Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör Book Cover Horrorstör
Grady Hendrix
Horror, parody
Quirk books
September 23, 2014

First of all: I was actually at an actual IKEA, not once, but twice, while I was reading this thing.  I lived. I got some new shelves. I watched CompanionBot eat cake in their cafeteria.  The horror was pretty muted.

Second: I read this book in the bluefire app on my new note 4. This was a first-time experience for me, and mostly because I wasn't given a kindle copy.  My reading experience may have been negatively impacted by how incredibly hellish it is to try to read things in .acsm format. Sorry. I hate non-adjustable font sizes and having to slide all over the place to get to the text on every single page.  This is an unrelated gripe, but I mention it because it certainly made my reading of a pretty short book a lot slower than it needed to be.

So.  Well, look at that cover. The setting and the parody are not exactly kept secret.  It's gimmicky, which is fun, especially as you progress through the chapters, accompanied by simple illustrations of furniture items, with inspired names and descriptions.  You might not pick up on the entertainment value of some of the names if your knowledge of basic Scandinavian (and even some German) is... not there.  One of the furniture pieces is called Kummerspeck, which is a fantastic German term, meaning basically grief bacon - or "excess weight caused by overeating".  (Now you know. Unless, of course, you knew it already because you are like me and prone to reading lists of cool and strange words.)

We follow Amy, a young woman through her work day at Orsk, where she earns not-enough-to-pay-the-rent, and has no intention to stay.  Not that she intends to go back to college, either. Really, she's not motivated to do much at all, aside from getting her rent paid so she won't be kicked out by housemates whose patience has run out.   Her manager is an entirely different kind of person - he cares.  He cares about his responsibilities, about the security guidelines, the personnel guidelines and instructions he knows by heart and quotes happily.  His job matters to him,  and he can't lose it, and that's why he has to take care of the emerging problems in the store before his superiors can find out about them and blame him.   Of course, he picks Amy to stay after hours to take care of things, and she agrees, because it means a bigger paycheck.

Along with a few other characters, they find out Orsk contains a lot more than affordable, practical furniture in pretty showroom arrangements.

The story is nothing very exceptional - it falls a bit flat,  which is not really helped by the genuinely funny chapter illustrations - they just make it even more noticeable that the story itself doesn't have the same entertainment value.   It's not exactly bad, certainly not bad enough to make this a less perfect gift for a reader with unresolved IKEA issues - but it really does depend entirely upon its gimmick.

Thus - I would not recommend this as a horror.  Or even as parody/comedy.  This has a very specific audience, and that is the audience who knows what it's like to spend a neverending evening on the floor, assembling shelves or wardrobes out of insanity-inducing flat packages, gradually starting to sweat, as they realise they have to go back to the warehouse and get another THING. 

A physical copy of this is probably quite excellent as a gift for that person.  Or even for a very enthusiastic graphic designer who might geek out over the conceptiness.

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