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Arthurian Lore: Morgan le Fay

Morgan le Fay is also known as Morgana, Morgana and is one of the most powerful enchantress from Arthurian lore. She became very popular in the modern times from the novel by Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Mists of Avalon. Some of legends have their roots in medieval times which were transformed into the novel which was incredibly popular.

Morgan probably appears the first time in literature in The Life of Merlin by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1100 -1155 AD). This text became one of the classic texts connected with the Arthurian legends. Among the stories Arthur’s of knights and adventures, Morgan is portrayed as a dark character. She often leads the heroes of the legends into danger and has a very sensual part in the stories as a seductress.

It is still open for debate concerning the legends, myths, and literature about Morgan Le Fay’s true character in the Arthurian tales. In the medieval stories, Morgan le Fay is one of the most popular, intriguing, and mysterious women connected with Camelot. She was believed to be a healer, enchantress, and a witch with many spiritual talents.

According to the tale written by Thomas Malory (1415 – 1471), Morgan was unhappily married to King Urien. She became a sexually precious woman who had many lovers – including the famous Merlin. Her love of Lancelot was unrequited and Morgan appeared to be involved either directly or indirectly with King Arthur’s death.

In the later medieval stories, Morgan le Fay was a woman who served the people with her spiritual talents changed. Morgan appeared as the daughter of the Lady Irgraine and her first husband Gorlois which made King Arthur her half-brother. She was also an adviser to Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Morgan also became Merlin’s lover and he apparently taught her witchcraft. She was a keen became a powerful witch.

In the 13th century, her role expanded in the Vulgate Cycle and Post-Vulgate Cycle. Morgan le Fay became an anti-heroine. She was cast as malicious, cruel, and an ambitious nemesis to Arthur. In these tales, Morgan was sent to a convent to become a nun but this was also the place where she started her study of magic.

One of the most important parts of her story is her unrequited affection for Lancelot. She used all of her knowledge, potent herbs and enchantments trying to make Lancelot love her. In these stories, he appears tries to resist her enchantments but eventually he succumbs to her spells and keeps him in a prison. When he gets ill and is near death she releases him. There are many different variations of this story – in some Morgan appears as seductress and in others, as a lost woman who really loves Lancelot.

The final version of the legend concerns her use of witchcraft. She is described as a witch using her spells for her own goals. In these tales, she gains the ability to transform herself into a crow, a horse, or any other black animals.

When Morgan Le Fay disappears for a considerable time, Arthur believes her dead until he meets her again and she declares she’ll move to the Isle of Avalon. Arthur discovers the rumors about a secret affair between her and Lancelot were true.

The story ends with Morgan dressed in a black hood who takes the dying Arthur to his resting place in Avalon. She seems strongly connected with death and belongs neither the world of the dead nor the world of the living.

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Greek Myth: Circe

Circe was a daughter of the Greek sun god Helios, and his wife the Oceanid Perseis. Her siblings include another powerful sorceress, Pasiphae, the wife of Midas, and their brothers Perses and Aeetes. The brothers didn’t seem to inherit any magical abilities but the niece of Circe, Medea infamous did.

Circe was one of the most powerful enchantresses of Greek mythology, who some have called a witch and others a goddess. Circe is best known as the hostess of Odysseus and his crew when they sought shelter on their return after the Trojan War.

Of the three female sorceresses, Circe, Pasiphae and Medea, it is Circe who is considered the most powerful. She concocted potions and transformed humans and animals into other shapes. She is also known for calling upon Chaos, Nyx and Hecate for assistance.

Circe was banished to the island of Aeaea and delivered there by her father, Helios using the god’s golden chariot.

Aeaea does not appear on any map and in antiquity there was great debate about where it could be found.

Circe remained an important mythological figure through until the Roman period where writers told of the Island of Aeaea as actually being the island of Ponza.

Circe lived within a stone mansion on Aeaea which was located in a forest clearing. She reportedly had her own throne and was attended by nymphs who provided flowers and herbs Circe used in her potions.

She also had a menagerie of animals including lions, bears and wolves and reportedly these wild beasts behave like domesticated animals around her. There are some stories that Circe tamed the beasts but others tell darker tales that they were once men who Circe had transformed into beasts.

