Cover Image: Burrows of Blood and Shadow

Burrows of Blood and Shadow

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Member Reviews

This was a trudge to read through and the format wasn’t great or easy to read. The story needed some work too.

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This was an interesting group of stories. I loved the variety in the stories and characters. I love ending my day with a short story, and this weird little horror/body horror collection was definitely it during Spooky Season.

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I enjoyed this book. It’s funny how it was able to stick with me. I started reading this book Back in Oct, got away from reading for quite some time yet I still had this book with me when I picked it back up to finish it.

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I am thoroughly creeped out. I am not a fan of body horror, and wish I had understand a bit better that there would be A LOT of that here. But Burrows' writing style is so clear and visual, and the conceit of having the Dream Surfer taking us through each short story is very clever. The creep and horror factor is definitely high with this title, so the reader should be prepared. There were some short stories that I wanted to have a better sense of connection to the protagonist of that story, so I could feel more empathetic or connected in order for the horror or thrill to be better highlighted. But considering the difficulty of doing that in a short story, I commend the author for what she was able to accomplish.

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Burrows of Blood and Shadow is a collection of 37 short horror stories ranging from gore and body horror to deep phycological torture. The main character is the Dream Surfer- a being that exists in a realm outside of time only to experience life through the dreams of others. Wanting to understand more about it’s own existence and humanity, the Dream Surfer delves into the burrows- a place filled with the darkest nightmares and psychological torment.

Overall, the 37 stories were interesting- each one a different nightmare with underlying messages about the darkest parts of humanity. This book works very well as a short horror story collection and could be read on one spooky October evening. The short story layout and gory horror reminded me of Junji Ito’s horror collections- one of my favourite styles of horror! The structure of the book was also very good, it was interesting to see how the different narratives begun to weave together as the book went on.

Something that I personally think could be improved upon was the writing style and the voices of different characters. I feel that the writing style is intended for a much younger audience and not really adults, and it made all the different nightmares feel like they are told by the same person even though each one os supposed to be different. I also think the underlying messages for each story were made too obvious at the end because of the Dream Surfer explaining it. The story was put together well enough for these messages to be inferred by the reader so there was really no need for an explanation after each story, it became repetitive after a while. If the stories had been elaborated on a bit more I think it would really flesh out the book and make it flow more naturally than the story-message-story-message sort of thing.

Overall though, this was an enjoyable read (especially for spooky season) and I would definitely recommend it! I think younger readers (providing they are ok with gore) would particularly enjoy this book so definitely check it out!

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Burrows of Blood and Shadow is an intriguing collection of short horror stories that veer heavily towards body horror, succeeding effortlessly in inciting dread. Webb has an incredibly creative mind and I was blown away by the sheer variety of narratives and characters presented in this collection. unfortunately, this had its strengths and weaknesses.
Sadly, I did feel that, for most of the book, its shortcomings outweighed its strong points: for starters, I felt that the prose sounded, at times, pretty juvenile and, though this worked perfectly for chapters with younger narrators, the same writing style absolutely did not match the more adult tones of some others. Secondly, I felt that, for such a short book, thirty-seven stories—whilst a certainly impressive feat—were way too many as most of them felt rushed or repetitive to a certain degree and the text as a whole felt incohesive and chaotic. Webb attempts to mellow this feeling through the character of the Dream Surfer, who physically moves through every tale and, at the end of each one, acts as a sort of virgilian guide, intent on leading you by the hand by summarizing and expounding the (surface level) moral philosophy of each “fable”.
Similarly, because of the vast array of stories, the mountainous selection of characters felt overwhelming and a good number of personalities felt more similar to caricatures (the misogynistic hunter, the perfect family etc) than believable people. This was certainly a testament to the author’s creative prowess, and I commend them for it, but, regrettably, I did not find many of these dramatis personae congenial and, in a text centered around people’s stories, that certainly took a lot of the enjoyment away.
Still, Webb gave life to many compelling narratives (haunted and mercy of a monster being my favorites) that have slight Ray Bradbury vibes and for that I definitely recommend that anyone interested in this genre check it out.

ARC provided by NetGalley and Rebekah L. Webb in exchange for an honest review

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There were a few ideas that really caught my attention, and I enjoyed reading the stories. The writing style was quite witty, and the author can be both funny and scary which I think is rather rare and which I really appreciate. Unfortunately the stories were so short, I never managed to get fully engaged with the characters. I was very excited when some stories started coming together, and it was my favourite part of the collection, but in the end the connection was not strong enough to make up for the heavily fragmentised plot. I think it would be amazing serialised, or as a podcast, where I'd have a chance to piece it myself without the little end of chapter sequence telling me what I just read.

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Dreams are one of my favourite topics, especially in a horror story. With this being the primary draw of the book, as well as its tying concept - that being the idea of a 'Dream Surfer' who moves between the dreams of different people - I had a lot of interest in and excitement for this book. Unfortunately, it didn't quite deliver.

To be clear, this is a good short story collection. There are some interesting ideas, especially the Dream Surfer himself, and his species, the Grend. There is a lot of variety to the stories in this collection, drawing from a broad set of influences and involving pretty much every subgenre of horror you could think of. It left me wanting more, which can only be a good thing.

