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The Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost

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A Dark, Modern take on Ancient Folklore. A Dark Horror tale from J.Z. FosterYou know, the best thing about nightmares is that they're not real. It's all just in your head, and as soon as you wake up, pop! It's all gone. You're safe. It's not like they could crawl out, creeping from your mind with long, slender fingers and milky yellow eyes sunken int A Dark, Modern take on Ancient Folklore. A Dark Horror tale from J.Z. FosterYou know, the best thing about nightmares is that they're not real. It's all just in your head, and as soon as you wake up, pop! It's all gone. You're safe. It's not like they could crawl out, creeping from your mind with long, slender fingers and milky yellow eyes sunken into heads with pointed horns bursting out. That'd just be insane. Daniel Tanner's life is insane. A mysterious disease came to claim his son, seemingly pulling him into the grave with cold fingers named misery and hopelessness.Now a stranger has come calling with an even stranger tale of monsters—horrible things that take children in the middle of the night and leave their own, things that crawled out of the fairy tales our barbarous ancestors used to tell, things that they tried to warn us about. We didn't listen. Because monsters aren't real, are they? There's no reason to fear the dark, no reason at all to believe the old tales about creatures with a taste for human meat. That would be insane... wouldn't it?


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A Dark, Modern take on Ancient Folklore. A Dark Horror tale from J.Z. FosterYou know, the best thing about nightmares is that they're not real. It's all just in your head, and as soon as you wake up, pop! It's all gone. You're safe. It's not like they could crawl out, creeping from your mind with long, slender fingers and milky yellow eyes sunken int A Dark, Modern take on Ancient Folklore. A Dark Horror tale from J.Z. FosterYou know, the best thing about nightmares is that they're not real. It's all just in your head, and as soon as you wake up, pop! It's all gone. You're safe. It's not like they could crawl out, creeping from your mind with long, slender fingers and milky yellow eyes sunken into heads with pointed horns bursting out. That'd just be insane. Daniel Tanner's life is insane. A mysterious disease came to claim his son, seemingly pulling him into the grave with cold fingers named misery and hopelessness.Now a stranger has come calling with an even stranger tale of monsters—horrible things that take children in the middle of the night and leave their own, things that crawled out of the fairy tales our barbarous ancestors used to tell, things that they tried to warn us about. We didn't listen. Because monsters aren't real, are they? There's no reason to fear the dark, no reason at all to believe the old tales about creatures with a taste for human meat. That would be insane... wouldn't it?

30 review for The Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sadie Hartmann

    I'd like to thank the author for giving me a free, signed book in exchange for an honest review. I got to buddy read this with my friend, Emily. We both got the book around the same time and agreed to read it "soon" but she messaged me on Friday and said we should read it over the weekend because this book is due to come out on February 13th, 2018. I'm so glad we didn't wait! This book is exceptional in a lot of ways. I love the characters, the pace of the story and the demonology (a new take on d I'd like to thank the author for giving me a free, signed book in exchange for an honest review. I got to buddy read this with my friend, Emily. We both got the book around the same time and agreed to read it "soon" but she messaged me on Friday and said we should read it over the weekend because this book is due to come out on February 13th, 2018. I'm so glad we didn't wait! This book is exceptional in a lot of ways. I love the characters, the pace of the story and the demonology (a new take on demon lore--mixing some fae legend with demonic mythology). I don't want to describe the main plot line or threat here but it was very thrilling and the stakes were very high. I'd say this reading experience was a whole new level of intensity. The author never really let up on me and I'm not sure that made for a completely enjoyable journey--it was rough 99.9% of the time. High level intensity, lots of scares and creep outs and tons of gore. There was even some emotional attachments that I wasn't expecting AT ALL. I think maybe the reason this wasn't a five is that there wasn't any levity really. The only thing I can compare how I'm feeling is to say it was like watching a particularly grim episode of the Walking Dead--miserable characters under extreme duress struggling against impossible odds and it makes you yearn for the comic relief that some of the characters, like Glen, bring to the table. But there wasn't any comic relief here and that's OK, seriously, I'm not saying that should in anyway deter anyone from reading this book because it's just my own, personal preference. It's my understanding of human nature, that even in the bleakest situations, humans who want to survive--who want to hold on to some hope--they try to find joy or humor or something "light" in order to counteract all that darkness. But, you know, to each their own and J.Z. Foster is a skillful, bad ass writer of which I am really excited to read another book of his. (I own the The Witch Hunter) So my recommendation is that if you love horror books with great characters, plenty of scary demon activity and a high octane climax, you should add this one to your list. If you've read this book, here's a little PS "pet peeve" I feel I need to add, but only read this if you've read the book: (view spoiler)[ I started hating the fact that almost every time a demon comes on to the scene they go, "Ha-ha" or "Heh heh heh" I think the author could have just as easily went with the description of the demon laughing instead of the Ha-Ha quotes. It almost always sucked the menacing quality right out of what was being said. For me, anyways. (hide spoiler)]