One famous take involving Circe was she loved Glaucus, a minor sea deity, but Glaucus knew loved Scylla, a beautiful maiden. Circe poisoned the water in which Scylla bathed, and she was transformed into a hideous monster who later became famous for wrecking ships.

Circe is most famous for her encounter with Odysseus told by Homer in The Odyssey. Odysseus and his men landed on the island Aeaea not knowing where they were but seeking safe refuge.

Quickly it became clear that Odysseus and his men were in as much trouble as they had been previously. When one the men searched the island, came across Circe’s mansion, and they were enticed to enter by Circe herself. These unwary men ate of food given to them by Circe but as they ate they were transformed into swine.

Circe would have used her magic upon Odysseus as well, but the king of Ithaca was aided by Hermes with the god advising him about a potion to counteract that which Circe had concocted. Circe and Odysseus became lovers and Circe transformed Odysseus’s men back into their previous forms. For a year, Odysseus and his crew lived in the relative paradise on the island of Aeaea.

Eventually, Odysseus decided to leave Circe and she Circe gladly have him aid to enable to return home. Circe tells Odysseus how he can enter the Underworld and afterwards how he can safely traverse between the monster Scylla and Charybdis.

In the generation before Odysseus and his men, Circe hosted Jason and the Argonauts after Medea led the Argo to the island of Circe when Jason and his men fled from Colchis.

To enable the escape of the Argonauts from the Colchian fleet, Medea killed her own brother, Apsyrtus, and then tossed his dismembered limbs into the sea which delaying her father Aeetes, who stopped to retrieve all of the body parts of his son.

For such a crime, Medea and Jason required absolution, and Circe purified them and allowed them to continue their voyage unmolested.

Circe and Odysseus had three sons: Agrius, Latinus and Telegonus. Of these three, Telegonus is the most famous for not only being a king of the Etruscans, but Telegonus accidentally kills his father. Subsequently, Telegonus marries Penelope, while Telemachus, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, marries Circe.

Circe was apparently made Penelope, Telegonus, and Telemachus immortal through her potions and all four lived on the Islands of the Blest.

Manifestations: She is eternally young, attractive and beautiful. As a great sorceress, and can appear in any form she chooses but as a descendent of the sun god, her eyes shine with brilliant light. That is clue to her true identity.

Sacred animal: Pig

Sacred plants: Alder, nightshade, junipers and mandrake

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Tide of Stone

** I received an ARC for an honest review **

Publisher’s Description

The Time-Ball Tower of Tempuston houses the worst criminals in history.

Given the option of the death penalty or eternal life, they chose eternal life.

They have a long time to regret that choice.


Tide of Stone is a dark fiction novel by Australian horror author Karron Warren.

The protagonist of Tide of Stone is a young woman, Phillipa who has lived her entire life in the town which hosts the Time Ball Tower off-shore – a prison for the worst killers and depraved criminals who death was judged too easy to pay for their crimes. Instead, they are granted eternal life and imprisoned in the Time Ball Tower.

The town supplies the keepers (those who attend the prisoners in the Tower for one year) and has produced some of the wealthiest, famous, talented and influential ex-keepers in the history. Phillipa longs to be famous and remembered but is she willingly to do what it takes to join those keepers who have obtained glory? The dark truth of Tempuston and the Time Ball Tower might be too much for her.


Tide of Stone combines first-person narrative and journal entires that work extremely well with Warren’s skilful crafting of a horrifying tale, the naivety of the protagonist for what awaits her as keeper in the Time Ball Tower is pure storytelling magic. The potential for darkness in the hearts of all is laid bare – and the prisoners might not be the worst of them. Warren’s envisaging of the town of Tempuston and all that depend on the evil in humanity locked away in the Time Ball Tower is a morally challenging and thought-provoking read.


A must-read for fans of psychological horror, dark fiction and alternate history. Highly recommend!

** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **

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A Master of Djinn

Publisher’s Description

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, Al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world fifty years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be Al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and a familiar person from her past, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city – or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems . . .


I recently read A Master of Djinn (The Dead Djinn Universe, #1) by US fantasy author P. Djéli Clark.

A Master of Djinn follows from events of the novella A Dead Djinn in Cairo with the protagonist again being Agent Fatma and joined now by next female agent in Cairo Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, an initially unwanted partner in Agent Haida.

