First, let me explain why I’m suddenly on a reviewing kick when I hardly ever review anything. I recently participated in a blog tour with Jenna Fox, Dylan J. Morgan and Eric Keys. I was intrigued by these authors and the stories they told. I’ve known Jenna for a while now and was so taken by her newest story, Conceiving Evil, that I had to share my thoughts. (You can read my review here .) Dylan J. Morgan’s story, Flesh, was also added to my To Be Read list and I figured I should probably review that as well, since I liked it. (You can read my review here.) As for Eric Keys, he mentioned he was going to release Psalm of Hate as an ebook, and I am impatiently waiting for that, so when he directed me toward some of his other work, I didn’t hesitate to buy them. And I’m glad I did.
All three of these authors have helped me – gone out of their way to help me, in fact. So this is me returning the favor and helping them get the word out about their own stories. My reviews are always honest, and I am somewhat relieved that I liked all the books I’ve read by these authors. Their stories are also perfect for this time of year – Halloween – and I’m in the mood to read some scary things. I couldn’t have chosen better.
Macabre, gruesome, deranged… Grace & Blood is certainly not for everyone, but if you are a fan of the erotic horror genre, and that’s what this story is, I can’t think of a more classic example.
Grace & Blood is a short story that stays with you a long time after you’ve finished the tale. It’s the kind of story that invades your psyche and ushers in nightmares. It’s the sort of erotic horror that drills down into your own dark side and makes you vaguely uncomfortable – because you will enjoy the story, even though you know you shouldn’t.
When we meet Grace, we know right away something is wrong with her – she’s creepy without being overtly so. Without giving away too much, Grace then experiences a break from reality/possession by a supernatural evil – it’s difficult to say which because we see the events from her point of view, which clouds the issue. Seeing from her POV is also a stroke of genius, because it lends an authenticity to the story a 3rd person POV would never have.
Eric Keys evokes gruesome, horrific imagery, but even more effective is the voice of the story. Grace & Blood is written in such an exuberant tone that I couldn’t help but imagine Mr. Keys cackling in evil glee as he typed it – a tone which adds to the horror very effectively as it relays Grace’s excitement and enjoyment of what is going on.
All in all, Grace & Blood did exactly what a good erotic horror is supposed to do – it makes you squirm. It’s a quick read though not necessarily easy to read, depending on how well you embrace the dark theme, and definitely gives you a bit of a mind f*ck.
You can find Grace & Blood on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L9S5K8E
The tarot card The Tower was the image I ended up with at the end of For the Glory. It’s a card that signifies the destruction of the old and the rebuilding of the new, which may be painful but necessary in order to create a better foundation. To me, The Tower is also a prison, all the things we were taught, all the decisions we made, etc., that trap us in a life that may no longer be the right one for us. Only by submitting to the destruction can you gain freedom. An odd analogy perhaps, but fitting for this story.
Lizzie is a girl who hates everyone, including herself, so she’s not entirely likeable, but we do come to a point where we see why she is the way she is, and can’t help but sympathize. There were a few reasons given for her hatred – fear and a lack of self-esteem – but to me it seemed her hate sprung from being consumed by the others in her life. She’d been taught or bullied into thinking the way she thought, and was always held back in some way – I got the distinct sense she was trapped – and it wasn’t until Saul turned her fears back on her that those barriers started to collapse. Saul swoops into her life and becomes her Dom, and somewhere along the way teaches her that giving up the control, and the fight for control that had built her cage of hate, was the only way to set herself free.
For the Glory is not being marketed as a horror, Eric Keys’ specialty, but, to me, it still seemed to subtly fit the genre because of the theme it explores – that of embracing an inner collapse. This story does contain hate speech, which makes it a little difficult to read but portrays Lizzie’s mental state and even becomes Saul’s weapon of choice. There are BDSM themes, but not really hard-core, mostly limited to spanking.
Once again, Mr. Keys wrote a short story that stayed with me for a while after I finished reading. Maybe that’s his true specialty – shining a light on the dark places hidden within our humanity.
You can find For the Glory at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MWJ7HYE
And you find Eric Keys at his blog http://erickeys.wordpress.com/