A semi came screaming around a bend in the road, interrupting my thoughts and reminding me suddenly of why walking by the side of the road on a country lane was best reserved for historical romance and Led Zeppelin songs.
The Twisted Ones is a book by T. Kingfisher, a pen name of Ursula Vernon, an author that I absolutely love. I bought this book because it had her name on it; I didn’t know anything else about it except that the cover looked kinda scary.
The book IS kinda scary. It’s also funny and clever, like all of Ursula Vernon’s work. I’m glad I bought it!
What is it about?
A woman goes to the home of her deceased grandmother to clean it out and read it for sale. An adventure in terror ensues.
What is this book like?
Among other things, Ursula Vernon writes “retellings” of classic fairy tales. In this book, she tackles a classic horror story: “The White People” by Arthur Machen. The level of horror (and humor) in this book is roughly equivalent to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but instead of vampires, it’s more of a Lovecraftian-ish…thing. The style of writing is what I imagine Neil Gaiman would write like if he were a woman from the American South that knows a whole lot about plants and wildlife.
What’s awesome about this book?
The scary parts are scary, the funny parts are funny, the action parts are actiony…all of that adds up to pretty dang awesome.
What sucks about this book?
Nothing sucks about it. If I HAD to nitpick, some of the jokes and descriptions occasionally feel repetitive, the pacing feels a little off, and the supporting characters are underdeveloped for a story of this length. But I ain’t mad at it.
I gave it 5 stars. Ursula Vernon wrote it, so it’s automatically pretty great. If you haven’t read any Ursula Vernon books before, though, I wouldn’t recommend this one as a first one to try. I’d suggest the short story collection Jackalope Wives And Other Stories, the fantasy novel Swordheart, or the fairy tale remix The Seventh Bride as a first experience. Also, the fantasy series Clocktaur War would be an excellent start. Those flow a little better and acclimate you to the style and humor of the author more smoothly.
TLDR: Read this book if you:
- are a fan of Ursula Vernon books
- want light, adventure-horror
TLDR: Avoid this book if you:
- are not a fan of Ursula Vernon books
- do not like horror, even a little bit
Maybe read “The White People” before this one? I didn’t, so I’m sure I missed some of the references and/or commentary aimed at that book.
My Rating: 5 Stars