Author: Briana Morgan
Page Count: 68 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
I absolutely love Briana Morgan’s writing, and when I found out she was releasing a new horror story written in the form of a play, I knew I had to have it – even without knowing the summary yet. Once more details were released and I realized this was a story involving a paranormal vlogger (I love modern technology in horror so much!) who gets a little in over his head with a ‘dark web mystery box’, I started counting down the days to its release. I’m super happy to say that the day is finally here – UNBOXED comes out tomorrow, July 25th!!
I’ll admit that this was my first time outside of a school setting where I decided to read a book as a play, but I wasn’t worried at all due to both Briana’s experience with the format, and her strength as a writer. I dove in without a second thought as soon as the book arrived, and sped through it with the sort of attention that I’d imagine you’d give to the act of diffusing a live bomb: I was so absorbed by the story!
Our main characters are Greg Zipper, of Zipper Paranormal, and his girlfriend Alice. Greg spends his days on the internet, vlogging spooky stuff, and catering to his fanbase of nearly one million followers at the start of the story. Despite the love from his fans, the relationship between Greg & Alice has gotten a bit rocky, leading to a terrible fight that Greg accidentally livestreams to his entire audience, going viral in an unfortunate turn of events. As Greg’s subscriber count starts to plummet, he desperately reaches for something to solidify his place in the e-spotlight once more, as well as within the heart of the girl he loves.
Enter: the Mystery Box. Purchased off the dark web for an exorbitant amount of money, Greg expects his live unboxing video will offer some fun gross-out moments, or spooky things to share with his audience and boost him back into stardom. When he discovers that what he’s paid for with the Mystery Box is much more dangerous than expected, he realizes that the loss of his internet fame may not really be the worst thing that could happen after all.
I love ‘dark web’ type stories, and this one did not disappoint! The play formatting allows the reader to see the scene exactly as the author intended, while also leaving enough freedom for a few specifics to be made up individually by each person visiting the story. I found the format to be both accessible and engaging, which added to a story that’s already very rich with a foreboding atmosphere and sense of dread, bumping this one high on the ratings scale for me.
Featuring a couple struggling with real-life personal issues as well as more paranormal ones added a layer of depth that can only come from someone skilled at writing relationships, and I found myself able to relate with and feel for the characters and their troubles while also being totally horrified by the things happening around them. This duality of themes flows smoothly throughout the story, and it’s amazing how much the author is able to pack into less than 70 pages.
I am SO HERE for anything Briana writes in the future, and can’t wait to see where her creativity leads her next. If you’re a fan of horror, check this one out – even if (especially if?!) you’re not used to the play format, ’cause this is such a great introduction to them!
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