Free on Amazon at time of review
I told you I was going to start working down my backlogged review pile.
I have to admit before I start this review that the habit towards ‘series’ sort of annoys me. If the subject matter (and writing skill) can actually handle a series, fine, but I feel like a lot of the books I attempt to read really can’t handle a series presentation but would be fine in a stand alone novel. Either the plot development isn’t there, I really don’t like the characters, or the story line really just doesn’t have enough meat to it to keep it going-but would be fine with a singular novel.
I have my theories as to why writers, especially indie writers, want to default to the series model, some of them more flattering than others.
With that said, I wasn’t aware that this book was part of a larger series when I picked it up. However, it doesn’t necessarily suffer for being an addendum to a preexisting series. It also doesn’t fall into the tropes that normally make me annoyed with the subgenre this falls into; though a lot of reviews I glanced at online try to make this an ‘undead’ horror novel, it’s not shuffling zombies-and I would much rather call this dark fantasy than horror.
Told from the perspective of the titular Reginald, the book looks primarily at the course of his life prior to World War II. Reginald really has terrible luck-luck that often puts in him a position to cross paths with a lot of bizarre things including an army of the dead in World War I and a leviathan in World War II. A great deal of this weirdness is handled as almost throw away information as the majority of his interest is discussing the manner in which his wife went missing one afternoon.
However, I actually feel that it’s these throw away details and lack of discussion that make the book work-and make it much more a dark fantasy novel than horror. I feel that a lot of writers would have fallen into the trap of hyper-emphasizing the undead army through the trenches, wanting to make them shambling horrors. They’re certainly horrific, but it’s Reginald’s essentially direct handling of them that make them more horrific-the way that they simply trail off into the mist, heading somewhere unknown, their reasons their own.
I will be honest, I don’t know if I will read the rest of the series-but mainly because I have series that I’m scarily lagging in (cough cough the River cough) and not because of the writing style. I did enjoy the read.