In one of my previous posts, we talked up spooky books for the upcoming season… and because I’m impatient, I went ahead and started my Creepytober reads!
I CAN DO THINGS LIKE THAT. LET’S BE REBELS.
My first read was Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop, a Fantasy-Horror short story compilation by John Brhel & J. Sullivan. Together, these two run their own publishing company, Cemetery Gates Media.
Here’s the official blurb:
Retired stage magician Dr. Marvelry prefers to stock his antique store with strange and occult items. He has always enjoyed meeting odd people and hearing their stories, the legends attached to mysterious objects. A phonograph that seemingly replays a tragedy. Fertility dolls that are more than decoration. A bedeviled mannequin. These are just some of the relics this eccentric shopkeeper has collected over the years.
No two customers will have the same experience in his curiosity shop — some walk away satisfied, others are never heard from again. But one thing is certain – when you purchase an item at this store, you often get more than what you paid for.
Follow Marvelry and his hexed objects through twelve tales of suspense, magic, terror, and transformation. Meet his new assistant, fellow illusionists, and some irregular characters along the way. Whatever macabre artifact of the human psyche you’re seeking – you’ll find something special in Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop.
Inside, there are twelve stories, each one of them linking to Marvelry and one of his mystical, mythical items:
☠ The Victor Talking Machine
☠ Echo’s Reflection
☠ Magician’s Complex
☠ The Painter’s Premonition
☠ A Gift Ungiven
☠ A Made Match
☠ The Letterbox
☠ Seams of Consequence
☠ Martinus’ Mannequin
☠ Siren Song
☠ The New Assistant
☠ Grand Illusions
First off, it’s a fun, quick read. I don’t want to get into spoiler territory, but I will say that some of these tales have especially surprising endings, and many of their finisher sentences gave me chills! From shady fellow magicians to fertility dolls, there’s a nice variety of, well, variety to be found within its pages. The items that each buyer gets from Marvelry are intriguing to follow. Some of the characters are better fleshed out than others- it may be from the writing style, but some of them seem to be living alongside their own lives, rather than experiencing them firsthand. Because of this, some of the descriptions seemed dense.
Then there’s Dr. Marvelry, it’s Marvel-rye, and the Doctor isn’t necessary, himself. Overall, I enjoyed Marvelry’s character, but I did have some confusion over his overall arc in the stories: sometimes, he totally knew about mystical things, other times, he had no clue about the same mystical things. While one can never be too sure when it comes to supernatural items, the reader is given a surefire confidence in Marvelry that, at times, totally disappears, leaving a state of disbelief rather than surprise.
I can say, though, that the historical aspects of the book seem well-researched; I applaud the amount of information that is presented, even though at times it was information I wasn’t sure how to use inside that particular story.
All in all, I’d give Marvelry’s Curiosity Shop 3 out of 5 skulls!
☠ ☠ ☠
I would recommend the read, especially going into the Fall and getting closer to Halloween. BECAUSE Y’ALL KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT HALLOWEEN.
Want to pick up your own copy of these creepy, cautionary tales? You can! The e-book is an Amazon Kindle Unlimited exclusive, which you can find here. You can also find the paperback edition at Barnes & Noble!
Got your copy? Good. Share with us readers and writers what you think of the stories, and give the authors a visit!