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mindi

    4.5 Stars I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I don't know what I was expecting, but this book was definitely a pleasant surprise! Daniel Tanner has just lost his son to a a sudden and undiagnosed illness when he is thrust into a world of insanity. Larry Maker and his group of "hunters" are in town because of Daniel's son, and the truth behind his sudden death. Maker and his group hunt a type of demon or changeling that steal children from their homes and leaves a 4.5 Stars I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I don't know what I was expecting, but this book was definitely a pleasant surprise! Daniel Tanner has just lost his son to a a sudden and undiagnosed illness when he is thrust into a world of insanity. Larry Maker and his group of "hunters" are in town because of Daniel's son, and the truth behind his sudden death. Maker and his group hunt a type of demon or changeling that steal children from their homes and leaves a replacement in order to wreak havoc on the family. Daniel is taken to their hideout and shown one of the demons they caught, in order to convince him to help them eliminate the remaining changelings in his town. Although he is initially horrified by the idea of hunting demons that look like children, he soon realizes that his need for revenge is stronger than his reservations. Here's what I really like about this novel. Maker's motley group of hunters are all great characters that are each uniquely flawed and extremely likable. I was rooting for these people from the very beginning, and I loved how each of them brought their own special skill to the group. I also thought the demons or changelings were really well done. There is a ton of gore, and the demons are really nasty creatures. When Maker and the rest of the group start searching for the other changelings in town, there are some serious moments of tension. My only issue is with the length of the book. I think some parts could have been shortened or maybe the action could have been sped up a bit. This is definitely not a deal breaker, because I honestly really enjoyed this book. I just found myself thinking at times that parts of it could have been edited more. Ultimately, I really enjoyed this book, and I'm looking forward to reading more from Foster. This is a solid horror story with great characters and a fresh take on demon tropes. I highly recommend this one.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    4.5⭐ "They say that when you look into the abyss, it looks back into you. I never really understood what that meant...what you could become...I thought I could handle it. I thought I wouldn't be like this. I didn't know I'd become like them." I'm in an online horror group with the author, and he asked if anyone wanted to review his book. I decided to take a chance, and I am SO happy that I did! I read this as a buddy read with Sadie. The Wicked Ones was a fantastic story. This is a wonderfully cre 4.5⭐ "They say that when you look into the abyss, it looks back into you. I never really understood what that meant...what you could become...I thought I could handle it. I thought I wouldn't be like this. I didn't know I'd become like them." I'm in an online horror group with the author, and he asked if anyone wanted to review his book. I decided to take a chance, and I am SO happy that I did! I read this as a buddy read with Sadie. The Wicked Ones was a fantastic story. This is a wonderfully creepy monster book, and I really enjoyed reading it. It was nice to read about a monster that isn't all over popular culture, yet was still creepy enough to hold my interest. This book offered well-rounded characters - you didn't learn everything about them, but you learned enough to help you understand and feel compassion for them. I liked the main group of characters in this book. The Wicked Ones has some pretty gruesome parts, so I wouldn't recommend reading it if you're squeamish. There's some nasty body horror stuff happening, but it's a fun level of being grossed out. This one gets a 4.5 because I think it spent a little bit too much time on the dream portions, and at times it got confusing. I got mixed up on the timeline a few times, but it wasn't anything too distracting. I like how the ending wrapped everything up - it wasn't too happy, and it wasn't too sad. I felt like it went really well with closing out the story that had just been told. Overall, I really loved this book, and I am so excited to read more from JZ Foster. I have The Witch Hunter on my shelf, and I'm excited to dig into that one. The Wicked Ones will be out on 2/13! Thank you so much for sharing your book with me, JZ Foster!

  4. 5 out of 5

    TheVampireBookworm

    I don't know what's wrong with me these days but I can't get spooked by any horror I read. I used to love reading horror but maybe I ran out of good authors to read? I'm not saying this one is bad, just that given the hype around it on bookstagram, I expected a bit more. The idea of nightmares entering our world and pretending to be our offspring supported by folklore was superb, I ejoyed that a lot. But somehow I didn't get attached to any of the characters as I knew very little about them. The I don't know what's wrong with me these days but I can't get spooked by any horror I read. I used to love reading horror but maybe I ran out of good authors to read? I'm not saying this one is bad, just that given the hype around it on bookstagram, I expected a bit more. The idea of nightmares entering our world and pretending to be our offspring supported by folklore was superb, I ejoyed that a lot. But somehow I didn't get attached to any of the characters as I knew very little about them. They got some backstories throughout the book but somehow it wasn't enough. The gory scenes were okay I guess but I found them rather grotesque and not spooky. There wasn't a moment in the book where I'd let my jaw on the floor, hid under the covers or anything like that. I'm sorry it didn't live up to my expectations. But it wasn't a waste of time - it was still a good average horror many may enjoy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marcie

    I've read this book twice now. The Wicked Ones is darkly compelling and wraps its multi-jointed claws into your thoughts and dreams long after you've put it down. Daniel's journey into the supernatural world drives you to explore your own fears and horrors. I found it difficult reading at first - not because it wasn't good- but because of the subject matter. I feel much the same way as when I struggle with Cujo or Pet Sematary; this book is so incredibly well written it pulls you in and you feel I've read this book twice now. The Wicked Ones is darkly compelling and wraps its multi-jointed claws into your thoughts and dreams long after you've put it down. Daniel's journey into the supernatural world drives you to explore your own fears and horrors. I found it difficult reading at first - not because it wasn't good- but because of the subject matter. I feel much the same way as when I struggle with Cujo or Pet Sematary; this book is so incredibly well written it pulls you in and you feel the horror as you read. Losing a child, your wife, your family, your career, your foundation for reality - Those are losses that individually could crush a person, but all at the same time? Beyond imagining, until now. If you've read Witch Hunter, this is the slightly more sophisticated, older brother. Words have power and J.Z's work is powerful indeed. I'm very much looking forward to many more books by J.Z. Foster.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Reanna

