A true fantasy full of horror and wonder

Long time, no book review. Sadly, no pictures today as my wife is upstairs sleeping and the book in question is in the bedroom. I’m afraid that if I don’t post this now, I’ll probably go another two months without posting it.

Within by Aaron Bunce

Within is horror + epic fantasy, but to say that it is a blending of genres doesn’t do it justice. This book is 100% horror, but it is also 100% fantasy. How is that possible? Denoril is a wholly realized and fantastic world with just enough familiarity to be recognized as a fantastical one, but is utterly alien is all the ways that matter. It is a dark world, not in the literal sense, but it seems like evil lurks around every corner and creatures of tooth and claw wait just outside of the thin veil of civilization to rend and tear humanity to shreds. That is the worlds that Aaron has crafted: a sinister one that allows no weakness.

This is also where Within shines. Denoril, while dangerous and vile, is also a place where people have to be heroic to survive. The guards of a city put their life on the line every day to keep the monsters away from the civilians. Ancient ruins hold archaic horrors that wait to steal your soul and bend your will. You have to be a hero to survive in Denoril, and all of Aaron’s characters are heroic.

Denoril is also a world of consequences. Remember when I said Within is a horror? Every action, no matter how selfless its intent, will weigh terribly upon the people of this world. No one survives Within unscarred, not even the reader, and that is an amazing accomplishment that Aaron should be applauded for. I cringe in fear at the thought of reading the sequel, Before the Crow, but read it I will.

As of the writing of this review (July 26, 2016), Aaron is hosting a book giveaway on his website http://www.aaronbunce.com/ and Within is also available through the Kindle Unlimited program on Amazon. If you like George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Fire and Icebooks, I suspect you will enjoy Within, as they both evoke a similar emotional response in the reader.

Find the entire review, here at Jason Keener's blog.