A contemporary horror that has some great characters, a complicated storyline and a tense eerie atmosphere. Be warned this has an end that does not wrap it all up and a follow up book is required. The roll out of the story can also be confusing but it is well written and carefully connected together in a way that is surprising.
In the heart of the Deadswitch Wilderness an expedition of five women go missing without a trace. Several years later a different expedition intends to follow the same route with the added hope that they may discover a trace or answer to what happened to the original expedition. Tense, intriguing and sometimes creepy this seemingly simple story really packed a few surprises.
This book was so good. I was hooked as soon as I began reading and could not put it down. It's eery and unsettling, and I think it would make a great horror series like 1899 or Dark. It does have a cliffhanger ending which is completely fine with me, but now I need the next book STAT.
Star Rating: —> 5 Stars
Well Briardark. You really got me, you really got me now…
I can say with 1000% certainty I will be continuing this series & reading more from S.A. Harian, not to mention that I have to say the narrator was TRULY fantastic & I will be looking for more works narrated by them, as well! The narration was EXCEPTIONAL!
So I went into this with VERY high hopes… the blurb was fascinating, but I came out of this with my expectations BLOWN OUT OF THE WATER! I never expected this to be a life-changing horror novel with so many different aspects that would render me completely & totally HOOKED! I will be recommending to ANY horror lover that I can find lmao! (This book really is THAT good! Seriously, do not hesitate! You are in for a treat !)
This freakin ingenious novel. This. Freaking. Novel. My GOD ! THIS BOOK WAS BRILLIANCE PERSONIFIED (BOOKIFIED?!). I am SHAKING writing this review because holy wow what can I even say? This was the perfect mix of horror & sci-fi… there was not one boring moment! If you want thrills, chills, a very sinister seeming deck of what seems like a form of tarot, and one hell of a mindf*ckaroo… this is the book for you! Also, I never thought I’d want my horror horror to be anything more than a standalone, but with the sense of adventure & sci-fi elements mixed in… it WORKS! I NEED & WANT MORE OF THIS STORY!
Just A Note: There are multiple timelines in this book, and for once… they were actually done TO PERFECTION! AL DENTE! And they’re totally not what you’d think!
I could say so much more here about this book, but I truly feel that it is best to go in blind… so my friends, please add this to your TBR if my review & the blurb entices you! I can promise you, you will NOT be disappointed !! And that is a promise I don’t give out lightly.
This was just absolute lunacy (in all the best ways), and curiouser & curiouser… and erm, perfection, did I mention perfection?!
Read this one kids, it will not disappoint !
100% recommend! Over & over!
A Huge Thank you to the publisher & Netgalley for the audio ARC in exchange for an Honest Review! This in no way affects my thoughts or opinions.
This is the first instalment in the Briardark series.
A glacier hike reveals a body hanging from a team and leaves the team at a loss on how to proceed. The discovery of scientific documents, that the institute they hailed from want nothing to do with, only reveals more questions and fewer answers. How are these two elements connected? And what is occurring in-between the trees that is keeping safety and the truth at bay?
I'm having a tough time with this review because I genuinely loved all elements included in this novel. The characters, the setting, the plot, and the horrors were well thought out and crafted with authenticity. However, the shifting timeline left me confused for much of the storyline and so unable to properly immerse myself inside of it. I understand that this confusion is a necessary element in aligning the reader with the characters' plight, but, for me, this was just a little too abstract of a read.
Thank you to NetGalley, Compass and Fern, and SA Harian for the audiobook ARC of Briardark in exchange for an honest review.
If you enjoy the "stuck in a loop" style forest-horror of movies like The Blair Witch Project and The Ritual, you'll enjoy Briardark! I enjoyed the back-and-forth POV from the group of hikers to Holden. I enjoyed the twists, turns, and chilling atmosphere of the story.
I do wish that there had been slightly more closure at the end of the book. I enjoyed the final chapter and cliffhanger style ending, but would have liked to have learned a little more about what was happening. Instead of being left with a big reveal and having to wait for book two to figure out how it all turns out or comes together, it felt a bit like the book was unfinished.
Overall, I still enjoyed the story, and it definitely scratched that itch for a creepy adventure!
Wow! Such a great book. I found myself captivated by the story right from the start. Such a mysterious and engrossing storyline. It's the kind of book that stays with you when you have finished it. At least it did for me—the only drawback...the cliffhanger ending. At the same time, I'm glad that there is going to be another book because I found the story so good that I want more. I can't wait for the sequel to be published!
Decent enough narrator as long as you concentrated.
Overall, I really liked this one. Folk horror meets cosmic horror with a decent slice of dark sci-fi, an unflinching look at human nature and just enough mind bendiness. It took a bit of getting into but after about twenty percent the POV changes and podcast/ book/ article extracts all add to the overall ambiance of the novel. In some ways it's similar to The Dark Between the Trees in terms of themes - scientific hubris, human fallibility and the space time continuum misbehaving - but I found this to be a much more satisfying read. If you fancy horror that's more about the traps your own mind sets plus the infinite smallness of humanity in the face of the universe, give this a try.
