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Paper Tigers Paperback – February 29, 2016
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"...deeply emotional and beautifully poetic."
-Cemetery Dance Online
"This isn't just a great novel - it's one of the best horror novels in recent memory."
"...a smartly dark, deftly crafted journey into the depths of damaged humanity."
"Paper Tigers is a gorgeous tapestry of pain from an author who specializes in just such intricate needlework. It's about suffering, and wholeness, fear, longing, insecurity, self-loathing, and the prices we'd pay to get back what we lost."
-The Horror Fiction Review
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Moody. Captivating. Heart-breaking.
If you think you've read books about living with damages and scars, wait until you dig into this. Alison only knows her ruined parts. It's all she sees anymore, because it's all anyone else sees of her anymore. And I can tell you, her scars run deep.
While I would not say this book scared me, it was enticing and intriguing. As Allison is pulled into another world, another life by George - the man in the album, where she has no more scars, where people don't see her as ugly, where she is whole again.
George lures her into his world time and time again. He promises he can heal her. He says that he can make her whole. That there is so much more she needs to see. So she continues to return to him. She lets him take her each time to feel whole once more and for just a little longer as he consumes her from the inside out.
This books brings to light how destructive our own view of self can be. We are our own worst critics. She believed she was now defined as a monstergirl, structured to be this ugly girl for the rest of her life from the fire the took her future away. The emotions are powerful and labeled in Alison's mind as Red, Yellow, and Purple.
The best part about this entire book, is the ending. It is powerful and raw. It is emotional and real. It's about letting go of all your self-hate, self-pity, self-doubt, and finally accepting where you are, who you are, and what you can do about it from here on out.
Fantastic. Intriguing. Eye-opening.
I have to say, for a while, I wasn't sure what to think. It was a bit slow for a while in my opinion, but I stuck with it because I knew there was a story worth reading here. And boy, was there ever.
After being severely burnt and losing everything in a fire, Allison is slowly mustering the courage to get out of her house again. On a late night walk she is invited into an antique shop and finds an old photo album. The album begins to lure Allison into the time period and world of those who are photographed with in the photos. She discovers that some horrible things happened inside the house pictured in the album. She also discovers that her scars disappear when she is inside the album. Eventually Allison is forced to choose if it's worth staying in this scary world with no scars or face reality as a burn victim. Also, while traveling back and forth between reality and the ghost world she realizes she could be risking releasing a brutal murdered from the photo album to the real world.
I put the spoiler button on this review but I am not really going to give anything away. I just want to say that the book doesn't have a happy ending but I really really liked the ending. I am not one of those people that thinks all endings should be happy. I enjoyed the book overall but found the ending exceptional. If you're looking for a lot of excitement then Paper Tigers may not be for you but if you like gothic ghost stories that are haunting and melancholy then Paper Tigers should be right up your alley. This is my first Damien Angelica Walters book and it won't be last. I will definitely check out her other work. As an established fan it is no surprise that Dark House Press continues to come strong.
Of course, the photo album isn't just a photo album; it promises to make her broken self whole.
The premise of this book is an interesting one, and Waters attempts to explore obsession, isolation, and brokenness through this plot. However, throughout the second half especially, it feels more like I'm reading a cliche horror movie transcribed into novel form, complete with fading, discordant piano notes. Descriptions of Alison's obsession are surface at best, and times that I felt engaged with her pain or fear were few and far between.
Overall, I can't say that I particularly recommend this book. It's not terrible; it's not great. A solid "meh" from me.
Started: May 4, 2016
Finished: May 12, 2016
While I loved the premise, I never got into this book. It's interesting in parts, well written always, as one can expect from the writer. She's written many short stories I absolutely love. In the end I felt that the issue was that I never clicked with the main character. I did not dislike her, but I didn't like her either, so I didn't care what happened, effectively ripping the tension right out from under me.
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Alison is a young woman who bears terrible scars, both externally and internally,...Read more