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And Then I Woke Up

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In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us. In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happ In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us. In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything… Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?


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In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us. In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happ In the tradition of Mira Grant and Stephen Graham Jones, Malcolm Devlin’s And Then I Woke Up is a creepy, layered, literary story about false narratives and their ability to divide us. In a world reeling from an unusual plague, monsters lurk in the streets while terrified survivors arm themselves and roam the countryside in packs. Or perhaps something very different is happening. When a disease affects how reality is perceived, it’s hard to be certain of anything… Spence is one of the “cured” living at the Ironside rehabilitation facility. Haunted by guilt, he refuses to face the changed world until a new inmate challenges him to help her find her old crew. But if he can’t tell the truth from the lies, how will he know if he has earned the redemption he dreams of? How will he know he hasn’t just made things worse?

30 review for And Then I Woke Up

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maiden Misty's Musings

    **3.5 Stars** What if you killed your husband, kids, friends, and that nosy neighbor believing they were the undead trying to eat you? You find other "survivors" to team up with. Now, what if I told you that was all a lie. There is a new disease that could trigger your brain to think the zombie apocalypse was upon us. That you actually did kill your loved ones, not the undead. What would you do when faced with that knowledge? I really enjoyed this interesting take on an old genre. Recommend! **3.5 Stars** What if you killed your husband, kids, friends, and that nosy neighbor believing they were the undead trying to eat you? You find other "survivors" to team up with. Now, what if I told you that was all a lie. There is a new disease that could trigger your brain to think the zombie apocalypse was upon us. That you actually did kill your loved ones, not the undead. What would you do when faced with that knowledge? I really enjoyed this interesting take on an old genre. Recommend!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nina The Wandering Reader

    "I was, in my own mind, already a survivor. I was already used to looking out for myself and keeping away from the deep gravity wells of other people's trouble.” Let me start off by saying this will be one of those books where you’ll have to let it simmer in your brain before deciding whether you liked it or not. (Newsflash: I loved it!) I’m not exactly sure how to properly review this book. It’s a tough book to make sense of at first. But then you realize that’s the point, because it’s a story ab "I was, in my own mind, already a survivor. I was already used to looking out for myself and keeping away from the deep gravity wells of other people's trouble.” Let me start off by saying this will be one of those books where you’ll have to let it simmer in your brain before deciding whether you liked it or not. (Newsflash: I loved it!) I’m not exactly sure how to properly review this book. It’s a tough book to make sense of at first. But then you realize that’s the point, because it’s a story about a cured survivor trying to make sense of a world fighting a viral disease that warps one’s perception of reality. So know this before diving in: When you crack open this book, you will be expecting a zombie novel. You’ll be expecting a viral outbreak, an apocalypse narrative. And that’s what you’ll get, but not in the way you’ll anticipate it. This is a book with unreliable narrators and untrustworthy perspectives. There will be fear and doubt, blood and violence, monsters and survivors. But nothing will be as it seems. This book is psychological horror at its best and I loved it. That is all.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Blair

    Solid horror novella with a good idea at its heart: a virus that makes the infected unable to see the world as it really is, so that about half the population effectively fall prey to the delusion that there’s a zombie apocalypse going on. (Or do they?) In the aftermath, Spence – one of the ‘cured’ at a rehab facility – is persuaded to break out by a new arrival who wants to track down her former friend/lover. With this new adventure juxtaposed with flashbacks to Spence’s time in the devastated Solid horror novella with a good idea at its heart: a virus that makes the infected unable to see the world as it really is, so that about half the population effectively fall prey to the delusion that there’s a zombie apocalypse going on. (Or do they?) In the aftermath, Spence – one of the ‘cured’ at a rehab facility – is persuaded to break out by a new arrival who wants to track down her former friend/lover. With this new adventure juxtaposed with flashbacks to Spence’s time in the devastated world pre-cure (and gradual realisation that all is not as it seems), it reads like a combination of ‘Dogsbody’, the werewolf-virus story from Devlin’s collection You Will Grow Into Them, and They Live. I was hoping for more of the enigmatic weirdness of Devlin’s best stories (such as ‘Songs Like They Used to Play’), but the style is more commercial than that. Also, even for a novella, it’s very short, which doesn’t allow a lot of room for character development or backstory. An entertaining quick read that might’ve worked better had its premise been expanded further. I received an advance review copy of And Then I Woke Up from the publisher through Edelweiss. TinyLetter | Linktree