    I want to first thank the author for asking if I'd like a free copy of the e-book in exchange for a review. I'm a book lover, so naturally I hardly ever turn down a freebie. It did not disappoint! Mesmeric and creepy! I was hooked from page one! Without giving away the plot, this book is really fantastic in a variety of aspects. The atmosphere was intense and foreboding pretty much from the start, which I absolutely loved. You never really know what to expect when reading a new author so I honest I want to first thank the author for asking if I'd like a free copy of the e-book in exchange for a review. I'm a book lover, so naturally I hardly ever turn down a freebie. It did not disappoint! Mesmeric and creepy! I was hooked from page one! Without giving away the plot, this book is really fantastic in a variety of aspects. The atmosphere was intense and foreboding pretty much from the start, which I absolutely loved. You never really know what to expect when reading a new author so I honestly wasn't expecting to get attached or empathize with any of the characters. But....I totally did. I got so into the pain and everything these people were going through. For me, that's an important aspect in my enjoyment of the book overall. I need to be into it. J.Z. knows how to write also. I took my time reading this rather than flying through it because I wanted to fully enjoy the story. This story is paced very well. The characters and backstories are fleshed out really well also. One thing that I really loved about this book was the folklore/demonology/fae theme that was masterfully interwoven in it. For me, it was a fresh take on some of those themes. J.Z. has injected just enough gore/ scares/ violence for this to qualify as horror so I really think it has the potential to appeal to a vast audience. The cover art for his book is amazing too! One of my favorite passages was the following, A misshapen hand reached out from the abyss of the hallway, and with fingers chewed by some painful disease it pulled itself forward, until a head came into view, eyes sunk deep into the skull. It's lips pulled back into a twisted sneer of yellowed teeth. Brown spots of rot dotted its surface, and small patches of hair grew from it's scalp. It dragged itself on all fours across the wood flooring, slapping heavy hands down with each horrible pull. ... I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys even the slightest bit of creepy in their book choices. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more by J.Z. Foster very soon. This book deserves the 5 stars and I will be purchasing a physical copy for myself in the short future. Continue to support and show indie authors love!! Support indie publishing companies as well!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    I no longer read scary as much as I used to, nowadays it’s more of a special event and, while I still enjoy the genre immensely, my standards have gone way up, so I make an effort to prescreen books. This one passed the screening by having a decent amount of good reviews, plus it was free, but alas didn’t end up working for me. I’ve read books about changelings before, normally they tend to walk the line between a dark disturbing fairy tale and drama, which is right up my alley. This one took th I no longer read scary as much as I used to, nowadays it’s more of a special event and, while I still enjoy the genre immensely, my standards have gone way up, so I make an effort to prescreen books. This one passed the screening by having a decent amount of good reviews, plus it was free, but alas didn’t end up working for me. I’ve read books about changelings before, normally they tend to walk the line between a dark disturbing fairy tale and drama, which is right up my alley. This one took the approach of an action creature feature, but made every effort to be character driven, resulting in a strange mix of too much exposition and too much whambam that went on for way too long. Objectively it did meet all the prerequisites of genre…the nightmarish creatures, the guts and gore, the over the top violence. Objectively it was competently written and edited. Objectively I can see how this book gathered the positive reviews. Subjectively though it’s another matter entirely. When it comes to a group of ragtag misfits hunting creatures I prefer the fun approach. Maybe not quite Ghostbusters style, but at least with occasional joke thrown in. Winchester brothers have done it, so did the Grimm team and those are just tv references. The Wickes Ones was relentlessly one intense note sustained with no interludes, exhausting for a book that size. Same thing with the characters (most due to being excessively overwritten each time, never an action without a meticulous explanation), very difficult to engage with and you sort of have to give a sh*t to get through nearly 400 pages. So while it is novel to see the vicious side of changelings, maybe they work best in more subtle formats. Then again if you’re into this sort of thing and many genre fans are, got for it. Just prepare for consistently grim, dreary, humorless, violent, over contemplative sort of frights and you’re all set. Personally it wasn’t total crap, just unsatisfying and much too long, although it did read/speedread fairly quickly.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David Watson

