Wakeful Children is a collection of highly imaginative and inventive short stories. The oak sways gently, a shiver shimmers its way from roots to tip. A branch creaks as if in resistance. A small, fresh leaf strains to curl into life, shows promise for an instant, then withers and dies. A sigh, just beyond human hearing, vibrates the night. All else is still. You will be unwittingly taken on a journey to witness the twisted brutality of Joe Gallows, the weird dream-scape of The Sandman, the ice-cold grasp of The Face of the Gale, the elemental horror of an ancient, evil entity in Devil’s Drop. You will visit some of the residents down a darkly troubled street in Absorption; watched over by a beautiful, malignant presence all the while.
These and other tales make Wakeful Children an extremely unusual, compelling and refreshingly different read in this genre. One that will leave you thinking of it long after you have turned the last page…
Title: Wakeful Children | Author: S.P. Oldham | Publisher: Troubador | Pub. Date: 2018-03-22 | Pages: 144 | ISBN13: 9781789010145 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Drug abuse, child death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration
Wakeful Children: A Collection of Horror and Supernatural Tales Review
Wakeful Children is a very solid collection of horror and dark fantasy short stories. I love the title, Wakeful Children and the cover is a good one. The writing is good and solid throughout. While I can’t really say it’s enthralling I would still recommend it. The stories were interesting and entertaining. So, what are the stories?
Joe Gallows: Not a very strong opener and the stories later are much better.
Absorption: Maybe it was just me, other people might like the story better. It seemed to go off on a tangent that didn’t really lead anywhere. I’d be interested to know what other people think about this story.
The Sandman: As someone who has suffered from insomnia this story really struck home and was very creepy.
Devil’s Drop: A pretty good story. Rhiannon and Movran are very believable siblings and I love Rhiannon’s protectiveness. If it had a flaw it would be that the speech is slightly too modern and it took me a second reading to figure out an estimate of when it took place.
The Century Man: This was by far my favorite story of the book. It had an interesting premise that was executed perfectly. I’d like more follow up on the min-epilogue.
Silent Night: I loved this story, definitely one of my favorites. I loved the family together and the end was great as well.
Alissa, Falling: A great story (told you they get better later in the book) that had a very solid grasp on the timeframe it took place in.
Crawl: This one was a little meh to me. I just didn’t feel the main character’s terror and desperation.
Blank Screen: A very good story about internet (well, supernatural internet) caution. In other words, don’t be a trolly bitch online.
The Orchard: Excellent ghost story with a decent twist.
The Face of the Gale: I liked it but I wasn’t sure what the point to it was. As it is it seems more like a slice of creepy life.
I guess if we did half stars I’d give Wakeful Children a 3.5.I enjoyed most of the stories and I’d be interested in reading more by S.P. Oldham.
Wakeful Children can be found for purchase via Goodreads
GracieKat was the first co-host of Sci-Fi & Scary, Lilyn’s partner-in-crime, and sub-head of the Coolthulhu Crew. She reviews horror books, movies, and games for the site. She also does a weekly Focus on the Frightful feature, and is the site list-maker. She is also in control of the Sci-Fi & Scary podcast which will relaunch soon.
Gracie is also a member of the Ladies of Horror Fiction crew.