Source: NetGalley – Thank you to the publisher!
TL;DR: A fantastically strong collection, there were of course misses but mostly wins!
Plot: Nearly every story had a good clear plot, some of the more experimental ones were harder to find but on the whole these were great.
Characters: The characters were in general not the focus but the few that were were creepy and well drawn for the lengths
Setting: Varied but almost all stories had a House in the central theme or setting
Magic: Again very varied on type of horror – though no real jump scares or big monsters. Mostly quiet and unsettling in style
The Best of our Past, the Worst of our Future is a creepy, quiet collection of short stories from Christi Nogle that genuinely define the words ‘quiet horror’ for me. In fact on starting this arc I had honestly forgotten what I was going in for. I knew it was short stories and I remembered being excited about the premise so I picked it up wanting something I could read a story here and there. Jokes on me. I read the whole thing in two days.
Each story starts somewhat mundane, taking the first as an example – a mother look for a place to have her children. From there it slowly unveils it’s ‘horror’ aspect, and for the most part in ways I didn’t expect. Mushroom horror has been very big lately, and while there is one in the book it’s done differently and far more creepy than I’d seen yet. It’s a surprising and impressive collection of ideas. Additionally each story features a House in some way, and I cannot stress how none of these were your typical ‘haunted house’ they each took a different role and aspect.
There are a few that didn’t come across for me, as is the norm with collections like this. Some of the stories lean a bit far into experimental horror such as the one of the young girl and the yellow book of stories. But a few of the more experimental ones did work, like the story with the café! Experimental horror almost never works for me so the grade and variation in stories impressed me here as well.
Overall this was a great collection and one I’d recommend for lovers of the genre. Quiet, unsettling horror that I wouldn’t recommend before bed, but I definitely recommend if you want that slow unsettled, goosebumps on your skin feeling.
4 out of 5 Creepy and Not-So Creepy Houses
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