Horrorstor | Grady Hendrix
Get It Here | Goodreads
Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.
To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they'll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange shifts and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.
Well Hello Readers,
In spirit of the holiday, I wanted to read something that would either scare the crap out of me, (which never happens anyway. I'm a big fan of scary ish) or creep me out just a little. So I decided to pick up Horrorstor, because:
- It's been sitting on my shelf for an entire month, and it's too much a beauty to be a dust collector.
- Everyone has been ranting & raving, screaming how terrified they were of this book.
With all the talk around this novel I had to see what it was all about for myself.
When I first seen Horrorstor back in July, I knew I had to have it come September 23rd, the day of it's release. My first initial thought was, " Is that an Ikea catalog?" It wasn't, duh, but it was pretty darn close. If any of you don't know, I am HUGE, Huge, Huge fan of Ikea. 95% of the furniture and accessories in my home come from there, and on each visit I spend approximately 3 1/2 hours shopping for things that we do and don't need. You can definitely say we're pretty addicted. So when I finally received my copy in the mail, you can probably guess my reaction. Of course I squealed with delight like a kid in the candy store! It was freaking beautiful!
Sorry for the over-use of big words, I'm clearly excited lol.
Before we dive into the story, let's take a moment, or few, to drool over the design/layout of this book.
A map of the showroom floor.
An "Orsk" delivery form. The Item # and name section looks very reminiscent to Ikea's. Good job Grady!
Just a little information on what Orsk can do for you.
Just an example of how the furniture pieces change with the story, going from being very family friendly and innocent, to deadly and sinister.
Creepy writing found on the woman's bathroom wall.
A map of Cuyahoga Panopticon (the penitentiary) and it's prisoners.
Impeccably done right?
So we begin the story with our main character Amy Porter. She's an employee at Orsk, (an Ikea knockoff obviously) and is dreading her day at work. She's trying to avoid her manager Basil, in hopes that if he doesn't see her, then he won't be able to fire her. You see, Amy isn't the best employee. She's one of those, "Do just enough to get by, but not enough to go beyond" kind of people. She's definitely who you would label as a lazy underachiever, and I wasn't surprised that I didn't really like her in the beginning. Like at all. What she thinks will be a normal day at work, turns out to be the complete opposite. There's been a disturbance within the store, the elevator is running . . . in reverse, and some of the furniture have been broken and smeared with . . . poop? Yea, something weird is going on here, and her manager has assigned the perfect person to get to the root of the problem. Basil calls a meeting with Amy and Ruth Anne, another employee who has been employed with Orsk for over 13 years. She's the committed and responsible type of worker, which surprises Amy when she finds her in the breakroom awaiting Basil's arrival. Both believe their getting fired, but are relieved when instead Basil gives them a secret assignment. That very night, after everyone has gone home for the evening, the three of them will work a 9-hour night shift, to figure who or what has been vandalizing their store. This is where things get a littleeeeee bit creepy.
I don't know if any of you guys have ever worked retail, but I definitely have. I remember back in 2008, I worked as an Overnight Stocker for my local Walmart. One night the lights completely shut off and wouldn't come back on, and to our dismay, we were also locked in the store. Imagine walking around in complete darkness. I'm talking so dark, that you can't tell whether your eyes are open or closed. I usually kept my cellphone in my back pocket or bra, but this particular day, I decided to follow the rules and keep my phone in my locker. Great timing Tika. Anywho, it was the creepiest thing I've ever witnessed. Alot of my co-workers were still in the breakroom, and only a handful of us were scattered on the sales floor. I ended up walking smack into a Transformers display, (which hurt like hell btw) trying to follow the voices of everyone to reach them. So basically to make a long story short, I know exactly how Amy felt when things got a bit weird and scary on her first night shift.
Okay, I got sooooo off track! lol. Back to your scheduled . . . what do they usually say? Program, show?
