ARC Review: The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher

“You have trespassed into deep places, and the only way out is deeper still.”

This was a hell of a creepy read. Of course, it’s to be expected by a book called The Twisted Ones. I immediately conjured thoughts of Uzumaki by Junji Ito in my mind and to be fair, I wasn’t far off. If I had to compare this book to anything it would be a mashup of Uzumaki and The Blair Witch Project. Creepy woods? Check. Haunted ass effigies? Double check. Body morphing on its own into a caricature of undeniable horror???

Baby, triple check.

Mouse has traversed into the woods to try to salvage and perhaps sell her dead grandmother’s house. Don’t mourn for dearly departed grandmother though, death has not changed Mouse’s stance or relationship with her. The woman was awful, evil even. Nobody is shocked or even saddened by her passing. Armed only with her laptop, cell phone, and beloved dog Bongo (!!! sweet baby boy), Mouse is ready to clean out her grandmother’s house and make right with her own debts.

Only…fuck, dead evil grandma is a hoarder and this is going to take a lot much more work and time than she bargained for. Oh and there are weird evil half skeleton, half animal creatures out there visiting Mouse in the dead of night, EVERY night. And if that’s not creepy enough for you, Mouse chances upon her dead grandfather’s diary and manuscript which describe a series of entities called The Twisting Ones. Mouse first puts it down to old age and senility but we should know by now that not everything is what it seems to be. The forest is dangerous and The Twisted Ones are out there. Between the hoarding, strange rocks that force you to obey their will, and demonic effigies, Mouse is not in for a happy trip to grandmother’s house in the slightest.

This book was great. It’s spooky, well written, atmospheric. The plot is original and cohesive and I’ve seen it being described as Fairy Folk Horror which is perfect and aptly suited. My only gripe is that the manuscript that Mouse reads (books within books aha) is very confusing and kind of long winded. I don’t feel as though I took much from it and in the end all of it wasn’t necessary.

The characters, ALL OF THEM, are fantastic. Mouse is a snarky, kick ass, witty young woman and reading her inner and outer thoughts were great. I found myself laughing out loud in many places and related to her in a way I haven’t with a character in a long time. Bongo ❤ is the best. Mouse’s neighbors are all well written and so lifelike. I love it. Even Mouse’s evil ass granny who we never encounter because she’s dead as fuck, is presented flawlessly. I could feel her evil seeping through the pages.

I love horror. I love being scared. It thrills me and this is probably one of the scariest books I have read all year. Just the thought of an upside down deer skull leering at me in my window at night makes me shiver. The stone scene is still stuck in my mind. This is truly a breathtaking example of horror, subtle but wrenching.

Thanks very much to Gallery/Saga Press and Netgalley for this ARC. All opinions are my own.

Sticks and stones, sticks and stones, sticks and stones and talking bones…

💜💜💜💜 4/5

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Expected publication: October 1st 2019 by Gallery / Saga Press

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