Book Reviews

The Apple-Tree Throne by Premee Mohamed

the apple tree throne

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁

The Apple-Tree Throne is Premee Mohamed’s first novella, based on the song “The Ghost of Genova Heights” by Stars, from the album “In our Bedroom After the War.”

It is the autumnal first-person narrative of a soldier who returns from an unnamed war and is haunted by his superior officer. It takes place in an alternate England of an indeterminate era, complete with all the social mannerisms you’d expect.

The ghost himself seldom appears, so we mostly read about the effects that his haunting is having on the mind of the main character; who spends his days inserted into the spaces that his ghost used to occupy in life, while ruminating on life, death, and everything in between.

Can’t say much more without running into spoilers, but disregarding the plot, the reason why you’d want to read this book is because of its beautiful, beautiful prose.

Premee is a rare breed of writer known as a prose poet and even if “soldier haunted after the war” doesn’t pique your interest (as was the case with me*), hers is the superior level of an elegant voice that is just a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it.

*I follow Premee on Twitter and she is one of the funniest people around, precisely because of her constant and intelligent play on words. Even though the plot didn’t call to me, I just needed to read more of her words and it ended up being such a treat.

I would recommend this to: someone looking for a quick read/novella for a rainy afternoon (especially during these crisp autumn days), and also to people who want to enjoy the beautiful words of poems without necessarily having to read one.

The Apple-Tree Throne is available on Amazon for $2.99.

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Book Reviews

Watersnakes by Antonio Sandoval

Watersnakes by Antonio Sandoval

Rating: 🍁🍁🍁🍁🍁

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

This is my first introduction to Antonio Sandoval and I need MORE. 

Watersnakes could very well fall into the Weird Fiction genre. It’s hard to say much more about it without spoiling anything, but everything in this story is intentionally calibrated to make it as dreamlike, surreal, and mildly unsettling as possible.  

As summer is ending, Mila, the main character, meets Agatha, a zany pale-haired girl with unbearably attractive teeth. Her teeth are important objects in the story, which makes the whole package all the more oneiric. As summer ominously shifts into autumn, Mila falls into a number of nightmareish supernatural events. 

Just let yourself fall into this story like you would into a nap. Take the unusual things the characters say at face value, and feel free to glean your own meanings from there. (I haven’t checked if the author picked specific dream dictionary symbols but I wouldn’t be surprised if he did.) 

The art keeps it gothy with a limited color palette of stark blacks and whites and highly desaturated neutrals accented with turquoise skies and shadows, plus the occasional spatter of bright red or dark orange blood. (On that note, there are a handful of gory scenes at the end but I found them easy to stomach and I usually can’t handle that sort of thing.)

Agatha reminded me of the many paled-haired girls in dark gothicy settings such as: The Girl from the Other Side, Moorchild, Kigeki, and The Water Mirror. If you enjoyed any of those, chances are you’ll enjoy this too. 

I would recommend this to: fans of the gothic genre, someone looking for a trippy comic, and people who like dark artwork. 

This book comes out on November 20th!