Nightmare Ballad by Benjamin Kane Ethridge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ethridge's newest book goes to a weird, weird place, which is saying something if you've read his previous works. As he's shown in previous writings such as Black & Orange, and Bottled Abyss, Ethridge displays a talent for creating or recreating mythos in order to create a really disturbing story. In Nightmare Ballad, there's a mythos there but it takes an investiture of time to start putting it together. A large contributing factor to this, and this may or may not put some people off, is the depths to which Ethridge creates a sense of logic in the dream world (where a lot of the book takes place) that carries over into the waking world. You know that dream where you're standing in front of Mrs. Taylor's English class buck naked, Suzy Petersen is laughing at you for asking her out, and your big fear is that you forgot all the questions to the spelling bee? You know how, at that time, it all made sense? Ethridge is able to instill that logical structure in depth in his characters, and I'll be the first to admit that the smoothness of it can cause some confusion over what's supposed to be happening in the waking world vs. the dream world. This can be gotten through with some careful reading, which leads me to the next point of saying this isn't a read that you can pay partial attention to. It requires some focus, but dammit if it isn't worth it.
View all my reviews