Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Kraken Sea - by E. Catherine Tobler - A rather surreal look at a monster trying to be a normal boy

4 of 5 Stars     Review copy

I finished reading The Kraken Sea a few days ago.  Usually I'll write my review the same day I finish reading a book, but in this instance I wanted to allow time for it all to sink in.

As a horror fan, The Kraken Sea was a book I wanted to read, after all, the word "Kraken" is right there in the title and make no mistake about it, there are Kraken in this tale, but it certainly wan't what I expected.

The work of E. Catherine Tobler is new to me and she is indeed a very capable writer.  This particular piece is more literary in it's approach and after reading a series of in-your-face monster novels, The Kraken Sea was a welcome change of pace.

The opening to the novella really gives you an idea of the kind of story-telling to follow.

It began with a dragon in the pouring rain, the beast barely held at bay, balanced upon two thin steel rails.  Steam poured from its black mouth and guts, billowing through the damp gloom.  A brief spark of after-rain sunlight caught within its glassy green eye, against sharp metal tooth, and when the steam gave way young Jackson could see it was no dragon, but a train.  The train was headed as far west as it could go and Jackson, aged fifteen-and-one-half, in the year of our Lord 1893, would be on it.

Jackson is a special child, dropped off with the nuns when he was but an infant, now on his way from NYC to San Francisco to a guardian who has requested a lad such as he.  A guardian who wears a live fox around her neck and that was just the beginning of the weirdness Jackson would find in his new home.

Jackson wants nothing more than to be a real human boy, but it's not his lot in life and the sooner he accepts the fact the better off he'll be.

The Kraken Sea was an intriguing story, filled with wonderful prose.  A tale I found to be rather surreal and enigmatic.

The Kraken Sea is available in both paperback and e-book formats from the Apex Book Company.

E. Catherine Tobler is a Sturgeon Award finalist and the senior editor at Shimmer Magazine and makes her home in Colorado.  She is the author of numerous short stories, as well as the Folley & Mallory series.

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