Cover Image: Chopping Spree

Chopping Spree

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley and Unnerving for providing me with an e-ARC of Chopping Spree in exchange for an honest review.

Y’all, I can’t be the only one vibing with horror taking place in a mall reminiscent of the 80s/90s (complete with the wishing fountain!). You know — Stranger Things, American Horror Story: 1984 & now Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine. In Chopping Spree, we’re brought into the mall that Penny & the gang work at when a man wearing a wolf mask arrives with the intention of blowing up the mall & taking down some “capitalist piggies.” With just THAT, we have a solid plot, but Angela Sylvaine adds some plot twists and a dash of creepiness to make this short novella a non-stop ride. ⁠⁠

Chopping Spree is a bit hard to really review because the things that I love about it are things that would 100% be considered spoilers. However, I will say that Chopping Spree contains a particular thing that always wins my heart when it comes to the horror genre.

My really only complaint on Chopping Spree is that it is pretty predictable & feels like something I’m pretty sure I’ve seen/read before. However, it’s still fun to see someone else’s take on an idea.⁠⁠
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A classic slasher with a twist that will take you back to the 80s

In the small town of Eden Hills lives Penny, a teenager that just got a job at a clothing story in a mall based on the 8os. From the music to the clothes, we are taken back in time to those good old times.

At work Penny realizes that all her coworkers have a symbol in either a necklace, a bracelet etc It is a P and an L and she has no clue what this stands for.

The young workers turn inventory working nights into parties. That night Penny decided to stay for the party and all was going fine until she heard some screams. 

Without phone coverage and locked in the mall at night, they discover someone is killing people one by one. 

A slasher that goes straight into the action following teenagers trapped in an 80s mall and a serial killer on the loose. However the story also hides more important messages about power, capitalism, money, the rich and the poor.
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I went in hoping for a Scream-esque slasher with Stranger Things vibes and unfortunately got neither. Instead, this was a very rushed and only partially enjoyable capitalism critique. While I appreciate the concept, ultimately the execution lacked.

My largest criticism is that of how rushed everything felt. While it was a novella, I do think that the pacing could’ve been handled far better. I would’ve preferred a lot more character and world-building as both felt very two dimensional. I didn’t connect with any of the characters and therefore didn’t really care what happened to them.

I would however like to make a note of a very sketchy characterisation. A shadowy, money-driven figure is described as having a hooked nose which definitely rubbed me the wrong way. With antisemitism in fiction being rightfully discussed at the moment, I hope that the author can amend this for the finished novel.

The most enjoyable thing was the playlist attached to the story, which probably isn’t the best feeling to have upon leaving a novel. This fell very flat for me and I wouldn’t recommend it upon release.
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4 stars. This was ridiculous, but it was fun. It delivered a slasher in a mall complex with a weird cult thrown in for good measure. Review to come.

As a high school teacher, writing out full reviews has fell behind. Here are my initial thoughts.
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Are you a fan of '80s style slashers? How about '80s style slashers that take place in a mall? Do you like cults?? Are you an anti-fan of capitalism? Chopping Spree is surely the book for you, then. Fast-paced and full of campy bloody fun, Chopping Spree follows Penny as her new job at the local mall turns into a deadly situation. What starts off as a fun night quickly turns into a suspenseful cat-and-mouse hunt when Penny and her friends discover another mall employee dead and a mad man running around in a wolf mask. Penny is prepared to help lead her friends to safety, but she quickly learns that maybe they don't want to run away. Maybe they have their own plans. Copping Spree has a very fun twist that gives the plot a lot of depth. Sylvaine writes very well in the short form, giving her characters a lot of detail in only a few pages. This novella is perfect to pick up on a cozy Friday night in with your favorite snacks. It's truly the literary equivalent of a campy '80s slasher. The name even reminds me of one of my favorites: Chopping Mall. And if you have ever worked in a mall before, you'll especially enjoy the hit of nostalgia. We all kind of felt like we were being sacrificed on the altar of capitalism, right?
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C'mon admit it...even if you won't I will...

I always wished that the old TV series Tales from the Crypt had...well, a bit more bite to them. Snark, sex, gore...the list goes on. And yes, some of those Crypt tales were fairly ground breaking at the time.

But guess what- lucky for me, and you if you dig those sorts of things, Unnerving has published a series of books called Rewind or Die that is all of those things and more and I couldn't be happier about it. I'm currently working my way though all of them.

While Chopping Spree  wasn't exactly what I expected I really really liked it. 

I wished it was more 80's inspired OR actually took place in the 80's BUT other than that I really dug the 80's themed music and indoor shopping mall feel/references. 

The actual plot was fresh and brilliant and an amazing commentary(IMHO) about consumerism. 

I also really rooted for Penny and I can only hope with that fitting ending (I'll fight you on it if you disagree LOL)that maybe someday we will see a follow up! Hey I can dream, can't I? LOL
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I can't lie I am a little bit disappointed in this book... That it wasn't longer because I would have loved to keep reading! 