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

    This was a really interesting little horror novella using a (maybe?) zombie apocalypse to talk about false narratives people believe. It feels very apropos of what is happening in the real world with fake news, culture wars, and people believing all kinds of narratives driven by charismatic people. And Then I Woke Up is a story told by a man who has lived through this apocalyptic event where many people believe that others are turning into zombies. But are they really? This man has supposedly bee This was a really interesting little horror novella using a (maybe?) zombie apocalypse to talk about false narratives people believe. It feels very apropos of what is happening in the real world with fake news, culture wars, and people believing all kinds of narratives driven by charismatic people. And Then I Woke Up is a story told by a man who has lived through this apocalyptic event where many people believe that others are turning into zombies. But are they really? This man has supposedly been "cured" and can now see the truth. But what is real? Definitely worth a read and I'd be curious to see more from this author in the future. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley, all opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    3.5 stars (rounded up for GR) My greatest sin and my greatest achievement are the same. I told a story. And Then I Woke Up feels like a difficult title to rate and review, because it was a difficult title to form a solid opinion on. I am absolutely enthralled by the concept of this story, and loved the narrative voice and the storytelling style, yet something didn't quite click for me throughout the bulk of the novella. I think this story suffers from repetition more than anything else, as it 3.5 stars (rounded up for GR) My greatest sin and my greatest achievement are the same. I told a story. And Then I Woke Up feels like a difficult title to rate and review, because it was a difficult title to form a solid opinion on. I am absolutely enthralled by the concept of this story, and loved the narrative voice and the storytelling style, yet something didn't quite click for me throughout the bulk of the novella. I think this story suffers from repetition more than anything else, as it is an extremely character-focused story with very little action (though it has a decent depth of plot). That said, I did enjoy our narrator as a storyteller very much, so I suppose the book's flaws are also its qualities, in a sense (can you see now why I'm struggling to rate and review this?). And Then I Woke Up is a zombie story of sorts, but told from the perspective of someone who has been "cured" — and these definitely aren't your average zombies. There isn't much to say without running the risk of spoilers, but I was fascinated by the entire premise that Devlin came up with and its social commentary on the way people view and spread information and "truth" in the modern age. The last 20% or so of the novella was phenomenal and I loved watching things unfold, so I'm very happy that I kept going through the more boring elements of the middle. While And Then I Woke Up didn't fully captivate me, there was something about it that I think will stick with me for a while, and I'm extremely interested in future releases from this author. If you enjoy post-apocalyptic stories with a twist and a healthy (but not overly on-the-nose) commentary on some of the uglier sides of humanity, I highly recommend checking it out! ✨ Content warnings for: (view spoiler)[death, gore, murder, mental illness, paranoia, hallucinations, child murder (hide spoiler)] All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy! All thoughts are honest and my own. ——— twitter | booktok | bookstagram | blog

