Review: Sinners by Eka Waterfield (5/5)

Title: Sinners

Author: Eka Waterfield

Rating: 5/5

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy

Blurb:

Beautiful. Predatory. Self-obsessed to an extreme degree. All of those can be applied to the sidhe, the ancient rulers of the worlds of fae. They are also addicts – and symbols of human pollution are their drug of choice. Toxic and industrial waste, chemicals and radiation are sweeter to the sidhe than the most exceptional vintage.
Noble Lord Niavin of House Arkezea is as close to a traditional drug lord as the fae worlds will ever see. Between the scheming of his opponents, fickle customers, and the constant need to explain his strange opposition to carnal depravities, Niavin’s hands are always full. And of course, his noble peers are ever happy to create even more trouble…

About a year ago, I saw someone searching for an asexual person who could tell them if their ace character was represented in a proper, respectful way. Being asexual myself, I volunteered to look over her manuscript for her. While the story sounded very interesting, I didn’t expect much from it, but I enjoy critiquing and making other people’s stuff better, so I thought I would have a good time helping out regardless.

I vastly underestimated what I was getting myself into.

I got to read Sinners when it was in its early drafts. Waterfield is not a native English speaker, but I couldn’t tell. It was better than many other manuscripts I’ve read, though it still needed some editing. The word-craft was beautiful and elegant in a way I had not expected, especially for a story this dark. Waterfield’s description of scenery and characters is beautiful and evocative, her sentences beautifully created to conjure images of the fantastic and disturbing.

What truly struck me were the intricacies within the plot. Waterfield does not simply tell you that the sidhe are sneaky and scheming, but she shows you, keeping you on the edge of your seat and constantly guessing as you try to figure out what these devious fae are up to. The foreshadowing is great, and when the reveals come, they are shocking — though you feel a fool, because you should have known this all along.

I loved this story. I read it four times, and I never got bored. Even if the plot never changed, the story always held my interest with an iron fist. After spending so long with this novella, I probably have some level of bias, but I adored this story, and I am eager to have others read it, as well. Sinners is a fast-paced, gruesome, and beautiful story well-suited for lovers of twisted fairytales and dark fantasy.

Unsalvageable

Once upon a time, I was a princess locked in a tower, guarded by a fearsome dragon. It was for my own protection; everyone said so. I was the key to the kingdom, with powers so great and terrible that they could be used for evil if the wrong people got a hold of me. I spent my days entertaining myself with feats of magic, but one can only take so many years of that before one grows tired.

My father visited me every week. Sometimes he would bring me new things to do, things I could help him with. It felt good to do something for my father. I enchanted his weapons and crafted creatures out of dust for his army.

One day, I asked if I could go home with him.

He refused me, but every time he came by, I would ask him again. The idea of leaving my prison of stone became an obsession. I wanted to learn more, experience more.

It wasn’t long before I attempted to escape. The dragon, always my friend, always fighting the evil beasts that came to kidnap me, snatched me up before I could make it to the bridge. I sensed its apology when it put me back into my room.

When my father found out about my attempted escape, he was furious. He shouted. He struck me. He had my windows barred and kept guards at my door to stop me if I should try to leave again.

After three days, I opened the door, and I blasted the guards with fire so hot their armor melted to their skin.

When I arrived outside, the dragon attempted to take me again, but I grabbed it by the horns. I whispered to it, pleaded with it, and filled its head with the promise of a world beyond this, of freedom and power – and he took off from my tower, and we flew to the kingdom.

Fighting my way to the throne room was easy. I destroyed those who were in my path, and the monsters that I had created to aid my father turned on the castle guards. It was slaughter, a cacophony of my rage released on the kingdom. When I found my father, he begged me not to do this. He told me to stop.  You’re my child, my princess, he told me. You don’t need to do this.

I was bored of his talk, and I watched as his limbs ripped from his body, as if quartered by invisible horses.

As I found my proper place on the throne, I watched knights scramble away, grabbing my father’s disembodied limbs as if his life might be salvageable from the wreckage. But all the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put him back together again.

