much fun, and it promises you will too. However, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

Horrorstör

By Grady Hendrix, 2014

I had high hopes for this one. A ghost story set in an IKEA-esque megastore? How unique! How cheeky! I so badly wanted it to be my idea. Author Grady Hendrix’s style is delightful and breezy. I read it in one weekend (which is fast for me), and by the last page, I wanted it to go on. I want there to be a sequel. But the problem I encountered was that the horror never went below the surface. I was thoroughly amused, but I wasn’t scared because I wasn’t entirely engaged with the characters and their problems.

I can forgive a lot of books’ plot/pacing issues (though there were none in Hendrix’s story) if I enjoy the character(s) I’m following. But like the horror, the character development never went too deep, and I felt I could have liked them more if I had been given a better reason to. (And I don’t mean likable in the sense that “they’re good people” — they can be dirt bags or villainous scum as long as they’re fully developed, interesting scum).

But please read this book, dear readers. It was very creative and enjoyable — I just wanted to like the characters more, to have a stronger connection with them and understand their reasons for making the choices they did. But I would definitely give them another chance were a sequel to come out.

For my own writing, what I take away is this: spend more time growing and understanding the people who populate my world; from the main character to the minor person who hands her a coffee on her way to the action. Each has a story, each has layers for the readers to explore (even if they’re just touched on softly and quickly).