Title: The Unseen
Author: J. L. Bryan
Source: Author (eARC)
Cassidy is a young tattoo artist living in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. She’s always suffered terrible nightmares, and sometimes the hideous creatures seem to follow her out of her dreams and into her waking life, though she’s the only one who can see them. Drugs and alcohol can blot them out, but never entirely chase them away.
When a demonic cult begins to take control of the people in her life, including her younger brother, Cassidy discovers that the unseen world of monsters is very real. She can no longer avoid it. To protect those she loves, she must accept her own hidden supernatural talents and face the forces of evil before the sinister cult achieves its twisted goals and casts the world into darkness.
Big thanks to J. L. Bryan for providing me an eARC for review!
I think I’m officially in love with J. L. Bryan. He’s so good at writing the unexpected — even reading the synopsis of a book doesn’t do the book justice because I just KNOW he’s going to throw some major mindfuckery at me!
The instant I started reading The Unseen, I knew I was in for something good. This story started off with a BANG. Cassidy and her friends decide they want to do something fun during their parentless night, so they decide to draw up an Ouija board and contact the dead. Again, knowing Bryan’s mind, I knew this wasn’t going to go along the tame lines of a horror story. After getting freaked (and grossed) out by the end of this chapter, I was invested.
I liked Cassidy. After all these years, she’s now a successful tattoo artist and trying to put the past behind her — through drugs and alcohol, but at least she’s trying. BUT it’s a little hard when she’s seeing these invisible creatures, these parasites, that leech off of everybody she comes in contact with. This is one of the aspects of the story that really creeped me out. You know when you watch movies where spiders or something come out of a shower and crawl all over their innocent victim? Imagine an ENTIRE novel of this. I felt like I was constantly brushing invisible things off of my shoulders and legs as I read.
This story definitely had its exciting parts and there were other parts that moved a bit slower, but Bryan definitely moves the story along, building it and building it until the end. The man knows how to do horror! And really, is there any horror story that’s more scary than demons and possessions? Stories like this are definitely up there with some of my favourite horror genres. And this one has it ALL. Demons, cults, weird creature-things — plus, you know, an orgy thrown in at one point. You know, the norm.
I’m slowly working my way through J. L. Bryan’s catalogue and I keep getting more and more impressed. He is an author who really knows how to weave a story together, how to engage his readers from page one, and how to keep them holding on until the very end. This was a good one!