Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt | Book Review

Just like Rumfitt's previous book, this book will upset you.

Brainwyrms by Alison Rumfitt

Released October 2023

Source: Received for Review Consideration

Goodreads  | Amazon

From Alison Rumfitt, the author of Tell Me I’m Worthless — “a triumph of transgressive queer horror” (Publishers Weekly) — comes Brainwyrms, a searing body horror novel of obsession, violence and pleasure.

When a transphobic woman bombs Frankie’s workplace, she blows up Frankie’s life with it. As the media descends like vultures, Frankie tries to cope with the carnage: binge-drinking, fucking strangers, pushing away her friends. Then she meets Vanya. Mysterious, beautiful, terrifying Vanya.

The two hit it off immediately, but as their relationship intensifies, so too does Frankie’s feeling that Vanya is hiding something from her. When Vanya’s secrets threaten to tear them apart, Frankie starts digging, and unearths a sinister, depraved conspiracy, the roots of which go deeper than she ever imagined. Shocking, grotesque, and downright filthy, Brainwyrms confronts the creeping reality of political terrorism while exploring the depths of love, pain and identity.

My 2 Cents for Free!

Like Tell Me I’m Worthless, Brainwyrms is a book that is definitely not for everyone. Take a good look at the cover, turn up the stench and the horror of it about 100 notches and you still won’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Heed the content warnings at the front of the book.

It’s about two damaged people with a lifetime of unprocessed trauma, who face hatred and bigotry at every turn as they do whatever they can to make themselves feel a little better so they can get through the day. One night Frankie meets Vanya at a fetish club and the pull to them is instant but Vanya has a disturbing way of self-soothing that will likely sicken most people.

This book is uncomfortable, so much of it off-putting and yet it’s difficult to put down to take a breather (and you’ll probably need at least one). It doesn’t tiptoe around any of the horror. There are scenes that you won’t be able to unread. The synopsis does not lie. It is “shocking, grotesque, and downright filthy”. It is all of those things and it's also very well written. You'll have to sit in that experience of pain and filth and suffer right along with the characters.

Brainwyrms is a graphic, bleak, horrific, and traumatic reading experience. It probably won’t leave you unscathed. If you’re looking for a fun read, this probably isn’t the one for you but if you’re looking for something that will shake you up, enrage, and creep its way forever into your brain this will do it.

4 1/2 Stars - so why not a five, you asshole? Well, small parts of it were written in a way that weren't my favorite. An extreme dream-like/nightmare almost bewildering sort of way (sorry I'm a reader not a writer and that's the best I can do explaining it) and that slowed parts down for me. You might love it though.



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