Oh my god, what the frick did I just read? Tell Me I'm Worthless was a wild ass ride, but this... this was something else entirely. This was messy, brutal, disgusting, depressing, horrific, and many other words that you could probably surmise from others that were used. I loved it? Am I allowed to even say that? Well, I said it. Read this.
One of my favorite books from 2023. There was a passage I listened to over and over like I wanted to memorise it. Rumfitt writes with the heart of a poet, and I think that makes the horror of the story even more effective. As a bookseller I have recommended Tell me I'm worthless as a physical copy but have suggested readers also take a look at the audio as i did feel it added something. The narrator is astoundingly good, and I love that it's the same person for Brainwryms, so I will suggest the same for this novel. Gorgeous writing with horrific imagery, Rumfitt is not one to be missed or forgotten.
Gross, bizarre and all around interesting. I won’t be forgetting about this for a while. Thanks NetGalley!
This was a highly anticipated listen for me and it absolutely delivered! I had loved Tell Me I'm Worthless and I liked how Brainwyrms explored parallel topics from a different angle! Rumfitt nailed the humorous tone in this one, which balanced really well with the darker elements of the novel! I loved the narration as well! Thank you so much to Macmillan Audio for the ALC.
I loved Rumitt's first novel, Tell Me I'm Worthless, so I was looking forward to this release. I think is a great follow up that explores similar themes in a new creative way. I really enjoyed how funny this novel is too, there are a lot of dark topics discussed here so the sense of humor is very much needed. I loved the breaking the 4th wall elements as well. My only down side is that this novel gets so weird, gross and dark that it's almost hard to get through. I found myself pushing through instead of sitting and enjoying the novel. It's not a criticism though because I think that is the point of the novel however it did interfere with my personal readability.
I apologize, as I realize this is not really the fault of the author or publisher, but as NetGalley does not have sub genres, this was a complete miss for me. I do read and enjoy various kinds of horror, however splatterpunk or extreme horror, is not one of them. I would not have requested it if it could have been labeled correctly. Also the candid and overly sexualized descriptions is not something I am a fan of.
I did find the opening about trans people and rights to be powerful, moving, and sadly still necessary. For those reasons I would like to support the author, however their style is just not for me.
As I did not complete it, I did not review it good or bad anywhere.
I feel like I'm being punished for not reading TW or reading the synopsis before requesting a book. This was such a brutally gross, queasy read. The actual story was fantastic, but it was hard for me to focus on it with how chaotic and gross the story was. It's not my favorite but I didn't hate it. I also found a new trigger; worms in genitals.. so that's fun.
I'm a big fan of Alison Rumfitt's work and writing style. I think this is a great addition to her collection of work and solidifies me as a fan.
This book was disgusting, triggering, and truly a work made from the darkest, most honest parts of the author’s brain. It was amazing. This is a book designed to go in blind, and for the people who live in the world of LGBTQIAP+, there is so much to recognize and fear and come to terms with. For those who delve into the deeper world of kink, the stuff that sits below the surface comes to light in a disgusting, yet not overly descriptive way. The kinks discussed in this book are well foreshadowed and warned about prior to reading, giving any squeamish people fair warning to stop reading. Absolutely a wonderful piece of psychological body horror.
Wow that was so fucked up!! I have no idea what that ending was!! People are awful!! Humanity is doomed!! five stars easy. I’ve also never encountered a horror novel that marks when the book is about to get royally fucked by telling its readers to take a break - loved that. The narrator was also sensational.
rep: every flavor of trans person
spice: a couple graphic consensual sex scenes and several horrifying non consensual sex scenes
tw: CSA, child abuse, sexual assault, terrorist attack, bombing, getting fired, kidnapping, parasites
Thank you NetGalley for this ALC.
Where do I begin. I could not get past the level of depravity and fetish in this novel. I definitely was able to see the overarching message, that we live in a world that treats "others" in inhumane ways, but the delivery...was too much. It subverted the message. It devalued it. The amount of profanity, fetishism, and violence distracts the reader. The reader is unable to see much more. And I get it - that is supposed to underscore what the LGBTQA+ and transgender community faces, but when presented in this manner it does nothing but subvert this experience. I wanted to like it. I wanted to find the meaning, but it was too much for me. For other readers, I am sure it will hit home.
