‘Urban Gothic’ by Stephen Coghlan – Review

*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Every lick of sense Alec had left pleaded with him to keep walking and ignore what he’d seen, and alarm bells rang in his head like the klaxons of some far-way firebase, roaring that this wasn’t his problem; it wasn’t his duty to become involved. The noise fell silent to his conscience. How would he live with himself if he didn’t help this woman?

The voice Alec spoke in was deep and clear; meant to be heard over the chaos of war, over the crack of guns and thunderous explosions. 

“Stop.”

The single word echoed off the concrete asphalt; slowly diffusing as it climbed into the empty sky. 

If I die with my hands by my side

Tell the sarge I died o’ pride.

 

Synopsis –

Burned out and drugged up, Alec LeGuerrier spends his days faking it, barely eking out an existence while living in a haze of confusion and medicated mellowness. That is, until he stops a gang of nightmarish oddities from killing a strange young woman with indigo eyes.

Dragged into the lands of the dreaming, he must come to terms with his brutal past and his grim imagined future in a land his body knows is real, but his mind refuses to acknowledge.

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Thoughts –

Urban Gothic is the fantastical fever nightmare of a veteran soldier learning to dream again. A short, whimsical story stalked by shadows, Urban Gothic is not your usual fantasy story. Following the gallant Alec and the his quest to save the other worldly Valeda, the reader is taken on a journey into a dream filled mirror world to our own where the awake are the ‘creators’ and the dream world versions are imagined versions of them (think the Tethered in ‘Us’) with dire consequences when either is killed or damaged. Alec makes his way through this world finding friends he thought he’d lost, a revolution that has more to do with him than he is aware, and the strength he needs to find himself again.

Perhaps a tad too chivalrous at times, Urban Gothic is nevertheless a novella with great depth that explores many important themes through the use of fantastic imagery and a surrealist world. It’s an enjoyable story with a happy ending for a character clearly deserving. A short and thought provoking read.

 

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A fantasy style story with a valiant prince and a damsel in distress, the layered themes of this book will have you reconsidering everything you see in this magical world and the struggles of soldiers no longer at war.

 

About the Author –

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Hailing from the capital of the Great White North (Canada), Stephen Coghlan spends his days erecting buildings, and his nights reveling in the dreamscape. Since 2017, he has produced a myriad of flash fictions, short stories, novellas, and noels, including, but not limited to, the GENMOS Saga, the Nobilis series, and has had his works read on podcasts and featured in anthologies.

 

Read and Review –

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.com

Goodreads.com

 

 

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