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5.0 out of 5 starsNimbocumulus
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2017
The small town of Gethsemane becomes the center of attention when many of its younger members commit suicide. The once quiet town now emits a presence of doom and eeriness, experienced primarily by a handful of characters. There is no doubt that this is a horror story. The author has a way of making his characters so relatable that, as a reader, I was instantly drawn into the ominous world of Gethsemane. Ghostly rumors, unconscious scribblings in a notebook and cloud formations take us further into the seemingly unreal atmosphere. Death knows no boundaries here. There is a monster to be confronted and conflicts to be resolved. What I enjoyed the most about this book was the very strong sense of emotion that runs like a current between the characters. Isolation, the confusion of relationships, and the bond between parent and child are explored and exposed, raw as nerves. I was moved by this book, and I am greatly looking forward to reading more by this author.
Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2011
The town of Gethsemane, Ohio, is rocked by a string of suicides that some are calling The Suicide Virus. Meanwhile, troubled young teenager Steven Wrigley meets the girl of his dreams. But does his new lady love have some sort of connection to the suicide plague?
Some people seem to be afraid of the bizarro genre, thinking it's full of things like talking penises running for president, super heroes wielding magical dildos, people having sex with fruit, and pieces of furniture having sex with one another. While this is certainly true in some cases, it is not always the case. I like to think of the bizarro as writers writing what they feel like without the constraints of a conventional publisher. This book is a perfect example.
The Sorrow King is a chilling tale of a demon-like creature, the Sorrow King, that drives teenagers to commit suicide so that it can feed on their misery and the misery their deaths cause. Andersen Prunty does a great job maintaining a creepy mood throughout as the Sorrow King tempts his victims. Up until a huge twist near the end, I could easily see the Sorrow King coming from a major publishing house. Then came the twist, which I couldn't see any major publishing house putting out.
The characters of Steven and his father are very well done. I liked the interplay between them as it nicely summed up their relationship, more like friends than father and son. The character of Elise could have used a bit more developing but I bought Steven falling for her so fast. After all, I was a hormone-driven teenage boy once.
Andersen Prunty's writing continues to impress me. I enjoyed Zerostrata quite a bit and, while it's a completely different kind of book, I enjoyed The Sorrow King even more. I almost wish I would have saved it until Halloween.
To sum things up, The Sorrow King is one the best bizarro books I've read so far and I recommend it to all the Bizarro-curious readers out there.
5.0 out of 5 starsWhy I believe Andersen Prunty practices chaos magick
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2013
This book is the reason why I believe Andersen Prunty has at least dabbled in chaos magick if not a full blown practitioner of the dark arts. As I familiarized myself with the story of Steven and his father as well as the troubled Elise, I found passages of this book seeping into my subconscious, and this is not hyperbole when I say this.
Pages before reading of the ennui and uneasy intuitions of Steven's father that something bad was about to happen, I too had a certain anxiety I couldn't tie back to any specific happening in my life. This book moved through me, wormed its way into my mind and worked its dark magic in a way that I believe only someone attuned to the workings of chaos magick could manage.
The Obscura, or hideaway that Elise uses to escape her troubles, could be a metaphor for any number of things: drugs, sex, the womb. In a sordid fashion, it is all of these things.
Suicide is a strange phenomenon. It is almost always a temporary solution to an enduring struggle. Many human beings romanticize suicide as the ultimate 'last word', their way of showing people who have wronged them, a way to make one's enemies and neglectful friends fall into line once and for all and love them the way they couldn't while they were alive. The problem with this is that they are not around to see it, and why they can't reconcile this obvious fact with reality eludes all reason for me. The eponymous antagonist of this book preys on such lacking reason. He is a seducer of human strays, and far more menacing than Freddy Krueger who kills through similar methodologies.
Andersen Prunty is an interesting character in literature. He's not entirely a horror author, nor if he a straightforward Bizarro author. He is a gatekeeper of his own literary fount, where he can employ many shades of genre, some all at once. The result is almost always clear and concise. Just as Prunty is a gatekeeper of genre, he is also a surgeon with a precision of words and visual direction that puts him in the company of such cult luminaries as Brian Keene, Graham Masterton, Jack Ketchum and Edward Lee. Where he goes next is anyone's guess, but he's well on his way to being celebrated for his dearth of talent.