This book inspired me to get back on Goodreads, because I enjoyed it that much and really wanted to share my thoughts on it with everyone.
So, first of all, my Goodreads rating was a 4 out of 5 stars, and here is, basically, that review:
“This book was a lot of fun. Half horror parody and half generally atmospheric and scary horror, it was just what I was hoping. Sure, there were some gross and frightening moments, but the formatting is clever and the characters are compelling… This reminds me of Jasper Fforde and Stephen King, and I mean that as a compliment.”
Horrorstor is just a lot of fun. From the moment I opened the package and saw the glossy cover, the way everything is laid out to look like an IKEA catalog, I knew that I would enjoy the novel. Then I discovered that there were ads, an order form, AND a map inside that lovely catalog-like cover. I would give it three stars on the design alone. Luckily, the rest of the novel is just as good.
We follow Amy, an Orsk employee who really dislikes her current job. She wants to go back to her old location and get away from the boss who she thinks hates her, Basil. Basil is obsessed with doing things the “Orsk Way,” which makes Amy batty. But mysterious things are happening at Orsk when the store is shut down, so Basil, Amy, and Ruth Anne (a sweet and wonderful character) decide to stay in the store overnight to see what they can learn.
A mysterious homeless man, two employees on the hunt for a ghost, a man who just wants to make sure his store is in order, and two woman who just want to keep their jobs are going to get more than they bargained for in Horrorstor!
I loved several things about this story. First, each of the characters seems realistic. I can imagine meeting all of them at a real superstore. Amy, Ruth Anne, Trinity, Matt, and Basil all play off of each other in an organic and realistic way. They don’t always get along, but they are willing to fight for each other. Although we follow Amy and are in her head, the other characters are just as important to the story.
The other thing that I really enjoyed were all the jokes about retail. There were things in the novel that are just funnier if a person has ever worked in retail or in HR, and for me, who has done both, I got those jokes. I also loved the horror genre jokes. When someone suggests that they split up, someone else points out just how stupid of an idea that is, to go off on their own. I really loved that,. Also, the reveal of what was happening and why felt like it was earned. Looking back, the whole story just built up, giving up information about each situation as we need it.
An Amazon blurb said that this book is similar to Zombieland, and I can see it. There is the same sense of horror, while also trying to keep it fun. This novel hits all of the horror tropes, but it never feels like Hendrix was just trying to tick off the right boxes. The idea of an IKEA (or an ORSK, which is basically IKEA), that is also haunted was fresh and original and, again, a whole lot of fun. I absolutely love the haunted house genre, so this felt like a very creative variation on that story.
If you like horror parody and don’t mind some gross and violent moments, if you have worked retail or HR, been lost in an IKEA, or if you enjoyed Zombieland, I would highly recommend Horrorstor. It’s certainly a story that I see myself rereading in the future. But not right before going to IKEA.
(Images from Amazon or Goodreads).