The case the two women are tested against is a deaths of a group of English society men worshipping the semi-legendary magician called Al-Jahiz – famous for allowing the djinn back into the world. But why holy man and supernatural leader would burn a group of socialites to death seems unfathomable. Agent Fatma and Haida don’t believe this returned Al-Jahiz is anything but imposter stirring chaos and resentment in Cairo against the English.

As Fatima and Haida investigate deeper, the dangers around them continue to mount until they must join with the supernatural entity Sitii to face the incredibly powerful Al-Jahiz who commands real power to force all djinn to his will.


P. Djéli Clark delivers a fascinating alternate history of Egypt and European nations circa 1912. The storytelling feels fresh and invigorating and the degree of detail in the complex communities of Cairo and all those who have migrated to earn their fortunes. Sometimes the plot felt as though it had wandered off track into extraneous details and others it didn’t quite seem to answer key questions clearly. Despite that, Clark writes a fabulous and highly unique story with some truly individual characters.


A fast-paced supernatural thriller, alternate history and steampunk read. Highly recommended!!

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Norse Mythology: Skadi

Skadi (Old Norse Skaði) is a frost giantess. Her name is identical to the Old Norse common noun skaði which means “harm,”. Her name may be related to the naming of landmass of “Scandinavia.”

Skadi’s domain is the highest peaks of the mountains where the snow never melts. She is an keen huntress and her bow, snowshoes, and skis are her most commonly mentioned attributes.

In the Norse cosmos, frost giants are forces of darkness, cold, and death. Skadi has particular associations with winter and was worshipped as a goddess of winter subsistence (skiing, hunting etc.).

Skadi is the daughter of the frost giant Thrazi, who died during an altercation with the Aesir gods. Skadi’s dresses in her armour and marches on Odín and the Aesir demanding reparation for her father’s death. Skadi and Odín negotiate two things of the Aesir: that the Aesir make her laugh (deemed an impossible task) and that she be provided her with her choice of husband. Both terms are met.

She hoped to marry Baldr – the handsome son of Odín and Frigg. After a trick by Odín to make her choose her husband by his feet – she marries the sea god, Njord who had the most handsome feet.

Unusual for a frost giantess, Skadi is allied with the Aesir. It is Skadi who ties a venomous snake over Loki’s head after Baldr’s death. Loki’s had boasted about being responsible for the trickery that led to her father’s death. This enmity towards Loki never faded from Skadi.

Origin: Daughter of the frost giant Theazi

Classification: Jotun or frost giantess

Manifestation: Skadi presents as a tall, strong, beautiful and athletic woman. She travels through the snow mountains on skis and snowshoes and hunts with a bow and arrows. She is often accompanied by wolves.

Attributes: Ice skates, skis, snowshoes

Creatures: Wolves, snakes

Colour: White

Realm: Skadi takes over her father’s domain called Thrymheimr but also dwells among the remote mountain peaks.

Offerings: Images of wolves and snakes. Traditional winter foods.

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** I received an ARC for an honest review **

Publisher’s Description

Take a journey into the swirling abyss of fever dreams, starry nights, and amethyst lights. Driven by lyrical prose, captivating storytelling, and pure emotion, dreamwhispers sets sail through one writer’s imagination with an unflinching stare into the condition of human beings where the shadows are sharper, and the darkness holds promises of pain.


I recently read Dreamwhispers, a collection of dark fiction by Canadian author M Ennenbach.

The collection spans contemporary dark fiction, poetry and some pieces are unique reimagining of classic folktales and legends. Some of the highlights which were stories that particularly resonated with me included the poem “Psyche and Eros”, short story “Nervous Breakdown”, “I saw it from the upstairs window” and the dark reimagining of the Grimms fairytale “Piper”.


Ennenbach provides a raw, heartfelt and honest journey into a myriad of different aspects of dark fiction- from the intensely personal to the imagined realms of fairytales. Well-written, this is a beautifully told collection of dark fiction.


A great collection of unique and varied aspects of dark fiction. A recommended read!

** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **

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Witch King

** I received an ARC for an honest review **

Publisher’s Description

Kai-Enna is the Witch King, though he hasn’t always been, and he hasn’t even always been Kai-Enna!

After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.

But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?

Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.

He’s not going to like the answers.


