A Review of the novel Empire:Spiral – High Fantasy, Meets Alternate Universe, and Existential Horror

The cover of the fantasy Empire Spiral by Tim Goth

Since I enjoy fictional worlds with otherworldly or religious elements and often dip into existential horror, Empire:Spiral is right up my alley. I got a kick out of the inclusion of touch stones of existential horror such as gigantic tentacled demons and the Yellow King.

The high fantasy element is relatively dark; however, although many of the finely drawn, uniquely voiced, and highly diverse characters are flawed, downright unlikable, or morally ambiguous, plenty of the characters are relatable. As in much fantasy, politics plays a heavy role, but this novel also includes plenty of adventure, drama, and ill-advised road trips.

Having accidentally landed in book 5 of this lengthy series, I read Empire:Spiral as three inter-related tales about imperfect people trapped in highly unfortunate and fantastical circumstances. I was able to quickly acclimate myself to the stories; although it took a while to see the connections between all the stories. I greatly appreciated that the author did not info dump the previous volumes action or the characters back stories.

Empire:Spiral ends with a “to be continued” feel, and while I thoroughly enjoyed this book as is; most readers will probably want to start with book 1 and read through then entire series.

Readers of high fantasy such as Game of Thrones, readers of existential horror, those who’ve enjoyed web novels such as Into the Mire, Nowhere Stars, and Katalepsis, as well as listeners of horror podcasts such as The Magnus Archives, The Silt Verses, and Old Gods of Appalachia, may enjoy this series.

Great fun. Highly recommended.

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