It's time for another Night Worms book party! Over the last month, we all read WE ARE MONSTERS by Brian Kirk. It’s always really fun to read horror with fellow horror-loving bookworms. We all love horror, but we have different views and perspectives, which makes reviewing with these people so much fun. Here are some of the photos that showed up on social media as well as some blurbs from the reviews:
(watch for more book parties! Grady Hendrix and More!)
“Ambitious and original.
The idea of tackling the nuts and bolts of a drug that is designed to cure schizophrenia but ends up unlocking one's "inner demons" sounds daunting to me but after reading this book--it's my assessment that Brian Kirk sticks the landing. The title, WE ARE MONSTERS and the main thrust of this book wrestles with our own monsters we battle but also the battle that must be fought on behalf of the mentally ill--their mistreatment and marginalization. I came away from this with plenty to mull over and chew on.” - @mother.horror
“This is Kirk’s rereleased debut novel so I am impressed with how well the story and the characters are developed. WE ARE MONSTERS takes you on a very strange and unusual ride. It starts out full of intrigue and creepiness, then you get a very detailed account of the characters, and finally, it finishes with an unorthodox ending. My favorite aspect of the book is the writing style and although it lost my attention for a short while, I loved the overall reading experience. I felt as if the author, by design, wanted me to feel just as insane as his characters. I will definitely not hesitate to read another book by Kirk.” -@shereadswithcats
“This is a novel about mental illness and a radical cure, but the stories behind the characters and their actions make it so much more. Kirk writes amazing characters that you come to care for despite their problems and shortcomings. And that's what makes me a fan. That's what keeps me coming back to his writing. This is definitely a horror novel with supernatural elements, but even more than that, this is a story about people. People who learn to deal with the demons they carry in order to help those who feel as if those demons are actually real. Everyone at Sugar Hill has their own personal monsters.” -@gowsy33
“This book is quite unputdownable as the pace of the story is strong and has a good mix of different storylines and characters. You never get too settled and are always wanting to find out more. Kirk does a great job keeping the reader engaged and interested throughout the book while we are trying to understand just what is happening to the characters as well as to us the readers.” -@findingmontauk1
“I am probably a little biased but, I have stated before what a huge fan I am of scientific detail in horror. For me, it makes the story feel far more real even if the subject clearly is not. There is enough of this detail to excite someone like myself but, not enough to prevent anyone that does not care for scientific jargon from picking it up. Kirk did his homework and put an incredible amount of effort into these characters making them feel as if these could have been real people. Especially considering the real stigma that unfortunately surrounds mental illness, he does an extraordinary job of using his characters to illustrate the struggle between do we cater to the soul or the symptoms?
Don’t get me wrong, this novel isn’t an overview of politics surrounding this topic wrapped up in a beautiful little horror bow, it gets creepy as hell! This is the kind of horror that I enjoy the most; where the monsters could be anyone and most of the time, you cannot decide which one is worse.”-@keelyfuse85
“A lot has been made of the jarring transition that takes place in the middle of this book. I didn't mind it, and I thought that the idea was interesting and handled well. My problem with the entire experience with this book is that it was just too long. There is a butt-ton of character work at the beginning of the book, perhaps too much. The action at the end of the book also felt repetitive at times. By the time I read the last page, I was happy to be finished, which is not the emotion I want when I finish a book. In the end, I liked the book for what it was. For me, at least, it was a good story but not a great story. I settled on a 3.5 rounded up to a four-star rating. Your mileage may differ but if this sounds like something you would enjoy, I recommend that you give it a go!” -@teamredmon
“Something I find so appealing about psychology horror involving asylums is the intrigue. I say this purely from a fictional point of view. I always wonder about the secrets held within the facility's walls. What kind of terrifying procedures the doctors could and would perform? What horrifying incidents took place between patients and orderlies in padded rooms? You just know there are some wild stories to be told about places like Sugar Hill Mental Asylum and Brian Kirk tells one hell of a dreadful tale in WE ARE MONSTERS.” -@thebookdad
