more . . .

All Reviews

next »

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating on


The Darkness Within Demands to Be Fed

By SovereignofAshes, author of The Vorrgistadt Saga

Jul 12, 2018: Disclaimer: This review was written as part of a review swap. This review will also focus exclusively on the first book of the on-going series.

First Impressions: I usually like to mention other stories, movies, or video games that flow within the same vein as the work I’m reviewing with this section, but I’m going to have to throw a wrench into this right now. With a story focusing on survival horror in a zombie apocalypse, most would expect the compulsory The Walking Dead, Resident Evil, or one of the many works of the late George A. Romero to be mentioned but I’m going to have to disappoint you right now. I’ll state the ones I feel are appropriate now and through my explorations below you might find out why I chose these: Silent Hill 2, Jacob’s Ladder, and The Shining.

Content: Right at the beginning of the story we are surrounded in the dark atmosphere that will be clawing and chasing after us for the remainder of our shortened lives. A gliding, moonlit tour of a little Ohio town seeping with sin whilst having turned its back on the edifices of higher morality. This sleepy little collection of souls, not just in this town but throughout the state, are just like any other collection of souls throughout America; those carbon copies of everyone you pass by during your daily grind. Behind vain protestations of righteousness, the desire to cloak themselves in mundanity, and drunk to the gills on tiny perversions, these people are just like so many others.

Beneath a rusted October-moon, we are introduced to the first of the characters we will be following throughout this twisted and macabre tale. Nothing is held back as we are deposited into the mind of Russell, a self-styled saviour of damned souls who redeems with sharpened blades and bodily violations. From this first meeting with our depraved protagonist, the story doesn’t let up one bit. No punches are pulled as the fevered pitch of madness reaches a boiling point, then breaks through to whole new levels. The first character we get to skin-ride may be a predator, but when push comes to shove it is his own pragmatic self-importance that saves him from a fate worse than death. A choice we will become more familiar with as the story goes on.

In rapid succession we are introduced to several other characters that fill out the cast. We will get to stare directly into the face of viciousness behind the eyes of Gina; a talented stripper—tough-as-nails—whose desire to get out of the flesh-dealing trade makes her bite off more than she can chew. Stephen, a teacher who doesn’t just like to mould young minds but also steal their innocence, as well. Amanda, a spotty-drunk who indulges in far-too-many poor life choices. Finally, we are introduced to Charlie, an ex-con whose inflated sense of ethics brings him to take things way too far.

From the first moment we are introduced to a blood-thirsty serial killer the storytelling of this story is top-notch. The simple fact that the author can turn an otherwise repugnant personality into a character we start to root for within the first chapter proves the talent behind the words.

At first blush, the corrupted and infested antagonists of this tale seem like so many other of the undead. The first few twists that are apparent are that not all of the corrupted are mindless, animated cadavers. These zombies have a predatory instinct and depending on what is left of their bodies they can be both relentless shamblers and fast-paced killing machines. More than that, as hinted at both in the title and what we come to see through the horror-filled eyes of Gina, the source of this outbreak may not be what we’ve come to expect from most outbreak tales.

What if the vector of the outbreak isn’t some contamination from without, but a contamination from within? What if what separates us from the predatory dead is a simple choice whether or not to indulge the monstrous darkness that lurks within all of us? What if you had to exist in a world turned to a living hell by the bad choices of others, while always having to exist one bad choice away from losing your own very humanity? What if there was a final judgment for us all, not from some celestial or infernal figure but through the very sin that oozes out of our very minds? This is the ultimate shadow that looms in the darkness of this morality-play. Each of the characters in this story is tainted to the core, but something sets them apart from the rest, at least for now. How much longer until they submit like all the rest to the ravenous darkness that demands to be fed inside?

Particulars: This story is currently up to five books released on-line, so far, and the sixth is in the works. Books one, two, and three have been released in paperback form through Amazon. There are audio readings of the story available on-line. As such, this story has been through several revisions and is formally edited. I can’t complain one bit about the grammar, spelling, nor the content.

As mentioned above, this story is dark and doesn’t hold any punches as it explores the darkest parts of the human condition. For some this may be a godsend and for others it may touch uncomfortably upon things in ones past. The mature content that is present in the story are each done tastefully and nothing is trampled into haphazardly. If you can get through the second chapter, you can get through the rest of the story. Despite whatever negative situations may befall the characters—or that they may cause due to their own follies—it is always important to understand the larger morality-play that is going on within the story.

Conclusion: I don’t mention this easily, but Don’t Feed the Dark is both a masterpiece and something revolutionary for the darker side of web fiction. The storytelling is top-notch and surprising with its numerous twists and turns. The author has been committed to telling this tale for almost a decade with regular weekly updates and for that perseverance they must be whole-heartedly commended. I’ve always been a fan of the horror genre and I feel that this story is one of the best out there.

I’ve followed Don’t Feed the Dark for two years now and will continue to do so into the future. If you haven’t tried this story yet, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. If you have tried it out before, you need to turn off the lights in your house, lock and barricade your doors, then give it another shot to get caught up to the latest releases. Remember how to deal with the festering dead, a second shot to the brain-case is always needed.

3 of 4 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Register or log in to rate this review.

next »

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating onrating half


A Journey of Enlightenment and Discovery Across a Mountain Pass with a Spiritual Guide

By Kraken Attacken, member

Mar 16, 2018: The metaphor in the title is something I would use to describe this story.

