Book review: The Writhing Skies – Betty Rocksteady

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The reviewing of this book has been some time in the making, mainly due to reasons of ill-health but I also needed to take a bit of a break from the blog. However, now I’m back! In black, some might say as my wardrobe consists of little beyond dark t-shirts and denim. Alas, dear reader, I’m not here to inform you of the bleak excellence of my wardrobe, instead, I’m here to tell you about Betty Rocksteady’s new novella called The Writhing Skies.

Betty Rocksteady’s latest offering is a grotesque story about transformation. From the opening chapter, The Writhing Skies will have you scratching at your skin as you turn the pages. This book gets deep under your skin, I was constantly looking for blemishes on my forearms, a slight unexplained movement under my skin, the feeling that something was growing inside of me, desperate to introduce itself to the world. This all could be down to the fact that I was high as a kite on meds for a sinus infection I developed a few days prior, or, it could be down to Betty’s excellently vivid descriptions? Who knows? I’ll leave it for you to decide.

Strong characters drive a story forward, such is the case here. We follow Sarah as she initially escapes her apartment and goes in search of boyfriend Derek-someone she believes will make everything okay. Does Derek have any answers? Sarah experiences numerous feelings throughout the story as she searches for answers in a strange world where reality is quickly disintegrating into a slimy, gooey mess. I have a problem with extreme horror when the gore is gratuitous and there is a lot of gore in The Writhing Skies but it never feels this way. It’s gross, for sure, but in such a way that you will want to keep reading to find out if things can possibly get any worse or more bizarre.

There are a few different themes explored in The Writhing Skies: Pregnancy, relationships, body image are just three I picked up on. I also loved the illustrations that end each chapter, it adds another layer of depth to the narrative as a whole, they really are quite fabulous and Betty is indeed some talent.

I really dig Betty Rocksteady’s work, I think the only thing stopping me giving this the full 5 stars was that to me The Writhing Skies felt more like an extended scene, a glimpse of something bigger as opposed to a story with a start, a middle and an end. Overall, I have no hesitation in recommending this weirdly colourful, bizarre and gruesome novella.

4/5 weeping lesions from the Grim Reader.

Pick up a copy from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing or at the Zon.

When you have finished reading this perhaps listen to…

Out of the Voiceless Grave by The Lurking Fear: HP Lovecraft inspired death metal featuring members of At The Gates! Yes, please! Why this recommendation? Well, this album is a fast, bruising, relentless assault on the ears. There is no pause for breath throughout its pummeling and with song titles such as Tentacles of Blackened Horror, you pretty much know what you are in for. Grim Reader approved and the perfect soundtrack to The Writhing Skies.

 

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