I would like to thank the author for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions shared are my own personal thoughts.
Description Summary | Interesting conceptual ideas that revolve around the macabre of the Underworld and death in itself (Imagine being stuck in Tim Burton’s Land of the Dead in his film The Corpse Bride.) It would have made a terrific story had it had more strength in technicality.
Book Summary | (Skip to Review)
Ceil is determined to do whatever it takes to bring his dead wife and his son back to the living world, even if it means facing up to death himself; The Reaper Grim. Disguised as a hideous ghoul, Ceil embarks on the death train to locate and find his stolen loved ones.
The death train invites you to journey through the dark realms of the Underworld amidst its other decaying and colorful occupants; so would you like a plate of troll guts or human eyes to go with your ticket?
With self published books there’s always the question on how critical you may get with the work, I however have to be impartial and judge this as a pubished piece of work regardless of the who the publisher is.
Death Train actually has some pretty great concepts and illusory descriptions when taking on the concept of death. I especially liked the first portion of the book where we had more descriptive writing and it wasn’t a rush of events as in the last quarter of it. The loss of stars can be attributed heavily to the technicality in writing, and here I mean grammar, spelling, proof reading, etc.
Furthermore, I can’t decide if this book is written for adults or children. At times I think this would make a great children’s book because it does have the creepy vibes that you get from books like The Graveyard Book or Coraline by Neil Gaiman. But then the author forces in some complex words that ruins the pace of reading and words I’m sure no child can understand. This descrepancy impacted the degree of enjoyement and understanding I took from the book.
The story isn’t something that is totally unique but the setting of the train and its occupants are. I feel this would be really great if it would have been a graphic novel because the author does expend some aritistic sense.
The last portion of the book was too rushed and sometimes objects popped up and events have been propelled without much strategic reason behind it; it just happened.
The Achilles Heel. Apart from the technical issues, some of the dialogue was a bit corny. Again though the idea behind it works.
I didn’t have the “couldn’t put it down” feel with this one, and thus I couldn’t be invested in the story.
For our main character Ceil, it is difficult for me to assert his situation at times. Sometimes he accepts death as fate and then not long after he changes his mind yet again. With someone who is so fickle it can be hard to sympathize and understand him. As a result, you couldn’t really sense the character growth in him.
The Reaper Grim “Death”
I felt he was too much of a comical villain with the corny “I’m the most evil villain in history” dialogues. This is why I envisioned he would be a great character if this was a middle grade book. At times the author would reference him as “The Reaper” and other times as “Grim”, so that could throw you off a bit as a reader.
Do I recommend? If you don’t mind technical issues in writing than you can give this novella a go.
About the Author
Daye Williams is a Game/Software Dev from NYC. Been writing short stories since the 1st grade.
Major goal is to write an expansive catalog of Gothic Horror, Dark Fantasy, & Sci-Fi Adventures. From writing about kooky goofy horror to alternative spiritual fantasy to paranormal adventures and gothic mystery, I really want to create a giant universe detailed with graphic, strange weird events and characters.
Thanks again Daye for reaching out to me!