In all seriousness though I feel the length of this book did let it down a bit, don't get me wrong I absolutely loved it, but I was left wanting more after I'd finished it, like a hunger that wasn't quite satisfied. 

That being said, the fast pace of this story lent itself well to the plot, it felt like a rush of adrenaline rushing through our veins while we read. It felt like we were rushing from pillar to shop to the security room in the mall with our characters and I felt the same fear and fright that they did. 

The story itself was really clever, and not something that I saw coming. I was completely wrong with my theory for this story and instead was pleasantly surprised by the turn that the book took, especially the ending! 

And because it was set in a mall (or shopping centre as we call them here) it felt very realistic, we've all been inside a mall/shopping centre so from the second the author started laying out the opening scene it was easy to envision ourselves in the characters shoes. 

The whole vibe of Chopping Spree was spot on, it felt like Goosebumps but a little bit older and more teenage/young adult, and with it being such a short read it's definitely going to keep the interest of readers who are looking for a scare. 

And special mention to the 80s music that was dropped and referenced throughout this story, it brought me joy and left me singing to myself while I was reading!
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Like the title implies it’s about a shopping mall after closing, a killer, a mysterious cult, and some hits from the 80’s.
I picked this book because I enjoyed Sole Survivor by Zachary Ashford (book #6) from the ‘Rewind-or-Die’ book series, so I thought I try another, and I wasn’t disappointed, it is a quick and fun novella that captures the B-grade slasher movie feel very well, it was easy to read, not to serious, but still has a creepy feel.

This is the 27th book (don’t worry you don’t need to read the others before this one) in the ‘Rewind-or-Die’ book series, The series is for people who miss the golden era of VHS rentals from the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, those awesome B-grade slasher and monster movies.
Is this book a masterpiece of literature?   No… but that kind of the point. 
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, and I will be getting more of the series.

*Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.*
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The reason I requested this book is because, upon reading the synopsis, it reminded me of the Point Horror YA novels from the '80s and '90s that I collect and love. This was a fun little story. Fast paced and full of action. I'm not quite sure what it was trying to tell us about seemed to be trying to give some sort of message...but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I loved the little twist at the end. Would recommend. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Chopping Spree is an upcoming release from Unnerving's Rewind or Die list! I've had a lot of fun with Rewind or Die stories, and I hope they stick around. Witchy mall horror is something I didn't know I wanted, but I definitely do. The concept was really good, but the story fell a little flat. The moral aspect was kind of heavy-handed, but it's an entertaining read. I would love to see a movie!

CW - murdering a puppy, mention of attempted suicide
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Gotta love a good 1980s slasher, which happens to be my favorite subgenre of horror! This was a fun quick read that I knocked out in one sitting
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Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaie is a short horror story set in an 1980s inspired fashion mall. This book is part of the Rewind or Die horror series which is a series of unconnected stories that are meant to invoke the 70s and 80s slasher movies. The title and cover where enough that I wanted to read this book before reading the synopsis. I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

We follow Penny, a high schooler who works at the mall her dad built with her best friend Yelena. When Penny arrives at the mall one day she runs into a guy wearing a wolf mask and talking about hunting pigs and the evils of capitalism but ends up not thinking much about it and going to work. At the end of the shift she and the others are staying late to do inventory and party some. Penny hears a scream and finds a guy who works at another store stabbed and talking about the wolf.

The group realizes that the guy dressed in the wolf mask plans to kill the workers at the mall and blow the mall up. While all this is going on Penny has noticed that many of the people she works with are all wearing a strange symbol and they tell her that it has to do with working at the mall.

The group ends up capturing the guy in the wolf mask and bring him down to a hidden room where Penny’s father is and some of the others parents. They tell Penny that they’re in a cult that worships the god Plutus, who they give sacrifices to become wealthy. They tell Penny that she has to kill the man in the wolf mask, Howard Gregory, and it come out that they killed his daughter and that’s why he is trying to destroy the mall. Penny doesn’t want to kill him and helps him escape during this her father confesses that he killed he mother and Penny decides that she will help Howard blow up the mall.

The story ends with Penny waking up in the hospital with the new that she was the only one who survived the mall bombing but finding out that there are other members of the Order of Plutus still out there.

I like the concept of this book and the horror elements but I felt like the twist with the cult came to fast. If the book was even twenty pages longer I would have liked the twist more. It felt like slasher movie set in a mall and then all of a sudden everyone’s in a cult that uses human sacrifices. The story does remind me of R.L. Stine’s Fear Street books and works by Christopher Pike, and I would recommend this story to fans of those books.
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I received an ARC of this book thanks to NetGalley and publisher Unnverving in exchange for an honest review.

