In an abandoned house, the ghosts gather. They argue, they laugh, and they tell their stories. Some tell their own stories, some tell stories they have heard elsewhere. Some of them are true, some are not. But each tale draws you closer. One by one, the storytellers depart, until suddenly it's just you and the narrator, alone in the dark...
The stories are tales of murder, revenge, and adventure. Some are creepy, some are gory, and all are fantastically told. The writing has a poetic feel to it at times, and that makes the action taking place all the more jarring. Mid-way through the book I started thinking that it could easily be turned into a play, and imagining the stories being shared on the stage as I read made them all the more compelling.
Interspersed with the tales told is the story of what is happening in that room between the orations. This helped me recover from one story before diving into another, and it also helps build the already tremendous tension.
Each story has an illustration to accompany it, and they add subtle depth to Shelton’s already brilliant book.
The stories in Shelton’s book aren’t necessarily terrifying; I’d call them unsettling instead. That combined with the elegant writing and the unique voices of the thirteen narrators ensures the book and its characters will stay with me long after I’ve passed it on to others—and pass it on I will because THIRTEEN CHAIRS by Dave Shelton is one of the best books I’ve read in quite a while. I will happily pick up and read anything else that this author writes.
My thanks to YA Books Central and the publisher for a copy of the book in exchange for my unbiased review.
A great vehicle for unsettling tales
At 23 years old, I am terrified yet fascinated by the dark. I’m spooked by needles, but I will watch it carefully enter my vein every time I give blood. I only do scary movies in the daytime.
But still, even in the middle of the scary movie or the second a strange sound comes from my closet, I’m curious. I love it. But I hate it.
Thirteen Chairs gives me the same feeling. Each story a spine chilling, thoughtful goosebump fest. (It’s like the NoSleep subReddit for younger people). Short stories to make you think and read faster and anticipate the disturbing end.
Stories of deceit, revenge, karma, curiosity, and unfortunate circumstances. Chock full of spooky houses, rogue animals, haunted trees, and one story so clever that R.L. Stine would be proud.
I loved how it all wrapped up and how it doesn’t really seem to end at the same time. I loved that each story had a different voice, and that came across beautifully in the writing.
This is the kind of horror I like. Old fashioned. Not that Saw drama.
If you’re a fan of being spooked. If you like Goosebumps. If you remember that show that played late at night on Nickelodeon called Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Pick Thirteen Chairs up and take a seat. You’re in for a thrill.