11pm comes quicker than Amy anticipated, and she finds herself back in the breakroom discussing the tasks for their "assignment" with Basil and Ruth Anne. They all agree to take turns walking the floor looking for their perpetrator, and the girls take off together to start their first walkthrough. There they find Matt and Trinity, two people who are also employed at Orsk. They decided to sneak back into the store to hopefully find out who was vandalizing the store as well. Except, Trinity had this notion that the person(s) tearing up Orsk are indeed ghosts and she's determined to capture them on camera. Basil of course isn't happy about the added parties, but more hands can get the job done faster right? Teamwork people, Teamwork!
I will admit that in the beginning things took off pretty slowly. The story didn't drag or anything, it just took me quite some time to get sucked in. But once I did, it was a fun ride all the way to the end. We unravel the story of Cuyahoga Panopticon, a penitentiary where the Warden believed hardwork could cure anyone's illnesses. The jail was shut down in May of 1839, due to a commission finding that the jail consisted of "nothing but lunatics, having lost their mind due to repetitive labor". But we're not just talking "normal" repetitive labor.
Warden Josiah Worth, used contraptions like the image shown above, to "cure" the penitents of his penitentiary.
" Work burns the sickness from a man's mind."
" For all men must work, and all women must weep, as labor sows, so shall time reap."
Even before the closing of the prison, no one left alive.
Fast forward a trillion years, to Orsk being built ontop of this wretched place. Now we know who is "haunting" the superstore. Josiah's mission is to trap workers in his prison, to keep them working forever in a sick and twisted manner.
I would not want this guy as my manager.
After her co-workers disappear within the store, Amy takes on the responsibility to find and protect her peers. She overcomes deadly obstacles by training her mind to stay focused, instead of letting the power of the store, well Josiah, weaken her to surrender. I loved this side of Amy. Before she was stubborn, and often a bit self-centered, but the character development she goes through is amazing. She rises to the occasion, becoming this self-less girl determined to be a heroine and save the day. But were her attempts enough to rescue her friends, and save herself as well? To find out, your going to have to read the story, because trust me, the ending is not at all what you would expect.
I don't have too many bad things to say about this book. However, I will say that I wish all of the characters had more . . . depth. In my opinion, some of the characters fell a bit flat. I didn't like Amy at first until she went through her development, and all the other characters were just . . . okay. You don't have much of a backstory with them either.
Amy - Moved out of her mother's trailer, dropped out of college, (couldn't afford financial payments) living pay check to pay check, on the verge of being evicted from her apartment she shares with 3 people.
Basil - An African-American boy who grew up on the tough side of town. Takes care of his little sister. Strives for greatness and cares about his job.
Ruth Anne - Worked for Orsk for 13 years. No children. No friends other than co-workers, lives alone with her pet dog named Snoopy.
Matt - Um. I don't even know.
Trinity - A rich girl who is sort of a rebel. Has a punk rock look going on. Believes in ghosts and hopes to own a show on the network Bravo called Ghost Bomb.
See, that's literally all you know about this people, and to be honest it wasn't enough for me to actually care about them. The one person I was rooting for to make it was Basil. He was a genuinely sweet guy, and I most certainly wanted to see him make it out alive. Again, you must read Horrostor to find out if he does.
As I stated before the design of this book is amazing. The fact that Mr.Hendrix spent so much time thinking of the design elements and layout of the story, makes me want to give him 5 stars. No scratch that, 10! He definitely wins the best book design of 2014 award. But, we're not rating the book on it's design only, and even with dull characters to worry about, it still managed to pull off a 4.5 rating. Atleast for me. I recommend this book for all lovers of Horror, and for those who don't enjoy the genre. The story really isn't that scary. I mean . . . okay there are parts of the story where I was a bit creeped out, but it definitely won't scare the socks off of you. If you enjoy a story with a beautiful design, packed with a wonderfully executed story, then Horrostor is most definitely for you!
Ghoul Bye Readers,