Cover Image: Netherkind


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This fantasy-horror follows Thomas who has to eat human flesh to survive. On the outside, he seems like a regular human, but when he feeds, he absorbs qualities of that person. He thinks he's the only one of his kind until a woman appears in his apartment complex one day. He soon finds himself beneath the human city and is introduced to a whole society filled with "Fleshers" like him. Only, his kind aren't the only ones out there and there's a war brewing.

TW/CW: child endangerment, child abandonment, body horror, cannibalism

I'll say right at the top that this is not my usual read. When I requested this book on NetGalley, it was only listed as a horror and thus I thought it would really lean into the quasi-cannibalism of these creatures. However, these creatures ended up having a much more complex societal structure than I was expecting and there was a good amount of political machinations going on as well. We even get some supernatural/magical elements which again upped the fantasy percentage for me. We start out the story in solid horror territory but it quickly turns into a more fantasy-heavy read. Since I don't like reading fantasy (I prefer to watch fantasy TV/movies), this story did lose me just a smidge in the middle. However, it won me back over in the last 25%. I do think this is a fantasy with substantial horror undertones, but I would list it as a fantasy first and foremost.

I really loved the characters in this ... except for Thomas. I didn't particularly dislike him, but I was pretty meh about him and his journey. He felt very much like a reader stand in since he didn't know anything about these other creatures or their dynamics. I can understand the plot reasons why he wouldn't know anything and would need to have everything explained to him, but it ended up feeling like he was pretty devoid of any defining characteristics. I would have preferred Thomas taking a more active role in the plot and maybe doing some investigation/research on his own. I found the other characters to be really interesting and well developed for side characters. Sure, we didn't know every detail of their backstories, but Chapman gave the reader their wants/desires/weaknesses which made them really fun to read about.

The horror elements were pretty solidly body horror with a dash of cannibalism. The opening 10% is pretty heavy on the blood and gore of Thomas's life and how he feeds and then transforms. However, I did then find that the middle section from 25%-75% was lighter on the horror and really leaned into the fantasy elements. But that last 75% we get some really fantastic descriptions and scenes that I absolutely loved. I didn't find any of the scenes particularly overly-descriptive (but I know that line will be different for everyone). I found Chapman's descriptions of these more visceral scenes to be really well planned out and always felt like they had a reason to be more graphic - usually for plot or character development.

The fantasy elements were a bit hit and miss for me - but again, fantasy is not my genre. I absolutely loved the world-building and lore that Chapman managed to fit into this 303 page read. I thought everything was really well laid out and we learned about this new world in layers so it never felt overwhelming. We have 3 pretty significant groups of conflicting beings (plus another one on the fringe and a couple humans thrown in the mix) so there's a lot of ground to cover. However, Chapman did a great job of rotating through these different sections of the story so the reader is consistently reminded of the dynamics at play. There is a plot line that gets a little too far-out for me and I found myself re-reading those sections a couple of times before I felt like I understood what was going on. Because of this, I did feel like the end reveal in regards to those moments didn't quite hit as hard as it might for other readers because I was a little confused and felt like I was out of the loop just a little bit.

Overall, this was a pretty fun read but it did lean a bit more toward fantasy than I personally like. That being said, I still enjoyed it and loved the world building, side characters, and horror elements.

Thanks NetGalley and Crossroad Press for the ARC

Publication date was May 28, 2022

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3 Stars!

Greg Chapman was a mystery to me. I am not familiar with his work so I really did not know what to expect when I started Netherkind. There was something about the novel that called out to me, as well as a review comparing it to the works of Clive Barker, so I jumped into the novel with heightened expectations hoping to find a terrifying read as well as a new author to look forward to in the future.

Thomas did not know what he was. In order to survive, he needed to kill and devour humans so that he could take their power and as well as their physical characteristics. He led a miserable existence of moving from one place to another so that he would not be hunted down by the law or those seeking revenge. He does not want to be a murderer. He must kill in order to survive. Thomas also thought that he was the only one of his kind. Then he met Stephanie. When she moved in next door, he was attracted to her but tried to avoid her to hide his true nature. She would not relent, however, and he eventually gave in. Then he learned her secret. Stephanie was a monster just like Thomas.

Thomas is a Flesher. He knew nothing of their existence, but he will have to learn fast. Deep below the surface of the Earth, there is an entire kingdom of Fleshers with their own society and mythology. Along with that comes the power struggle. There is a war going on for the subterranean world and Thomas finds that he is a key player in the struggle. At first he is nothing more than a pawn, but he has the potential to become a hero. Thomas must learn about his race, a race that he never expected to exist, in order to determine the future of the Fleshers. Will he lead them to a brighter future in which they can rise to power or lead them to their destruction? This is the question Thomas faces as he tries to find his way in a whole new world.