However, I did have a lot of issues that dampened my enjoyment of and interest in this collection. In short, the name of the game here is a severe issue with being underdeveloped.

186 pages for 37 stories (38 if including the tying concept) is simply too many stories spread over too short a page count. In the same way, the story of the Dream Surfer felt like it was only present for exposition, appearing at the end of each story to simplistically explain whatever story I had just read. On top of this, the adolescent prose jarred against some of the darker and more brutal narratives. This prose style worked for the more younger, humorous stories included here, but in the end it seemed there was a great amount of disparity, a disparity that could have worked well, but again, it was severely underdeveloped.

On a more personal level, I also had an issue with the fact that, before long, the stories stopped resembling dreams at all. Considering the dreams and Dream Surfer being the most interesting part for me, and the lack of a core concept to the collection as a whole, this left me really disappointed.

All this said, the collection was entertaining, and interesting enough to hold my attention. Either the author should have cut down the number of stories, given each one a greater page count, or perhaps even both. In short, the story needed to be significantly more developed, in every single way. Regardless, I would still recommend this collection to anyone looking for an entertaining, easy to read short story collection with a lot of variety.

[Advanced Reader Copy provided by the author.]

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I was impressed with the book's structure and story connections. The collection of tales flows together to create a haunting and cohesive narrative that draws you in from the very first page.

I would highly recommend Burrows of Blood and Sorrow to anyone who enjoys a good read. I was left wanting more and would be interested in reading more from Rebekah L. Webb. This book is a must-read for anyone who appreciates excellent storytelling!

One of the things that I loved about this book was how each burrow depicted the short story it was related to. This added a new level of creativity to the reading experience, as I found myself imagining and visualising the burrows in my mind. I was so inspired that I plan to work on drawing each of these burrows.

I want to take a moment to thank Netgalley and Rebekah L. Webb for the free copy I received in return for an honest review.

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Thanks netgallery for allowing me to read this book for my review.

I absolutely loved this book.
It's a collection of mostly short horror stories, some are extreme FYI! THAT are centered around dreams.
It was a hard to put down and really well written.

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Absolutely brutal take on a horror anthology. I really found enjoyment in the way the Dream Surfer was interacting with all of the stories. The very first story DREAM SURFER was my favorite but then there was a bit too much torture for my taste in the very next story. I would have liked to be eased into full blown torture with some of the more spooky stories from the end of the book first. Other than that abrupt change into torture and violence- I enjoyed the read. Lots of interesting stories and I loved being made to feel tons of emotions from some that were only 2-4 pages. Shows how intensely good the writing is.


Thank you very much to the publishers and Rebekah L. Webb for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this collection of stories.

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Really cool cover and idea for a story but I had a hard time following it. Maybe I'm just a little dumb and it's not for me but I still think people should give it a chance.

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Horror isn’t my usual genre, but the cover intrigued me enough to check it out. At first, it seemed very disjointed and I had trouble getting a grasp on the characters. After the first 3, I realized they were all connected and that got me curious about the “how”. I thought the writing was very solid and the Dream Surfer was interesting.

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Burrows of Blood and Shadow centers around the Dream Surfer entering burrows of people's nightmares while trying to piece his past together. I love how it might look like a normal horror anthology at first, but the more nightmare hellscapes you visit with the Dream Surfer, the more you realise how interconnected they are. I think this is a very creative effort, what with the plot and the ideas of pain themselves, and I think it's well translated in this book.
The writing is well done, the environment of each burrow is very descriptive. There's also stories that were darkly funny, which is a nice break from all the cruelty, and I think the humor isn't overdone. My favourite nightmares were Dreams Do Come True, Raising Gina, Hidden, Sunshine, The Perfect Wife, A Cold Day in Hell, and Demon Justice.
I could've wished for some parts to be a little more detailed, especially near the 'climaxes' of the stories, because they went by so quickly that I barely even registered what happened. But otherwise I enjoyed reading this and I look forward to more people hearing about Burrows of Blood and Shadow :))

* ARC provided by NetGalley and Rebekah L. Webb in exchange for an honest review *

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4 stars book for me!
It's a book composed of short horror stories that I think are great. The author's descriptions are just enough to know what is happening without veering into obscene detail, and there's a variety of types of supernatural horror in this little book - which I appreciate, sticking throughout one specific horror theme could get old but here we rarely know what we will get next.
There are also humorous short stories that did give me some mood whiplash at times but also stops the book from being too gloomy. A bit of funny to contrast the horror (don't misunderstand however. The implications of these are no less horror themed than the rest.)
Now the Dream Surfer, the being that the reader is following in the journey, is trying to discover more about themselves by going through these memory burrows (and this is quite literal. Each burrow is 'decorated' in a way as to hint to the story which is a nice detail), looking through the horrors humans go through - or are the cause of. They are the connecting thread from the beginning through all these stories.
I think there was a bit of a miss with their specific part. As readers we know their thoughts of each burrow but I think something more was necessary before the ending.

All in all, a solid horror book.

Ebook was obtained from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

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Rebekah L Webb has a great writing style for the horror genre. I enjoyed each story and thought they were all so well done. It had what I was hoping for in this type of book and the characters were really well done. Playing with Dolls was my favorite in the collection but the rest was really well done. It left me wanting to read more from the author and glad I got to read this.

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