Thank you to the author S.A. Harian, publishers Compass and Fern LLC, and as always NetGalley, for an advance audio copy of BRIARDARK.
I had no clue what was going on in this book the entire time I listened to it. Twelve hours of confusion. It's designed to be like this, sort of formless and perplexing, but the reader is supposed to, like find their way in all the mess. Harian tried to design a smart narrative, but it's like...messy.
The publisher compares this mess to HOUSE OF LEAVES, which is my favorite book, and while made of similar elements, keeps a better house. This book is noooooo HOUSE OF LEAVES. For one thing, HOL has a plot, while this one does not, discernably, have a beginning or end. HOL has conflict that resolves, while BRIARDARK never resolves anything, even the most minor problem, like someone wandering off. It keeps hinting that its a story that "defies physics," but that already exists. It's called spatial fiction, and this isn't that either.
There's nothing new or imaginative about this. It's simply perplexing. Maybe it will make you say, "what the f--k did I just read?" but if that's your standard for a good book, there are actual good books that will also make you say that. Like HOUSE OF LEAVES.
Rating: 🌲 / 5 Forests to get lost in
Finished: March 4 2023
As someone who rarely reads horror due to being a little chicken, I gravitate more towards atmospheric horror. Briardark delivered all the horror of the mountains and the pines. I loved that Harian chose to include the time-hopping aspect not as just a narrative device but as a plot one. I'm still not totally certain what happened in the book, and I love that my uncertainty is the point of it all. I'm excited to see what happens next in the world of Briardark.
Rating: 3 leaves out of 5
Want to thank Netgalley and publishers for giving me the chance to listen to this book.
Where to start with this book. I won't lie. I love the story but I HATED the characters, well not all but Siena and Cameron the most... mostly Cameron. She gave off "ALL MEN ARE ASSHOLES AND NONE OF THEM COULD REMOTELY BE GOOD." Did she treat Isaac nicely? Barely. Cam was the one to make a possible 5 star book into a 3.
That being said I still have no clue on what the fuck Emmett did. Honest to God. I don't know if I missed it or if she just didn't say it.
You know how they say men shouldn't write women? I am going to say S.A. shouldn't or at least not Lesbians because the guys were pretty good in this book.
Besides the limp dick characters I adored the story. If I was judging just on the story the book would be about a 5 if not a 5. It felt kind of like Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer in the sense of being in a SciFi bubble.
Briardark by S. A. Harian
Thank you to @netgalley and @compassandfern for the #gifted audio copy of this book!
I love getting recommendations from my friends on here and this was no exception. @readbelievelove raved about this book and I knew I wanted to give it a try! Super excited after finishing this one to learn it won’t be the last book 🤩
What it’s about: At the top of a mountain there is a research camp where odd things happen. For example, seedlings are planted and two days later they are full grown trees. 🌲Many years ago at this camp and a place called Deadswitch 5 researchers go missing never to be heard from again.
In current times, new researchers are headed back to Deadswitch and things start to go south quick. More dead bodies show up and there are odd happenings they too are experiencing! Is it this area? Is there something more sinister happening?
Holden, an IT admin is tasked with reviewing tapes from the campus before they are fully destroyed making sure there is nothing important on them. As he listens to the tapes, he discovers the online diary of sorts from one of the doctors that went missing all those years ago. As he digs further it seems like it’s a race against time to find out the links between this doctor and a professor at campus. Will he discover anything before it’s too late for the new researchers?
Thoughts: This book was such an intriguing book to read. It felt like an adventure, mixed with thriller, maybe a little bit of sci-fi and fantasy all in one! I was completely invested in the weird happenings of Deadswitch trying to understand how the map didn’t match the trails and how trees grew so fast. To me this felt a little like the Bermuda Triangle in the jungle! I was completely invested on this hike with the characters and felt like I was lost in this eerie atmosphere with them and I absolutely loved it! I have never been so happy to be lost in the woods before!
Partial review from Library Journal:
Fans of Mark K. Danielewski’s House of Leaves will find a lot to love here (epistolary storytelling, unnerving atmosphere, etc.) even if it doesn’t all tie perfectly together. Much of the book is spent laying out the various puzzle pieces from both narratives, but Brenda Scott Wlazlo’s understated narration and voicework helps maintain the steadily creeping dread.
