‘A Dark Covenant’ is a Gothic horror short story filled with foreboding and dramatic tension, embellished with macabre scenes that cause the reader to hold their breath and open their eyes just that little bit wider as they read.
The writing is evocative, subtly appealing to the reader’s senses while appearing to tell the story in a quite straightforward fashion. The terror of the climax is heightened by the profound contrast with the main character’s indifference toward his situation, and with the pathos of his childhood experiences.
This outstanding short read demonstrates not only the author’s versatility, but also her ability to draw extraordinary horror stories out of the most ordinary of circumstances.
Macabre and unsettling, this psychological thriller seems disjointed and strangely sequenced until the strands of the story start to pull together.
That which at first appears to be gratuitous splatter for spaltter’s sake turns out to be far more complex psychological horror brought about by a deadly combination of individual volition and a dark power that cannot be explained.
The reader is shocked and disoriented by the twists and turns, just as the characters are, feeling as though the story lurches from one disturbing and not-quite-fully developed scene to the next without sufficient resolution. As the story begins to gel, and the seemingly unrelated events all start to lead to the climax of the story, the reader begins to realise that this was an entirely deliberate and quite complex strategy, designed to emotionally immerse the reader in the confusion and fear evoked by both the actions of the antagonists and the experiences of the victims.
Gory and unpredictable, this is a dark and disturbing read.
Chilling, suspenseful and macabre, this is everything I look for in a horror story. Building tension bursts into moments of fear, like waves on the ocean carrying the reader on peaks and troughs of anticipation and dread. The reader frequently finds themselves releasing their breath in relief, unaware that they’ve been holding it, only for it to happen again the next time the action of the story escalates.
The main characters are likeable and relatable, which positions the reader to feel empathy for them when they find themselves in a situation they cannot control, and which promises most unfavourable outcomes. Because they are such normal people, it reminds the reader that this is the kind of thing that could potentially happen to anyone, regardless of their good intentions or innocence in making mistakes.
The writing is excellent, the imagery is precise and well-crafted, and the storyline is unpredictable. All in all, this is a shudderingly good read.
It’s common knowledge that taking drugs isn’t good for you — and you should never take something if you don’t know what it is.
This chilling tale reinforces that premise in a very powerful and graphic way. The portrayal of seedy drug dealers and drug use may seem stereotypical to some but is probably quite accurate and certainly feels realistic to the reader.
Camille’s experiences when she swallows what is in the black vial are shocking on both a physical and a psychological level. The author combines the horror of the unknown with a very cleverly constructed sense of dread to position the reader to fear for Camille and anticipate possible outcomes that may await her.
At times grungy, at other times macabre, this a short but effective dark suspense story.
This is a dark, horrifying tale that grasps the reader in its talons and holds them captive, right to the end.
The different parts of the narrative seem disjointed, and to not make sense at first, but that is the intended effect: this is a nightmare, a living hell, flashes of lucidity and terror that draw the reader into the different kinds of horror that the central characters each find themselves in.
The story lurches and rolls, disorienting and impossible to predict, reflecting the turmoil of the main characters’ deepest thoughts and feelings. As the story plays out, the strands of the narrative pull together to create structure and resolution from the mayhem.
The one thing that really annoyed me was the failure of the author to differentiate between ‘slither’ and ‘sliver’, using the one word for both meanings as though the second does not exist on more than one occasion. This may seem like nit-picking, but it demonstrates yet again that there is no substitute for a good editor if an author wishes to avoid frustrating their readers.
This is not a book for the faint of heart, but it is certainly a gripping read.
This story tells of the early life of Alexia Semiramis, a young woman who learned the soul-destroying power of both words and abuse as a child before she ever discovered that the gifts that made her different than everyone else were magical.
It is an interesting exposé of the psychology of one who has suffered at the hands of those who should have loved and treasured her, and of one who resents the qualities that set them apart from others in the first place. While it is fictional, there is much written here that will ring true for anyone who has been bullied or abused.
The writing is bold and defiant, creating an angry tone that begs for justice. Thus, this short story sets the stage for the Semiramis series, and creating a strong sense of intrigue and anticipation as to how Alexia might embrace her gifts and use them to take control of her life.