Thursday, 28 August 2014
horrorstör by grady hendrix
hi guys! today i have a review of the absolutely fantastic 'horrorstör' by grady hendrix (goodreads) for you! a big shoutout to the wonderful people at quirk books who were kind enough to send me this beautiful copy - thank you, you're so awesome! you guys spoil me so much! and just as a side note, i used my new compact canon camera to take the photos for this post, so let me know what you think in the comments!
obviously we have to talk about the production - it is fantastic. the book is about a horror/ghost story set in an ikea-like store called 'orsk', and the book itself is designed to look like an ikea catalogue. it goes the extra mile and has a bunch of cool stuff inside it, including an order form, a map of the shop, their store policies, and so on. plus, at the beginning of each chapter is a diagram and description of a different piece of furniture that orsk sell, and the furniture gets more and more sinister as the story goes on. it really is the most perfect production of a book i've ever seen. some books that have production gimmicks like this just tend to fall back on it and forget about the story, but that really didn't happen here. the story itself is fantastic and the production just compliments it, which is exactly what you want from a book like this.
the story centres around amy (the protagonist), her colleague ruth anne, and their manager basil as they spend the night in orsk to find out who keeps breaking in and damaging their displays while the store is closed, and, as you can expect, it all gets a bit strange and they find themselves in the middle of a ghost story.
i really liked the setting of the book. obviously, everyone loves ikea, so that aspect made it fun to read, but it also makes it so much more relatable for me. we all know the torture of the shop maze, we all like to play in the room displays, we all understand how the shop is run, and that really helped me get on board with the plot. yeah, it's fun, it's unique, but that choice was used really wisely here.
for me, i didn't find it very scary, but personally i define 'scary' as something that makes me jump and makes my heart race, and this isn't really that kind of book. it's more the kind of book that gets in your head and makes you question things, and it definitely delivered in that aspect. it was very sinister and creepy, and reminded me a lot of stephen king's 'the shining', in the sense that things keep happening and neither the reader nor the characters are sure if they're real or not.
this ghost story had that perfect thing that every ghost story should have: it made me question everything. were matt and trinity ever really there? did they just make it all up? was it just a hallucination? i've thought about this book a lot since i finished reading it and i still can't quite decide what i believe happened, which i really love.
the use of exhaustion was something i really adored and i felt it was used perfectly in this book. as a retail worker myself i'm all too familiar with the exhaustion of serving people, of dragging myself out of bed in the morning, of doing ridiculous things for customers, and because this is a book set in a retail store, i think using exhaustion as the key method of torture was absolutely perfect. it's used quite a lot; amy having to pull herself out of that chair, amy having to fight against submission to the ghosts, amy having to go back to save the others. the monotony of it all as well - how they keep almost escaping and then getting drawn back in. it mirrors amy's everyday life perfectly, and really, you could even interpret the whole thing as being just a massively over-exaggerated surrealist story about the horrors of retail life.
speaking of amy, i found her to be a very relatable character and i really felt for her. i think lots of people are going to understand her situation because we've all worked jobs that we hated, and it was so easy for me to root for her. i also loved the character of ruth anne, and i thought basil was fantastic; his dedication to his job in even the most ridiculous and frightening circumstances really warmed my heart and actually made me tear up at one point. i'm laughing thinking about it now but i really cared about these people! i wanted them to get out safe!
overall i absolutely adored this book. i gave it 5 stars on my goodreads page - it was so fantastic! it delivered on every level and it was just as exciting as the cover makes it seem; i can't fault it all. i cannot recommend it enough! x
p.s. i just want to add how amusing i found the word 'liripip'. a liripip is like a basic budget wardrobe sold at orsk, and it's referred to in the book quite often, and everytime a character said 'liripip' i had a little chortle to myself. it is truly an excellent word.