Happy 2023! January feels like it was many things. I wrote over 15,000 words of fanfiction and short fiction for deadlines. I re-outlined all of my novel code-named AquaShame. I did a lot of reading and watching movies, and honestly, it’s been a pretty good time. The biggest thing, however, is that I dropped the title of my forthcoming novella! I made a handy dandy press kit that has all the information you need: content warnings, links to goodreads/storygraph, pre-order information, and more.
Blog Interviews are resuming next month with Freydís Moon (who is also showing up on the blog tomorrow with a cover drop).
In this volume, Vampire Hunter D stumbles upon a biker and a family that’s been eliminated by radiation poisoning with only a teenager surviving. Things only get stranger from there when the new trio make their way to a literal wandering village inhabited by several thousand people. The mayor has some specific problems with Nobility, but the poisoned family’s home might have the key to all the goings-on.
The mystery here can literally only happen in the world of the Frontier. There’s science that feels like magic and fantasy that is ripped straight from horror. The architecture and depiction of the moving town is also something really rad. There’s allusions to the mechanisms that are firmly rooted in 90’s-style sci-fi, with a rudimentary understanding of computer and cyberpunk mechanics. It’s present enough to give the genre’s grounding, but not so much that not knowing the specifics will interrupt immersion. The intrigue driving the story is also deeply human, where the reasons behind the town’s ailments perfectly map to “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
I won’t go into specifics, but if medical horror is your jam, you’re going to be well-fed.
Per my post about 2023, I really need to refocus on refilling my creative well. So, this year, I’m limiting the number of author interviews I do and reshuffling my to-read list to be mainly about backlist titles. Plus, I am releasing a novella of my own, which I am more than thrilled to unleash upon the world.
December is a strange month for me because of traveling to get home and other plans, and having to recon with my own success at completing my own goals (not going to touch on that whatsoever here). It was a month where I read a bunch of things in translation and a singular ARC which feels more in the direction of how I want to be reading into 2023.
Content warnings: Blood, kidnapping, incest, rape (fades to black, but unequivocal), dismemberment, nonconsensual medical experimentation
The mystery in this one is so engaging. We start off finding a young girl who has been selected by her town to go off into the capital as part of a special program that gets her a higher status in human society while the village of Tepes gets more resources. But there’s more to the precocious young woman than meets the eye, and gnarly is just one word for it.
What really shines here is how monstrous the humans are especially juxtaposed to the Nobles. I won’t spoil the mystery, but there is a horrific arc in which we learn more about Lina and the mayor who took her in. Please heed the content warnings for that portion of the story.
The action is incredible, and I really liked how less animalistic the vampires were in this one. The conspiracy is a years’ long literal medical experiment in eugenics. It’s very horror, and highlights Kikuchi’s ability to blend genres and use tropes to great effect. I can’t say too much without spoiling the entire story arc.
Content warnings: Blood, kidnapping, dubious consent, body horror of John Carpenter’s The Thing variety
This entry is absolutely the gnarliest one I’ve read so far, and, yes, I am aware that I am only on volume 3. While Demon Deathchase is the lightest on lore so far, the mesh of science fiction and dark fantasy is at its tightest. There are death cars and possessed carbuncles that grow into fully sentient tumors. It’s disgusting. It’s incredible.
There is no stone Kikuchi will leave unturned when it comes to the horrific scientific possibilities plaguing the world eleven thousand years into the future. We have flesh-possessing carbuncles that are eerie like ghosts and unsettling in the way flesh distorts with science that feels like magic.
The women within this work show a range of strength, from the lovelorn dhampir mechanic Caroline to the gearhead hunter Leila. I love them all, especially how they relate to D. The purple prose really works throughout the series to draw attention to D’s terrific power and ethereal beauty. The interactions and obsessions only highlight it further, and seeing the variety of personalities attracted to him definitely keeps me engaged in the new characters regardless of gender and whether or not they label their attraction love.
The ending to this one is brutal, gross, and eerily beautiful.
November might have been the month that took me out. Though I did not do NaNoWriMo, I wrote a lot and, more importantly for a post coming later this week, I read a lot. So much. So many things. I also wound up watching a lot of Japanese horror films (classics like Ringu and Ju-On, so if you have recommendations, I’d love them).
Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy Science Fiction Western Year Release in English: 2005 Buy Link: Barnes & Noble (Initially received via Humble Bundle)
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Content warnings: violence, gore, threats of rape, misogyny
The hardest part of writing this review is figuring out which genre to slot this work into. The ’80’s genre classic, Vampire Hunter D follows the exploits of a dhampir, the eponymous Vampire Hunter D. He rides an electronic horse, has vampire powers, and uses a really cool sword to slay his half-brethren with. In this first volume, he goes to a town ruled by a Count, and a girl named Doris being preyed on by the vampires around. This first entry is fun with some rad world-building, definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of genre blends and vampire classics.