Norylska Groans — Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder

Norylska Groans — Michael R. Fletcher & Clayton W. Snyder

Tee-hee, so lesser known fact about me: one of my favorite genres of film is horror, especially B-horror and slasher flicks, which tend to be a bit more liberal with splatter. I would say my threshold for fantasy splatter is quite high. So believe you me when I say there is blood, that Norylska Groans puts both the grim and dark in grimdark. It’s a short read, but not a light one. Seriously, if you don’t like violence in your books, don’t pick this one up.

Now that that’s out of the way, Norylska Groans is pretty brutal, lol. But outside the splatter, it’s a beautifully crafted story that cradles a small spark of humanity in such a bleak world. The POV characters are driven to do terrible things, but I certainly felt for them. I felt hopes that were raised, dashed, and reborn. Sometimes mutilated. The characters, their hopes and stories, fell together like pieces of a puzzle. It was fun to read.

The fantasy aspect a very clever, creative use of memory stones. It works with manipulated memories in a way I found really refreshing, especially since it goes into the rules of memory stones (some speculated) without going overboard on the details. So if you like a solid, defined magic system that doesn’t get pedantic on rules, this works well. I spent an absurd amount of the book hoping a soldier beast would pop out from behind an alley, lol.

The world is bleak and the humor is black. I found myself cackling at a lot of the gems sprinkled throughout the book. Again, there is a lot of splatter, and sometimes a LOT of splatter, but I thought Norylska Groans was gorgeously written, and at no point did I want to put it down.

Check it out if you like reeeeally grim, reeeeally dark, grimdark! Incidentally, I will find a way to work “You smell like the ass-end of a rancid potato” into my next insult.

Key words to help you decide: grimdark fantasy, noir fantasy, two POVs, hard-hitting, memory manipulation, revenge fantasy, down-with-the-system

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