This is one of the hardest book reviews I’ve ever had to write. A while ago Eden Royce asked me to review her novel Spook Lights, and after reading it a second time the problem became glaringly clear.
I am completely jealous of how this woman writes.
This makes no sense. Eden and I met when both our stories, The Monster and Devil’s Playground were accepted for publication in Matt Nord’s Strange Tales of Horror and we have been friends ever since. She has been my friend in every aspect of the word, we’ve kept in touch, we’ve reviewed each other’s books and once again we have both have stories that have been slated for film adaptations in the upcoming horror anthology 7 Magpies, the movie.
Sometimes when I am reading a really good book I go from being entertained to being taught, but with Spook Lights I go from being entertained to being jealous. It’s debilitating and disruptive because I start to feel really bad. How horrible a person must I be to be jealous of Eden, I ask myself. But I can’t help it. Authors don’t compete with each other in terms of readership, thank God, but if given an ultimatum: You can either read a book by Crystal Connor or one by Eden Royce I wouldn’t stand a chance.
The reason it took me so long to write this review was because I had to stop reading to deal with my own stupid issues.
Spook Lights is a collection of 12 stories set in the American South. Royce is unbelievably descriptive in her writing. The most horrific things are taking place in the most beautiful settings.
Oftentimes while reading I started to feel hot and sticky, I felt like I was smothering in thick, humid air that I’ve never inhaled in real life.
The spells and hexes performed within these pages aren’t written by someone who took the time to do the research but by someone who has intimate knowledge of root working and that in itself makes helps to create such a tangible feeling of doom and unease.
Homegoing stayed with me even though I didn’t want it to. The Path of the War Chief bothered me too. They all did actually, but those are the two that really burrowed themselves under my skin. But The Water Soul was my favorite because he got exactly what he deserved…bastard.
The stories told in Spook Lights are rich, layered, elegant horror stories with a diverse cast of characters and sometimes the stories don’t fully open themselves to their full glory until hours after you finish reading them. If you haven’t read anything by Eden Royce I think it’s high time you should.