  6. 5 out of 5

    Fiona

    Funny, isn't it? You tell yourself that when the world ends, all of that nonsense will dry up. It'll be like a purge of the banal, and all the trivia of the world will be the first down the plughole. But no, the same old shit floats to the top without needing us to be there to witness it. Yesterday, the highlight of my day was seeing a group of junior chefs competing to see who could make the best cheeseburger; this morning there was a silent music video from a singer-songwriter with a furrowed Funny, isn't it? You tell yourself that when the world ends, all of that nonsense will dry up. It'll be like a purge of the banal, and all the trivia of the world will be the first down the plughole. But no, the same old shit floats to the top without needing us to be there to witness it. Yesterday, the highlight of my day was seeing a group of junior chefs competing to see who could make the best cheeseburger; this morning there was a silent music video from a singer-songwriter with a furrowed brow. It's all very safe and reassuring. Nobody's going to go crazy and shoot up a roomful of people because of a knitting demonstration. At least, I don't think they will. This is the new world, or the end of the world. The infected may not be who you think, depending on if you are one or not - because this is the zombie apocalypse with a twist, where the real infection has taken hold of those who think themselves survivors. Unless it hasn't, and therein lies most of the issue I had with the book. I really like the idea of this novella, but in execution it just fell a bit flat for me. Malcolm Devlin's clearly a smart writer, but I needed something more to connect with in his characters - I'm not 100% convinced I'm going to remember this in a couple of months. The central idea of a narrative turned literal virus was intriguing, and for the most part worked well until the "is it or isn't it real" was debated one too many times, or maybe one too few. I'm all for books that leave me questioning, but I didn't feel led anywhere by this one - it echoed my questions, but never took me further. Still, it's short, it's a interesting, different take on zombies, and it's certainly not bad - just not a good fit for me.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Harry Jahnke

    Wow wow wow. What an absolutely incredible story. Honestly, I think it's better to go into this one blind. The only thing I'll say about the plot is that it's an absolutely brilliant twist on the classic zombie horror story and takes a deep look at the nature of perception and reality. Really incredible work here. Just remarkable. Wow wow wow. What an absolutely incredible story. Honestly, I think it's better to go into this one blind. The only thing I'll say about the plot is that it's an absolutely brilliant twist on the classic zombie horror story and takes a deep look at the nature of perception and reality. Really incredible work here. Just remarkable.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "She once told me when you say you’re going to tell people a horror story, they sit up in their chairs defensively, waiting to see you fail. When you tell them it’s a love story, they relax, they open themselves wide. Macey used to write horror stories she sold as love stories. She took a certain pleasure in seeing her audience find themselves out of their depth. When I say this is a love story, I mean this is a story about someone who believed in something impossible an Actual rating 4.5/5 stars. "She once told me when you say you’re going to tell people a horror story, they sit up in their chairs defensively, waiting to see you fail. When you tell them it’s a love story, they relax, they open themselves wide. Macey used to write horror stories she sold as love stories. She took a certain pleasure in seeing her audience find themselves out of their depth. When I say this is a love story, I mean this is a story about someone who believed in something impossible and beautiful and dangerous with such strength of character and devotion that they followed the thread of it all the way to the very end, no matter what the world threw at them. Whichever way to you try to tell it, that sounds like a love story to me." I loved the tone in which this story was narrated. The voice was profound and poetic, yet also casual and conversational. Moments of illumination and clarity about the world around both narrator and reader were delivered alongside interaction between the individual who voiced it and characters that appeared offstage. We were directly referred to, as were they and their insights were welcomed as though we were all seated together and listening to this tale read aloud. And what a truly unsettling one it quickly proved to be!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Baker

    I really liked it!! So creative, definitely the most unique “zombie” apocalypse books I’ve ever read. The ending confused me, I think I got it but I’m not 100%. Regardless, it was a very quick, interesting read!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachelle

    "Night means darkness, darkness means introspection, introspection dredges up all kinds of monsters and my God, do those bastards keep us busy until dawn." This one is a different sort of apocalypse tale, makes you question what is real and what is a part of "the narrative". "Night means darkness, darkness means introspection, introspection dredges up all kinds of monsters and my God, do those bastards keep us busy until dawn." This one is a different sort of apocalypse tale, makes you question what is real and what is a part of "the narrative".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dylan

