Book Review – Celestial Seepage by Brian Fatah Steele

celestial seepage

This book certainly piqued my interest with its spiel of cosmic horror. I’m a big fan of otherworldly beasts that our puny human minds could never even hope to comprehend. That’s why I love the works of the King of cosmic horror; you know, LP Hovercraft, I think he’s called!

Anyway, let’s concentrate of Brian Fatah Steele’s Celestial Seepage. After an intriguing prologue where a dude is murdered in an alley by a strange guy muttering an almost ritualistic message, this book had me firmly in its pulsating tentacles.

Ellesmere, the setting of this story, is in desperate need of some love. A previously prosperous town of industry, now an empty rotting shell of its former glories, was delivered stunningly here. The place is kind of loved by the folks still residing there, each remembering the town’s former self with rose-tinted spectacles.

One of the stars of the show, Harper, is hired to audit some archives in the Historical Society building. Pretty boring stuff (the job, not the story, I must add). But she feels something is a little off about the place. Who hired her for this gig, and why? She’s certainly not made to feel welcome there. Her uneasiness of the place is transmitted well to the reader and I was right there with Harper.

Riley is Ellesmere through and through. She’s a student with a perfect girlfriend who works in a bar (see, told you she was perfect!). Riley comes from money, something that is not all that common in this town, but reasons for this become known as the novel progresses. She may even have some answers for Harper.

The writing was expertly handled; interactions between characters were realistic and engaging, the tone just slightly harrowing to begin with, hinting at the horrors to come. Just what is up with this weird-ass Historical Society?

Things obviously begin to hot up as the story flows along. The cosmic monsters are introduced and there were a couple of really good twists with some characters not exactly who they seemed to be. I’ll not be a spoilerer and say much more here, apart from it involves intergalactic war, genocide, and some kick-ass aliens (both goodies and baddies).

In my opinion this story certainly leans more towards the urban fantasy genre than it does the cosmic horror one. I suppose a contemporary ‘Old Ones’ story would, but I really craved there to be a little more full-on terrifying and shocking moments on display.

I can’t really put my finger on it. Yeah there’s some great action sequences and a horde of monsters feasting on innocents, but I still felt that I needed that ‘woah, no way!’ moment, if you know what I mean.

This is just a personal preference, of course. If you enjoy urban fantasy then you’ll really dig this, I’m sure. The story is told with a real passion and the concept, although nothing completely new and fresh, keeps you reading in desperation to reach its conclusion. I’d also have preferred a different ending, but I won’t say why.

So all in all, this book didn’t completely work for me, but for the most part I really enjoyed it. I would recommend it to those who enjoy their fiction a little more dark fantasy than horror.

I’d go for 3.5 stars, rounded up to 4, because that’s what they taught me to do at school!



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