    Hell had come for Daniel Tanner. In a matter of days he lost his son Sam due to a mysterious illness and he separated from his wife who insisted the boy who died was not her son. Daniel feels like his life is over but it’s not and something worse has come to him in the disguise of a stranger. The stranger says Sam didn’t die of a disease, he was taken by a monster and was replaced by a changeling. We try to tell ourselves that things like that only happen in fairy tales but monsters are real. Chi Hell had come for Daniel Tanner. In a matter of days he lost his son Sam due to a mysterious illness and he separated from his wife who insisted the boy who died was not her son. Daniel feels like his life is over but it’s not and something worse has come to him in the disguise of a stranger. The stranger says Sam didn’t die of a disease, he was taken by a monster and was replaced by a changeling. We try to tell ourselves that things like that only happen in fairy tales but monsters are real. Children are being kidnapped and replaced by something sinister. Daniel isn’t sure he believes it but he joins a crew of four people to keep what happened to his son from happening to anyone else. There are at least six monsters in town, they have a taste for human flesh and they may be unstoppable. The Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost by J.Z. Foster is a hard-core unapologetic horror novel. This book is relentless, there’s no comic relief, no reprieve, just dread, despair and maybe a little bit of hope. It starts with what I think is the ultimate horror, the loss of a child but it manages to get even scarier after that. What happens to a man who has lost everything? You find out in this book, Daniel and the others in the group have all lost someone and are psychologically damaged by it. The only thing that’s left for them is to kill the creatures stealing children and put a stop to the pale man who controls them. I had some issues with this book, at times I felt it went to far in describing the character’s feelings and the creatures who are stalking the small town. I also thought that some of the dream sequences were a little confusing. Though I think what J.Z. Foster was trying to do was make the ultimate horror novel and show you the real world is scary but the scariest things are in your head. The best part of this book is the characters and watching them deal with what’s happening around them. In one scene Daniel is battling demons in a dream, he starts to have memories of good times with his son but is also thinking about how he lost him and no longer wants to live. Another character, a psychic named Rebekah comes and shows him that they are inside his mind, she points out how vicious his mind is and how our own thoughts are always the worst. In another scene a character named Greg is fighting off monsters, earlier he shows he has little emotion and he’s only thing he’s good at killing, as we see him loose a loved one he breaks down and shows a different side of himself and you see what really motivates him. The Wicked Ones is a horror novel that works on two levels, it deals with the loss of a loved one and it deals with the loss of sanity. It’s also a book about how dealing with loss changes you, all the characters deal with the worst fear imaginable but they still have hope and want to help others. The worst fear is what is inside their heads and watching them deal with the darkness within is what makes this book good. It goes where most horror stories fear to go and it never lets you catch your breath.

  9. 5 out of 5

    NhaughtyV says Damn the Zon Save the Reviews

    “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before...” —Edgar Allan Poe Daniel Tanner is a broken man whose dreams both haunt and terrify him. After the loss of his son and the break-up of his marriage, he finds himself on the edge of darkness…does he go on living as the shell of the man he has become or just end it all and join his son in the afterworld…But just as Daniel is about to make his decision, a mys “Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before...” —Edgar Allan Poe Daniel Tanner is a broken man whose dreams both haunt and terrify him. After the loss of his son and the break-up of his marriage, he finds himself on the edge of darkness…does he go on living as the shell of the man he has become or just end it all and join his son in the afterworld…But just as Daniel is about to make his decision, a mysterious phone call from a man he’s never met opens a new door of opportunity for a lifestyle he had not known existed…one where the monsters under the bed and hidden in the closet are real. Daniel is invited to join a band of unfortunate souls; a group of hunters that are united from a shared loss and with one motive in mind: seek out and destroy the wicked ones. “I am the tears that come from his eyes when he cries for help. I am the thing with teeth that eats his flesh. I am the nightmare you lock into a corner of your mind. I am the key that undoes the lock and the pain that comes out. I am your misery. I am—" J.Z. Foster has weaved a web of terror and heartbreak in his horror novel “The Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost”. Would definitely recommend to my fellow horror lovers! *Received ARC from author for honest review*

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leslie Mcintosh

    The Wicked Ones pulled me into the nightmare right from the beginning!...Sam lost to this world, Daniels madness, Craig's knowledge of the changlings weaknesses all added to my entering the nightmare with them!...I highly recommend this book!!!...JZ Foster must know the Boogeyman personally to create such a "Wicked One"...a great read! The Wicked Ones pulled me into the nightmare right from the beginning!...Sam lost to this world, Daniels madness, Craig's knowledge of the changlings weaknesses all added to my entering the nightmare with them!...I highly recommend this book!!!...JZ Foster must know the Boogeyman personally to create such a "Wicked One"...a great read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.J. Roles