I recently read the dark fantasy Witch King by US author Martha Wells.

The protagonist Kai, a demon prince of the Fourth House called the Witch King who uses his touch to drain the life of his victims to fuel his own magic and life force wakes in a disembodied state to find he has been assassinated. Sacrifices are dragged into his tomb and in this disembodied state, Kai takes possession of a recently deceased sacrifice, drains the life of his captors but spares the life of Sanja, a girl prisoner who’d been taken to his tomb along with the dead. Now back in a body, Kai must find and rescue his companion the witch Ziede from a similar imprisonment. Once Ziede is rescued, the two rely on Sanja to explain the world they have woken into and begin their quest to find and rescue Ziede’s lover Tahren who is separated from them both and unreachable by magic.

The events put in motion by Kai’s search for answers and the quest to rescue Tahren in this newly flooded world, begins a chain of events that uncover lies and deceptions, false friendships and true ones.


Witch King was at its core a dark fantasy but Wells has created genuine characters with dark humour and wit woven throughout. In part a dystopian tale with a water-drowned fantasy world, Wells crafted a unique and plot of deception, friendship, love and loss which added the necessary links to humanity in those who survived the ending of their world – albeit a demon who drains life to survive and swaps bodies, a witch bent on revenge and finding her lover and a mortal child saved from the darkness of the Rising World Coalition and Blessed Hierarchs with their expositors and necromancy magic. In this new world, Wells draws on the darkness and deception that surround the Rising World Coalition where truth and lies can be hard to distinguish. Wells has created a masterfully written story with genuine characters and unique world-building.


A wonderful read for fans of dark fantasy with humour, witchcraft, necromancy and fantastic world-building for a water-drowned dystopian unique fantasy world. Highly recommended!

** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **

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Greek Mythology: Hades

Hades may be one of the most-well known and most popular gods from Ancient Greek mythology but wasn’t one of the recognised Olympian gods even despite being the brother of Zeus. Hades was the Greek god of the Dead and his domain took on his name and didn’t exist in the mortal realm but an Underworld.

Hades was the son of the Titans Cronus and Rhea which made him brother to Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Poseidon and Zeus. Cronus – fearful of his position as supreme ruler and determined to avoid a prophecy about his own downfall, swallowed each of his children when they were born. Hades and his siblings were imprisoned in the stomach of their father.

Zeus was the only one if the sibling to escape being swallowed by Cronus and escaped to Crete – where when he reached maturity- he returned to confront Cronus. Aided by Cronus’s wife Rhea and Gaia, Cronus was presented with a potion he was told would bring gift him invincibility. Instead, it made him regurgitate all his imprisoned children.

Zeus led a rebellion against Cronus and Hades was presented with a Helmet of Darkness by the Cyclopes. The helmet would make the wearer invisible and in later legends, Perseus would make use of it. During the war against the Titans, Hades wore it was was responsible for bringing the war to an end when Hades entered the Titans’s encampment and destroyed all their weapons.

Victory over the Titans meant the cosmos was divided between the three sons of Cronus. A drawing of lots saw Zeus became lord of the heavens and earth, Poseidon the lord the earth’s waters and Hades the lord of the Underworld.

The ancient Greek underworld holds many realms and was more than Tartarus, the fiery pit – it also included the Elysian Fields, a realm of paradise. The dead would be judged as to how they had lived their lives and an eternity might be spent in Tartarus, the Elysian Fields or the nothingness of the Asphodel Meadows.

The dead were a population of Hades’s realm but the god did not take judgement over them. Instead, he gave those tasks to others and was revered for the fear and power he invoked. Hades doesn’t bring death either – this was carried out by the god Thanatos, a son of the goddess Nyx.

Hades had an ebony throne and held a sceptre in one hand and a two-pronged spear in the other. When travelling, his black chariot was pulled by four coal-black horses. The most famous association to Hades was his guard dog, Cerberus, the monstrous three-head offspring of Echidna.

Other Names: Aidoneus, Pluto

Manifestation: A large man with a curly black beard

Attribute: A helmet of invisibility

Familiar: Cerberus, the monstrous three-headed guard dog

Plants: Black narcissus, mint, cypress tree, fava beans

Colour: Black

Metal: Iron

Animals: Black ram, wolf, bear

Sacred site: A shrine on Mount Mentha in Tryphelia, Elis. Hades was also worshipped with Athena at her temple near Koroneia in Boeotia.

