“The Special Ones” Review


Blake Herbert

“The Special Ones”

Hannah Elstro, MVC Writer/Photographer

If anyone is looking for some good horror books they may have missed during the recently departed spooky season, “The Special Ones” by Em Bailey has you covered. Not only is the premise of this book unique and intriguing, in a morbid sort of way, but the writing catches the audience and holds them there until the book is finished.

At first glance, living on a farm traditionally would not seem to be adequate material for a good horror book, until Bailey adds the way the main character has been living there. Kidnapped by an insane cult leader, she has been forced to act like the reincarnation of Esther, one of the four “special ones,” giving advice to followers of the cult and being watched remotely by him 24/7. The only way she has been saved from meeting an unknown fate he calls renewal is with the aid of the other three trapped with her and her remembering book. 

“The Special Ones” opens two years after Esther (she does not dare even think her real name) is kidnapped. The book builds an amazing atmosphere, adding on just a thousand tiny details about Esther’s life over time that just elevate the horror to a new level, such as the fact that she is not allowed to leave the house because Esther’s areas are all inside the home. Even more disturbing is how the main character has also become Esther in a way, adopting this persona in which she changes her emotions to make them more “Esther-like” and scrutinizes every word she says, under the ever-looming threat of renewal.

Everything changes when the new Lucille comes, at first angry and terrified, but soon almost vicious. She hates Esther, and tries to get rid of her; and she is successful. Esther is called for renewal, and faces her unknown destiny with grace, but some things may not be as they seem… and she may have a chance to escape. 

The atmosphere, along with the amazing writing and even better premise, all combine to create a thrilling story that keeps the reader on their feet from beginning to end. If you love horrors, thrillers, or suspenseful books, I would definitely recommend this one. I’d give a 4.5/5 for this riveting and suspenseful story.

You can find this amazing read online, at the school library, or at the Hancock County Public Library in Greenfield.