The Twisted Ones

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When a young woman nicknamed ‘Mouse’ is tasked to clean out the house of her dead grandmother, she finds that the deceased old lady had been a hoarder. After coming across some strange stones in the woods, and the crazy ramblings of her also deceased step-grandfather, Mouse discovers that her problems are much more serious than clearing out her grandma’s junk.

Either I need to do more research about what I want to read, or I need to stop trusting positive reviews. The Twisted Ones was a complete disappointment in every aspect. The most frustrating part was the main character and her incredibly annoying, juvenile narration. Within the first ten pages, I had the creeping feeling that The Twisted Ones was more Young Adult than actual horror. Upon doing some research, I learned that T. Kingfisher is indeed the alias of Ursula Vernon – an author that writes almost exclusively Young Adult. Well it shows. I’m so sick of being tricked into reading “adult” fiction, only to find out that the author can’t write above a middle school reading level. The prose and narrative voice here is so grating, so immature, so adolescent that I couldn’t take a single thing seriously.

The plot itself had a lot of potential to be interesting and creepy, but Kingfisher missed the mark on the execution. The first scene where Mouse discovers the stones and her face locks up when looking upon them was actually unsettling, as was the moment when she first saw the effigy hanging in the tree. Nothing else afterwards is even remotely scary. The effigies shamble around and do literally nothing besides knock on the door and windows. The idea of some parallel universe or pocket dimension felt more like a slightly-dark fantasy than actual horror, and honestly it was just stupid and childish. The Green Book was completely incoherent and added nothing to the story, and the pages of its narration were jarring and out of place.

In the end, The Twisted Ones is just a conglomeration of other horror stories and movies and brings nothing new or interesting to the genre. The awful, bubble-gum teenager tone completely ruins any sense of dread or fear in every situation. The main character is irritating and unlikable, and the rest of the characters might as well not even exist. Hell, one of them is referred to simply as “the Goth girl” for more than half the story.

I won’t be reading any of Kingfisher’s other books.

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