    Wow, does foster know how to hit you with a gut-punch leaving you breathless. A dark story that will twist and bend your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. Like cold iron scraping the bone you'll be hard pressed to find a better second outing from any new author! Highly recommend! Wow, does foster know how to hit you with a gut-punch leaving you breathless. A dark story that will twist and bend your mind and keep you on the edge of your seat. Like cold iron scraping the bone you'll be hard pressed to find a better second outing from any new author! Highly recommend!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    This guy, J.Z. Foster, is everywhere, seemingly overnight, and rightfully so. He's working incredibly hard...already releasing his debut in January, WITCH HUNTER: INTO THE OUTSIDE (my review of which can be read here.) Just one month later, we've got his follow-up, THE WICKED ONES: CHILDREN OF THE LOST. And he's got another book on the way this year, slated for March! Simmer down! For someone dropping so many titles back-to-back, one may suspect a lapse in quality...that his debut may have been a This guy, J.Z. Foster, is everywhere, seemingly overnight, and rightfully so. He's working incredibly hard...already releasing his debut in January, WITCH HUNTER: INTO THE OUTSIDE (my review of which can be read here.) Just one month later, we've got his follow-up, THE WICKED ONES: CHILDREN OF THE LOST. And he's got another book on the way this year, slated for March! Simmer down! For someone dropping so many titles back-to-back, one may suspect a lapse in quality...that his debut may have been a fun, enjoyable little fluke and that the rest may be sub-par, given this Roger Corman-esque work ethic. Nope. No lapse here. THE WICKED ONES is equally enjoyable, but for very different reasons, while maintaining a lot of the things I enjoyed about WITCH HUNTER. Foster's latest is a more traditional Horror tale, the mood is exponentially darker. A more gruesome endeavor with some good gross-out moments while remaining very emotionally involved. It retains the plethora of villainous creatures, zooming pace and excitement from his debut while writing a decidedly more human novel. Like only the best horror novels do, underneath all the carnage, entrail eating and horned-creature chasing...there's a very human story underneath. One of loss, grief, desperation and the transforming effects it can have on the psyche. It is this quality that puts Foster's follow-up slightly ahead of his great debut for me. Daniel is our main character who has recently lost his son to a mysterious illness, and essentially his life in the process. His wife is gone, he's isolated and considering taking his own life. The plot thickens when he meets a band of monster hunting vigilante types, who share that he has lost his son to a murderous evil, as they all have. And it is up to this band of emotionally wounded eccentrics to save a town from an evil who is taking its children and turning them into something horrific... It's classic Horror all the way here, with characters you'll recognize as bearing semblance to some of your favorites of the past. I couldn't help but cast this book in my mind with cult actors as a film. I got notes of The Evil Dead's universe of mythos pretty often while reading this, with the creature quotient turned up to eleven, bringing to mind Stuart Gordon's From Beyond...not necessarily in tone, but in it's constant bombardment of new, goopy monsters to attack our band of heroes. The Wicked Ones would make a great film, but for now it's a great book. It could have benefited from a extra round of editing, as the book is a bit overlong. You feel it a bit more later in the book, highlighted by the fact it kicks off at a pace to be reckoned with, slowing down a bit too much in the middle. However, it is never boring and even the slow parts keep you intrigued. Overall, I highly recommend this book and keeping an eye on what J.Z. Foster can offer the horror fiction universe. 4.2/5 originally posted on my blog http://Undivineinterventions.blogspot...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michael Gardenier

    The Wicked Ones is absolutely astounding. It is reminiscent of such titans of the horror genre as King, Lovecraft or Barker. This novel doesn't blink and true horror fans will adore it, as I did. The character development is relatable and superbly in-depth, while the story itself moves at break neck pace, pulling no punches. I simply cannot overstate how good this horror novel is, and while I have quite literally read thousands in my lifetime; this now ranks in the top 5. If you are jaded with c The Wicked Ones is absolutely astounding. It is reminiscent of such titans of the horror genre as King, Lovecraft or Barker. This novel doesn't blink and true horror fans will adore it, as I did. The character development is relatable and superbly in-depth, while the story itself moves at break neck pace, pulling no punches. I simply cannot overstate how good this horror novel is, and while I have quite literally read thousands in my lifetime; this now ranks in the top 5. If you are jaded with cliché horror and tired of the same old stuff, read The Wicked Ones, but I warn you, BUCKLE UP!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miranda miranda_crites

    ⭐️4.5 What a great book! It took me over three weeks to get through this book, but it wasn’t because it was a slow read. The book is fast-paced, but I’ve been so busy throughout the days and drained by bedtime that my reading time has been scarce! 😩 I felt I needed to throw that out there in case you saw how long it took me to get through this and thought, “Oh, this must be boring!” No. It’s just me and my crazy schedule. Because it took me awhile to finish the book, I got the opportunity to carr ⭐️4.5 What a great book! It took me over three weeks to get through this book, but it wasn’t because it was a slow read. The book is fast-paced, but I’ve been so busy throughout the days and drained by bedtime that my reading time has been scarce! 😩 I felt I needed to throw that out there in case you saw how long it took me to get through this and thought, “Oh, this must be boring!” No. It’s just me and my crazy schedule. Because it took me awhile to finish the book, I got the opportunity to carry the characters with me longer. I thought about them during the days when I wasn’t able to stop and read. We got close. I was always wondering how certain situations would play out. How would they get out of that predicament, or would they? This was pretty deep. I can feel Daniel’s loss, pain, self-discovery (although that’s a separate hell), his growing and strengthening, and his loss (again). One hell of a twisted roller coaster ride in a dark, dilapidated funhouse of horrors! J. Z. Foster is an artesian well of words flowing from the center of a magical forest. 📖📖A HUGE thank you to the author for sending me a free copy of this book. I greatly appreciate it. I’m hooked. I’ve already bought your third book, Mind Wreck. If you’re new to J. Z. Foster, it won’t matter if you read The Wicked Ones before Witch Hunter, but there are some references to events from Witch Hunter in The Wicked Ones. I recommend reading Witch Hunter first. It’s a bit lighter, and the main character is so much fun.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Lee

