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When a young woman clears out her deceased grandmother’s home in rural North Carolina she finds long hidden secrets about a strange colony of beings in the woodsWhen Mouse’s dad asks her to clean out her dead grandmother's house she says yes After all how bad could it be? Answer pretty bad Grandma was a hoarder and her house is stuffed with useless rubbish That would be horrific enough but there’s —Mouse stumbles across her step grandfather’s journal which at first seems to be filled with nonsensical rantsuntil Mouse encounters some of the terrifying things he described for herself Alone in the woods with her dog Mouse finds herself face to face with a series of impossible terrors—because sometimes the things that go bump in the night are real and they’re looking for you And if she doesn’t face them head on she might not survive to tell the tale From Hugo Award–winning author Ursula Vernon writing as T Kingfisher

10 thoughts on “The Twisted Ones

  1. says:

    oooh goodreads choice awards semifinalist for BEST HORROR 2019 what will happen?i don’t usually dig folk horror—i find it too understated; too uaint and stylized to be entertaining let alone scary but this book is refreshingly modern and legit creepy i wasn’t scared scared since whatever part of a person that regulates the ability to be scared by booksmovies seems to be broken in me but i can wholly appreciate effective horror atmosphere and this is FULL of skin crawlingly memorable images and phrases and some wonderful surprises i’ve read several short stories online by t kingfisherursula vernon but this is my first foray into her full length work ‘course from right here where i sit writing this i can see no fewer than THREE full length books of hers i bought ages ago with every intention of reading immediately and yet have not gotten around to reading because whatever part of a person regulates the ability to read every book they buy is also broken in me BUT ANYWAY i had very high expectations for this based on her short stories so i was distraught when i missed grabbing an ARC at BEA arriving mere moments after the copies had been distributed i’m forever grateful to saga press for alleviating my whimpering grief by sending one my way ♥it’s every bit as good as what i’ve already read of hers showcasing her strong overall sense of storytelling; everything from character voice atmosphere and the freuently overlooked element of pacing in horror pacing is keyoh and that doggiehaving just read a fantastic GOOD BOY dog in The Ten Thousand Doors of January i was delighted to come upon another one so soon and i’m not sure if i am in puppy love with Bad or Bongo i do know that 34 of the folded over pages in this book which indicate my appreciation for a phrase or scene are bongo related so i think he’s pulling ahead but shhhh don’t tell bad Bongo sat up and came over to the window He licked the screen and seemed puzzled that it tasted like wire“You’re not smart” I told him He wagged his tail and licked the screen again on the off chance that it had become tastyi love the narrator’s voice i love her indulgentprotective relationship with bongo her deep understanding of his individual character and his breed’s a redbone coonhoundidiosyncrasies and she’s a perfect horror heroine; neither too open nor too close minded neither too fearless nor too helpless; she’s authentically capable in the face of an unfathomable situation this also has a hoarding component to it and is the second horror novel i have read on that theme after alan ryker's The Hoard and MAN is hoarding a situation with unlimited horrific potential three words creepy doll room shudder hoarding is an ordinary horror and she’s very good at making the mundane seem ominousIn the morning sunlight it was pretty obvious that the porch had been a dumping ground for old furniture gardening euipment and what looked like an ancient grill All the corners had been filled in with junk It was really kind of impressive She hadn’t just hoarded; she’d made walls and ramparts out of her possessions like she was expecting a siegethe only complaint i have is that there is an overlong chunk devoted to a found journal that was written very much in the folk horror tradition which dragged for me because i wanted to get back to the action and the compelling narratorial voice exposition wise the journal is necessary but it went on and on and i was not loving it however there’s an author’s note at the end that explains what that journal was referencing and not being a folk horror fan it was something i’d never read although it is likely a piece collected in ANOTHER unread book i have languishing over here and she even addresses the specific way she approached the construction of that part which even though i was kind of zzz during my reading of the actual part i found her explanationinspiration very interesting indeed do not skip the author’s note—she is a hoot and a treasure oh and the cover does that thing i love like Your House Is on Fire Your Children All Gone which is kind of ALSO folk horror but i loved it where there are seeeecret words glossily superimposed on the cover which you can see in my review here and i appreciated very much that they bothered to replicate that feature on an ARC so many reasons not to miss out on this book despite meticulous planning i somehow missed out on this at BEA but i'm so glad i swallowed my pride ignored my already teetering to read list and straight up begged the publisher for it because it was everything i dreamed it would be gratitude for nowreview to comecome to my blog