This book is crazy in all the best ways! Honestly I was expecting a bit more of a traditional slasher style horror book but what I got instead was a welcome surprise. Chopping Spree is the story of Penny, a girl who works in an 80s mall. She has a weird encounter with a man in a wolf mask, followed by a weirder encounter with her work colleagues. The blurb of this book implies that what follows is a standard slasher set in a mall but the story takes quite a different turn. Instead it is more focused on an anti-capitalism, cult-type story.

I was genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. The writing is fantastic and the usual problems of the genre (weird sexualisation elements and bad characterisation) are completely absent here. I'm not even a huge fan of cult stories but I was completely absorbed by the plot and I finished it in two sittings. I really liked the unique vibe it had and I couldn't predict where the story was going which was really nice. As with the other Rewind or Die book I read, this genuinely brings something new to the horror table and it's a welcome breath of fresh air.

Having said that, I don't want to give you the wrong impression. This book isn't ground-breaking and it still has a lot of staples of horror that you would expect and enjoy as a horror fan. There is some semblance of the slasher elements and there are a lot of 80s references which give it that classic touch. This isn't a criticism from me, I just want to make it clear that there are both traditional and new features which blend well to create a really solid horror book.

Overall, I think this book and others from the series are definitely worth a try if you are a horror fan. So long as you don't expect a full-on slasher, there is a lot to like about this book and it's so short that you can't really go wrong.

Overall Rating: 4/5 stars
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This book was described as "an homage to 1980's slashers and mall culture," How could I resist that? The short answer is that I couldn't. It was a quick, fast paced, fun read. That said, it was rough in some areas and seemed almost as much of a social commentary on consumerism as as teen slasher. It took an odd, unexpected turn that I felt detracted from what was promised. Definitely campy, but that's the point. 3.5 stars rounded up. 

Thanks to NetGalley, the Publisher and the Author for an advanced copy for review.
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* Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced copy for my honest review*

Well this was an interesting book. Reminded me of the good ‘ol days of staying up late and reading R.L. Stine. Penny works in the Threads store of the new mall with her friend. One night a mad man wearing a wolfs mask comes in and starts killing employees and setting up bombs. He’s on a mission to kill all those set on greed. But why? Is there a darker sinister reason to his method.. you’ll just have to read to find out. Muahahahaha! 

I wasn’t expecting a secret society at all and truthfully I thought it was going to be a bit darker and bloodier than it was. It did have its sinister moments and the concept of good vs evil.. worshiping the false God. And generations of it. It does hone in on the concept that greed makes the best evil for sacrifice. The title also makes me think of that 80s movie Chopping Mall, but that had killer robots and not a killer society. 

Overall I gave this book a 3.5/5 It was a killer little read.. see what I did there 😉
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So, the 80s slasher Chopping Mall is a fave and definitely formed me into the weirdo I am.
That said, I *had* to get this.
The cover art is a kick in the nostalgia.
The track list of songs playing over the musak is fantastic.
But, sadly, even though this was short, it took me a bit to get through it. Not sure if it was formatting issues because it was an ARC or I just wasn't in the mood.
I'm glad I stuck with it (and even more glad that they didn't have a HEA ending).

*Digital review copy provided by the publisher & netgalley.
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Short story about the mall and the excesses of it.   It was a great story, complete with a soundtrack I recognized.  
It was well paced and fun all the way to its inevitable conclusion.  Worth the time!
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Anyone who saw the cover art for Angela Sylvaine’s novella Chopping Spree may be expecting a flashback to the heydays of the 80s slasher.

When high school junior, Penny, lands a job at one of its trendy stores at Eden Hills mall, she notices her teen coworkers all wear a strange symbol they won’t explain. Suspicious but wanting to belong, she agrees to stay after closing for a party in the closed store. Her fun turns to terror when Penny discovers a mortally wounded boy and learns there is a killer loose in the mall. Soon the teens are running for their lives.

Interestingly, after going down the 80s slasher route with a Chopping Mall/The Initiation plot Sylvaine flips the narrative and takes it in another exciting direction. Some of the references are a little on point, including the 80s pop playlist that plays in the shopping mall as the chaos unfolds.

This is quick-paced and puts tonnes of story into its 70 pages and even gives scope for follow-ups I would be intrigued to read.

A fun and fast debut read.
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Penny works at an '80's-inspired shopping mall.  Staying after work with her coworkers, they stumble across a killer running around the building.  Then things get weird.    This was one of those stories that I could envision being made into a movie for the SyFy channel.  It was a fun, quick read, but ultimately I felt there just wasn't enough build-up to create a really good scare (granted, it's only 70 pages, but just a few more details would have taken it to another level).  Not too gruesome, I would recommend for casual horror readers.
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This was a fast read. I read it in about an hour and a half. It takes place over one night in Eden Hills, Minnesota. I found the plot predictable and the twists easy to spot. The author doesn't spend much time on character building before throwing us into the action. Penny blows up the mall willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Come to find out Plutus is everywhere and there's no escape. Hail Plutus.
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