When Cameron sienna Elliott an intern Emmett Head to the sisters mountain range to study a glacier whose run-off has properties in it that is unlike any other. This will be research that could really give sienna and Cameron a published paper that their peers will be talking about for years to come. On the way up the mountain sienna noticed multiple things that seemed strange and not quite right. Especially when they came to a fork on the trail that wasn’t on the map. It doesn’t help that Elliot feels the need to man Splaine to Cameron and Siana and her birth over Siana like she is a child in need of instruction. Holden is an IT worker at Oregon State and has been tasked with getting rid of some corroded files that was left in the college basement. While going through the different folders on his computer he sees one titled it it’s Andy Park research or something equivalent to that… Anyway he opens at the file and sees a lot of folders, PDH files and audio files . He doesn’t know what to make of it. He gets his coworker to help investigate the mystery but also contacts the only person from Oregon college stated in the documents but when he tells her why he’s contacting her she immediately blocks him. He even calls CAL state which is the college that funded the research and when he hears sienna it’s fine in at the college he size a breath of relief but after he listens to the latest audio file and here’s sienna say is she makes it out to be back at the ranger station but the date she gives is four days from the date it actually is. Holden is a little freaked out and worried at the same time and back on the mountain Cameron has disappeared Emmett went to look for her and never came back and that she stated in the first audio Elliott is dead and believe it or not it just gets weirder from there. This book was really good and despite most of the characters weren’t that likable the story was so good it definitely hold your attention the narrator did a great job the momentum is swift and doesn’t slow down until the end. They jump right into the story and keep going and I love that. I definitely recommend this book to those who love horror especially sci-fi horror at its best that is this book definitely! I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
Thank you so much Net Galley, publisher, and author for the ARC audiobook. This book never clicked for me, and I just couldn't get into it. I really wanted to like this book based on the back. It just wasn't for me.
This book reminded me kind of, of The Gone World. Nothing really made sense as to why things were happening from the outside, but if you were in the loop on the inside, it all made sense. This was so eerie, and it really hit all of the marks for my nerdy love. I absolutely loved this book.
Fans of Annihilation and LOST will love this nerve wracking expedition into a forest that seems to keep changing. With hints of cult like activities and a cosmic baddie, this book keeps you on your toes the entire time.
My only gripe was I didn’t really connect with the main characters and wanted to see more of Cam, the mains best friend, instead.
The audiobook narration was great for this genre and it was easy to follow along. You are left with a cliffhanger but it’ll be worth it for the sequel. Overall an enjoyable read!
Horror | Dark Fantasy | Lost Hikers | Mysterious recordings
Y’all. This is such a weird book. But in a good way! Vibes like The Book of Accidents by Chuck Wendig. This one kept me guessing until the end!
Dr. Siena Dupont and her scientific team travel into the Deadswitch Wilderness. They’re very familiar with the area and this should be a simple expedition. Until the dead body. From that point on, nothing is as it seems.
Holden Sharpe works in IT. His job is to wipe unneeded files from university drives so they can be reused. Until he finds a recording that makes him pause.
What is happening in the Deadswitch Wilderness??
Ebook available on Hoopla and Scribd
Audio available on Scribd and Audible
Author: S. A. Harian
Rating: 5 stars
Chickens: 2 chickens
(one chicken is cozy horror | five chickens is pure terror)
First of all thank you to Netgalley for the ARC audiobook of Briardark in exchange for an honest review
I had high hopes for this book and it had a lot of potential but unfortunately it fell a bit flat for me. It was quite slow and very repetitive in some places.
This story is told from multiple POV's and timelines which can get quite confusing in some parts. I feel like there was too much build up of the same sort of dialogue and then when I finally started to get invested and feel like things were about to lead somewhere it simply ended. I know the abrupt ending was intended as a cliffhanger but honestly it just left me a bit frustrated and deflated after pushing through the entire thing just for it to finish with still not idea what was going on.
Thank God there is a sequel to this book planned because I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS!
Dr. Siena Dupont leads a team into the Deadswitch Wilderness to research the Alpenglow glacier. When they get there, though, the glacier is inexplicably gone. How can a glacier melt entirely within a few days? But that isn't the only strange thing. Time seems to pass differently in this part of the forest, with saplings turning to full-grown trees in a matter of days.
Then they find a dead body in a tree that Siena and Cam swear is a hiker that went missing in the wilderness 7 years ago. But how can it be her? The body is a body, not a skeleton.
It's almost as if an alternate reality, where time passes differently, was bleeding into the Deadswitch Wilderness and causing all these weird anomalies. Would Siena and her team make it out before it was too late?
I listened to this book as an audiobook and got through it in about 3 days. I wanted to find out what was happening. A nail-biter from the beginning, this book was fast-paced and super engaging. This book had it all: mystery, thrills, horror, and an overall creepiness factor. The tension never quit! I love that in a book. It's not so often that I am so enthralled with a book; it was disappointing to put it down.
Even though the book was plot-driven, the author also developed the characters well, which doesn't always happen in plot-driven books.
This book deserved every one of its 5 stars, and I can't wait until the next book.
Thank you @Netgalley for my ARC of Briardark. This was a creepy and suspenseful novel. I can't wait for the second book in the series. Read if you like expeditions and unexplained happenings in the woods.