We’ve been away from the blog and social media for a while as we wrap up They Eat Their Own. Writing a fiasco caper is exhausting. We hope to post a sneak peek soon…
While we’ve been deep in that process, Things They Buried has received some notice from the community. Our debut novel was chosen as a New Apple Literary Official Selection (Action/Adventure category) and a Kindle Book Review Finalist (Sci-Fi/Fantasy category). There are days where we wonder why we set out on this adventure, and it is recognition like this—along with all of feedback we have received from our readers—that keeps us returning to the keyboard.
“King and Swanson pack their absorbing debut horror fantasy with brisk action, acute tension, and detailed worldbuilding in a land full of various humanoids. Aliara Rift and her mate, Duke Sylandair Imythedralin, both members of the gray-skinned chivori species, spent their childhoods enslaved by the abusive karju Kluuta Orono. After two decades, they escaped, and Orono was thought to have died in an explosion in the island metropolis of Dockhaven, willing the mansion in which their enslavement took place to Syl. Twenty years later, rumors of missing children near the site of the explosion lead Aliara and Syl to wonder whether Orono actually survived. When their reconnaissance (aided by their skittish, greedy sidekick, Schmalch, a small, hairless puka) turns up inconclusive but disturbing evidence, they decide to claim the mansion and explore it for more clues. This unearths understandably painful, unresolved memories for Syl and Aliara, who call in a hired hand to expel and study the hideous monsters lurking in the building. The revelation that they are nightmarish genetically modified creatures sets the stage for a gruesome, violent endgame.
“Readers who appreciate dense worldbuilding will be gratified by the complexity of King and Swanson’s work. This novel boasts a dizzying number of species, a unique calendar system, guns that rely on magnets, and unusual slang (cool things are “gloss”; a drunk man is “high-seas”). The authors deploy these details naturally and leave readers wanting to know more.
“King and Swanson have a real skill for describing and deploying psychology. The horrors Syl and Aliara endured are slowly revealed and the contrast between the polished, heartless personas they project and their lingering internal trauma feels genuine. The point of view shifts between chapters increase tension by delaying the revelation of threats, especially during fight scenes in which characters in different rooms of a building react to the same creature. The sections narrated by minor characters occasionally distract. The plot sometimes flags as characters struggle to understand what is happening, but these slower passages add real emotion and stakes, and the conclusion nicely sets up a sequel without feeling unfinished. Horror elements and surprise twists will propel readers through this smooth, diverting fantasy.
“Takeaway: The creepy threats and fierce fights in this densely imagined novel will gratify fans of dark fantasy, especially those who want real depth in between thrills.
“Great for fans of Richard K. Morgan’s The Steel Remains, C.S. Friedman, Joe Abercrombie.”