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Aztec Mythology: Mictlán

In Aztec cosmology, the soul intakes a journey to the Underworld after death and they have four destinations: the Sacred Orchard of the Gods, the Place of Darkness, the Kingdom of the Sun, and a paradise called the Mansion of the Moon.

The most common destination for a soul is Mictlán (Place of Darkness) with nine levels, crashing mountains and rushing rivers, and four years of struggle. There are 13 Heavens over which various gods and goddesses preside and provides the cultural basis for the Day of the Dead customs and celebrations.

Mictlantecuhtli is the skeletal Lord of the Land of the Dead – the supreme ruler of Mictlán. He oversees the place of eternal smoke and darkness along with his consort Mictlancihuatl.

Mictlán ruled by its Lord and Lady, is a gloomy place a soul reaches only after wandering for four years beneath the Earth, accompanied by a “soul-companion,” usually a do which was customarily cremated with the body.

Aztec myth tells how Quetzalcoatl (Nahuatl language means “feathered serpent”) journeyed into Mictlán at the dawning of the Fifth Sun (the present world era), and restored humankind to life with from the bones of those who had lived before. Bones are like seeds: everything that dies goes into the Earth, and from it new life is born in the sacred cycle of existence.

Quetzalcoatl’s Descent To Mictlán

At sunset, Mictlantechutli (Lord of Underworld) and Tonatiuh (Star God) take their place to illuminate the world of the dead.

Legend tells that after Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca created the world, the day and night, they placed Mictalntecuhtli and his wife Mictlancihuatl as Lord and Lady of the underworld.

The counterpart of Mictlán is the paradise known as Tlalocán, or the home of the god Tlaloc, where the dead who drowned or were struck by lightning would dwell.

The 4 houses of the dead:





Chichihuacuauhco is the first mansion, a place of dead children. In its middle there is a large tree whose branches drip milk so the children could might feed and gain strength. These children will return to the Earth when our world of the Fifth Sun is destroyed. That is why children died young so they might repopulate the Earth for the future.

Mictlán is the second house. Those who succumbed to illness and old age went to dwell in Mictlán. The soul must make a 4 year journey and pass through nine layers of the Underworld and various daunting tests. These included the dead coming to the river Apanohuaya which is impossible to cross without the help of an Itzcuintli (xoloitzcuintle), a special dog each family raised and cremated alongside the mourned deceased.

Among the Aztecs, the god Xolotl was a monstrous dog. During the creation of the Fifth Sun, Xolotl was hunted by Death and escaped him by transforming himself first into a sprout of maize, then into maguey leaves and finally as a salamander in a pool of water. The third time that Death found Xolotl, he trapped and killed him. Three important foodstuffs were produced from the body of this mythological dog.

Mictlantecuhtli, Lord of the Dead, had kept the bones of a man from a previous creation. Xolotl descended to the Underworld trying to steal these bones so that man could be reborn into the new world of the Fifth Sun. Xolotl recovered the bones and brought man to life again by piercing his penis and bleeding upon them. Xolotl is seen as an incarnation of the planet Venus as the Evening Star (the Morning Star was his twin brother Quetzalcoatl).

Xolotl is the canine companion of the Sun, following its path through both in the sky and the Underworld. Xolotl’s strong connection with the Uderworld, death and the dead is demonstrated by the symbols he bears. In the Codex Borbonicus Xolotl is pictured with a knife in his mouth (symbol of death), and has black wavy hair like the hair worn by the gods of death.

Upon recognising his dead master, the dog barks, then rushes to help the deceased to cross the river and carries its master upon his back while swimming.

After the crossing, the soul is stripped of all clothes, beginning the second part of his journey between two mountains that conflicted with each other. This pass is called Tepetl Monamiclia, where the deceased would make warily make their way hoping the two mountains wouldn’t clash and crush the passing traveler.

At the end of the pass, a descent down a hill strewn with flints and sharp obsidian (same material used to make knives) and the soul would call to Ilztepetl. But the stones still mercilessly cut the feet of the dead as they passed.

Celhuecayan, the eight mountains is covered i perpetual snow that falls constantly and is whipped up by strong winds.

