Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestley

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Uncle Montague’s Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly
2007
239 Pages
4.5/5

Finally, I feel like I’ve found the perfect book to set the tone for the RIP challenge. I’ve read several books now for the challenge, but none of them were exactly creepy. Several of them were depressing, were dystopian, had a sense of mystery or foreboding, but none gave that genuine creepy feeling. None were an “October book” as I like to call them. This, my friends, is an October book.

I first heard of this book after reading Carl’s review over at Stainless Steel Droppings right after I started my book buying ban and thought “woe is me, I can’t have it!!” And then I though…aha! I forgot about that lovely building called the library!! So I hopped in my car, drove over there, and there it was waiting for me in all it’s Edward Gorey-esque glory. Let me tell you a little bit about what it’s about.

The book is sort of a novel told in short stories. I really enjoyed this format. It’s about a young boy who goes to visit his eccentric uncle, Uncle Montague. Along the way, he spots a number of children playing in the forests around his house…children that won’t approach him. When he gets to his uncle’s house, he sits down in his uncle’s parlor which is lit by nothing but candles and is served tea. The room has odd adornments and each one has it’s own story, stories which Uncle Montague tells his nephew, and each tale ends with a character who is left in a very bad off way…often dead.

The stories are often truly horrifying. There are several that stayed with me for days. Some are your traditional ghost-type stories, while others are brand new inventions that I truly loved. What I loved about these stories is that you can tell that Priestly has true respect and love for folklore and haunted tales. His story telling abilities are brilliant and I’d love to read some of these to children (or adults for that matter) on a crisp autumn night. The stories are accented by David Roberts’ wonderful illustrations that reminded me so much of Edward Gorey with his own twist added to them. They added a nostalgic feeling to these tales that seems to be missing in so much modern horror. Truly enjoyable!

If you’re looking for something to add to your RIP list, this is highly recommended. He has another book out that centers around tales aboard a pirate ship and has a book coming out soon that takes place in a cave 🙂 Looking forward to reading both of those!!

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19 Responses

  1. Edward Gorey Edward Gorey Edward Gorey!!! Death and Baby Death should have picked you for Most Edward Gorey references. 😀

    Seriously, though – you just sold me on this book. Now to put it on my bookmooch wishlist…

  2. I love the cover- it reminds me of a series I read when I was a kid. I wish I cold remember the name of it. This sounds really good.

  3. This looks adorable! Wait…can I even use that word for a creepy book?

  4. I fully admit I would want to read this book solely based on the cover alone. I adore that Edward Gorey style of illustration. For me, the fact that the writing and the stories are legitimately spooky is just a bonus!

  5. I’m so happy to see that your library has this one, even if mine doesn’t. 😦 Maybe I’ll tell them to buy it!

  6. So glad you enjoyed this, and the Black Ship is just as good (and happily in the same format). And my copy of The Tunnel’s Mouth should come today and will immediately leapfrog to the top of my RIP IV reading pile…

  7. You know what’s HORRIBLE? My local bookstore barely ever has any English books I want, or if it does, they’re really overpriced. But when I went there the other day, they had THIS! For like €8! I had to get out of there fast 😦

  8. Libraries are ok during a book ban! For one thing you don’t pay for the book and the next is it doesn’t take up space in your home because you bring it back! But I know you will have a horrid time trying to do this.. it’s like living in one room with a bunch of smokers trying to give up smoking! So libraries are good! and once you are moved and set up keep looking at all the books you’ve read and ask “will i really reread this one day?” If you even pause you probably won’t.. so donate it and get some room back!

    all this from mom 2 who just sent for a book. who really can’t keep doing this.. but I fight with what i can’t and dont do against quality of life..and that sucks… that and there’s no library close to me..

  9. This is one that I put on my TBR list too, after reading Carl’s review of it. It is fabulous.

  10. Lucky you! I checked our library immediately after Carl’s review, but they didn’t have it. 😦
    I am so very glad you enjoyed it though!!!

  11. This looks so deliciously creepy!! I thought the same thing after reading Carl’s review! I have like a hundred books already checked out for the RIP, but I may have to see if I can find this one too!! Besides, the cover just rocks it!

  12. Ok! Ok! I’m going to read it!! (looks fantastic! I love the cover)

  13. I loved this book, the second one, Tales of Terror the Black Ship is excellent too.

  14. Not you as well… I’ve been doing so well at avoiding buying this one (and his other book). God help me if my bookshop has them in next time I visit. (and I’m not even on a book buying ban, to help me out!)

  15. I want to read this but the library does not have… Have to wait until I buy books sometime to read it!

  16. I am on my way to buy this book, and hopefully I’ll be able to convince my book club to read it for our 2nd October selection… I love October books!

  17. Love the review! This one looks wonderfully perfect for Halloween reading. So cool to see an artist/illustrator with the Gorey-style. Kinda reminds me a bit of Gris Grimly too.

  18. Fantastic review, Chris! I am so glad you were able to find it at the library. You are dead on in describing it as an ‘October book’ and it truly does have exactly the kind of feel that I envision whenever I think of the perfect R.I.P. read. The tales really are terrifying. I cannot wait to read some of it to my family on our October camping trip later this month.

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