Book Review: Prequels by Matthew Head

PrequelsCoverTitle: Prequels

Author: Matthew Head

Genre: Horror, Short Story Collection, Dark Fiction

Age Group: Young Adult / Adult

Rating: 4 stars

Purchase: Amazon (US), Amazon (UK)

Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

Prepare for a supernatural smorgasbord of literature! This trilogy of spooky short stories will thrill you, chill you and break your heart – sometimes all at once! More than that though, they serve as a tantalising prequel series to the epic “The Chronicles of Darkness” series of novels which launches this July!The Darkness at Down Street: When Isaac gets on the London underground he’s expecting to go from A to B like everybody else. But when the train stops he starts to wonder if something strange might be going on. Surely not, surely it’s all fine. But then the voice begins. Turn out the lights!

 The Destiny of Melissa Smith: Everybody hopes they’ll have a great life, and Melissa Smith appears to have and amazing one. Then she visits a village fete. Then she meets an impossible man, a mysterious boy and an unimaginable monster. Then the true meaning of greatness is put to the test.

Beauty and the Beast: Have you ever peered into a dark forest from the safety of a car or a coach and wondered if there might be something nasty in the trees watching you? The coach from London to Monks-Lantern has taken a very unfortunate detour, leaving the passengers at the mercy of the terrifying monster in the woods. There’s screaming, running – and at the end of it all there’s a realisation: Monsters come in all different shapes and sizes.

Prequels is an intriguing, suspenseful collection of dark fiction / horror short stories featuring a protagonist bordering on the blurry lines between being a young adult and an adult (he’s nineteen years old). The protagonist, Isaac, has run into the world of demons and monsters on more than one occassion, and his encounters didn’t always end well. His past is shrouded in mystery, but hinted at every once in a while. Isaac is estranged from his parents, doesn’t have any friends, and is starting university next year – if he survives, that is.

In the first story, The Darkness at Down Street, Isaac doesn’t expect the London underground to take him intoan abandoned underground rail station near Down Street, where history blends with present days and the ghosts of the past refuse to let go. This was my favorite story of the collection, mostly because it featured ghosts – and ghosts, in any shape or form – are either awesome, or they scare the hell out of me. Either way, I enjoy ghost stories, and this was a delightful one. More intriguing than I thought at first glance, and it’s cool how Isaac tries to solve the mystery as well (by using his brain). We also meet a potential friend for Isaac, a girl named Jade, who keeps her head cool while hell breaks loose around them.

The second story, The Destiny of Melissa Smith,  was a bit more Charmed-like, which means, not scary, just fun. Isaac tries to save Melissa from having her destiny stolen by a demon. But the demon is more powerful than Isaac bargained for, and at the end of the day, one of them will have to pay the price – either Melissa pays with her destiny, or Isaac pays with his. This story wasn’t really scary (except when you think about the potential of having your destiny stolen) but it was fun.

Beauty and the Beast is perhaps the most gory of all three stories, but it still is pretty tame, which I didn’t mind because I’m not a huge fan of gore. Isaac gets on a couch through a dark forest, only to be stranded there along with his fellow passangers, one of them a girl named Edith who is in the same business as he is – the fighting evil business, that is. Isaac and Edith team up with a monster tries to attack them.

My favorite story, because of the ghost element, was The Darkness at Down Street. Second favorite would be Beauty and the Beast. However, I liked how different all the stories were. Sure, they’re all about monsters, but the monsters vary greatly as does the way Isaac tries to save himself and nearby innocent people. As the title suggests, these stories are prequels to an upcoming novel by the same author, “The Chronicles of Darkness”. I would love to read this, since I enjoyed reading about Isaac’s world, and I thought he was an intriguing protagonist. The author has a down-to-earth writing style which I enjoyed as well.

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