    Can't say I feel super strongly about this one, and that's part of the problem I guess. Interesting take on zombies, where people are essentially zombified by overdosing on negative news media. Unfortunately I found the plot fairly dull, the messaging to be very on-the-nose and the characters to be rather forgettable. Can't say I feel super strongly about this one, and that's part of the problem I guess. Interesting take on zombies, where people are essentially zombified by overdosing on negative news media. Unfortunately I found the plot fairly dull, the messaging to be very on-the-nose and the characters to be rather forgettable.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Book Deli

    Horror is still a pretty new genre for me, and I get to have that exciting reading experience of working out what I do and don’t like in a certain genre. And this is a big like. To keep the premise vague: imagine you're living in a world where you see things completely differently to how others do. We're not talking differences of opinions, but you see people coming to attack you, you're constantly plagued by the smell of decomposing bodies - but then you begin to question if what you're seeing a Horror is still a pretty new genre for me, and I get to have that exciting reading experience of working out what I do and don’t like in a certain genre. And this is a big like. To keep the premise vague: imagine you're living in a world where you see things completely differently to how others do. We're not talking differences of opinions, but you see people coming to attack you, you're constantly plagued by the smell of decomposing bodies - but then you begin to question if what you're seeing and experiencing is in fact real. The reading experience throughout this novella feels like one big question mark – as a reader you’re given just enough to be creeped out by the implications, but not quite enough to feel like you have a solid idea of what’s going on – honestly this book could be described as a bit of a trip. It’s a difficult one to explain, because it’s vague enough to be believable and somewhat plausible, but also you’re not really sure what to believe. The writing was eerie, trippy and a beautifully simple yet unnerving concept that was so well done, with my only complaint being that I wish this was a full-length novel because I would love to read more about this story and this world. But then again, had it been longer it might have moved more into the typical action/adventure plot line and lost the creepiness of just getting a snapshot into this world and scenario. This is definitely a good read for those who are new to horror (like me!) It also reminded me quite a lot of a certain Black Mirror episode, but not enough that it felt like a copy – just both having the same beautifully creepy and sinister vibes. Huge thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC! ------ THIS is my horror jam - I'm so glad I've been diving into this genre more

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    Tordotcom is knocking it out of the park this year. Another awesome book devoured in nearly one sitting while home sick with the headcold from hell. What a cool twist on the zombie apocalypse. Imagine you're minding your own business, washing dishes in the backroom of a restaurant and one of the waitresses rushes into the kitchen freaking out and asking how to lock the swinging doors. You shrug and ask her why, and she tells you that the customers and staff have suddenly started attacking each o Tordotcom is knocking it out of the park this year. Another awesome book devoured in nearly one sitting while home sick with the headcold from hell. What a cool twist on the zombie apocalypse. Imagine you're minding your own business, washing dishes in the backroom of a restaurant and one of the waitresses rushes into the kitchen freaking out and asking how to lock the swinging doors. You shrug and ask her why, and she tells you that the customers and staff have suddenly started attacking each other. Like, they've become monsters and are actually EATING each other. And then one of the cooks who was outside having a smoke comes in with a peice of their arm bitten out, claiming the head chef did it. Imagine that those of you who are seeing this, hearing this, quickly devise a plan to blow the place up, to stop the monsters or others or z-z-zombies or whatever from spreading their disease any further. To protect yourself from being one of their meals. And so you do it. You blow the place up! Boom! Then imagine being told months later, after you've killed everyone in that restaurant and countless others in an attempt to survive this mad new world you've found yourself in, that YOU are the ones who were infected, that there were never any monsters or others or z-z-zombies, but that YOU were the ones who were under the influence of a disease, and that you weren't responsible for the lives you took while you were under its influence, not responsible for the actions you took while under the influence of the 'narrative', and that the true survivors are actually the people who managed not to get killed by YOU. Imagine if that happened. Just imagine...

