Title: The Festering Ones
Author: S.H. Cooper
Page Count: 133 pages
Rating: 4 / 5 ✨✨✨✨✨
A monster lurking in the mountain.
A mysterious cult seeking a doorway.
An otherworldly evil waiting to be unleashed.
Faith York was a young girl when she saw her father dragged into the ground by a spider-armed woman, never to be seen again. Twenty years later, the events of that day continue to haunt her, and her need for answers has only grown stronger with time. After her estranged mother’s death forces her to return home, old wounds are reopened and Faith finally decides to face her demons. What started as a search for closure soon pits her against a shadowy cult known as The Gathered and the eldritch beings they worship. With reality becoming more blurred by the day and the thousand eyes of an alien deity fixed on her, Faith must decide if the dark secrets of White Crow Mountain are really worth losing herself over.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: novellas are probably my favorite format for storytelling. There’s something about being given enough to want more, but not enough to leave you feeling totally sick of the world built by the writer, that really gets to me and keeps me coming back to these short gems for more.
When I saw the cover for The Festering Ones, I knew I wanted to own it – the cover is super cool, and I wasn’t surprised to find that it was made by Kealan Patrick Burke of Elderlemon Design, since he’s become a prominent book cover designer – and author – in the horror community as of late.
Since it was already on my radar, it’s no wonder that I jumped at the chance to receive a copy for review shortly after its October release last year. And the convenient size allowed me to push it up on my TBR, which made it one of the first few books I read this year! Talk about starting off with a bang – I loved it!
The Festering Ones is fast-paced enough to have pulled me in from the very first page, and held on so tightly that I didn’t put it down until I finished it an hour and a half later. The action and pacing are so well done that I found myself flipping through the pages quickly, eager to find out what Faith, the main character, was going to get into next.
I really enjoyed Faith’s character, and the amount of life-altering change that occurs for her in such a short book. While going through her recently deceased mother’s possessions, her entire world is turned upside down, and she’s fierce enough to charge head first into the unknown – a quality I really admire in my protagonists! Having your entire life and childhood based on lies is such a gripping theme, and the realistic nature of what Faith deals with in the book juxtaposed against the otherworldly horrors that await her later in the plot makes for some seriously compelling storytelling.
Along with strong women characters, I also really love creepy creatures, and there are plenty of them here. It’s almost wild how much happens in this novella, and I don’t want to say too much ’cause I’d hate to spoil something I went into nearly blind and ended up thoroughly enjoying. I’ll say that if you enjoy Lovecraftian creature horror, or scary un-god worshipping cults, stop reading this review right now and click this link to buy the book – you won’t be sorry!
This was the first thing I’ve read by the author, but it won’t be the last. Her ability to completely engross me in a fun, gory, entertaining read has put her on my radar for one to watch all new releases from, and I’ve added what I could find that she’d already published to my wishlist TBR already! The only single negative I could say is that I wish there were a little more to it – not necessarily that it were longer, but that a few things were more fleshed out, and that the world, creatures, and cult were expanded upon more. I love the world she created – I just want more, haha.
Overall, an excellent introduction to a new author, and one I’ll be recommending to fans of creepy creatures, quick & absorbing reads, and to Lovecraft-lovers seeking to expand their reading horizons a little bit!
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