still part of the filipino horror book pile (three more to go–four, if i ever find a copy of NINE SUPERNATURAL STORIES), CRAVING was recommended by blogger will. he said, “Have you read anything by David Hontiveros? Craving was okay.”
and i agree with will’s statement; CRAVING is okay.
the novella centers around married couple lester and anne who heeds the suggestion of their ob-gyn, to take an extended vacation in the province. that’s because anne is having trouble with carrying a pregnancy, and a change of pace in life might just be what she needs.
this is not a supernatural worry. this is something that really happens in real life. and this, i think, is the reason why CRAVING is effective in building up the fear ante. because it builds up on something very much taken from real life. and it showcases fear in its most popular guise: “fear of losing a loved one.” albeit, in the novella, the loved one in question is yet to be born. but that just emphasizes the fear more.
when lester and anne start to experience chilling conversations with locals, and a stare of owls suddenly take interest in hanging out at their backyard, the novella takes a turn to the foreboding.
fear continues to grow, which is a very good thing when it comes to horror. but when you keep building up fear, you’re expected to give a fitting end that would either give your reader a scare to haunt them for days to come, or at the very least, an ending that would satisfy the reader’s hunger for the macabre.
david hontiveros delivers with the macabre. and then ends with an epilogue that took away the horror from an otherwise promising book.
from the books i’ve read, the movies (and television shows) i watched, i understand this: horror works best when there is emotional attachment involved. but for horror to actually scare people, you should keep the emotional scenes to just an involvement–don’t let it work its way into the limelight. otherwise, the horror falters.
so, like blogger will, i would recommend CRAVING to other people too. but i would add one more recommendation: when reading the book, skip the epilogue. unless you like your horror with a dose of self-imploring drama.