Devil, help me.

demon

Blood drips from Garan’s mouth, dying the snow red. He holds his hand against his stomach, refusing to let his intestines drop to the ground.

“God, help me.”

The words gurgle from his throat, a gasped whisper in the air. The battle rages on around him, and he thinks he sees his brother fighting off two of the raiders. They are pushing him back. They will slay him, kill him like a dog like they have killed Garan.

No.

“Dear God, do not let me die.”

Continue reading

Spawn gets its first reviews, and I begin screaming uncontrollably.

Spawn CoverLast Monday, I published my first short story, Spawn. Eight days later, I got my first review from Antonio Simon Jr., an author at Goodreads.

With a five-star rating, Antonio says:

This short story is the author’s first published work, and it is, in a word, excellent. The writing is brisk, crisp, and visceral. The characterization, for so short a piece, is direct and appropriate. Alice is emotionally detached from her work, depicted not as a savage murderer but as an artist, one who contrives artful and fittingly ironic deaths for each of her contracts. We also see how she succumbs to her fears when she realizes the tables have turned and she is no longer the hunter but the hunted.

Definitely a good read. Give it a shot, you won’t be disappointed.

Did I start screaming?

Yeah.

And then I saw I had another review over at Amazon:

I stumbled upon this quite by accident, but I am so glad that I did. Spawn is everything that I have been looking for in my fantasy writing: gripping, graphic, and above all, GOOD. It is simultaneously real and surreal, if you can believe that. Yes, the story focuses around people having such strong emotions that they manifest, but other than that… totally believeable. Also, this is only 99 cents? Let’s be real, I can’t even get a candy bar for 99 cents anymore. And this is infinitely more satisfying than any sweet. I look forward to reading anything and everything that follows this impressive first step.

I’m really glad my roommates aren’t here, because they would think I’m insane from all the squealing and squawking I’ve been doing.

I’m used to getting reviews – good reviews, too – on my fanfiction, but that’s a very specific niche and community in which I worked. Getting sparkling reviews from people on my fanfiction felt – and continues to feel – amazing. But getting a glowing review on something that is completely, one-hundred percent my own?

That feels fantastic.

Spawn is currently up on Smashwords as a pick your price option (which feels appropriate for a short story) or for $0.99 on Amazon.

Last Day to Download SPAWN for free!

Spawn CoverUh-oh! Today is the last day you’ll be able to download my new short story, Spawn, for free. Hurry over to Smashwords and get your copy! When you’re finished, I’d really appreciate if you would take a couple seconds to leave a review on Smashwords, Amazon, or Goodreads (or all three, if you have exceptionally strong feelings or large amounts of free time).

The Seven Holy Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins abound in a world where the strength of one’s personality births great beasts into the world. Those with these spawn are both revered and feared in a world where one’s character is the greatest weapon of all. 

Alice, the rare origin of two spawn, is a cocky, accomplished assassin who values beauty and art over all else. But when an unknown monster begins stalking her in the dark, she remembers what it is like to fear.

Thanks to everyone for reading and everyone who supported me. You guys rock.

Spawn: My Debut Work

Spawn Cover

The Seven Holy Virtues and Seven Deadly Sins abound in a world where the strength of one’s personality births great beasts into the world. Those with these spawn are both revered and feared in a world where one’s character is the greatest weapon of all.

Alice, the rare origin of two spawn, is a cocky, accomplished assassin who values beauty and art over all else. But when an unknown monster begins stalking her in the dark, she remembers what it is like to fear.

Spawn is my debut work, a short story at 7,500 words. You can download it for free at Smashwords. And if you read it, and you like it – or hate it or love it or want to burn it or worship it – you should leave a review there and (or) on Amazon. As my first work, this is really important to me, and I appreciate every one of you that helps me out with this. If you like it, share it with your friends, give them a link, print it off and burn it together – whatever you want. Just share it.

Thanks, everybody!