Book Review – Darkly Wood II by Max Power

Max Power is back and in full force with his very first sequel. Over the years, he’s written five books (including this one), but this is the first time he’s written a sequel to any of them.

That’s a good thing. Darkly Wood (check my review here) was a great horror story with other horror stories interwoven with it. It was a very unique story that handled the exposition of the titular wood through a series of old tales about the horrible thing that had happened there over the years, even as it was dragging us – and the protagonist, Daisy May – through the muck and claws of the woods.

Darkly Wood ended like any good horror story should – leaving you wanting more. The main story was finished, but it added more questions and begged for a sequel. Now, three years later, we get a sequel that answers some of the questions and introduces more. Darkly Wood II: The woman who never wore shoes picks up the story of Daisy May when her granddaughter wanders into the woods and history repeats itself.

This time, though, the stakes are higher and there’s a twist.

Power himself has claimed this isn’t a horror story. He sees it as a romance with horror elements and there’s certainly a bit of romance lurking in the dark corners of the story, ready to snatch you up and lovingly shred you. Certainly, Darkly Wood II uses the romance elements to both humanize and demonize his primary antagonist and give us tantalizing hints as to why he is the way he is, but the magic of the story lies in how we learn more about why the woods are the way they are.

As before, Power weaves stories of the woods into the narrative of the story, but this time the stories become important parts of the whole. Rather than simply provide exposition and allow us to see Darkly Wood as a long-time menace, the old stories become important elements in the final narrative.

Max Power is a masterful story-teller, so masterful you don’t always realize just how well-woven the tale is until the whole of the story hits you full in the face. If you haven’t read Darkly Wood, it’s not strictly necessary to start there, but it would definitely help.

If you like your horror stories with a bit of soul instead of a lot of blood, check out Darkly Wood II. It has some intense scenes, but it’s not meant as a scream-fest. This is the creeping, gnawing horror that sneaks up you in the middle of the night. Well written and entertaining, Darkly Wood II is a great read.

This chilling sequel to Darkly Wood brings us back to the mysterious wood perched above the sleepy village of Cranby. The mystery returns with love and terror walking hand and hand through the seemingly innocent paths of the place that has generated many fearful tales. This time however, there is an even more sinister presence. Much time has passed since Daisy escaped the terror of the wood and on the surface little has changed. But behind the tree line, a new danger lurks. Fans of the original will be taken to darker depths and first time readers will discover the true art of storytelling from the mind of the award winning author Max Power. Heart stopping, fast paced, unrelenting danger lies waiting for you between the pages. Sometimes love is all you have. Sometimes, love is not enough. Darkness is coming…

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Tell Me A Halloween Story

Back in March, I found a mess of images that had given me some writing ideas in the past and posted them to see if anyone could come up with something. I got a few bites, which was cool, and got to read some clever stories out of it.

In honor of Halloween, I’ve found a bunch of images to use as writing prompts. If you’re interested, and think you can do it, write a Halloween story based off one of these images and post it on your blog. When it’s done, drop me a line with the link and I’ll put up a post linking to everyone’s blog (or website, or whatever). If you want to just post something here, drop me a line and I’ll post it up with your information. No rules, no requirements, no obligations. Your story is yours and it can be whatever you want it to be.

With a bit of luck, everything will be ready by October 30th, just in time for Halloween.

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Review – The Revenge of the Pumpkins by Lacey Lane

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Halloween is my favorite holiday.  Maybe it’s just some dark part of me or the fact that Halloween hasn’t been sanitized like so many other holidays, but I really enjoy it.

This is probably why I enjoyed this very short story from Lacey Lane.  Given the cover art and the title, I’m sure you’ve probably figured out the gist of the story: pumpkins come to life and take a (large) bit of vengeance.  Clocking in at about 1600 words it’s an extremely short short story and that’s my only complaint with the story.  Make it longer, draw out the tension, do more with the characters and this could be a great horror story.  It’s got the gore, it’s got the magic, it just needs some time for the story to flow into place.

If you’re into stories that make you cringe, this is worth checking out.  It’s free on both Smashwords and Amazon and it’s a good chance to look at a clever idea from someone who I hope will keep writing.

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