While the themes, pacing and substance of the story are all amazing, there are a few niggling things that persist in terms of scope, and are satisfied juuuusst a bit too slowly at times. I’d like to start with some metaphor, but if you’d like to skip all that, then jump over the block below.

The harsh mountain winds, the chilling colds, and the dangers and pitfalls at every turn. But a gentle and guiding force drives you on, encouraging you to scale the mountains heights, discover the depths of it’s crags, and to delve deeper and deeper into it’s secrets.

Your guide whispers words of encouragement to you as you press on, making steady progress. You sometimes come upon amazing discoveries, basking in the quiet wonder of what you bear witness to. Sometimes you meet upon other travellers, both friend and foe, but you always learn something valuable from the experience. Sometimes you stumble, but with that steady hand guiding you, you always find your footing, and press on.

A lonesome journey, but never truly alone.

While all of this is indeed true, there are times where, in this harsh but comforting journey where you will struggle to fully grasp the world beyond the mountain. This lack of understanding is a non-issue for some who traverse, but a perplexing conundrum for others, and discovering artefacts of the world beyond only leaves you hungry for more.

The Zombie Knight Saga is, in my opinion, a story about identity. The story starts with a boy at the end of his rope, who has lost his sense of identity. Within the first few pages, he is rescued from himself by his new forever friend, an ancient, wise, and ‘magical’ mentor, who begins to help our MC Hector to piece himself back together. But as with any situation where one, with help, takes the hammer to the anvil of their own soul, there will be setbacks, there will be harrowing experiences.

And therein lies the dark, sombre, yet inspiring nature of this story. Through the many themes the story presents, like servants and reapers, emergence and soul power, a picture is painted that largely portrays a journey of personal growth and upliftment. The reaper encourages the servant, the servant inspires the reaper, and vice-versa, on and on, the two sharing agency in one another’s personal growth.

And it isn’t simply the struggles, it is the constant reforging of the MCs identity, and the strength he works hard to gain that give this journey it’s gravitas. As Hector’s reaper, Garovel, once states to him very early on in the story:

"We respond by becoming better."

While this interplay of personal growth and discovering and achieving new heights of power and understanding through trails and ordeals is fascinating, invigorating even, the scattered glimpses of the world at large can be frustratingly sporadic.

George Frost has painting an amazing world, it can be very slightly annoying sometimes when cultures, peoples, practices and ideologies are ephemeral at best, absent at worse.

This barely detracts from the amazing quality of the story, but does make the story feel a touch myopic at times. I must admit that this issue is slowly being solved, but that slight lack of full depth in the scope of the wider world can be like the few brambles that might prick you in an otherwise paradisaical wonderland.

Let me be specific here. The problem isn’t permanent, it’s just a bit persistent. Unless I’m some disaffected narcissist, I’m gonna have some knowledge of the aforementioned highlights of this planet I live on. While there is much cultural depth in the story, it isn’t as ubiquitous as one might like.

All in all, the story is a must read if you are looking for an excellent dark fantasy which deals with triumph of growth, identity, ideals in spite of hopelessness, and sensible and rules based power fantasy.

2 of 4 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Register or log in to rate this review.

next »

the_author() rating onrating onrating onrating offrating off


Awkward Execution Meets Interesting Premise

By Carcharocles, author of The Revelation

Aug 11, 2017: Two disclosures: Most of this review focuses on the chapter Demon Night, as well as the first entry into Dinner and a Movie. This won’t be indicative of the serial as a whole. This review was done as part of a review exchange.

Don’t Feed the Dark describes itself as an apocalyptic zombie series, but that’s a bit misleading. The zombies in the story are a rather unique take on the genre, being halfway between simple undead and mutant creature; it’s a fresh take on the genre, but could use some work, at least in the early chapters.

The biggest problem with the story is that the author focuses too much on the details. He’ll spend an entire paragraph describing an individual zombie in such a way that breaks the flow of the story. Although he improves quite a bit in the first five entries, he doesn’t seem to have formed a balance between narrative and description—it’s mostly tell rather than show. He can also be rather wordy at times, forming sentences that seem overly long and clumsy. He improves rather quickly in this regard, but it can be hard to look past these flaws.

The story itself seems interesting. It begins with a serial killer—an unlikeable character with some rather stereotypical "symptoms," breaking into a house to take a life, only to find himself fighting for his own and that of his intended victim’s—if only temporarily on her part. This can be off-putting to readers who would prefer their heroes have at least something about them they can root for, but it fits the setting well. After all, what zombie movie doesn’t have that one psychopathic character wreaking havoc on the dead and living alike? However, the story shifts away from him and his "victim" after only four entries, moving on to a different character and setting entirely. While this would not necessarily be a bad thing, the two chapters don’t have much in common, and the rather sexual nature of the second chapter’s first entry stands in stark contrast to the graphic events that preceded it.

It’s not that this is a bad thing—it just won’t suit everyone’s tastes. Fans of B horror flicks will likely love this serial, especially since that fifth entry lacks many of the pitfalls of the first chapter. However, it won’t attract many readers outside of its rather narrow base—fans of the Romero movies will likely find it cheap. Instead, this story will likely appeal mainly to the fans of 80’s exploitation flicks and low-budget zombie films. I recommend it for those fans, although there’s no reason for other horror fans to avoid it.

4 of 5 members found this review helpful.
Help us improve!  Register or log in to rate this review.

next »