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lannerz

    This. Was. Epic. I was very surprised by this and it was definitely not what I expected going in. What I thought would be a short horror zombie novella turned out to be a beautiful, thought provoking ode to the state of humanity. Rather than your typical flesh eating zombies killing every human in sight, this book focused on the real monsters: us. Set in a world where the ‘infected’ are those who are made to believe there is a zombie invasion by the media narrative, our protagonist is recovering This. Was. Epic. I was very surprised by this and it was definitely not what I expected going in. What I thought would be a short horror zombie novella turned out to be a beautiful, thought provoking ode to the state of humanity. Rather than your typical flesh eating zombies killing every human in sight, this book focused on the real monsters: us. Set in a world where the ‘infected’ are those who are made to believe there is a zombie invasion by the media narrative, our protagonist is recovering from his infection as a newly ‘cured’ member of society in a rehab facility of sorts. While fairly comfortable with his new life and identity and coming to terms with the realization that his previous life was somewhat of a lie, he breaks out with a newer resident to hunt down her old companion. They begin a journey across the uninhabited land, discovering new facts and realities along the way. This book is definitely a little confusing at first, i found myself exiting out to read the synopsis a couple times and reread multiple passages. But it’s very much one of those books that just begins to make sense if you stick around. I absolutely ADORED this. 5 ⭐️ Thank you to Macmillan Tor and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    A bold almost-allegory; a zombie novel that isn't; a foggy mirror held up to our own reality--And Then I Woke Up is a painfully relevant story of narrative, of propaganda and perception, of the us-and-them divisions that wreak havoc and pain across society. It is a survival narrative, a horror novel, a love story. Full of empathy, Devlin's book embraces hard questions but doesn't lose itself trying to provide easy answers. It's a gripping thriller on the surface with immense weight waiting just A bold almost-allegory; a zombie novel that isn't; a foggy mirror held up to our own reality--And Then I Woke Up is a painfully relevant story of narrative, of propaganda and perception, of the us-and-them divisions that wreak havoc and pain across society. It is a survival narrative, a horror novel, a love story. Full of empathy, Devlin's book embraces hard questions but doesn't lose itself trying to provide easy answers. It's a gripping thriller on the surface with immense weight waiting just beneath. It is a story--like all stories--with the ability to make us see the world just a little bit differently. Go ahead, dive in.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    4.5* And Then I Woke Up was completely bananas, in the best possible way. The world is in turmoil because a certain portion of the population has gone completely batshit, attacking innocent people for seemingly no reason. But quite literally nothing is what it seems, and people aren't sure what or who to believe anymore. Which is pretty much all I will tell you about that part of the story, because truly, it is worth unfurling all these mysteries on your own. Spence is the main character, and he's 4.5* And Then I Woke Up was completely bananas, in the best possible way. The world is in turmoil because a certain portion of the population has gone completely batshit, attacking innocent people for seemingly no reason. But quite literally nothing is what it seems, and people aren't sure what or who to believe anymore. Which is pretty much all I will tell you about that part of the story, because truly, it is worth unfurling all these mysteries on your own. Spence is the main character, and he's been "cured" of this plague that is tearing the world apart. But he can't move on because he simply can't live with the things he's done, which makes sense really. He meets Leila at the facility that cured him, and she wants out. Sounds like a terrible idea, but hey, who am I to judge? So during his time helping Leila, they both piece together what happened in their pasts to bring them to this place and time, and one story is more horrifying and heartbreaking than the next. The story is so readable, because you simply need to know what the heck is going on. The way the author sets up the story, you absolutely feel sympathy for the characters immediately, and are eager to learn the ins and outs of their personal stories, and also how this plague changed the world as a whole. Simply put, I couldn't put this book down, even when I hadn't a clue what was happening- no, especially then. Because it was clear that the payoff would be worth it, and it was. Bottom Line: Full of horror, yes, but also full of heart, I can't imagine I'll ever forget this story. You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jan Agaton

    good social commentary on how manipulative the media can be, especially in circumstances such as a pandemic, but I was expecting a bit more from this story than what I got, especially since it's classified as a "horror novella" good social commentary on how manipulative the media can be, especially in circumstances such as a pandemic, but I was expecting a bit more from this story than what I got, especially since it's classified as a "horror novella"

