Come As You Are: A Short Novel and Nine Stories

Come As You Are: A Short Novel and Nine Stories - Steven Ramirez Come As You Are is an interesting collection of horror short stories by author Steven Ramirez. It fits neatly into the young adult sub-genre. There are a few very interesting tales in the mix, but they’re balanced out by a handful of weaker ones so that the whole collection as a whole feels somewhat mediocre. I would be interested in reading more of the author’s work, just perhaps in longer novels instead of a collection.

Come As You Are, the title novella of this collection, was an interesting middle-grade-ish horror story. I had trouble believing some of the adult mindset of the twelve year old protagonist, but other than that, no real picks. I think pretty much every kid that’s ever been bullied has wished they had a way to get back at the bullies. Come as You Are was a warning about being careful what you wish for. Well written and doesn’t hold back on the disturbing imagery.

Nailed It was a bit weird. Adult-ish characters on a plane, and one of them tells the other a disturbing story. Not really much to stay about it.

Brown the Recluse was disturbing. This version of Spiderman could give readers nightmares if they have even a touch of arachnophobia. Very, very creepy, and well-told in the few pages it was given. Surreal. It’s definitely the type of story to linger in your mind.

I’ve Been Better wasn’t very good. It was one of those stories that leave you wondering “What the …” The author tries to put in a twist at the end that just really doesn’t make sense, considering how everything is laid out.

A Bone in the Throat was definitely different. I knew where it was heading pretty quickly, but the author managed to surprise me with the sheer savagery of what happened in the end. It’s the type of revenge that lasts for a long, long time. A very satisfying read that left me smiling at the end. Good to see someone like that get what’s coming to them.

Regino Sings– It seems to be a theme in this collection of how bad things you do come back to bite you in the butt. Regino Sings had an interesting concept in the man with the mechanical mouth, and how he thinks it has it all, only to have everything turned around on him. But, it’s one of the weaker stories in the collection with no lasting power.

A Proper Revenge Takes Time was ‘ok’. I liked the idea behind it, and it was something I haven’t read much about in horror stories. However, it just didn’t have much of an impact. It was a skim-type read that fled my mind almost as soon as I’d finished it.

Something to Hold was… honestly, it was so boring I don’t even want to write any more about it. Let’s just say interesting idea, weak execution. Moving on.

The Widow and Her Magician was a fun read. I giggled at one of the scenes where a saying is taken literally. A bit risqué and off-beat, it was a nice counterpoint to the three weaker ones that had come before it.

Walker was solid read showing the talent that came through in Brown the Recluse. It’s a disturbing tale based off an old superstition. The scenes are worded perfectly, and the imagery will stay in the reader’s mind.

Overall, it was worth the read just for some of the stories like Brown the Recluse and Walker. The rest are fairly forgettable, but it was only a few hours of reading, so easy to get through regardless.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.