Its often said that Stephen King can make anything scary. Clowns. Dogs. Your next door neighbor. The master of horror can twist and weave his way into your psychosis with but a few words on the page. And seeing how its Halloween, let’s revisit King’s novels and take a look at his library to get spooked once again. Here are a few of King’s scariest works, best read after dark.
Image via Amazon
Miserydoesn’t have goblins, ghosts, or ghouls, but its horror is more frightening because its horror is based in reality. A chilling look at fandom gone wrong, this book tells the tale of what happens when a work of fiction becomes too much of an obsession. Writer Paul Sheldon suffers an accident during a snowstorm and is rescued by Annie Wilkes. Although seemingly sweet at first, Annie reveals she’s quite insane and is not happy with Paul for the ending of his last book, where her favorite character got killed off. So Annie takes Paul hostage and forces him to rewrite the book. A disturbing portrait of the more psychological variety, this one is also a disturbingly accurate showcasing of an obsessed fan that goes too far that rings even more true today.
4. ‘Night Shift’
Image via Den of Geek
Night Shift is an anthology of short stories that contain some of King’s best and scariest works. Included in this collection are Graveyard Shift, where a group of men investigate the abandoned basement of a steel mill and find it infested with giant rats. Quitters Inc. showcases a hapless smoker who will do anything to stop his addiction. The Mangler is all about an industrial laundry machine that gets possessed by a demon and how it violently kills those who come into contact with it. What are the rest? You’ll have to crack it open and see for yourself, if you dare.
3. ‘Salem’s Lot’
image via tor.com
Salem’s Lotis a chilling novel about vampires invading a small, sleepy little town with a lot of dark secrets. Full of genuinely horrifying imagery, lots of gore, violence, and very frightening vampires, this novel is not for the faint of heart but is sure to please any fans of the children of the night.
2. ‘Durma Key’
image via amazon
Durma Keyis a lesser known Stephen King work but its just as gripping and scary as any mainstream novel. A scary, psychological story, we aren’t going to spoil anything of this one but its scary the same way Misery is. Its about the perils of creativity, the mysteries of one’s past, and with a touch of supernatural to add some spice, this one is one that should be read by more people.
1. ‘Pet Sematary’
imge via amazon
This is it. Pet Semataryis probably King’s scariest work. King himself almost didn’t finish it because of how upset it made him. Drawing inspiration from a relief life incident where King saved his young son from being struck by a truck, King spun this tale out of his own fears and it certainly shows. When a father’s son is hit by a truck, he buries him in a cursed burial ground that brings the dead back. Having already done this with his cat, the cat comes back meaner and seemingly undead. And when his son comes back, things take a turn for the absolute worst. Riveting, utterly terrifying, and full of frightening imagery, this book will linger with you in ways a book often doesn’t.
Our culture is obsessed with zombies. The undead plague has caught on in nearly all forms of media: from movies (Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Zombieland), video games (Left 4 Dead, Dead Rising, Dying Light), and television (The Walking Dead, iZombie, Ash vs Evil Dead). And yes, literature too! Our obsession with the undead has created a lot of content, some of it awful but some of it quite good. Let’s have a look at who rises from the grave best, with the best zombie books of all time!
5. ‘Monster Island’ by David Wellington
Image Via Amazon
Monster Island by David Wellington takes place a month after the zombie apocalypse, where just a few pockets of humanity are struggling to survive against the horde. The story pairs up a military man with an army of schoolgirls, as they venture into a zombie infested New York City to find the cure for the undead plague. A fast paced, action packed novel with lots of zombie killing while building a fantastic atmosphere with the spooky New York location, this is a great, pulpy read.
4. ‘The Girl with all the gifts’ by M.R. Carey
Image via Amazon
The Girl With All The Giftsis a genre defying, emotionally hefty story that will leave you in tears at the end. The story follows a unique zombie plague (unique in that it’s fungal, not viral or bacterial). And the book takes place 20 years following the initial outbreak, and unfortunately, I can’t tell you much more than that in fear of spoiling it for you. The book has well-written female protagonists that don’t feel rushed or just thrown in for the sake of being there. It’s a uniquely heartfelt zombie book that you won’t be able to put down.
3. ‘The Reapers Are the Angels’ by Alden Bell
Image via Amazon
The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell is another post-apocalyptic book, taking place after the rise of zombies and the fall of civilization. Civilization survives in meager enclaves, protecting themselves against the zombies just beyond their scraps of life. It focuses on a young, 15 year old girl called Temple, who can’t remember a time before the zombies but she does know how to survive. Painting an intimate portrait of loneliness, the book showcases Temple’s journey across the blighted earth, moving between civilization and the frontier beyond as she searches for a place she can call home.
2. ‘The Rising’ by Brian Keene
Image via Amazon
The Rising by Brian Keene is a highly regarded, beloved zombie novel that debuted in 2003 and has had heavy acclaim every since. It tells of a father’s desperate search for his young son against impossible odds, as he journeys across the zombie infested earth, alongside a preacher and a recovering heroin addict. They travel from town to town, city to city, and battling against zombies, his fellow man, and the elements. Full of horror, increasing intensity, and a desperate will to survive, this is a novel full of hope against impossible odds.
1. ‘World war Z’ by Max Brooks
Image Via Amazon
World War Zby Max Brooks is probably THE zombie novel.World War Z manages to scare readers with its plausibility, as it sounds like a zombie apocalypse that could actually happen. Brooks’ gritty zombie novel shows what would happen in a post war culture when zombies are involved, and the unforgiving brutality of it all hits close to home. Told from multiple points of view and showcasing what a global pandemic would look like, the book is full of scares, chilling moments, and showcasing a world that has lived through an apocalyptic event.