  18. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    Oh my God, book made me so sad. I mean, you start out thinking it’s kind of standard z-poc and do we need another one really, but then when you get going, you realize it’s so much more about us and maybe not about the monsters at all. Many of the revelations in the book are simply devastating. You end this really not knowing where the line between cruelty and mercy really lies – and you have no idea how you personally would handle this. You’re just so sad that any of the characters had to go throu Oh my God, book made me so sad. I mean, you start out thinking it’s kind of standard z-poc and do we need another one really, but then when you get going, you realize it’s so much more about us and maybe not about the monsters at all. Many of the revelations in the book are simply devastating. You end this really not knowing where the line between cruelty and mercy really lies – and you have no idea how you personally would handle this. You’re just so sad that any of the characters had to go through this. Horror elements to be sure, but definitely more about the idea what sometimes we mean well, but end up doing horrible things – and how the hell do we deal with that and remain sane? Maybe we don’t. A good book, but I now need something lighter to read. *ARC via Publisher

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ashley (ashley's little library)

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book! And Then I Woke Up has a super interesting concept for a horror novella with a very fresh take on a “zombie” story. I’ll admit I was pretty confused for most of the story, but that’s sort of the nature of this one. What’s real? What’s simply part of the narrative? Who can you trust, if not even yourself? I don’t often say this, but I think I would’ve enjoyed this story actually being longer. It would’ve been nice to get to know the cha Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book! And Then I Woke Up has a super interesting concept for a horror novella with a very fresh take on a “zombie” story. I’ll admit I was pretty confused for most of the story, but that’s sort of the nature of this one. What’s real? What’s simply part of the narrative? Who can you trust, if not even yourself? I don’t often say this, but I think I would’ve enjoyed this story actually being longer. It would’ve been nice to get to know the characters more deeply and see different perspectives around the main event that happens. Overall a super interesting concept, but I would’ve like to see it built out a little more.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Noura Khalid (theperksofbeingnoura)

