Dread by Shah Wharton #BookReview

Title: Dread | Author: Shah Wharton | Pub. Date: 10/28/2014 | Pages: 95 | ASIN: B00OZ2RK5W | Genre: Apocalyptic Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: received from the author for review consideration


A deeply unsettling collection of British horror stories including one psychological horror, one post-apocalyptic horror, and one black humour / satirical horror. All are UK based.  

The cover is beautiful but doesn’t really evoke the feeling of ‘dread’ that the book proclaims. I do like the way the ‘R’ is blued out to make the “Dead” more visible. Dread is a collection of three novella-length pieces: A Slow Burn, Rosa and Bella’s Journal of Decline and The Dead Party. I can’t say that I loved the book. The writing is very awkward at times but in The Dead Party it seems to even out a bit.

A Slow Burn: Waking up after what Bernie assumes was a wild party she finds that it has, in fact, been days and the world is no longer the same. 

I did like the idea of the cause of the apocalyptic happening. It was a bit different and interesting. The people, however, left quite a bit to be desired. The little girl that Bernie runs into wavers between sounding like a thirteen year old and a well-spoken adult. I have yet to meet a thirteen year old that uses the phrase “I’m no fantasist!” Bernie herself wavers between vaguely sympathetic to mildly annoying. I can’t really say what my main issue with the story was without giving away much of the ‘surprise’ ending, so I won’t. Suffice to say the other two survivors Bernie and Sarah run into might very well be the most unobservant people on earth. Ever.

Rosa and Bella’s Journal of Decline: Rosa is keeping a journal of her innermost thoughts after an ‘event’

This story confused the heck out of me. I at first thought that it was a continuation of the first scenario but from a different point of view. I gave up on that idea a page or two in. I’m not clear whether any event actually happened or if Rosa is just slowly (or not so slowly) going insane. Actually, that was the one thing I liked about it was that uncertainty. The main issue with it was that Rosa’s inner monologue was a bit boring at times and jerky. There were some things that could have been cleared up without ruining the atmosphere of not knowing what was real and what wasn’t.

The Dead Party: After The Dead Party is voted into office zombies now rule the U.K.. And will eat anyone who gets in their way.

This story bumped it from a one star read to a two star read for me. I liked this story very much. It was a little sad but also funny as hell. The main character was great and very likable. Her internal monologues were funny and quite accurate. Why are the ‘elite’ considered to be the worthy survivors? I also loved her ‘flying’ incidents. The zombies were also presented in an interesting and entertaining way. The writing was much more even as well. It would have been interesting to get a view of what the other countries thought about the new ruling party.

While I can’t say I particularly enjoyed Dread (except for The Dead Party) once the author smooths out some of the more clunky writing issues I really think she could create some decent fiction. Her takes on some of the subjects were creative and original.