For much of history, much like in real life, female characters in fiction were sidelined, often not promoted to the front like their male counterparts until recently. But this has begun to change, with strong and nuanced female character coming to the forefront of genres like fantasy, science fiction, historical and more! And even looking back throughout literary history, there are numerous examples of kickass women who paved the way forward. Here some of the best, counting down from ten!
10. Offred- The Handmaid’s Tale
Image Via Amazon
The Handmaid’s Taletells of a future where women have been reduced to the role of reproductive slaves in a society run by a religious order, made into the property of men and forbidden from reading, writing, or holding positions of power. Offred, whose real name is June, is a woman who dreams of a better life and despite all the hardship she endures, she instills the spark of rebellion, piece by piece, through her actions and inspires women around her. She may not be an action hero but it’s clear she’s the strongest character, holding power over the men who claim to own her.
9. Sabriel- Sabriel
Image via Goodreads
In a world where the dead walk the earth, one young women holds the key to countering the dark evil rising from the depths of the underworld. Enter Sabriel, an eighteen-year-old girl who is finishing her work at an all female college where she sees a vision of the dead walking out from the other realm beyond her own to infest the earth. Sent by her father to stop a group of Necromancers, Sabriel is fierce, ferocious, but also very human and showcases a quiet inner strength that allows her to overcome Death itself.
8. Nancy Drew-Nancy Drew mystery stories
Image via Tvline
Nancy Drew was created in 1930s but nevertheless emerged to become an icon for countless generations. A young girl working as an amateur detective, Nancy Drew constantly went headfirst into danger, exploring abandoned castles, creepy mansions, slimy swamps, and dark basements to solve mystery after mystery. The character has been updated to become stronger and older as the years went by, letting her evolve while also staying true to her roots, always a girl as brave as any boy and sniffing out the next case to crack.
7. Matilda- Matilda
Image via Entertainment
Another young girl, Matildaemerged as one of the best characters of Roald Dahl’s novels who has a love of reading and kindness while also possessing rad telekinesis. She overcomes adversity not through brute force, contrasting her nemesis, the Trunchbull, a massive tyrant of a headmaster who bullies the children in her care. Matilda’s mind is her greatest asset and is gleeful to see her emerge as the smartest person in the room. You can’t help but cheer as she overcomes the Trunchbull, letting her mind flow freely to literally grab the brute of a woman and give her a taste of her own medicine.
6. Princess Cimorene- Dealing with Dragons
Image via Wikipedia
This princess turns the classic trope of a fair damsel getting kidnapped by a dragon and rescued by a knight on its head. Cimorene runs away from her kingdom where her parents try to make her marry an undesirable prince, runs to a dragon, and takes up a job under the dragon’s wing. Cimorene takes charge of her life from the first chapter, showcasing her strength, wit, and skill to get a life she wants, not the one the story has set out for her. And she gets to be best friends with a dragon, which is badass.
5. Isabella Trent- A Natural History of Dragons
Image Via Book Reviews
Written as a memoir by supposed famous dragon naturalist Lady Trent, A Natural History of Dragonschronicles the adventures of Isabella Trent who strives to become the authority of dragonology. Written as a bookish, very English sort of woman, Isabella is prim and proper, erudite and sophisticated while possessing a true passion for the dragons of the world. She would sooner examine a dragon up close than scream in terror, being truly fascinated and possessing a scholarly disposition that makes her quite lovable. It’s wonderful to watch her evolve as the series go on, seeing her adventures with dragons and showcasing how she is the most brilliant mind in the room.
4. Katniss Everdeen- The Hunger Games
Image via Forbes
Thrust into The Hunger Games,a bloodsport that pits her against teens from fellow Districts, Katniss Everdeen rises to the occasion to take control of her destiny. Refusing to play by the Capital’s rules, she fights against the game at every opportunity, first refusing to kill her supposed ‘enemy’ Peeta at the game’s end, threatening to kill herself if the Capital doesn’t let them both live. Eventually, she becomes the leader of a rebellion against the District entirely, becoming a full fledged warrior as the Districts rise around her to overthrow President Snow. Katniss is a champion for inner strength, fierceness, and stone cold badassery.
3. Scout Finch- To Kill a Mockingbird
Image via Pininterest
Scout is great because of how real she feels. She narrates the book from her POV, showcasing her child’s view of the world, making us fall in love with her mannerisms and her fiesty attitude. She’s curious, always ready to get into a fight, and a tomboy, contrasting with the small town atmosphere around her that disapproves of her unladylike ways. She is at once relatable, yet always reminding us she’s a child and has a lot of growing up to do. But Scout is always wonderful, a great protagonist who showcases the spirit of a women beneath her childish exterior.
2. Arya Stark- A Song of Ice and Fire
Image Via the Wrap
One of the protagonist of Game of Thrones, Arya began as an immature girl, the third child of Ned Stark who was interested in very unladylike things, being fiesty and independent. But as the series progresses, she grows into a fully fledged warrior, swearing revenge on those who killed her family and becoming one of the Faceless Men, learning their skills as an assassin. She wields an awesome sword named Needle and ventures across Westeros, trying to complete her list of named targets. Extremely popular with fans, Arya is vicious despite her small size and should never be underestimated.
1. Hermione Granger- Harry Potter
Image via Vox
One of the iconic figures in the series, Hermione is arguably more capable than Harry, being an intelligent teenager with a gift for magic, an aptitude for history, and often described as a walking encyclopedia. Favoring brains over brawn, she comes up with the plans throughout the series and often represents a clear headed contrast to the more impulsive Ron or even Harry. She isn’t without her flaws, with her fear of failure driving her to nearly kill herself as she drowns herself in schoolwork, but she always prove herself a strong young woman, ready to smack anyone who challenges or insults her.