    This was such an interesting read! I definitely recommend going into it blind. I wasn't sure what to expect from this and it really surprised me. I've always been interested in perception (it's all my Psychology classes I think) and this took a turn that genuinely scared me. Highly recommend. Thank you to the publishers for the gifted review copy! This was such an interesting read! I definitely recommend going into it blind. I wasn't sure what to expect from this and it really surprised me. I've always been interested in perception (it's all my Psychology classes I think) and this took a turn that genuinely scared me. Highly recommend. Thank you to the publishers for the gifted review copy!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    3.5 stars. I grasped the overall concept of the book but the writing was a tad confusing at times.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    The nitty-gritty: There's plenty of food for thought in this short horror story that takes the idea of perception and turns it on its head. "It had already started. The world was tipping, its weight shifting, and no one had really noticed how precarious the ground beneath our feet had become. Every image, every video feed, everything we heard and read seemed to have two sides. Each piece of evidence divided us, and with each line drawn, a wider slice of reality was thrown into question." Did you e The nitty-gritty: There's plenty of food for thought in this short horror story that takes the idea of perception and turns it on its head. "It had already started. The world was tipping, its weight shifting, and no one had really noticed how precarious the ground beneath our feet had become. Every image, every video feed, everything we heard and read seemed to have two sides. Each piece of evidence divided us, and with each line drawn, a wider slice of reality was thrown into question." Did you ever wonder why people perceive events in different ways? Two people might see the exact same thing but come away with two different interpretations of what happened. This is the idea behind Malcolm Devlin’s latest, a psychological horror story about a pandemic of sorts, where those who become infected turn into monsters and start eating people. Devlin takes the idea of how narrative shapes our beliefs and how dangerous that can be, and I absolutely loved this short, brutal and thought-provoking tale. Spence is one of the cured. He used to be infected but was rescued, and now he lives in an institution called Ironside with others like himself. The story is framed around Spence leading a group therapy session as he tells his story to the other cured at Ironside. Through Spence’s story, we learn how the infection started. One day at the restaurant where he worked, Spence and his coworker Macey are shocked when the customers in the dining room suddenly turn into monsters and start killing everyone. Spence and Macey barely escape, but others in the restaurant aren’t so lucky, including a waitress named Pinky who’s been bitten by a monster and is convinced she’ll turn into one herself. Little by little society becomes divided into the infected, the uninfected and the cured. In a post apocalyptic landscape, where roving groups of uninfected try to survive in a world gone crazy, Spence’s tale unfolds, and eventually we learn how he ended up at Ironside. That’s all I can say about the plot, because nothing is quite what it seems in this story. The first half feels like your typical apocalypse scenario. Society breaks down, looters run rampant, and the news channels and social media portray a world gone mad. Safe within the walls of Ironside, Spence and his friends are protected from the media with “curated” news stories. They are told that their infection isn’t gone, but merely dormant, and could return at any time. They believe this narrative and cling to it like a life preserver. But what is the truth? And how do you separate truth from fiction? Spence is still trying to figure that out, even though he believes what he's been told. Devlin takes the idea of news stories and social media and how the truth can be skewed one way or the other, and builds a fascinating horror tale around that idea. Through Spence’s experiences, he explores the idea of how powerful stories can be in both good and bad ways, how they shape our perceptions of events. There are some devastating moments in And Then I Woke Up. Spence himself has done some terrible things and is trying to atone for his sins. We meet a girl named Leila, another resident of Ironside, who has a soul crushing backstory. Leila figures into one of the story’s most poignant moments at the end when she makes a shocking decision and asks Spence to help her carry it out. Interspersed with the horrific elements are wryly humorous observations about the human condition and the way belief shapes each individual’s personal narrative. There’s an awesome twist when we learn the “truth” of what’s happening, and it was pretty mind blowing! Even Spence, who has been on both sides of the apocalypse as an infected and a cured, still seems uncertain as to whether he’s figured things out, even though he claims to have “woken up.” Are you curious? Then you’ll definitely want to read this for yourself. Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Coral

    I'm not sure what to say about this... interesting set up. Didn't feel invested to the characters, except for Leila but that was only at the very very end when we actually get a little back story on her. I didn't think the writing or narrative was exceptional. This was a difficult book for me to pick up for some reason. I'm not sure what to say about this... interesting set up. Didn't feel invested to the characters, except for Leila but that was only at the very very end when we actually get a little back story on her. I didn't think the writing or narrative was exceptional. This was a difficult book for me to pick up for some reason.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Savannah

    And Then I Woke Up is a shining example of an incredible story that can be told in less than 200 pages. This horror novella takes place after a mysterious virus plagues the world, altering the infected's perceptions of reality. Spence, our main character, takes the reader through the weeks leading up to the tipping point of the outbreak, and ultimately what led him to Ironside, the rehabilitation center for the infected. This book is an incredible read for those who have studied or are fascinate And Then I Woke Up is a shining example of an incredible story that can be told in less than 200 pages. This horror novella takes place after a mysterious virus plagues the world, altering the infected's perceptions of reality. Spence, our main character, takes the reader through the weeks leading up to the tipping point of the outbreak, and ultimately what led him to Ironside, the rehabilitation center for the infected. This book is an incredible read for those who have studied or are fascinated by human psychology. The virus in this book only truly infects those that are susceptible to believing a dangerous narrative, and in turn causes them to see friends, family, and strangers as terrible, vicious monsters. The only option is to try and survive. Riddled with rhetorical questions on the subject of belief and perception, And Then I Woke Up is speculative in a way I found incredibly engaging! I don't think you should go into this book expecting to be so-scared-can't-sleep, but there are plenty of unsettling elements that classify this as a great psychological thriller! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cass (only the darkest reads)

