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2017 Reading Challenge

Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Book Review: The Imaginings by Paul Dail

So here we are, holiday week, Christmas is coming to my household, and what am I bringing you for Book Review Tuesday fare? Why, creepy, scary, horror of course! (teehee)

Actually, there’s probably some interesting psychological analysis there – most people read horror for the same reason they read science fiction or fantasy/supernatural stuff: the escape. And what better time to escape than the holiday season? I don’t know about you, but I’m beat – decorating, shopping, cards, gifts, parties are all great things, but the sheer volume sometimes overwhelms me. Especially since this year I’m doing it all while we are in the process of settling into New House (hooray for New House!)…

Eek, she said!

So a little vacation from reality isn’t a bad thing just now. Although, quite honestly, I don’t really want to vacation TO author Paul Dail’s worlds so much as vacation THROUGH them… Because seriously, holy cow, I don’t want to spend any more than reading-time in a world where pure evil runs rampant through the bodies of “regular” (well, sort of) people the way water runs rampantly downhill!

The Imaginings is a great example of the traditional horror story. It scares you from page one on, builds and releases and builds and releases the tension until you think you’re going to explode, and then culminates in a grand “is it REALLY over” moment or two before the words run out… (and yes, I intentionally didn’t say “before the end” – because in the manner of all great scary-story writers, this one leaves you wondering if the end is really upon you.

The story starts out with a suicide and things only get messier from there. In the wake of said suicide (his brother), David Blithe is trying to understand exactly what happened and what the rather cryptic last words about not disregarding your imaginings might mean. Well, let’s just say that all too soon he finds out – and the manner in which he does is a unique mixture of Lovecraft and King that I found appalling and impossible to stop reading all at the same time. David is an entirely believable (and immensely likable and sympathetic) character, as is his unwitting counterpart (Antithesis? Nemesis? Victim? Ally? Friend? All of the above?) Jeannie, the girl who becomes integrally (and extraordinarily) entangled in David’s mess after a spectacularly unexpected and violent interlude early on in the story.

The Imaginings explores classic themes of good and evil and the battle each of us undergoes to support the one and fight the other. There are plenty of psychological thrills and chills (the kind of horror I prefer because my own imaginings, driven by an author’s words/images, are usually creepier/scarier to me than anything the author could have come up with on their own since my head knows what freaks me out the most) to accompany some truly graphic and disturbing physical ones (the kind of horror I do not prefer because it grosses me out but that I understand is often a necessary component of the psycho scary stuff).

The epic battle plays out in unique ways and the outcomes are satisfying while still leaving some wiggle room for your own mind to wonder what might happen next. If you’re looking for a hell of a thrill ride, this is one you won’t want to miss. Oh, and the author is a pretty cool guy too, so his website is also worth a visit every now and then. 😉

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