Before You Wake – Book Review

Two days ago I had watched a movie called “The Ritual”. I’ll review it in detail when I’m back from holidays, but in a nutshell, the movie is about a group of backpackers hiking across the Scandinavian landscape, who decide to take a shortcut through a forest and then things start going horribly wrong. The movie can be categorized as British horror and was very well made. The credits revealed “The Ritual” is based on a book by the same name, written by Adam Nevill. I looked up the writer for some insights into his genre, that can be described as ‘supernatural horror’. I couldn’t find The Ritual (book) in the stores (Will order it online when I’m back), but I did manage to find some of his other works on Kindle. Today’s read was “Before You Wake” – a trilogy of horror tales featuring visions, nightmares, and ghastly creatures, stories focusing on the occult and demonic horror.


Title – Before You Wake

Author – Adam Nevill

Genre – Horror

“Before You Wake” is a compilation of three very different and brilliant stories:

The first story is titled “The Angels of London” – about a man who moves to London for work, only to land up with a poorly paying job as a security guard, and finding accommodation in a horrible apartment building (The Angels), with an equally dreadful landlord and unsympathetic co-tenants. Rules at The Angels keep changing, but the only constant is once you move in, you never move out. The story started and ended well, though it tended to drag in the middle and failed to keep up the fear factor.

The second story, “Always In Our Heart” brings the focus on drivers and the many road accidents they encounter/witness/cause. A cab driver receives a strange request from all of his passengers on one particular day – each one asks to be dropped off at a location where the next passenger is waiting, and the last passenger takes him back to the first one. The story which leaves the reader as puzzled as the driver with his odd passengers and their odd luggage, takes on a completely sinister and twisted turn as we drive through the day.

Hippocampus” is the third tale which ends the trilogy and, for me, the best and eeriest of the trio. There are no characters featured here, only the darkly descriptive story of an abandoned ship with a peculiar narrative of a horrendous aftermath of what happened on board. What starts off as an unnamed narrator taking a walk through the corridors, rooms and decks of a ghost ship, takes on a gory tone enveloped in a creepy atmosphere of a possible attack by someone/something.

Individually I would rate the stories as 3/5 for The Angels of London, 4/5 for Always in Our Heart, and 5/5 for Hippocampus. Overall, the trio of terrible things can be rated as a 4/5. A must-read for horror buffs. Before You Wake served as an eerily good introduction to Adam Nevill, with an insight into his style of writing supernatural horror. The chilling morsels of horror certainly whetted the appetite to reading more from him, especially the full-fledged novels for a main course.

Rating – 4/5


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