The below words are a review for The Dark Verse, Volume I that appeared in Issue 30 of Gothic Beauty Magazine:
“Mommy, can you read me a bedtime story?” There’s a book of bedtime stories that is sure to send your mind into a realm of ghastly figures, unpleasant domains and twisted terror. Well, actually this collection is not a bouquet of bedtime stories, but rather a twisted garland of spine-chilling stories that will make your skin crawl and your mind beg for more. That book is M. Amanuensis Sharkchild’s repertoire entitled The Dark Verse, Volume I.
The first passage of this sinister compilation is called “The Unlike Light.” This passage grasps you up from your seat and lifts you into murky obscurity, utilizing in-depth descriptions and precise verbiage. The book has twenty-six unique passages that grab the reader in various ways, carrying their mind into the volume. The author employs everything from sinister creatures to captivating possessions to hypnotize he audience. In this way M. Amanuensis Sharkchild’s book has been compared to the works of H.P. Lovecraft.
The Dark Verse, Volume I originated from The Dark Verse podcast, which shares the bizarre creations of M. Amanuensis Sharkchild. He creates a unique world of horror and fantasy. New episodes are released every two weeks on Thursday mornings. The podcast had an immense following, which directed the tales into a book.
One of the tales in the book, which is quite unique, is “The Changing Feyth.” It is broken up into two parts throughout the book. These stories are centered on creatures called Feyths, which are regarded as demigods in their realm. Their race is described in one passage: “Our flesh is ash gray and its texture is that of leather. Our eyes are as black as coal and our teeth are as sharp as swords. Our ears are large and so are our noses. We grow to be as tall as giants, but our bodies always keep the same slenderness, no matter what our strength or what we consume.” In much of his work, Sharkchild creates whole existences, and “The Changing Feyth” is a perfect example of his ability to paint a world with words.
Though grotesque and gloomy, a lot of the Dark Verse tales have a moral. They leave you in thought in the end. Not only does the reader crossover into the dark worlds of the book, but also the worlds seem to come to the reader. Sharkchild does this by relating grim subjects and thoughts to everyday life.
Overall, The Dark Verse, Volume I is a preeminent compilation of short stories, or maybe even bedtime stories, to add to any collection. One of the greatest elements of the book is its ability to remain fascinating and enticing even after reading it for the first time. It never festers. (Mikki Moscara)