#SPFBO 8 Finalist Friday: Review for A Song for the Void by Andrew C Piazza


What is SPFBO 8 Check out Mark Lawrence’s post here to look at this year’s entrants, judges and allocations list.

This year I am teaming up again with the ladies from The Critiquing Chemist.  We recently announced our finalist. To check out all the Finalists simply follow this link.

Our finalist this year was Miss Percy’s Pocket Guide to the Care and Feeding of British Dragons by Quenby Olson – if you haven’t read it – I highly recommend it – seriously, grab yourself a copy and tuck in. It’s positively delightful.

Today is our fifth finalist review for #SPFBO 8.  Reviews for Scales and Sensibility, The Thirteenth Hour, Tethered Spirits and Mysterious Ways can be found here here, here and here.  Myself and the Critiquing Chemist will be posting a finalist review every Friday for the remainder of the competition.

So, to my fifth review, this week for a book that is positively chilling, in more ways than one.


A Song for the Void is a book that I loved, but also had mixed feelings about.

Historical horror, this story takes us back to the Opium Wars.  These were turbulent times, beset by people warring for their own personal gains.  Dr. Edward Pearce is a surgeon aboard HMS Charger.  The doctor has been beset by personal tragedy which has led him down the path of drug abuse but he has been given a chance to prove himself once again and is thrust once more into the fray, little expecting that the odds would have changed so drastically.

I will say straight off that this story had me gripped.  There is tension aplenty.  The writing is superb.  There’s a fantastic build up of psychological expectation coupled with a kind of intense claustrophobic fear and I confess I was hooked.  At the same time, I didn’t totally love the ending.  It moved into a different field of horror that isn’t one that I usually enjoy.  But, that being said. this is a gripping read even if the cosmic horror aspects weren’t quite what I’d maybe expected or wanted.

So, Dr. Edward Pearce is not maybe the most reliable narrator.  He’s experienced some shockingly awful experiences which has led him down the opium path. He has been given an opportunity by a trusted comrade and is determined to stay on the straight and narrow but his own personal backstory sometimes makes you second guess, as a reader, how reliable he really is.

Okay, I’m not going to over elaborate on the the plot here  Instead I’m going to focus on a few key points.

Firstly,  I loved the writing.  This is the kind of book that I had no hesitation picking up.  I was keen to continue with the story and everything flowed well.  I mean, this book gave me the chills to read and I loved it for that.

Secondly, I thought the setting and the attention to detail were superb.  I was fascinated.  On top of which the ship setting was totally dismal, depressing and claustrophobic.  You could feel the tension rise and the inevitable mutiny was just sat like a huge spider waiting to pounce.  I mean, literally, I loved these aspects of the story.  Everything was so dark, it was scary, it was tense – I couldn’t get enough.

Okay, that brings me to my slight reservations.  I wasn’t totally in love with the latter chapters of the book where we disembark the ship.  This is of course a personal thing. I’m not overly fond of ‘cosmic’ horror and I also found certain elements of the later chapters just a tad too much to bear – but, I will say I am a total wimp and I think horror aficionados will be puzzled by my squeamishness.

Overally, this is an author that I would definitely like to read more from.

My rating 9 of 10

Don’t forget to check out the Critiquing Chemist’s review which can be found here.


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