Eulogy | DT Conklin

Eulogy ConklinEulogy by DT Conklin is a dark epic fantasy.

Evolved Publishing presents the Epic Fantasy, Eulogy: ‘They’ll stand amongst the corpses of the beloved.’ That’s what he said at the end, though I never considered myself one of the beloved, not at the beginning. I was simply a terrified woman then, but now… now I understand. Maybe I wish I didn’t. Void take me, this is so demon-damned hard. In the beginning, he loved me. Irony, it twists and twirls like a lover’s song, but this is hardly a lover’s tale. It’s one of blades and blood. I wish I could’ve seen it sooner, but that would’ve been too easy. I wouldn’t have learned to love him.

I’m… not sure.

Provided free by Evolved Press.

It’s well written enough, though Conklin relies overmuch on short, choppy sentences, and sometimes the prose goes into overwritten self parody. Mostly, though, the prose is effective and appropriate, forcing you along the path of the story. No matter how little you want to go.

The story itself is, from the start, almost soaked in dread. It’s good, it grabs, it’s tight and has no major plot holes. It starts slow but speeds up fast and drops you in at the point where everything starts, as its should. It’s wonderfully crafted. But it’s dark. If you like dark, you’ll be fine.

Though of COURSE there is violence and threats of sexual violence against a woman in the first few pages. Of COURSE that woman is described as strong and firey and tough.

Look, I understand the urge for ‘realism’ in novels like this. In our own history (and modern world) women are the subjects of violence, rape, trauma and brutalisation. But, as a woman, a feminist and a previous sufferer of this, I get really fed up of it being used as a way to motivate the main male character. Sure, it happens. But here’s the thing.

If you can create your own world, if you can imagine a world of magic and wonders, why can’t you imagine a world where women are not perpetual victims whose suffering serves only to get the plot moving/motivate a man?

Phew, ok, that rant is done. It probably doesn’t bother other readers as much as it does me, but I can’t let it go unchallenged. If you are a writer, next time you are writing a scene like that, consider what the purpose is, please? And remember that sexual violence isn’t just a thing that happens that makes men angry, it is something that 1 in 4 women suffer in their lifetimes, and that perhaps, just perhaps, those 1 in 4 women may be a little sick of seeing their own pain and suffering used in entertainment as a way to get men active.

I’ve given this seemingly small issue a lot of space in this review because it is something that bothers me, personally, and as a reviewer I feel it is important for me to point out what I take away from passages like this. However, you should not assume it means I dislike the book – on the contrary. (if I stop reading and liking books that did shit like this I’d be able to read about five books in the whole world).

Ultimately, its good. There are twists you don’t expect and if the epilogue is over-explainy, who can blame it? This books needs a little explanation (though I dislike being told what to feel and what message to take from a book by the characters).

This is a book that troubles me. The writing, the themes, the story itself, all are brilliant. But I felt… unsafe, reading it. I guess that’s in its favour, that it can create such a strong reaction in me. I remain troubled and thinking of it now, some 2 hours after finishing it. I guess that means I have to review it quite highly. I feel like the real message of the book – what I take away from it – is much more ambigious and open to interpretation than the characters claim it is in the epilogue.

4 out 5, with a caveat: a number of the themes and things that happen within may disturb and upset more sensitive readers. Caution, caution, practice caution.

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