“Ex Libris The Eyes of Madness, simple reviews from a simple reader…”
Zakk reviews The Eighth by Stephanie M. Wytovich , 260 pages published by Dark Regions Press November 29th, 2016.
“He laced his fingers in between her own and led her back to the car. She moved slowly, but females normally did when they walked hand in hand with a demon. Like any good poison, sin takes time to work its way through the body, infecting it cell by cell. By the time he got Rhea where he needed her, she’d be pulsing with wickedness.”
After Paimon, Lucifer’s top soul collector, falls in love with a mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, he desperately tries everything in his power to save her from the Devil’s grasp. But what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when he has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help? Can Paimon survive the consequences of working with the Seven Deadly Sins-sins who have their own agenda with the Devil—or will he fall into a deeper, darker kind of hell?
“Suicide ran in her family, and she couldn’t help but wonder what it felt like to taste a bullet.”
First Impressions (judging the book by it’s cover)
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an author who’s name I’ve seen consistently floating around many readers circles, always mentioned in high regard as an entertaining author and someone to look out for. Up until now I haven’t taken the opportunity to get to know her brand of dark fiction, so I am quite excited to be cracking this book, The Eighth from Dark Regions Press, open.
Browsing her author page I see many amazing covers that I pray are respective of her work and style. The imagery is beautiful yet unsettling, very, the more I look at it. Following suit, the cover to The Eighth is gorgeous, and enticing. Hinting at a dark and emotional ride. That would do fine by me.
It’s my understanding that a lot of Stephanie’s output is poetry so I guess I am expecting fluid prose of a lyrical nature, no pressure though. Tell me a story, show me some sights.
Damn, I hope I’m not setting to lofty of a pedestal to set this read on. Here we go…
“Her three story home, stared her down as wind shook its cracked, red shutters. The siding needed a good wash, but no amount of water would cleanse the house of its filth. The demons that resided inside were ones that she refused to make peace with, and no matter how many times she’d looked them in the eyes, she still refused to believe they were there. Her father. Her mother. The whole place reeked of death, of abandonment, yet there she was, crawling back to it like a scared little girl. But it was all she knew. She’d grown up here, spent twenty-two years breathing in the stale country air and yet she couldn’t hate it because she didn’t know anything else. This small town was her world, and in a place where everyone knows everybody else’s business, Rhea knew it was only a matter of time before word spread and rumors started…again”
Final Thoughts (judging the book by it’s content)
I simply adore become cradled and swept away by a narrative. I know, I know, you’re thinking ‘yeah bro, I like to read too.’ But an immediate connection to a read doesn’t come as often as I’d like. Although I usually find a way to get my claws in and find my place, a synchronicity I don’t have to force is a beautiful thing.
Enter The Eighth, Stephanie M. Wytovich’s debut novel and my first Wytovich read (first of many to be sure). And all I can respond with is, where the hell have I been? The Eighth is a pretty stellar ride, catching my interest immediately and holding it throughout. Stephanie stitches together a gorgeous tale of love, lust, and torment that plays out through almost hypnotic prose, escorting the reader back and fourth between an awesome vision of hell and an equally nightmarish hell-on-earth.
I connected early with the cast of characters. Paimon, the epitome of tortured servant, Rhea, Paimon (and the Devil’s) conquest. Arazel, the final piece in this love quadrangle… their arcs take unexpected turns all the while visiting stunning backdrops of suffering. While the destination feels incomplete (in the case of Paimon there’s definitely more story to tell) the journey through this moment in time is exceptional and I ache to see where we go from here.
I’m glad to say that I am no longer missing the boat on Wytovich’s work, I plan on making my acquaintance her back catalogue.
The Eighth by Stephanie M. Wytovich, is a worthy purchase. 5/ 5
Zakk is a big dumb animal!
**Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and/ or publisher and I am reviewing it voluntarily. These are my honest, unbiased feelings. I did not receive any sort of compensation.
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night.
She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.
Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness, Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.
Learn more about Stephanie at stephaniewytovich.com and follow her on twitter @JustAfterSunset
Praise for The Eighth
“The Eighth is a stellar horror debut from Stephanie Wytovich. An intimate, painful map of personal and literal hells that would make Clive Barker proud.”- Christopher Golden, New York Times best-selling author
“Stephanie Wytovich’s The Eighth is a savage tale of betrayal, regret, and the dark side of love in its many forms. The poetic imagery she sprinkles throughout balances the brutality with beauty.” Chris Marrs, author of Wildwoman and Everything Leads Back to Alice
“A fierce and emotionally intense debut.”- Craig DiLouie, author of Suffer the Children
“A brilliant debut from a major new talent, full of darkness, fire, and devilry. Indeed, the sins in this novel are so well realized that I fear just a little for Ms. Wytovich’s soul.”- Rio Youers, author of Westlake Soul and Point Hollow
“The Eighth is one of the most exciting books to come along in 2016 and one of the best debuts of the last decade or so. Wytovich is at the top of her game and gaining momentum like a runaway freight train, and you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you miss out on this monumental and hugely entertaining read.” – This is Horror
You can pre-order this book through Dark Regions Press website in e-book, trade paperback, and hardcover deluxe signed collector’s edition. They will be shipped in November.
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