poe nevermorePoe: Nevermore

By Rachel M. Martens

Publisher: BookBaby; 1 edition (June 14, 2013)

ASIN: B00DG8EHMU

Reviewed by Eden Royce

I’m a fan of Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories and poems.  Apparently Rachel Martens, author of Poe: Nevermore is as well: the story is peppered with little bits of trivia about his life and work. This is what brings our main character, Elenora Allison Poe (called “Poe” in this tale) together with Frost, the love interest of the story.

But that doesn’t mean the story’s tone is lighthearted and romantic.  While there are brief moments of true intimacy between the two, Elenora quickly—yet inadvertently—drags Frost into her fear and pain riddled world.  But he seems more than willing to come along.

Soon Mr. Poe himself enters the story, bringing Elenora into a “conference room” that can only be entered by the living that are near death, to tell her about a curse that has made her its focus. The curse is based on his works, but he can do little to help her solve the mystery.

Martens has no difficulty in putting her characters through horrible situations—in fact, Elenora is one of the most abused and damaged characters I’ve read about recently in horror. Yet, she manages to not only survive the traumas inflicted on her by an abusive stepfather, but she begins to cultivate a shaky seed of trust in her heart for Frost. Then a chain reaction happens spreading the world-destroying torture that follows her like a brush fire.

The issues I had with the book were few, but when they happened they took me out of the story. Descriptions, especially the ones of Frost (and his eyes), were repetitive and I found myself wanting variation. More concerning was that a few times the author referred to things as “American”, but the story takes place in Baltimore supposedly with American characters, who would not use that term to describe people or situations that they are familiar with.

However, Martens does a great job of building suspense. Her dialogue is well crafted: full of subterfuge and characters that lie and tap dance around answering questions, making their exchanges and interactions true-to-life. And the “big bad” in the story is completely, yet believably insane, which is something that can be hard to do.

I appreciate when an author isn’t hesitant to drag their babies through the mud, sand, and cut glass. A peek at Martens’s website shows that Nevermore is the first in a series. The concept of using Poe’s works as a focus for each story is an interesting one.  I look forward to seeing what horrors she dreams up for her next release.

About Eden Royce

Eden Royce is a writer and editor from Charleston, South Carolina whose great-aunt practiced root, a type of conjure magic. She now wishes she’d listened more closely. She is also the horror submissions editor for Mocha Memoirs Press and a regular contributor to Graveyard Shift Sisters, a site dedicated to purging the Black female horror fan from the margins. She is also featured in the book, 60 Black Women in Horror Writing. Besides writing, her passions include roller-skating, listening to thunderstorms, and excellent sushi. Visit Eden’s blog at darkgeisha.wordpress.com or her website at edenroyce.com.

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