    The synopsis blurb for Wicked Ones is very intriguing, and the book surpasses those expectations. Because there is a lot more to Wicked Ones that the official synopsis gives, I may do the unusual for me and include some story elements in my review… without spoilers of course. No spoilers. I describe Wicked Ones as Beautifully Brutal and I will explain why. The writing is so darkly beautiful as to be almost poetic in places, up to and including scenes of violence and carnage, with flowing emotion, The synopsis blurb for Wicked Ones is very intriguing, and the book surpasses those expectations. Because there is a lot more to Wicked Ones that the official synopsis gives, I may do the unusual for me and include some story elements in my review… without spoilers of course. No spoilers. I describe Wicked Ones as Beautifully Brutal and I will explain why. The writing is so darkly beautiful as to be almost poetic in places, up to and including scenes of violence and carnage, with flowing emotion, sharp dialog and brutal action scenes. In places, the writing brings to mind a graphic tale written by the love child of Poe and Lovecraft. However, one must be aware that some of the content can be considered extreme horror. Hence the use of the word “Brutal.” That being said, let me also note that Wicked Ones is not simple horror. It is a complex novel with complex characters and an intricate story line that unfolds and undulates like a snake during the course of the book. The chapters switch between character focus, often backtracking just a bit to fill in key points of another’s mind set and perspective during a series of events. This adds richness to the already complex and captivating tale and is used masterfully for character development. This is not light reading. It is not a simple weekend diversion. It is an experience of horror and human emotion. Foster opens with the mysterious death of Daniel’s son, the parallel estrangement of Daniel’s wife, and Daniel’s subsequent mind shattering grief. Then, enter the stranger with information, the stories, the old histories. The story continues to build from there, with incredible pace and even more incredible substance. Foster draws upon the old stories and dares you to believe, dares you to stay sane, dares you to continue forward. Beautifully brutal, dark, and compelling, The Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost is a masterfully written story of vividly relatable characters in horrific circumstance.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This is a great book. I had read Mr. Foster’s first book, The Witch Hunter, so I pre-ordered this one. It is not exactly a sequel. This book has the same type of environment as the first, where things lurk in the darkness and things you thought existed only in your imagination are real. However, it is a darker book than The Witch Hunter. The things that hide under the bed and invade your dreams, turning them into nightmares, are real. This story has a brood of changelings who have invaded New Ath This is a great book. I had read Mr. Foster’s first book, The Witch Hunter, so I pre-ordered this one. It is not exactly a sequel. This book has the same type of environment as the first, where things lurk in the darkness and things you thought existed only in your imagination are real. However, it is a darker book than The Witch Hunter. The things that hide under the bed and invade your dreams, turning them into nightmares, are real. This story has a brood of changelings who have invaded New Athens. They are attacking children. They find them at school, at ball games, everywhere. Daniel Tanner’s son Sam has died under mysterious circumstances. Daniel’s wife kept claiming “that is not my son” and refused to visit him in the hospital, so she and Daniel broke up before Sam died. Daniel is alone and seriously contemplating suicide when an old man basically forces him to listen and shows him one of the changelings. Daniel is quite distraught when he recognized the child-thing as a boy that played ball with Sam. However, he joins the group fighting the evil. The book follows Daniel as he helps investigate the brood of changelings, and helps the group destroy them. I think Mr. Foster captures how any of us would feel if we saw evil, but at the same time could see the child who is being mimicked, and knew we had to destroy the creature. How can he kill his son’s friend? How can he not kill the evil creature with poison dripping from its fangs? I do not want to spoil the ending. I will just say Mr. Foster handled difficult situations believably and I enjoyed the book. I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader copy of this book, although I will buy a copy when it comes out.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eon Maska

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a high-tension, high-suspense thrill ride pretty much from start to finish. It has good characters (I would have loved more background on our antagonists), buckets of blood and gore, and a relentless pace. Daniel Tanner has lost his son to what he thinks is some medical condition, and the story opens at young Sam Tanner's funeral. Later, at home, Daniel is about to make a life-changing decision when his phone rings and everything he thinks he knows is tu I really enjoyed reading this book. It's a high-tension, high-suspense thrill ride pretty much from start to finish. It has good characters (I would have loved more background on our antagonists), buckets of blood and gore, and a relentless pace. Daniel Tanner has lost his son to what he thinks is some medical condition, and the story opens at young Sam Tanner's funeral. Later, at home, Daniel is about to make a life-changing decision when his phone rings and everything he thinks he knows is turned on it's ear. The voice on the phone tells him of an unbelievable crime perpetrated against his son and himself. While he finds it hard to believe, he joins the small band of warriors and their mission to rid the world of the Wicked Ones. The Wicked Ones are nightmares, real monsters that have gained access to our world, and they take children! We follow Daniel and Greg, and Rebekah, and Jenna, and Larry Maker as they do battle with the forces of our nightmares full of fangs and teeth. Foster skillfully meshes the five main character's vastly different personalities and even saves some of the best revelations for late in the tale. Ultimately it's a story about the power of love. I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

