Author: Rami Ungar
Date of Publication: June 19, 2019
Publisher: Castrum Press
When Rose awakens in a greenhouse with no memory of how she got there, she’s horrified to discover that her body has transformed. Her memories are a jumble, and she encounters a strange man named Paris who claims to be the love of her life. She doesn’t remember him at all. He says that he saved her life using magic he found in an ancient tome, and that her bodily transformation is an unfortunate side effect. But there’s a sinister side to Paris that scares her and makes her question everything he’s told her…
The story gripped me from its very first lines. Ungar keeps the pages turning with a fast-paced plot. The novel itself is only 208 pages, and he fits quite a bit of action among its pages. The story is intense and dark and fit for any fan of the horror genre.
The transformations that Rose undergoes are truly unique, and Ungar has created a new horror monster that isn’t quite like the rest. He establishes limitations for her that make the story more interesting, as we discover that Rose cannot simply escape from Paris’ home.
While compelling, there are some aspects to the story that require a suspension of disbelief, and those have nothing to do with the magic. For example, what are the odds that both Rose and Paris speak Dutch? There are also a few inconsistencies in the plot. Rose’s parents are uneducated, yet one of them is a librarian? Ahem. I’m going to let that one slide, but just FYI, you need at least one master’s degree to be a librarian. Rose is Paris’ sociology “teacher”, but I couldn’t quite tell if that meant she was his professor or teaching assistant. These little inconsistencies are nitpicking, and while they did confuse me somewhat while reading the story, they didn’t affect my enjoyment of it.
Rose is categorized as a horror, and while there’s some body horror in her transformations, the real horror lies in what a human would do with seemingly infinite power. Paris’ transformation may not be a physical one, but it is the most terrifying part of this story. Paris is a fascinating character with a horrifying past that has distorted him into the man he is today.
As mentioned earlier, Rose has lost her memories. Part of the fact that she has lost her memories means that she could be any one of us. There aren’t any obvious aspects of her past that distinguish her from any other woman reading the book, and that relatability adds a personal touch to the horror. Ungar manages to develop her personality well without having the crutch of many flashbacks to draw on. She questions her sanity more than once which, again, adds another level of horror to the novel. As the story progresses, she regains some of her memories, and this enables Ungar to flesh her out into an even more compelling character.
There are other characters in the story, but they aren’t as well developed, which is the nature of such a short, plot-driven book. Had Ungar decided to make the novel longer, I would have liked to have seen more of these characters on the pages.
I recommend this book to those looking for a psychological thriller with a body horror twist.
*Thank you to the Blackthorn Book Tours for the ebook for review*
Rami Ungar knew he wanted to be a writer from the age of five, when he first became exposed to the world of Harry Potter and wanted to create imaginative worlds like Harry’s. As a tween, he fell in love with the works of Anne Rice and Stephen King and, as he was getting too old to sneak up on people and shout “Boo!’ (not that that ever stopped him), he decided to merge his two loves and become a horror writer.
Today, Rami lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. He’s self-published three novels and one collection of short stories, and his stories have appeared in other publications here and there. Rose, his first novel with Castrum Press, will be released June 21st, 2019.
When he’s not writing your nightmares or coming up with those, he’s enjoying anything from the latest horror novel or movie to anime and manga to ballet, collecting anything that catches his fancy, and giving you the impression he may not be entirely human.