by Alexander S. Brown
Paperback and ebook: 452 pages
By Alexander S. Brown
Review by Jeani Rector
Lately the attention has been focused on teenagers who are bullied, but what about those who are completely ignored? Syrenthia is a high school student who is a wallflower in every sense of the word. She is ignored by peers, teachers, and even her own parents who have their own issues. She desperately wants to have friends, but the few times she has reached out to others, they were mean in return.
Until the day at school when Sarah talks to her. Sarah has an interesting group of friends who love “urban legends.” They tell Syrenthia about a place called “The Falls” where a so-called monster lives. Syrenthia is thrilled when Sarah invites her to eat lunch with her group.
I found myself absorbed by Syrenthia’s pain and loneliness. Author Alexander S. Brown successfully portrays his character’s emotions and social awkwardness. He creates an interesting, multi-faceted protagonist who has depth and resourcefulness. Brown is quite accomplished, because I found myself wishing I had been kinder to other students when I was in high school.
Syrenthia’s Falls is part Young Adult, part adult reading. I think the character can touch all genres. However, this is not to say that Syrenthia’s Falls is all sweetness. Quite the contrary. Once Syrenthia explores the urban legend of “The Falls,” the pace picks up and the book becomes quite horrific.
Once powerless, now Syrenthia finds herself with too much power. Just give into it. If you give in and don’t fight, things won’t be as bad, the darkness insisted. She has to hide her power from many things, including the police. Only Sarah is still on her side.
Syrenthia’s Falls is about werewolves, which is an underutilized monster in these days of over-saturation of zombies and teen vampires. I have always felt that werewolves are the most frightening of creatures, since for most of the month, they can resemble your next-door-neighbor. Werewolves are a psychological creature, a symbol of the monster within all of us that only shows itself in times of stress (or during full moons).
I like how this book mirrors the old 1941 film The Wolf Man starring Lon Chaney Jr. in the sense that the character in that movie was also a sympathetic person to whom the audience could relate. Chaney did not want to be what he was, and despite the fact that he was a monster, he was also very human.
I enjoyed Syrenthia’s Falls because it really humanizes the lonely among us. This is not to say that it is a perfect product; I feel it could have done without the capitalized sound effects of GRRR! and the capitalized shouting of WATCH OUT and the like. That sort of thing should not be done with capital letters, but with exclamation points only; otherwise it is very distracting and appears out of place in a professional product. Still, that is a minor complaint which merely comes from wearing my editor’s hat. My reader’s hat really enjoyed this book.
All in all, Syrenthia’s Falls is a very good book. It has all the elements for successful writing: an engaging, sympathetic character, a fast-paced storyline, and best of all, it is a werewolf story. There are never enough werewolf tales, and this is one of the better books about the mythical creature that lies deep within all of us. Put down the zombie books and pick up this werewolf book. I highly recommend Syrenthia’s Falls.
You can buy the book HERE
About the author
Alexander S. Brown
Alexander S. Brown is a Mississippi author who was published in 2008 with his first book Traumatized. Reviews for this short story collection were so favorable that it has been released as a special edition by Pro Se Publishing. Brown is currently one of the co-editors/coordinators with the Southern Haunts Anthologies published by Seventh Star Press. His horror novel Syrenthia Falls is represented by Dark Oak Press.
He is also the author of multiple young adult steampunk stories found in the Dreams of Steam Anthologies, Capes and Clockwork, and the anthology Clockwork Spells and Magical Bells. His more extreme works can be found in the anthology Luna’s Children published by Dark Oak Press.
Visit Smashwords.com, Amazon.com, and Barnesandnoble.com to download his monthly short stories known as Single Shots. These are represented by Pro Se Press and they are known as stories that will be featured in the upcoming book The Night the Jack O’Lantern Went Out.
About the reviewer
While most people go to Disneyland while in Southern California, Jeani Rector went to the Fangoria Weekend of Horror there instead. She grew up watching the Bob Wilkins Creature Feature on television and lived in a house that had the walls covered with framed Universal Monsters posters. It is all in good fun and actually, most people who know Jeani personally are of the opinion that she is a very normal person. She just writes abnormal stories. Doesn’t everybody?
Jeani Rector is the founder and editor of The Horror Zine and has had her stories featured in magazines such as Aphelion, Midnight Street, Strange Weird and Wonderful, Dark River Press, Macabre Cadaver, Blood Moon Rising, Hellfire Crossroads, Ax Wound, Horrormasters, Morbid Outlook, Horror in Words, Black Petals, 63Channels, Death Head Grin, Hackwriters, Bewildering Stories, Ultraverse, and others. Her historical fiction full-length novel about the 1348 pandemic of bubonic plague titled Pestilence: A Medieval Tale of Plague is published by The Horror Zine Books.