    Watch out Mr. King, here’s another author to keep us up at night! A beautifully terrifying story as a parent mourns the lost of his child. But all is not what it seems. Is his son trapped as another takes his place? What demonic elements are at work, hiding in the children? Definitely a captivating read, but very much not for the squeamish. The gruesome, violent, and disturbing story will absolutely blow your mind! Very well written with vivid characters and descriptions. This unnerving story stays Watch out Mr. King, here’s another author to keep us up at night! A beautifully terrifying story as a parent mourns the lost of his child. But all is not what it seems. Is his son trapped as another takes his place? What demonic elements are at work, hiding in the children? Definitely a captivating read, but very much not for the squeamish. The gruesome, violent, and disturbing story will absolutely blow your mind! Very well written with vivid characters and descriptions. This unnerving story stays with the reader.....but will keep you waiting for more. Very well done!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alex | | findingmontauk1

    5 out of 5! review to come!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joseph DalBon

    Dark, intense, violent and relentless. Everything you ever wanted in a horror tale is here in The Wicked Ones : Children Of The Lost by JZ Foster. Been a fan of King, Ketchum, McCammon etc for decades. Foster is quickly joining my list of favorite horror authors. The story starts with Daniel standing at the grave of his young son. From there, we are thrust into his journey from grieving father to supernatural warrior. We meet a series of rich and deep characters who try to enlighten Daniel about Dark, intense, violent and relentless. Everything you ever wanted in a horror tale is here in The Wicked Ones : Children Of The Lost by JZ Foster. Been a fan of King, Ketchum, McCammon etc for decades. Foster is quickly joining my list of favorite horror authors. The story starts with Daniel standing at the grave of his young son. From there, we are thrust into his journey from grieving father to supernatural warrior. We meet a series of rich and deep characters who try to enlighten Daniel about the Hell he is about to enter. The monsters are like nothing you’ve ever encountered. How Daniel and his group have to deal with this monstrous evil is horrific. An very dark tale, think Supernatural meets The Exorcist. Yeah, that good. A must read for any horror fan. Can’t wait to see what Foster does next!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Callie

    Fantastic read! Foster pulls you in, and keeps you interested. I love reading horror before bed, and this book didn't disappoint. Fantastic read! Foster pulls you in, and keeps you interested. I love reading horror before bed, and this book didn't disappoint.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cyrene Olson

    Uncaged Review: A very creepy tale that speaks of a creature stealing your kids and replacing them with a monster to raise as your own. As a poor dad grieves his son, he learns that things aren’t what he thought. This takes him on a strange journey into darkness and evil. I really enjoyed this book and can see this author becoming one of my must reads. Please dive into the darkness with this book. Reviewed by Jennifer

  23. 4 out of 5

    Amy Wilson

    A horror story with a heart. "My life for yours". A new take on mythological creatures that will have you looking at misbehaving children with a little fear and will have you wondering if it's a dream or reality. I'm just hoping the cage holds the horror and the pale man for a long time. A horror story with a heart. "My life for yours". A new take on mythological creatures that will have you looking at misbehaving children with a little fear and will have you wondering if it's a dream or reality. I'm just hoping the cage holds the horror and the pale man for a long time.

  24. 5 out of 5

    D. Messing

    This was a long, albeit surprisingly good read, I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. I enjoyed the development of the characters, and the twists and turns that they took on this roller coaster of a story. It certainly didn't lead where you thought it would, came out of left field on numerous occasions, and that was part of its appeal and it enhanced the "boos". It was a tad flat in a few places, with a few more descriptors and detailing to bring it wholly to life, it could be one h*ll of an eng This was a long, albeit surprisingly good read, I would give it 4.5 stars if I could. I enjoyed the development of the characters, and the twists and turns that they took on this roller coaster of a story. It certainly didn't lead where you thought it would, came out of left field on numerous occasions, and that was part of its appeal and it enhanced the "boos". It was a tad flat in a few places, with a few more descriptors and detailing to bring it wholly to life, it could be one h*ll of an engrossing, nightmare inducing thrill ride. Thank you for the opportunity to review this work, it was very much a different change of pace and I quite enjoyed it!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lynne Seaver

    This book made me rethink everything I ever said to my kids about monsters not being real. The characters are so well written they jump off the page.....i felt angry for them, I felt their hatred for the parasites. I wished I had a cold iron so I could join in the fight. jumps to the top of my will be read again list.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Angel Shomaker

    I am in love with the characters in this book.Rebekah is my new hero.I want to watch Daniel to seem the transformations he undergoes. This shoots to the top of my favorite list.it is a full emotional ride with each character.I would recommend reading this to all horror/fantasy readers

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Stred

    Fantastic Read! The Wicked Ones quickly throws you in the deep end and forces you to swim. The world is engrossing, the characters relatable, and the horror unspeakable and unimaginable. Highly recommend you read this, and I cant wait to read more from JZ!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jim Coniglio

