Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Today's read... Pages of Doom by Jeff Szpirglas

Grab those blankets and flashlights because today's read heads into the realm of spooky tales and horror. This is the second in a series, and no, I didn't read the first one. I'm not sure what to expect in this read because while it holds a main story, according to the blurb, it seems to add others as well?

I'm just going to settle down into my comfy chair and find out.

Book of Screams #2
by Jeff Szpirglas
Illustrated by Andrew P. Barr
Orca Book Publishers
Middle Grade Horror
192 pages
ages 8 to 12


Middle grader Tanya has managed to stop famed horror writer Joel Southland from stealing people's nightmares for his books.

The malevolent, sentient ink that had been the source of all his powers and successes now belongs to Tanya. But the ink—which feeds on nightmares—is growing hungrier and hungrier. It urges Tanya to plunder the dreams of others so it can feed.

Among Tanya's struggles to outwit the ink are eleven other creepy tales representing the dreams and nightmares of other characters in the book. From tales of dentists who are actually giant alien insects in disguise to a kid spotting a tombstone with his own name and death date, these stories are sure to thrill and chill.


Scary stories meld with haunting nightmares as tales weave within a tale and form a chilling tomb from beginning to end.

Tanya might have stopped the evil ink from feeding on nightmares and gaining more power, but now, it's in her hands. And it's hungry. It's persuasion grows stronger by the day, and Tanya won't be able to keep control of it for long. Hoping to buy enough time to come up with a plan, she lets it feed little by little, but the ink isn't easily fooled. 

I didn't read the first book in this series, Book of Screams, but had absolutely no problem sinking right into this read. The book begins with a couple of short, horror stories before sinking into the over-reaching plot of Tanya and the evil ink. There's enough backstory dribbled in while Tanya considers her possibilities to understand the danger the ink poses and the impossibility (and danger) of her task. The tension stays high while she steers through school and those around her, but that's not the part of the book which really makes it shine. 

This is more a collection of horror stories, which range from scary to chilling to spooky and more. Each tale carries a very different direction and holds pretty unexpected endings. These are short, usually only a half-dozen pages or so, and end on the chilling moment. Every two or so tales, Tanya's over-arcing one comes in. This main tale holds slightly longer chapters and continue where the last one left off. So, a back and forth is formed, which keeps everything very loosely tied together and yet apart. It's a clever mix.

The artwork is well-done and adds a nice touch of scare and quirk, a bit like Goosebumps. It didn't take long to realize that the illustrations appear shortly before the story ends... a bit like a warning to the reader to get ready for the grab. 

While this book can be read in one sitting, it works very well for smaller reading bursts thanks to the short story set-up. Each tale is very original and holds on its own, making this great for reluctant readers as well. Spooky fans will enjoy the variety and mix, and be able to come back and visit their favorites time and again.

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