  2. says:

    Heads up for a giveaway of this book on FanLit Twisted Ones is a modern twist on an old horror classic and it exceeds the original in my opinion Review first posted on Fantasy Literature The Twisted Ones begins with mild consternation Melissa who goes by “Mouse” has the thankless task of taking a trip to backwoods North Carolina with her loyal redbone coonhound Bongo for company to clean out her late grandmother’s home “It’ll be a mess” her father says in a massive understatement Consternation shifts to deep dismay Grandma was a hoarder It’s even worse than normal since her grandmother was a cruel and vicious person and something of her evil still infuses her house like the room full of baby dolls that looks like a “monument to infanticide” Luckily Mouse finds one bedroom that is clear of clutter the bedroom of her step grandfather Cotgrave who died many years earlier If you’ve read Arthur Machen’s 1904 classic horror novelette “The White People” you should recognize the name Cotgrave here It’s no coincidenceMouse moves into Cotgrave’s bedroom for the duration while she works on cleaning out the house so it can be sold In Cotgrave’s nightstand she finds his handwritten journal In his journal Cotgrave was fretting over a lost green book that he’d obtained from a man named Ambrose He was also troubled by a phrase that was stuck in his head like a song that will never stop replaying I made faces like the faces on the rocks and I twisted myself about like the twisted ones and I lay down flat on the ground like the dead ones In fact once Mouse reads this sentence in the journal she has a hard time getting it out of her head herself But as it turns out the hoarding and the creepy journal aren’t the worst things about staying in her grandparents’ house There are things in the woods surrounding the house and they may not just stay in the woods Mouse’s dismay at her situation evolves into terror The Twisted Ones is an inventive horror novel that takes “The White People” as its launching point and creates a modern day seuel to it Kingfisher takes Machen’s story in a different direction that I’m morally certain never occurred to him but that I’m confident he would have appreciated The Twisted Ones contains a folkloric type of horror than its source material and it’s lightened by the appealing voice and wry humor of Mouse who narrates the story Her job as a freelance editor informs many of her opinions about Cotgrave’s writing almost distracting her from the journal’s deeper importAnother source of both comfort and comic relief is Mouse’s hound Bongo He’s a dedicated companion loyal and loving even if dimwitted at times and he has an excellent noseI had the impression that he was thinking very hard about something or accurately that his nose was thinking very hard about something Bongo’s nose is far intelligent than the rest of him and I believe it uses his brain primarily as a counterweightThese moments of lightness balance the chilling horror which creeps up on the reader as much as it does Mouse I read the last ten percent with my heart in my throatThe most difficult section of “The White People” is the lengthy and hallucinatory uoting of the Green Book; The Twisted Ones has a counterpart to this tale within a tale approach as Mouse dives deeply into dissecting Cotgrave’s journal It felt a little lengthy and difficult to unpack though it’s not nearly as difficult to wade through as the Green Book and after re familiarizing myself with “The White People” this section became much interesting and readableIf you’ve ever read “The White People” The Twisted Ones is a must read If you haven’t I’d recommend giving “The White People” at least a uick skim it’s freely available online before jumping into this novel It’s well worth your time for any fan of the horror genre and even for readers who — like me — aren’t normally into horror novels I decided to give it a try because T Kingfisher a pseudonym of Ursula Vernon is a fantastic author with a talent for making fairy tales and other old things new again It was an excellent decisionI received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher for review Thanks so much

  3. says:

    45 stars rounded upAfter the death of her Grandmother Mouse's Father asks for her help cleaning out Grandma's now vacant house Mouse happily agreesHer Dad has had some recent health troubles and wouldn't be able to do it himself Mouse figures she'll feel good about helping and how bad can it be?As it turns out pretty bad Her Grandmother was a hoarder never throwing anything out including an entire room of creepy old dolls These really have no bearing on the story I just get freaked out by dolls Like really freaked out by dollsWhile this gives her beloved coonhound Bongo plenty to sniff and explore Mouse can barely find room to sit downSeeking refuge in her Step Grandfather Cotgrave's room the only room her Grandmother left uncluttered she comes across his journal with some pretty strange things written insideAre they a true tale of horror or just the terrifying hallucinations of a lonely old man losing his grip on reality? Mouse is definitely intrigued by what Cotgrave's has to say and she wants to find out While taking Bongo on a walk in the woods behind the house she stumbles across something that leads her to believe Cotgrave wasn't imagining the mysterious beings recounted in his journal She begins to investigate and with the help of some very uirky neighbors starts to unveil the nightmarish reality of her Grandma's houseY'all I loved this book so much It's like this author and I share the exact same sense of humor There were so many times that I was laughing out loud thinking that is exactly what I would be thinking or doing in this situationI loved reading from Mouse's perspective and having Bongo as a character was just so dang relatable Additionally this had one of my favorite tropes in horror the older character where they be a neighbor friend or relation who provides humor and a sense of comfort during the course of the story Mouse's neighbor is a true gem in this fashionI have enjoyed this in many books and movies Another great example of this type of character can be found in James Newman's The WickedAs an aside I did listen to the audiobook and the narrator was fantastic I didn't give this a full five stars because I found some of the writings in Cotgrave's journal to be confusingHe was recounting bits of a book he had read which tracked one girl's experiences with the beings in the woods I found that hard to follow; a book within a book within a book Looking back I'm not exactly sure how much of that portion I actually retainedHonestly though that may have been intentional on the part of the author When you're confused it's certainly easy for things to shock and scare youOverall a fantastic ride filled with creepy folklore and nightmarish danger Highly recommend for the pleasure of your horror loving heart

  4. says:

    Oh I loved this book I was lucky enough to get it from our tiny library but I’m going to get myself a physical copy Thanks to my horror group or I might have missed it Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  5. says:

    I'm all riled up so though I should be sleeping here is instead a review This book is like being handed the script for I Am Legend and turning it into Zombieland It is based on horror but it's not horror It's at best Buffy the Musical CONTENT WARNING usually I say just a list of topics no actual spoilers but these are weird content warnings They are in and of themselves somewhat spoilers but it is just a list view spoiler hoarding trypophobia dying parent dolls loss of infant hide spoiler

  6. says:

    What a massive read Melissa nicknamed Mouse is to clear out her grandmother's house There she comes across the mentioning of a hidden by her evil grandmother book The 'Green Book' owned by her step gradfather Cotgrave While clearing the house strange things happen Behind the house she finds a hill with uncanny carved stone and in the manuscript found white people are mentioned Who are those 'Hollering People' and what is Melissa's role? The story is written as first person narration You'll read many a line why the storyteller is doing this or that and what she's just thinking There are also rhetorical uestions directed to the reader on a tiring base and stereotypical actions of a dog named Bongo The story itself is very slow to evolve and very confusing with in text reading of the 'Green Book' and the exploration of Melissa and Foxy her neighbour of the surrounding I found it a bit tedious and slow in progress The ingredients would be interesting but the writing was a bit slow winded and a bit plain I would have expected horror and a compelling plot The White Men refer to Arthur Machen sure and that is fine but honestly I like Machen's style better This book is almost a kind of pastiche to Machen In the end I thought much ado about nothing Of course the author is a talented writer but this book simply wasn't my cup of tea

  7. says:

    In the backwoods of North Carolina stood the house of Melissa's estranged dead grandmother Melissa aka Mouse with her Redbone Coonhound Bongo in tow arrived in her pick up truck to clean out the house as per her father's reuest Grandmaa nasty piece of work who was mean as a snake was a hoarder The house was a virtual firetrap; storage bins piled knee high newspapers piled in neatly tied stacks and a room of dolls dead dolls with hyper realistic faces peeking out from behind boxes One box was full of papers Mouse riffled it briefly but no stock certificates fell out Well a woman can dreamFrederick Cotgrave deceased as well had been married to grandma but occupied his own nearly empty room in stark contrast to her hoarding ways A small black journal on his nightstand piued Mouse's interest The writings were bizarre Too dangerous to sleep in the woods any They've got my scent nowI made faces like the faces on the rocks In Mouse's wordsIf Bongo had been scared of the house I might have leftBongo thought the place was grand There were things to sniff Wrong Strange occurrences started to mirror Cotgrave's musingsCreepy harrowing secrets from long ago start to slowly surface Mouse counted on Bongo for comfort She befriended Foxy a tall hippyish woman who wore a riot of mismatched colorsomehow all pulled together Ageless Foxy lived on a nearby commune Tomas Foxy's housemate told Mouse to be careful of things in the woods around hereWriting under the pen name T Kingfisher Hugo Award winner Ursula Vernon delivers a frightening creepy horror novel The Twisted Ones additionally portrays the loving bond between Mouse and her dog Bongo and their dependence upon each other to uiet their fears How will this chilling roller coaster of fear anticipation and emotion conclude? An engrossing nail biting tome I highly recommendThank you GallerySaga Press and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review The Twisted Ones