    Turn your tv off and take a few deep breathes. The screams and the blood and the crash outside your door is all inside your head. They want you to believe that the people you knew, the people you loved, are all monsters begging to bite you, ready to slash you to pieces. The future now is split into factions: Survivors, Others and the Cured. If you can keep the story straight you can see how the disease manifested. The plot of misinformation that brought the cleaver down on your neighbours head. T Turn your tv off and take a few deep breathes. The screams and the blood and the crash outside your door is all inside your head. They want you to believe that the people you knew, the people you loved, are all monsters begging to bite you, ready to slash you to pieces. The future now is split into factions: Survivors, Others and the Cured. If you can keep the story straight you can see how the disease manifested. The plot of misinformation that brought the cleaver down on your neighbours head. That has you laying in a cot at Ironsides. Recovering. And Then I Woke Up is a novella of terror through a television screen. A not so subtle discussion of the way misinformation and distrust spreads malevolently. We slowly are exposed to different possible brutal scenarios, and have to dissect which elements are truths. It’s dark but has a naive kindness at its heart. It’s hopeful and sad. It’s absolutely a fever dream. Thank you to @tordotcompub and @netgalley for an ARC of this title. And Then I Woke Up comes out tomorrow, April 12, 2022.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    And Then I Woke up by Malcolm Devlin. Thanks to @tordotcom for the gifted Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The world is reeling from a plague of monsters; survivors roam the streets armed. Or maybe something completely different is happening. Once the disease occurs, perception is off. The first thing I’ll note is to be careful of reading too many reviews or get any spoilers on this one. It’s one of those stories that tour enjoyment will be based on having a completely open mind. I loved the author’s unique flip and t And Then I Woke up by Malcolm Devlin. Thanks to @tordotcom for the gifted Arc ⭐️⭐️⭐️ The world is reeling from a plague of monsters; survivors roam the streets armed. Or maybe something completely different is happening. Once the disease occurs, perception is off. The first thing I’ll note is to be careful of reading too many reviews or get any spoilers on this one. It’s one of those stories that tour enjoyment will be based on having a completely open mind. I loved the author’s unique flip and take on the typical zombie trope (and in no way is this story typical). It is a novella so you can read it in one sitting. “We’ve all done terrible, terrible things. We were monsters once, and although we are not anymore, we know we remain unforgiven to everyone who isn’t in the group.” And Then I Woke Up comes out 4/12.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    This is a psychological horror novella that focuses on 2 patients at a psych hospital, and we spend most of the book with them telling their backstories of how they ended up there. it was a good story that kept me entertained but i couldn’t help but feel like i wish it was expanded to a novel, i just wanted more development.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Raechel

    A really great, somewhat meta, story about a world-wide infection. The problem is that those infected essentially think there is a zombie apocalypse happening and perceive the non-infected as the walking dead and treat them as such. Our narrator, Spence, has been in recovery for some time, but his efforts to befriend a newly-cured arrival may cause him to backslide. This novel is a little difficult to understand at first, but I interpreted it as a perspective of the combination of the pandemic an A really great, somewhat meta, story about a world-wide infection. The problem is that those infected essentially think there is a zombie apocalypse happening and perceive the non-infected as the walking dead and treat them as such. Our narrator, Spence, has been in recovery for some time, but his efforts to befriend a newly-cured arrival may cause him to backslide. This novel is a little difficult to understand at first, but I interpreted it as a perspective of the combination of the pandemic and those that have fallen for the Qult. The concept of believers and followers and controlling a narrative... it's depressing but a great interpretation.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Lee

    This was a solid little horror novella. I really enjoyed it. A Disease that makes people see the false narrative . I don’t want to give too much away. The narrator tells stories but what is true or what is in your head that you want to see? Pick this book up and read for yourself!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mister Morningstar

    4.5 stars. Review here: https://mistermorningstarblogs.tumblr... 4.5 stars. Review here: https://mistermorningstarblogs.tumblr...

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