Book Reviews

Book Review: Halloween Carnival Volume 3 by Brian James Freeman

Title: Halloween Carnival Volume 3
Series: Halloween Carnival
Author: Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant, Greg Chapman, Brian James Freeman
Genre: Horror, Sci Fi, Fantasy
Publisher: Hydra
Release Date: October 17, 2017
Format: Kindle
Pages: 141
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Kelley Armstrong, Kate Maruyama, Michael McBride, Taylor Grant, and Greg Chapman unleash the unsettled spirits of the past in five frightening stories collected by celebrated editor, author, and horror guru Brian James Freeman.

THE WAY LOST by Kelley Armstrong
The kids in Franklin don’t ask questions. Each Halloween, one of them disappears into the forest. Dale promised his mother he’d never go into the woods alone. But the kids in Franklin also lie.

LA CALAVERA by Kate Maruyama
The Día de los Muertos Festival at the Hollywood Cemetery used to be ours. Now, without Jasmine, it’s only right that I go one last time in her honor—before I let her go for good. . . .

THE DEVIL’S DUE by Michael McBride
Pine Springs, Colorado, has prospered for generations by honoring its traditions and its promises. Then one man refuses to do his civic duty—and the price he must pay is fatally steep.

Samhainophobia: an irrational fear of Halloween. Phasmophobia: an irrational fear of ghosts. For Anne, these terrors are more rational than she knows.

Every year, one little boy wearing a grotesque Frankenstein mask comes knocking at Gerald’s door. Gerald has always managed to avoid him . . . until this year.

Ok, so this one was better than Volume 2, but not quite as good as Volume 1. But I will say, Halloween Carnival Volume 3 is a solid offering for horror fans and for those who prefer more tame Halloween stories.

The Way Lost was one of my favorites out of Volume 3. I found it to have a plot twist, more than one actually, that really threw me for a loop. While this one wasn’t scary – I’d call it more of a mystery than horror – it was a damn good story and one I read over and over.

La Calavera was all right, but it a bit too predictable in my opinion. I had the ending pretty much pegged less than halfway through the story. Maybe I’ve just read too many stories that work like that, but I wasn’t surprised nor did I think it was particularly creepy. The only reason I can think of for it being included was the Halloween theme.

The Devil’s Due was a damn good story. I just wish the ending would have been better. I don’t know, it just seemed to me that the story could have had a much more exciting ending than it did. I felt that the ending was disappointing after the action that happened before it. Maybe it was just me. I’d love to see the story edited and a better ending added.

A Thousand Rooms of Darkness was an awesome story. The idea of someone being terrified of both ghosts and Halloween is just unreal to me, but when you add in the plot twists toward the end it all makes sense. And those plot twists are to die for. Trust me on this one. You’ll love them… because you definitely won’t expect these!

The Last Night of October was the longest story as I recall and honestly, it wasn’t that scary to me. Some of the things in it didn’t make a lot of sense, at least not to me. And let me say – in my humble opinion, the “it is my fault _____ is dead and now they’re back to haunt/take me” trope is just over done. I would rather have seen it be something else like “it is my fault _____ is dead and now they’re back, but if I apologize or tell the story of what happened they’ll go away and leave me alone.” I mean, really, I would, because that never happens.

This one got 4 stars because The Way Lost, The Devil’s Due, and A Thousand Rooms of Darkness were great stories.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.