Sparrow Rock by Nate Kenyon – Book Review [Eroldren]
Eroldren reviews Nate Kenyon’s third horror novel published by Leisure Horrors, Sparrow Rock.
“First time horror book, first time I’ve been hankering for more gruesome thrills. Kenyon has finally done it for me.” – The Founding Fields
Truth be told that I’ve never bothered reading anything out from the horror genre, let alone drawn to being thrown into the middle of a modern day post-apocalyptic world. While yes I’ve read novels that have partly dealt with horrific matters in my range of read SF/F titles, yet never have they ever given off an atmosphere of fear beyond getting perked in the immersion of “cool and wicked moments.”
They were just a group of high school kids looking for a place to party. They didn’t know the end of the world was coming. Now, alone and trapped below ground in a state-of-the-art bomb shelter, they are being stalked–and the creatures that come for them through the dirt and ash are like nothing anyone has ever seen before.
There is a new ruling life-form on earth, and these six humans are the only remaining prey.
Welcome to your worst nightmare. Welcome to…
Nate Kenyon, a finalist for the 2006 Bram Stoker Award for his debut novel Bloodstone and author of various other praiseworthy titles such as the likes of Bone Factory, The Reach and his SF novella Prime. Already he had a range of interesting titles to pick from, but it wasn’t his original fiction that drew me into his own work initially, instead it was his most recent work that really caught my attention: tie-in fiction for Blizzard Entertainment. Particularly when word came that he was taking over authorship of Spectre from Keith R.A. DeCandido, the long-waited sequel to StarCraft: Ghost: Nova that promise to cover the events of Blizzard’s vaporware title StarCraft: Ghost. So during a live Q&A session with the author I thought to ask the standard question which of his Horror book should start off with and Sparrow Rock was his answer. Reasons were that it was something due to its apparent popularity in its reception and fans taken aback by the ending. And after reading it I certainly see now why that was case.
The imagery depicted here had painted a vivid enough picture of the harrowing calamity as though you were witnessing it firsthand. While the group – Pete, Tessa, Sue, Jay, Jimmie and Dan – are able to survive behind the protection of the bunker’s walls from the nuclear fallout trying to find some scene of living but witnessing this tightknit bunch enduring the consequences of ill-fated decisions was another fascinating ride. You’ll understand all of these isolated, emphatic characters during this troublesome nuclear apocalypse. And on a side note, the story does bear some common plot elements on the antagonist side of thing that I would’ve recognized from other media and stories elsewhere, noticing them didn’t detract me from by enjoyment of the book.
Even though Sparrow Rock is designated as part of the horror genre, the type of horror depicted here of the sort that of a spine chilling awe that can perhaps gradually effect your mind-set. Not the stuff displayed in the majority of Black Library’s range of titles typically seen (e.g. visceral warfare and violence, torture, daemon summoning, betrayals) conducted by the Space Maine or their Chaos counterparts.
To fall back on that ending twist that I mention beforehand… Let’s say it really left me slightly wide-eyed; something baffling that nobody could have anticipated on the first time around. Even now I’m still trying to comprehend a little bit how and when the oddities fit together. There are a handful of other revelations here-and-there, but the one in mind it really the big one anyone can look forward to learning.
One thing that was much to my surprise was how brisk and the concise the reading pace of Sparrow Rock came across with me. Even with a lengthy reading break Sparrow Rock had felt it ended far too fast, as though a short story. Reflecting back, it is no way bad read but I think in order to grasp everything Kenyon had to offer I defiantly believe this book deserves a second, if not immediate reading round to savor the overall experience and world the author created here before finally putting it aside.
Nate Kenyon’s recommendation certainly lived up to its promised. Watch out for his name if you’re like myself and are seeking to expand your reading interests elsewhere away from Sci-Fi and Fantasy territory and dabble with Horror. In short, I stand by my sentiments and Kenyon’s that Sparrow Rock a solid recommendation for any strangers of horror seeking new avenues.
Overall Verdict: 9/10