City of the Shrieking Tomb is a wonderful suspense filled tale which will leave you with that cold shivering feel which all good tales must when coming from this genre.
First of all, let me just say that the title of the book is amazing. First time that I heard about it, I simply knew it will be on my to-read list and I was amazingly lucky to get this book in an ebook format in an exchange for a fair and honest review (thank you Patrick A Rogers).
This is my first peak into a fully Indian setting and the city of Humayunpur which will intrigue even the most demanding of readers with its history and the secrets it holds. For this review I will mostly focus on my thoughts about the book rather than going into deep explanations because I honestly think that it would take away the freshness and uniqueness of the story itself if I would spoil anything for (I hope) a lot of new readers.
In short, the story revolves around a photographer called Rick who unintentionally winds up stranded in Humayunpur and becomes a guest of Awaz who is an even more interesting character than the protagonist on occasions. In this city foreigners are not warmly welcomed and they do not look kindly upon others intruding on their history and their customs so Rick who is photographer is forbidden to take photographs of the most intriguing of places, Humayun Ka Maqbara, an ancient mosque in ruins. He is drawn to this place and to the city itself all the more as time goes on. It seems to be a supernatural pull or an otherworldly link that is stronger than him and so he remains stuck in this irrational strange world.
This horror is unlike most horror stories today, it is more eerie and unsettling rather than gory and flashy. The best way I can describe it is by comparing it with the original Halloween movie to modern horror movies today like The Bye Bye Man. Original Halloween built up the atmosphere on suspense and creeping unsettling darkness that made you uncomfortable in your own skin just like this book does. Modern horror movies today are mostly flashy loud jump scares that do nothing but make you jump in your seat because of the loudness of the noise and when that is over you forget about the movie because there was nothing worth remembering about it, like many horror books today which just want you to feel revolted by some gruesome image where there is no quality to it and you will soon forget about their existence.
This book will stay in your memory. Eerie is the best way I can describe this book like. And it is very difficult to write a review worthy of that feeling.
What I can put as a downside and the reason this didn't make it to 5* for me is some lacking editing but that is quite understandable given the circumstances. Also, there's a lot of talking and explaining things in this book and for some people that might be a big drawback but for me it wasn't that much of an issue, at times I welcomed it, at times it did seem to go on for a bit too long but since I am absolutely new to the Indian setting I think it was mostly okay.
If you enjoy creepy and eerie, please do give this book a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised by something different, something new and something original.