The soul the arrives at the foot of a hill, the last part in the journey called Paniecatacoyan. These moors here are cold and large, where the dead would walk endlessly crossing the desolated land.

The soul then take a long path, where they are struck with arrows. This place is Temiminaloyan and the arrows are fired by unseen hands.

At the end of the path is Tecoylenaloyan, where the soul exists with thousands of fierce beasts. When any of the beasts reached them, the souks would throw open their chests and let the beasts eat their hearts.

The souls os then forced to dive into the Apanuiayo (black water river), and where the Xochilonal dwells. The soul must swim in this lake, dodging the animals, including the terrifying lizard to get to the next test.

Finally, tired, injured and exhausted with suffering, the soul reaches Chicunamictlan, where they would meet Mictlantecuchtli, the fierce God of the Death who would receive them with vengeance.

Here the soul’s cycle ends forever and here they would live until their bodies and their lives extinguish.

The long journey lasted for four years, in which the deceased came to his eternal rest.

The mansion where most of the dead arrived were those who would diedof natural causes.

The is the Kingdom of the Sun.

Here the warriors, slaughtered at the hands of their enemies, rest. Those souls of women who died in childbirth are counted among these. For among the Aztecs, pregnant women were like warriors who symbolically capture her child for the Aztec state in the painful and bloody battle of birth. Considered as female aspects of defeated heroic warriors, women dying in childbirth became fierce goddesses who carried the setting sun into the netherworld realm of Mictlán.

Mictlán is a place outside of the time. A wonderful infinite place, and a beautiful plain, at every day the sun rose, warriors beat their shields.

After four years, these warriors would turn into rich bird-feathers, small, living creatures eating the flowers.

Those who had died by drowning, lightning, and other deaths related to water and rain arrived at Tlalocán, the Mansion of the Moon, a place of unending springtime and a paradise of green plants. This place belongs to Tlaloc.

Tlaloc is also associated with caves, springs, and mountains, most specifically the sacred mountain in which he was believed to reside. His animal forms include herons and water-dwelling creatures such as amphibians, snails, and possibly sea creatures, particularly shellfish.

The dead arriving here would be happy, fresh and unconcerned. These dead hadn’t been cremated, but buried.

And so, between the mansions the dead Aztecs were divided, each person going to their designated place in the Mexican Underworld.

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** I received an ARC for an honest review **

Publisher’s Description

The giant metal man has stood for hundreds of years, head tilted back, mouth open. All the dead of the town are disposed of this way, carried up the long, staircase that winds around him and tipped in. At his toe emerges the Bitters, the lifeblood of the town, keeping them healthy and prosperous as the sick and needy come to buy and drink.

McNubbin is a happy man with all he wants in life. He’s carried the bodies up since he was 14, a worthwhile, respected job. But when he notices broken girl after broken girl, he can’t stay quiet, and speaking up will change his perfect life.


I recently read the dark fiction novella Bitters by Australian horror and dark fiction author Kaaron Warren.

The focus of Bitters is the township that both owe their existence and health to the gold statue of the Man.

After a post-apocalyptic plague hundreds of years before, the dead were thrown into the Man and the putrified liquid called Bitters used as tonic. Over time, scientists removed any sick or drug users from those whose bodies ended up in the Man and the resultant Bitters gave health to the township who benefited from the Man. But a darker secret lurks within the township and the control of those who do a duty in carrying bodies to the top of the statue to deliver them into the Man, those who carry salt and bugs for the quickening the process of decay and those who provide the Bitters into bottles.


Bitters was an expertly crafted dystopian and post-apocalyptic novella that leaves no doubt that Warren is a master storyteller as her tale draws the reader deep into the mindset of the town that hosts the famous strong male statue and to whom they consign the bodies of the dead and reap the benefits of an elixir from the putrefied remains. Despite the darkness and horrifying truth of the Man – Warren focuses on the members of the township who owe their livelihoods and health the grim task they carry out daily. Warren writes without judgement but a sense of compassion for the characters who prosper from the deaths of others. A powerful dystopian novella that haunts you long after the last page has been turned.


A great read for fans of dystopian tales, dark fiction and psychological horror. A highly recommended read!

** This is my personal opinion and does not reflect any judging decisions **