Cosmovorous, by R. C. Hausen
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Today, I’m reviewing Cosmovorous, a new and gripping horror novel by R. C. Hausen.
So, if you’ve got your favourite drink to hand and are all settled in, let’s begin.
The story opens on Halloween night. After a series of shady events, bar worker Esmeralda begins to hallucinate a variety of unnerving things. Disembodied voices implore her to ‘come see,’ although what they’re tempting her toward is not initially clarified. Although these hallucinations are revealed to be common for Esmeralda, they get progressively worse over time.
After trying to score some drugs to numb the voices and visions, Esmeralda witnesses something horrific. In addition, while escaping her dealer’s home, she finds a mysterious vhs tape on her car’s backseat, a tape depicting some horrible scenes from her past.
Finding herself followed by the disembodied voices, Esmeralda and best friend Cleo flee the city but end up drifting closer to the horrors that await. However, it isn’t only external dangers they face: for Esmeralda, the biggest danger lurks within.
Esmeralda, a bar worker tormented by her past, makes for an interesting and sympathetic protagonist. She possesses an inner voice which torments her over ‘dark things’ she’s done, a voice which she often tries to drown out with cocaine. Her past is rife with risk and danger, having also spent some time in a juvenile correctional facility. Such a troubled former life has led to her being tough and highly capable, taking care of herself and others even in perilous circumstances. As such, Esmeralda was a highly likable character, who I hoped would succeed in her personal journey.
Cleo, Esmeralda’s best friend and fellow bar worker, provided a somewhat softer contrast to our leading lady. Cleo was a highly supportive and caring friend, who willingly followed Esmeralda into the jaws of metaphorical hell, just so her friend wouldn’t have to go the journey alone. In addition, Cleo’s great sense of humour provided brief respites from the more tense and heart-pumping scenes which filled the story.
Finally, the overarching villain of the piece, Dresda, took the form of a human woman who Esmeralda had once been romantically involved with. She embodies the cruel and unusually seductive nature of an intelligent species which seeks to merge with humanity and overthrow them in a glorious bout of chaos. Throughout the book, there were many examples of the atrocities such a species was willing to commit, chief among them being murder and sick sexual pleasures involving humans. Dresda (and all she symbolized) was easy to hate as she turned her back on everything it means to be human.
There were many positive features to Cosmovorous and as such, I have listed my favourites below.
- The first person present tense allows for a sense of immediacy and intimacy with our main character. We become privy to Esmeralda’s every thought and to her unique way of seeing the world. This, interspersed with third person flashbacks, allows the reader to get both a closer look at who Esmeralda is, and also provides a certain amount of distance between Esmeralda and the events of her past.
- The author has a gift for imagery, using a particular selection of words to create an almost lyrical style of prose. Scenes are vivid and dark, allowing the reader to imagine what is unfolding before them with the utmost of ease. Furthermore, the sensory description provided made me feel everything, from the texture of a place or clothing, to the smell and sensation of locations, people, and things. All were vivid and realistic, with dark and threatening undertones.
- The tension of the story escalated well, increasing gradually at all the key points, in order to set my heart thumping in anticipation.
- I particularly liked how the chapters were, for the most part, short and sweet as this made it easier to digest each chapter’s worth of information. Seeing as there were a lot of tense scenes with vivid acts of violence, having frequent chapter breaks was handy for me in order to process everything I’d read, including the intense emotions the story provoked in me.
- I liked how the story moved between Esmeralda’s present circumstances and her traumatic past as this provided added context to the present situation.
I couldn’t identify anything negative about this book. I loved every moment.
While reading Cosmovorous, I identified four quotes which left me thinking.
1) ‘Sometimes if you don’t have people to help you back up when you fall, you can get trampled on.’
2) ‘That’s the thing about shame. It follows you wherever you go. A loyal companion and a constant reminder.’
3) ‘When you’re angry and sad, there isn’t anything that will make you not be, except time.’
4) ‘At their core, all humans are fighters: it just takes the right circumstance, some pressing urgency or desperation, to awaken the instinct.’
Overall, I found Cosmovorous to be a gripping and addictive horror story, which had a unique premise and memorable characters. Themes included destruction, friendship, and survival.
If you’re searching for an ideal post-Halloween read, then I feel this would be perfect.
My Rating: 5 stars.
Recommended to: Those aged 18 or over, who enjoy well-crafted and grotesque horror stories.
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