“Absolutely loved this novel! This book has a way of pulling you in and making you feel a bit crazy as if you are losing your mind right along with the patients.” -@marcyreads
“Brian Kirk has a gift. He's very skilled at messing with your head. I'm just not sure if I like it or not. I was confused about the drugs and the visions and never got the clarity I wanted. We Are Monsters started strong, floundered a bit in the too-long middle and ended bizarrely. I'll keep reading what Kirk writes, but this one wasn't for me.” -@readswithdogs
“We Are Monsters was a gripping story, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, desperate to know what hell would surface next. And trust me - there is a new disaster on each page. I found there to be a lot of characters and backstory that got to be a bit tedious. Crosby was a grisly villain who definitely freaked me out. I did appreciate the character development of Dr Eli Alpert. Overall, I enjoyed this story and will continue to read more by Brian Kirk.” -@bookishmommy
“I was blown away by how much I enjoyed We are Monsters. I mentioned this to people while I was reading it, and I’ll say it here in this review. This book doesn’t read like an author's debut. It’s well thought out. Kirk spends a good portion of the book, building his characters and the world they live in. This causes the first half to read a bit slow, but I’m ok with that. You can’t complain about books with under-developed characters but complain when an author takes the time to actually develop his book.” -@steelrainreviews
“The first half sets up a story that doesn’t exactly go where I thought it might and the second half is very, very mind-bending, but I enjoyed the characters and the style that Kirk brings to life. The medical field is rife with subjects to tackle in the horror genre and Kirk does a good job with the subject matter. This one drops on January 30th and I definitely think many will find a lot to love here if you’re interested in a dense, complex story about the dark sides of psychiatric care.” -@thehorrorhypothesis
“Overall, I’m not mad that I read this book, but I’m not raving about it either. The writing style was great and the concept promising. It is one of those books that I can recommend to people knowing that it’s a fine horror book, but it’s only JUST fine to me. Not outstanding or fantastic. No one will be mad at me that I recommended it and a few people will find a new favorite in it. I’m not one of those people though.” -@pageandparlor
“I will say this sort of jumbled, fever dream-like quality to the story was also present in his other book that I've read, WILL HAUNT YOU. If the pacing and story in that one were things you were really into, this one should also be on your TBR for sure! I think if this had been trimmed down a bit, I would have enjoyed it more. Brian Kirk is an excellent writer - his descriptions are vivid, the dialogue feels natural, the characters are well-developed and fleshed out. I'm going to look into some of his short fiction, as I'd love to see what he's able to do with a more limited word count.” -@holo.reader
“ A couple of years ago, I found a book at the thrift store called “HOUSE” by Frank E. Peretti and Ted Dekker. It was a Christian horror story about a group of people trapped in a house, being tormented and pursued by their inner demons. Sound familiar? That book had so much potential, but apparently Christian horror has no curse words, no smut, and no scary parts. I was really disappointed. The third part of kirk’s book was extremely similar, but thankfully there was swearing and gore and smut. Kirk didn’t have Jesus come to save the day either... the people had to get themselves straightened out. In closing, if you want an all-out horror book about overcoming your inner monsters, read this book. If you want to read the same basic story to kindergarteners, the elderly or fraidy-cats, you have that option with “HOUSE”!” -@mrsbeverlygibbs
“I'm torn between needing more cohesiveness and less density to a read that took me from a build-up of what's going to happen straight to what the fuck is going on ... and loving how the author took us on a journey where our realities are also changed and we're now feeling just as insane as the rest of them.” -@wherethereadergrows
“Kirk's novel is a stark reminder that we are living with monsters within our own minds. Memories, mistakes and failed attempts to try. Sanity, by definition, is based on a system-a human system and as a society, we have determined what is and isn't reasonable. And those that don't quite fit the mold, that can't function without medication to ground them are locked away and become an experiment for those deemed 'normal.' Kirk brought to light the fine line between sanity and insanity. Truth and lies. Fiction and reality.
These characters are believable and tragic. They are textured and layered. You will both at times, love and hate them. You will pity them and then stop and analyze the reality around you. This book will absorb you and become a piece of you for a time.” -@kamis_korner