Review: THE CORRUPTED KINGDOM – Jesse Galena
Posted by maddalena@spaceandsorcery
I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review.
This short collection of interconnected stories was one of the most surprisingly weird reads that I can recall – and I say this as a compliment, because it was different in so many ways from what I expected.
First and foremost there’s the choice of narrating the story backwards: as bizarre as it might look, in the end it fits with the overall mood of the events described and it adds to the atmosphere of alienation, terror and horrified wonder that permeates the narrative. The characters move across this strange land, a place of whispered legends and unspeakable horrors, in search of treasure and adventure – and maybe to test themselves against unpredictable odds. The almost fractured way in which their individual stories are told possesses the quality of a video in which stroboscopic flashes of light pierce the darkness, revealing cruel and terror-inducing scenes: there one moment, gone the next, and yet their impression lingers, just as the after-image in one’s eyes after lightning strikes.
The landscape itself is a tormented one: even something as beautiful as a city of soaring spires is not immune from twisted shapes and crumbling walls, and there are even worse places where chasms open before the feet of the unwary, or slobbering monsters chase the characters sowing death and destruction in their wake. The Lovecraftian quality of it all, combined with the fantasy setting, makes for a quick, compelling reading that leaves you wanting for more, curious about this strange place and at the same time afraid of discovering further horrors.
There are a few problems, however, like some typos and a number of repeated words in the same sentence that threaten to… break the spell, so to speak, but they are truly minor troubles in this fascinating tale, perfect for those who wish to experience something unusual.