Monday, September 21, 2009

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

tot Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly 2007 239 Pages 4.5/5 Finally, I feel like I've found the perfect book to set the tone for the RIP challenge. I've read several books now for the challenge, but none of them were exactly creepy. Several of them were depressing, were dystopian, had a sense of mystery or foreboding, but none gave that genuine creepy feeling. None were an "October book" as I like to call them. This, my friends, is an October book. I first heard of this book after reading Carl's review over at Stainless Steel Droppings right after I started my book buying ban and thought "woe is me, I can't have it!!" And then I though...aha! I forgot about that lovely building called the library!! So I hopped in my car, drove over there, and there it was waiting for me in all it's Edward Gorey-esque glory. Let me tell you a little bit about what it's about. The book is sort of a novel told in short stories. I really enjoyed this format. It's about a young boy who goes to visit his eccentric uncle, Uncle Montague. Along the way, he spots a number of children playing in the forests around his house...children that won't approach him. When he gets to his uncle's house, he sits down in his uncle's parlor which is lit by nothing but candles and is served tea. The room has odd adornments and each one has it's own story, stories which Uncle Montague tells his nephew, and each tale ends with a character who is left in a very bad off way...often dead. The stories are often truly horrifying. There are several that stayed with me for days. Some are your traditional ghost-type stories, while others are brand new inventions that I truly loved. What I loved about these stories is that you can tell that Priestly has true respect and love for folklore and haunted tales. His story telling abilities are brilliant and I'd love to read some of these to children (or adults for that matter) on a crisp autumn night. The stories are accented by David Roberts' wonderful illustrations that reminded me so much of Edward Gorey with his own twist added to them. They added a nostalgic feeling to these tales that seems to be missing in so much modern horror. Truly enjoyable! If you're looking for something to add to your RIP list, this is highly recommended. He has another book out that centers around tales aboard a pirate ship and has a book coming out soon that takes place in a cave :) Looking forward to reading both of those!!

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