Cover Image: Lira


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The author gives a warning before the story starts.... take it into consideration. It will happen but I tell you, please go on. You will want to see the end of it.

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I had a hard time with this one. It’s very dark and grim. There are glimmers of kindness, but in a world so broken even kindness is tainted with the need to survive and the ever consuming hunger caused by mass starvation. The narrator is extremely belligerent to the reader who in turn is put in the place of a privileged but decidedly ignorant young royal who has no idea the suffering of the lower classes in his kingdom endure and finds the lurid tails of execution, starvation and cannibalism to be overwhelmingly nauseating. I myself did not require a bucket, but I can sympathize because the horror was rather unrelenting and there is no resolution to the story. Obviously that would be unrealistic to expect any sort of happy ending in such a violent, dark, unpleasant future, but still you might want to avoid this if you suffer from depression, it is extremely detailed and bleak.

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Interesting idea, love the cover as well.

I did find that the main story had some editing issues and the method of narration was a bit hard to follow.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and Holy Grail Publishing for a copy!

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The plot for this novella is a little thin. It introduced a compelling grimdark setting and showed off a brutal world to the reader. Some of the descriptions are rather gross and this is not a happy story, but it will appeal to some readers. The overall tone of the narration took some time to get used to, but didn't quite work for me.

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A strange little novella written in the second person puts the reader in the place of a selfish, young prince while the narrator berates him as he tells a story that "Mother" has commanded him to tell. Not too much of a plot and the voice takes some getting used to. Mostly the prince is told how miserable (in gory detail) the peasants are and that it is all the prince's fault. Interesting. This is proposed as the first book set in this land. I'd read more.

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Lira is a short novella set in a grim-dark world created by Armanis Ar-Feinial. The story is told in the second-person (always a bold choice), and as the reader we occupy the position of the prince, Alkel, as our nameless narrator berates him for the terrible conditions he has allowed his people to live in. As a grim-dark story, the novella’s tone is, well, dark. Most of the people in the novella are suffering from extreme hunger, and so they result to eating rats, dirt, and even each other. This copy of Lira contained an additional bonus story set in the same world, where we get to hear a bit more about the Nezkama, a race of militaristic lizards (?), and the Abyss.

Lira introduces readers to an interesting world, but I was dissatisfied with the lack of plot. The story seems to meander, providing grim details about living conditions without moving the story anywhere. Additionally, while I liked the narrator’s voice, I didn’t find the prose particularly elegant. In a short story like this, I don’t just want to be shocked by mentions of cannibalism and spurting blood but impressed by the author’s language. You can describe grim, horrible things and still write beautiful prose.

I received a complementary e-book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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This book is so entertaining there’s an entity that is now writing the story to the sprints alcom and he’s telling him about some of his subjects who live in desperate poverty so poor they have to eat dirt to fill their bellies what little girls dad just wants to die so she leaves him to it but another little boy‘s mom doesn’t want to die but cannot wake up. Eventually they’ll be another family involved in the whole story this narrator who always refers to Nother is it mother is there a God in the prince who is telling the story to has a evil sister I think her name is farck either way he has a sister in their royalty and their dad is a real loser but the alternate story he’s being told is a doozy I love horror and I have never read a horror book by The softer before but I am definitely going to be looking out for his books in the future. I love the narrator of this book and would love to hear this in the audio by a great narrator. Between the story being told by him in there story you’re in for a treat and all the way gruesome gross cannibalistic treat a treat still and know. I was so entertained by this book and highly recommend it. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher that I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

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OK, let me explain what I did understand with this book, somehow we (the reader) are someone named Alkel, he is a prince, or something of the kind, we are under arrest by someone who is telling us a story of someone real (in that world), and it gets really gruesome, we are belittled as someone that don’t know the real world and that we should have that knowledge, I really feel like the women telling the story really hate us… before the story starts we get a warning from the author that this is an experience, well it works, I just don’t like that it has so much swearing against “us”, but in the end the cursing is not the worst part, is really detailed in cannibalism, and violence so, I’d advice to thread with care…

In the end this is a short read, and I ended coming for more until the book suddenly finished, and in the end I still don’t know why lira is such an important character, is she mother? Well I don’t know, I have more questions than answers.

Thank you NetGalley and Holy Grail Publishing for the free ARC and this is my honest opinion.

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Cool concept but it was very hard for me to read. I thought that the warning at the top was helpful but now I'm second guessing myself. Maybe if there was no warning at all I wouldn't have had as many problems.