  8. says:

    In my mind I roughly categorize supernatural horror into two main groups Babadook style horror and Cabin in the Woods style horrorBabadook style horror is the kind that starts out right off the bat with a low grade unceasing tension and it usually follows one or Very Unhappy People You see the characters and think do they really need to go through even shit? Their lives already kind of suck But the story often relies at least to some extent on the narrative mystery of is this supernatural or is it budding psychosis? Or maybe a metaphor for something else entirely? It's usually a bit of a downerCabin in the Woods style horror starts out lighter sunnier with average folks just living their lives Once the crap starts hitting the fan there's not usually much prevarication about whether or not the horror is supernatural Part of the horror comes in the knowledge that even though these characters are relatively good people even though they are making ok decisions this thing is going to wreck their world It focuses on the huge transition we were so happy and normal yesterday and now nothing will ever be the same ever again The Twisted Ones is definitely the latter much to my delight The story centers on a 30 something editor Mouse who journeys to rural North Carolina to clean out her estranged grandmother's house at her father's behest When she gets there she's exasperated to find that her grandmother had been a hoarder and every room of the house is filled with hangers and newspapers and bags full of bags Every room that is except for her step grandfather's bedroom where she finds his creepy diary full of creepy prose that seem to worm their way into her headNow the first thing I'll say is that the overall tone of the book is lighter for a bigger chunk of the book than I would have expected from looking at the cover The blurb describes it as The Blair Witch Project meets The Andy Griffith Show which I find to be an odd choice for a variety of reasons has anyone in the target demographic even seen The Andy Griffith Show for one? but I think it's trying to give you the idea that the story's not all grimdark horror all the time Oh don't get me wrong this is definitely horror It goes into some deliciously weird directions and it pays off satisfyingly in the endBut for the first part of the book its appeal is in the narrator who's one of the most engaging relatable characters I've read in a while I loved how irreverent and low key snarky Mouse is without her voice ever feeling forced or self consciously jokey and I found the plethora of descriptions about her lovable dumbass of a dog to be super endearingIt also becomes clear pretty uickly that Mouse uses humor and denial to cope with all the weirdness going on So while I think the bits of humor especially when paired with the first person past tense which by definition assures the survival of the narrator tend to insulate the horror a bit I do think that it all makes sense for the character And that's the thing everything here makes so much sense The story does such a great job of gradually building up the creep factor in a really believable way Every beat of the story happens for a reason everything that happens feels like a natural extension of what happened before I love that it never had me screaming over stupid plot or characters decisions and let me just enjoy the rideAnd enjoy it I did Overall I loved the clever writing engaging narrator expert plotting and serious creep factor Plus I devoured it in like 24 hours which I haven't done with a non romance in uite a while and a weeks later it's still giving me that oooh yeah that was good feeling

  9. says:

    355 Rounded up to 4 for GoodreadsTHE TWISTED ONES was a nice take on folklore and an homage or is it a seuel? to Arthur Machen's THE WHITE PEOPLE I loved the narrators of the story both the protagonist and the narrator of the audiobook which went a long way towards my enjoyment I think if I had read this instead of listening the repetition of certain phrases and certain behaviors regarding the protagonist and her dog would have gotten on my nerves a lot I enjoyed THE TWISTED ONES mostly for the characters I think especially Foxy She cracked me the hell up maybe because I know people just like her? Full of surprises sometimes vulgar but always down to earth and willing to help Overall I'm glad I joined the group read with the LADIES OF HORROR FICTION group here on Goodreads I enjoyed chatting with them while we were reading RecommendedI bought this audiobook with my hard earned cash and this is my honest review

  10. says:

    I didn't realize how much I needed folk horror in my life until reading this but wow This was so enjoyable though the ending did go off the rails for me a bit enough to knock this down to a 4 star rating but it's still a VERY HIGH 4 stars maybe even closer to 45 Full review coming soon but I highly recommend this oneupdate Screw it I've been thinking about this book all damn day 5 stars