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  • Writer's pictureChristina Pfeiffer

07/22/2023 Sonja Ska Reviews


Transmuted

by Eve Harms



Transmuted by Eve Harms is perfect for anyone looking for weird, visceral body horror that’s full of heart. It’s almost too easy to fall in love with Isa, a trans woman on the cusp of undergoing facial feminization surgery after a lifetime of inner turmoil. Fate, unfortunately, intervenes when her estranged father is diagnosed with cancer, and her sister forces Isa to cough up the money for surgery to save his life. Things look like they’re turning back around when an ad offering a free, experimental surgery pops up on her Instagram, but what starts off a dream come true begins morphing into a tediously ugly nightmare.​


When I say I love body horror, I mean I love it weird, pulpy, and on the brink of throwing me into a wet mix of sludge I can’t crawl out of. Harms delivers in the best, most brutal ways possible. Throwing convention to the side to create a world that constantly leaves you questioning, “what the fuck,” Transmuted works best when you give up control and allow yourself to be thrown deep into the blood-soaked, gore-infused madness. And trust me when I say opening yourself to a vivid world of stuffed animals with human eyes, grotesque transformations into insect-like creatures, and mutant sex is one of the best things you can do for yourself.​


Beneath the heave-inducing transformations, however, is a story of self-validation and finding beauty in ruin. Yes, it’s fun to wade through bodily fluids, but having a steady thread of emotion guiding you through an off-the-rail transformation is an important anchor for a story that’s almost too much. 


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The Insatiable Hunger of Trees

by Samantha Eaton



Seventeen-year-old Cara Hughes doesn’t believe in monsters. She certainly doesn’t believe in the urban legend surrounding the Winter Tree or whispers of creatures that lurk within the shadow of the forest. But when Cara’s sister vanishes only to return changed a year later, her search for what happened will change her forever. 


Samantha Eaton mixes a brutal creature feature with small-town urban legends in The Insatiable Hunger of Trees. The backdrop of the Appalachia wilderness is the perfect backdrop to this tense and bloody tale steeped in folklore. Going in blind, I wasn’t expecting such a rich, lore-heavy tale of a sister’s devotion, grief, and loss, especially not alongside such a well-developed creature feature. I’m almost not sure how Eaton wrote such an emotional story that also made me squirm with graphic depictions of gore, but I’m 100% here for it. 

 

If you love atmospheric and fast-paced chills, definitely snag a copy of Insatiable Hunger of Trees. Just be prepared to get completely sucked into the mystery of what happened to Cara’s sister because once I cracked the spine, I was flipping the pages well into the night.


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