    J.Z. Foster is a fairly new author. His first book, WITCH HUNTER was released just last month on January 9th. This book, THE WICKED ONES releases on February 13th, and his next book MIND WRECK has a release date of March 13th. That's 3 books released in 3 months. These are not novellas, but full length novels. Not many authors can pull that off. THE WICKED ONES does not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. This is a deep story that deals with love, loss and oh, so much horror. The main chara J.Z. Foster is a fairly new author. His first book, WITCH HUNTER was released just last month on January 9th. This book, THE WICKED ONES releases on February 13th, and his next book MIND WRECK has a release date of March 13th. That's 3 books released in 3 months. These are not novellas, but full length novels. Not many authors can pull that off. THE WICKED ONES does not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump. This is a deep story that deals with love, loss and oh, so much horror. The main character Daniel could be the normal everyman, thrust into extraordinary situations after the sudden death of his son and the strange new world that the chain of events bring him into. J.Z. Foster knows how to build characters. Every person is fleshed out and belongs to the story. Just enough back story is given, without being overwhelming. You become vested in these characters and what they are going through. The tension builds from page one. This is one of those stories that does not let you put it down. I would find myself at the end of a chapter, saying to myself, it's time to stop, but then I would keep reading. I would get that gut-punch from a horrific event and just keep reading. Basically 370 pages in 2 days. And when I reached that last page, the ending was satisfying, I didn't feel cheated. But I wanted more. I just didn't want the story to end. There is so much I would love to discuss about THE WICKED ONES, but then there is the chance of spoiling the story for someone else. This is a fast-paced, visceral novel that shows us the power of a fathers love and the horrors that exist just outside corners of our vision. J.Z. Foster writes like a mixture of Brian Keene and Raymond E. Feist. With this just being his second book, I see the author becoming a mainstay in the world of Horror.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hezekiah

    Fast paced action horror with more than a touch of folklore. I liked this book. It had quite a range of moods to it as you progress through the story. It starts out rather slow, but not in a bad way, rather it's a depressed, melancholic opening with our protagonist, Daniel, having lost the most important people in his life. After this the book begins picking up speed, with Daniel meeting a team of people hunting nightmarish monsters that are infiltrating his town. By the middle of the book it's a Fast paced action horror with more than a touch of folklore. I liked this book. It had quite a range of moods to it as you progress through the story. It starts out rather slow, but not in a bad way, rather it's a depressed, melancholic opening with our protagonist, Daniel, having lost the most important people in his life. After this the book begins picking up speed, with Daniel meeting a team of people hunting nightmarish monsters that are infiltrating his town. By the middle of the book it's a full speed rush to the end with battles being fought in both the real world as well as a surreal dreamscape. Daniel grows from a timid person who can't believe anything he's seeing into a formidable monster hunter, willing to do whatever it takes to stop these creatures. But here lies where things are a bit deeper than they might initially appear. There are questions asked by this book. Does one have to become a monster to defeat monsters? Do the end justify the means? Is there redemption for those who lose themselves along the way? This is a fast moving book, but those questions keep it from being one of those books you read in an afternoon and forget by dinner, the characters stick with you. The imagery in the dream sections is bizarre and vividly described, don't rush through these parts, picture it all in your mind as you read it. The climax is even more so. My only real complaint, isn't necessarily anything wrong with the book, it's just my own taste. Near the beginning of the book a nightmare is described where Daniel is lying in bed, unable to get up as he sees a monster crawling along the hallway and into his room. I would like more scenes like this. Creepy and suspenseful with the protagonist having no way to fight back. But, again, that's just my personal taste. The fast paced, action horror is also very good, and very popular, so don't take my opinion as a real knock against the book. I definitely do recommend this book. If you like fast paced, action horror with touches of folklore and enough violence and gore to comfortably call the book horror, but not so much as to be overwhelming, this is the book for you. I can also see this book appealing to fans of tv series such as Angel or Grimm, only with a big dose of horror added in.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sgolsen

    Changelings. Wikipedia defines a changeling as “a child…believed to be a fairy child that had been left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies.” Well, Tinkerbell this ain’t. Think more like nightmare faerie folk. The kind with teeth and nails and a cranky disposition. Sort of like the Gremlins but much nastier. Now you have a vague understanding of the changelings in this book. Of course, they use a sort of glamour to hide their unpleasantness which is where innocent kids come into play Changelings. Wikipedia defines a changeling as “a child…believed to be a fairy child that had been left in place of a human child stolen by the fairies.” Well, Tinkerbell this ain’t. Think more like nightmare faerie folk. The kind with teeth and nails and a cranky disposition. Sort of like the Gremlins but much nastier. Now you have a vague understanding of the changelings in this book. Of course, they use a sort of glamour to hide their unpleasantness which is where innocent kids come into play. Now, my mom probably called me a monster more than a few times when I was a kid but my incredibly adorable looks weren’t actually hiding a hideous beast. But what if they were? What if my chubby cheeks hid the monster I really was? Daniel Tanner is experiencing the debilitating loss of his only child, Sam. That loss is spreading throughout the rest of his life. And when Larry Maker pops up claiming he knows what really killed Sam, Daniel’s life takes an even darker turn, one that could possibly make a monster out of him. With a diverse cast of characters, this novel will have you wanting to praise a higher power directly followed by wanting to slay children and not knowing which is right. I enjoyed this take on the changeling mythology. And I especially enjoyed the short “shout-out” to Richard Fitcher, the “hero” of another J.Z. Foster novel, Witch Hunter: Into the Outside. I’m a sucker for subtle cross-overs like that. But it makes me think that a world where both witches (and all the other nasties in Witch Hunter) and changelings exist is a hell of a world to live in.

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