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This book is a class criticism wrapped up in a dystopian future novella. It has a unique perspective as the narrator is telling the story to a character in the book and the reader is observing. I think the author did a great job of detailing out the story through this narrators viewpoint and conveyed a lot of detail creatively. This also leaves some of the dialogue outside of the narrator up for the reader’s interpretation, allowing them to draw further in to the story. The author did a great job of making the story personal and putting stakes on the tale. The narrator asks Alkel, the prince receiving the story, to picture his sister in the titular role and thus invites the reader to do the same.

While the tale was interesting, the story seemed either too short or too long. Some of the side details felt like they could have been integrated and developed further or left out completely. At points the narrator’s asides also became distracting and it was confusing what his role was as at some points he described himself as millennia old and others spoke like he was a part of Alkel’s society. Lastly, the most frustrating part was that the whole story indicates it is leading up to a lesson to impart but this never resolves and leaves you feeling unsatisfied.

Per the author’s note at the end, this book is intended to be part of a greater anthology to follow and I think that it makes much more sense as a part than it does a whole. I understood the story a little bit better once I had that information and felt while there wasn’t enough to really grasp on to as a book by itself, if it was surrounded by other tales in the same universe some of the missing pieces would start to add up.

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Lira is a novella told as if you are hearing a story told to you by a narrator. Lira, Lukam, and Burkam are the main characters of this story, all children attempting to survive, mostly on their own. The story is told to Alkel (the reader.)

The world-building is minimal but otherwise the book had incredible and thorough detail, in all the worst ways. The backdrop is a fantasy land in which the people are starving and resort to cannibalism, including their family members. There are a lot of gory descriptions of dismemberment, death, corpses, and the feeding on rats and pig's milk- but all of these make this novella the fantastical horror that it is.
It is written very strangely, and the first page is incredibly confusing, being thrown in so quickly... but once you are a few pages in it is much more easily understood. The language is reminiscent of an old and distant place, and works well to depict the people in this poor and sickly town.
Overall, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would at first (that first page scared me a bit, I wasn't sure what I was getting into and what in the world was waiting for me.) The intensity of the gore and bodily harm was perfect for this book, and as someone who loves extreme horror- I liked the heavy and graphic details. I would definitely like to read more by this author.

Thanks NetGalley and the author for allowing me to read and review this book!

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Lira had a pretty interesting concept behind it. Written as though the reader is hearing the story and reacting to the events of the novella, Lira allows the reader to feel as though they are experiencing the events of the book. The book combines both horror and fantasy very well and the author does a great job at mixing these genres in a limited amount of pages.

I often felt that some of the language and events within the book felt more forced. Sometimes the way the characters spoke didn't feel natural or the incorporation of some of the events of the novella felt rushed. This can be because of how short the book is, but I felt as though the book could have benefitted from being a few pages longer or having another chapter to keep building the novella's world.

Overall, the novella was an interesting read. I feel that there is room for expansion and bringing more world-building into the story.

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Lira has a very interesting premise.

The world building is rather minimal since this is a novella but yet it is still intriguing. I see the potential for an amazing story with a very interesting world and characters if there was a chance for this whole thing to breathe a little bit. I would’ve enjoyed a deeper look at the characters; maybe a more intense description of their individual feelings and thoughts. I also think that the characters and story did take “turns” to frequently. Characters motivations (ex. mother at the end) change too fast which makes it feel very unnaturally rushed. I know this is supposed to be a novella but taking the time for some development and the chance to feel it out would refine this story immensely.

I’m a rather big fan of grimdark so the gore in this was right up my alley. I appreciate that there was no on page SA or anything of that sort since stuff like that can easily ruin an otherwise good story. It had some great, shocking moments that made me feel queasy all over. Beware if you’re sensitive to anything blood related.

The narrator was really interesting. In my opinion, the cursing was laid on a big too thick. I understand what the author was trying to do here but at the same time, it felt very forced and awkward. It was giving child that just learned the basic swear words and now can’t stop saying them rather than narrator that hates and criticized the flawed character. The author is honest about this being a try at something new, I digress. I think pulling back on the intense cursing would be good, not for my sanity but in favor of the book and story.

Otherwise, I did enjoy how this was written especially when Lira’s story was being told. Vocabulary and tone wise, this was a great fantasy story that has lots of room to expend and improve if the author does decide to give it another chance.

Thank you to Netgalley, Holy Grail Publishing and the author for this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Armanis Ar-feinial does a great job in creating a horror novella, it had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning and didn't let go till the end. The characters were what I was hoping for from the genre. I'm glad it worked well overall and was hooked from the author.

"She descended further into the dark, an unknown sludge caked her legs with each step. She moved forward, getting further and further away from her hovel. She heard a screech. Yes, yes. That’s it. A K’hara! A great beast flying in the air, and unlike traditional animals, they can see in the Abyss. They care not for the light. Another reason to flock to the light during such times, don’t you think? But it was too early, and she had traversed too far for that to be an option."

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