Review: Beneath A Bethel by April-Jane Rowan

This is one of my favorite reads so far this year.


Beneath A Bethel by April-Jane Rowan

Released August 2020

Dark Fiction  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon  |  Bookshop

Every youth of Elbridge remembers their Floris, the holy ceremony where their teeth are pulled out with pliers. It marks their ascension into adulthood and their right to have new porcelain teeth, ones that are embedded with magic, that grant the ability to make wishes.

Angora's Floris will be upon the banks of the Eldwen river, the communal ceremony befitting his station. However he longs to remember his ceremony for the splendour of the Bethel, wreathed in candle light, drooping flowers and holy hymns.

Seeking to fulfil his dream leaves him the victim of violence and an outcast from society, living on its fringes until a chance meeting brings him to the heart of the Masters Guild, the place teeth are made. Learning secrets he never thought he’d be privy too, he eventually discovers the dark cost of their tradition.

Beneath A Bethel is a dark horror fantasy, set in a harsh, snow-covered city that hides its brutality with pageantry.


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This novella is exceptional. The author immediately throws you into her dark world all innocent and unaware. You won’t stay that way for long. It might take a moment to get your bearings but once you do it’s going to be very hard to do anything else but finish every word of this story.

I was going to write up the standard review with a little plot outline and all that but I’ve decided I don’t want to tell you anything about the plot because I went in completely blind and it shocked me. It horrified me with its cringy body horror and I think you all deserve that experience too! You’ll have to read it and discover it for yourself.

What I will say is that at its heart it’s about betrayal. Betrayal from those who should love you no matter what and those who you meet along the way who aren’t always who they pretend to be. It’s about a society so focused on appearance and putting on airs and receiving the best magic that they don’t stop to think about the true cost of any of it. It’s about what happens when people, hairy or no (these people are furry and have tails and I love the idea of them!), are so focused on having the best “thing” that they overlook basic decency and can’t be bothered to think about the true cost.

There are some images here that won’t leave my brain and that’s a good thing because that means it moved me. This story is magical and dreamy and also filled with pain, physical and emotional, trauma and secrets and if you don’t quickly grow to care for Angora I’ll have to give you the side-eye forever!

I can’t recommend this story highly enough. When my paper copy arrives (I read the ebook) I will hold it close forever and I don’t do that with too many books. It was SO freaking good and I know I don’t have the words to properly convey how much I loved this beautifully brutal morbid fairytale of a story so I’ll be here screaming at everyone to READ IT, READ IT NOW! instead.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



About Author April-Jane Rowan



April-Jane Rowan was born with a morbid fascination that she turned into writing so she could explain away her strangeness. Luckily for her, she found she rather liked it, so for many years, she has been creating bizarre, dark tales. When not writing, she can be found lurking in graveyards, libraries and museums. She lives in Sweden with her two partners and their pack of beasties.

Catch up with April-Jane Rowan here:  https://www.instagram.com/theliterarychamber/


Comments

  1. Just the thought of that whole teeth ceremony gives me the shivers.

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  2. I've been seeing this around and have been so curious! It sounds horrifically wonderful😁

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  3. "You won’t stay that way for long." Haha this sounds awesome. I want to read this but the pulling teeth with pliers thing is freaking me out a bit lol. Still...

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  4. That sounds great and the cover is so fun.

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