Hey, everyone! Happy Halloween—almost. The Witching Hour is closing in, and soon trick-or-treaters will be hitting the streets, and cosplayers will be showing off with convention-ready costumes.
It’s a special time of the year that no other holiday can match or imitate—and it gives me an excuse to finally do another Top Ten Tuesday, so thank you to That Artsy Reader Girl for providing a freebie for us this time.
I’ve decided to do a Halloween Books – Vibe Check Edition, where I look at the books on my TBR shelf that give me both intense Halloween vibes and which I’m most excited to read (though in no particular order except alphabetical this time).
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Why It’s Spoopy: It’s a thriller mystery chock full of murder and characters with dark and wicked pasts, each of them marked as the potential next victim. All of them are connected, but no one knows who the killer is, and the eccentric millionaire who invited them all to his mansion is nowhere to be found. The thought of this book has fascinated me for years, but I’ve often put it off because I’m a scaredy cat.
Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth by Grant Morrison
Why It’s Spoopy: The artwork is absolutely chilling and remains one of the most standout works in Batman comics if not comics in general. The familiar setting of Arkham Asylum is taken to an extremely creepy level, with Batman forced to run the gauntlet Joker, Poison Ivy, Scarecrow, Two-Face, and other enemies present to him in exchange for hostages. It’s a glimpse of each super-villain’s personal hell while Batman’s own sanity is severely tested. I don’t have an excuse as to why I haven’t read this yet.
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
Why It’s Spoopy: The Undead, zombies, whatever you want to call them, they have a new, blood-chilling name here: bone houses. They might also be the result of a fae curse? This just took on a new level of “we’re fucked.” Plus, we’ve got a whole lot of graveyards and grave-digging, and what’s not to love about that?
The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
Why It’s Spoopy: The cover resembles human skin, which is already goosebumps-inducing. However, White is also taking the classic gothic horror novel Frankenstein and swinging it even more in the horror direction. Couple that with an original character who’s will to survive is put to the test along with a dark relationship with Victor Frankenstein, and I think we find ourselves with a gripping, character-driven tale that isn’t afraid of a little grit.
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Why It’s Spoopy: If there is any book on this list that embodies spoopy, it’s probably this one. We’ve got skeletons, lesbian necromancers, and a quirky space setting! We’ve got enemies to lovers! We’ve got bone witches, deadly trials, dirty magazines, and a whole lot of humor! This is a book I’d never thought I’d see published, but I have a feeling I will be overjoyed that it was.
House of Furies by Madeleine Roux
Why It’s Spoopy: Look at how gothic romance/horror this looks, I’m shaking (but in a good way). Louisa becomes a maid at a boarding house, only to discover its owner, Mr. Morningside, uses his home as a place of judgement for his guests. If you’re past being saved, you’re fair game to Morningside and his unusual staff. This book could go in so many directions, and the fact that I don’t know which one makes it exciting to one day pick up.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Why It’s Spoopy: The glamorous setting of Yale is one only most of us could dream of going, but Bardugo has added the sinister element of transforming its real secret societies into those that perform occult activities. How occult? I’ll have to read to find out. Our heroine, Alex Stern, also drags a dark past behind her, being the sole survivor of an unsolved multiple homicide. I cannot wait to start this intense adult fantasy/mystery/horror book!
Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer
Why It’s Spoopy: We’ve got a mother character who murders supernatural beings and sells their body parts on the black market, and we’ve got her daughter Nita, who dissects the bodies after they’re “acquired.” That’s already some stomach-churning stuff, but then Nita winds up being sold to the black market herself after trying to save a living specimen, discovering that she is a supernatural creature herself. This one sounds dark, full of betrayal, survival, and interesting characters doing bad things. Sign me up!
Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
Why It’s Spoopy: Space! Horror! Space! Horror! This one sounds a little different from a lot of space horror I run into. It doesn’t seem to involve a mysterious virus killing everyone on board, for instance. Rather, there’s a crew left in stasis for centuries, only to be awoken by a shipraider. After discovering the ship is harboring a chunk of Earth that will save the human race, our raider and crew member Tuck must work together to outwit their enemies, evade brutal monsters that kill with sound, and save the ship, or humanity is doomed.
The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Why It’s Spoopy: Now this book does contain a contagion of vampiric proportions, and even the synopsis makes my pulse race. A Boeing 777 stopping dead in the middle of the runway. No lights, no communications, shades all pulled down. Then, the CDC gets an alert, and what they find on the plane makes their blood run cold. I’ve heard from so many people that this trilogy is amazing, and I trust Guillermo del Toro implicitly to do horror right and in such an engaging way. Even if I am slick terrified to read it.
And that, folks, is my Halloween vibe check. I hope you’re electrified to check out these reads if you haven’t already, and I hope I get to each of them soon myself. Otherwise, I wish you lots of candy, ghosts, ghouls, and “Thriller”-dancing in your future!
What are your go-to books for Halloween? What spooky (or spoopy) books are you excited to experience for the first time?
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