Netherkind is a somewhat strange novel that was nothing like I expected at all. The story starts out as an almost straight horror novel. Thomas is almost a zombie as he shambles through life looking for nothing more than to survive. He is not happy with his life, but he is resigned to going through the motions until some higher meaning finds him. This happens when Stephanie crosses his path, and he is changed forever. The novel then kind of moves along at a slower pace as Thomas begins to question what he is and find answers. It is still a horror novel until he discovers the underground world filled with creatures like him. The novel then shifts in tone completely and turns away from horror to become a dark fantasy. Chapman turns to building the world of the Fleshers and the novel quickly turns into something that reads almost like Clive Barker took a shot at writing Game of Thrones. The shift is kind of jarring although it is clear that Chapman had this in mind from the beginning.

Chapman turns away from horror to world-building and I do have to admit that the book lost some steam for me. There is a lot of politics and social forces at work though the novel, but this largely did not work for me. I thought that some of it was interesting, but the novel became a bit too much work to get through. Part of this could have been from a change from the expected, but a lot of it was just that it never really caught my interest enough, got me to care enough, for the effort I put in to reading the novel. The second half of the novel reads more like the set up to a future work rather than a satisfying novel. I would not say the novel is bad, but it is not what I expected, and it just does not read as a compelling story. Maybe Chapman has plans for this world in the future and this was intended as an introduction. That would make sense as the story seems incomplete. I am sure there are readers that will enjoy it more than I did and I still enjoyed the novel, but Netherkind finished up as a novel that failed to reach its potential.

I would like to thank Crossroads Press and NetGalley for this review copy. Netherkind is available now.

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A monstrous tale that eats away at the flesh, leaving the urge satisfied. But not satisfied for long. Thomas thought he was the only one of his kind until he was accosted and attacked by a female monster who stole his seed. Then he finds a whole underground world of monsters who are suspicious that they’ve never encountered him before.

LOC 315 - Their = There

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Thank you #CrossroadPress and #NetGalley for allowing me to read and review #Netherkind by Greg Chapman.

I tried to enjoy this story, but it was very bland. The actual story itself was good, but it was not exciting. I am interested in reading more from Greg Chapman because I feel once he finds his niche, he could write a great story. I just needed more feeling and excitement in this one.

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This is my third read by the author. I liked the first one and really didn’t the second one. This one was shaping up to be somewhere firmly in the middle of that, but, to be honest, it ended up somewhere toward the didn’t-care-for-it level.
It was ambitious enough, certainly. On the epic scale, really, with all tis world-building and action. But ultimately, this tale of anthropophagy just didn’t sing for me.
I was trying to nail down why and I’ve come up with something like…it was too much like a high fantasy almost (sword no sandals variety) with all these courtly powers struggles and different warring factions. That sort of thing seldom if ever works for me outside of Game of Thrones.
That wasn’t all, though. The writing didn’t do much for me either. It was perfectly serviceable, which seems to be Crossroads Press’ standard, but nothing special. Didn’t care for any of the characters, either. Of any of the species and subspecies.
I suppose the best aspect of this novel was its concept, in that it was original and different, but that just depends on how much interest you can muster up for a bunch of Fleshers i.e. flesh eating beings who live in the world beneath our own, war with each other, and munch on unsuspecting humans above. Or their own kind if the spirit moves them.
We are given entry into this world through the novel’s protagonist, a Flesher who lives among humans and thinks he’s the only one of his kind only to find out that a. he isn’t, and b. he’s got a role to play in the intrigues of the Phaguns (that’s what they call themselves, the hungry ones) below.
And then there are some people (collector, mercenary, etc.) who are after all Phaguns out of pure interest and greed.
So it’s a lot. There’s a lot going on in this novel. And maybe it’ll work for you more. Readers differ, tastes differ. This is just one (unimpressed) opinion. Thanks Netgalley.

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Thomas struggles to fight the urge… the hunger… to draw sustenance from human flesh!

He learns, after years of isolation, that he is not alone; instead, he is part of an ancient civilization that is warring amongst its own tribes.

Travelling along with Thomas we get to see the awesome world building Greg Chapman has created. This is such a great read that steps outside of the common sci fi/ fantasy genre and pulls the reader in.

Thank you to NetGalley, Crossroad Press, and Greg Chapman for a copy.

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