I was lucky enough to receive an early copy of Brainwyrms on audiobook. This book is so disturbing and dark, definitely check trigger warnings, but I could not put it down. The characters were fascinating and the twist in the story was completely unexpected. I definitely loved this creepy, disgusting, wonderful book. The audiobook was well narrated and had great sound quality.
This book is not your average horror. Tor Nightfire’s website tags it as Splatterpunk. Going into it, I didn’t realize the genre, so I had to stop and adjust my mindset before going forward. At first, I thought “horror smut”, but then it turned extreme. It was shocking, disturbing, exciting, and everything else that Alison Rumfitt set out for it to be. While it shocked me in the beginning, the story grows into a wild story of identity and love.
Although it wasn’t for me, I would recommend it to the right audience that wouldn’t squirm as much as me when it comes to sexual body horror.
The narrators for the audiobook were perfectly chosen and it was produced very well.
A Disgustingly Brilliant Masterpiece
Alison Rumfitt has done it again! "Brainwyrms" is not for the faint of heart, but if you're like me and love a good, disgusting horror tale, then this book is a must-read.
The story is a rollercoaster of emotions, from the gut-wrenching events that shake Frankie's world to the mysterious allure of Vanya. Rumfitt doesn't shy away from the grotesque; in fact, she revels in it. The body horror elements are so vividly described that they almost become a character in themselves, adding layers of complexity to an already intricate narrative.
What I particularly loved about this book is how it tackles serious issues like transphobia and political terrorism without sacrificing the essence of a good horror story. It's a difficult balance to strike, but Rumfitt nails it.
The LGBTQIAP+ representation is also commendable. As a queer individual, it's refreshing to read a horror novel that doesn't just include queer characters but also addresses the unique challenges they face.
In summary, "Brainwyrms" is filthy, searing, and hideously intimate—a modern classic in the making. If you're a fan of transgressive queer horror, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. You won't regret it.
This isn’t a high or low three stars. It’s a very middle ground “I don’t know how I feel” three stars. I found myself struggling to pick this up, but once I did I found myself having no strong feelings while listening to the audiobook.
However, there are many things I really did like about this book. I think trans political horror as a genre always has incredibly interesting ways to discuss the rise of rampant and violent transphobia we have seen in several countries in recent years.
As a nonbinary, fem presenting, AFAB person, it is easy for me to go undetected in the world where it isn’t so easily done for trans masc, but especially trans-fem individuals, so listening/reading a story told through the lense of people who are far more affected that myself is always insightful. Trans horror is one of the best subsets of the horror genre and this simply adds to that.
I also really enjoyed Rumfitt’s narrative style. This story provoked visceral reactions in me and I found myself wondering where the line was for me as a reader only just dipping their toes in extreme horror. I also appreciated that in the middle of a chapter a little over half way through Rumfitt interjections and encouraged the reader to take a step away from the work and take a moment to relax before continuing due to the sheer depravity about to happen.
I would pick up another one of her books, but I definitely don’t think her work will be for everyone.
I sadly didn't like this one. I always really enjoy this authors ideas but their writing style just doesn't work for me. I'm not sure what it is but I know its just a me thing cause everything about this book should work but it just didn't. I think plenty of others will love this book I'm just sadly going to miss out in it.
Rep: bi/pan trans mc, bi/pan trans li, queer scs
Please check trigger warnings before reading this book!!
I don’t really know how to rate this book. Did I enjoy it? Not really. Was it different and deal with some important topics? Definitely. I’m just not the demographic for it. I’m sure lots of people will love it though. I don’t like to write bad reviews. I think all books can be enjoyed by people. Just not everyone. Here’s just some of my thoughts and opinions on Brainwyrms.
This book is a horror, but not really scary. It’s just gory, disturbing and grotesque. It has body horror, lots of intense kinks and fetishes, and transphobia, among other things. It felt like the author was really going for shock value. It was very heavy on that and light on the plot. The political terrorism and TERF aspect got lost in my opinion. It was surrounded by so much sex and grotesqueness.
I read Rumfitt’s previous book, Tell Me I’m Worthless, and found that one to be intense. I was conflicted, confused and disturbed at times. This one was on another level. I went into Brainwyrms not knowing it was the same author and not really looking up reviews and content warnings. Which is 100% my fault. If I had, I really don’t think I would’ve requested this book. It does have warnings at the beginning, but I didn’t think it would be this intense. This is definitely the most intense and disturbing book I’ve ever read. Way more disturbing than Tell Me I’m Worthless, somehow.
To be honest, if I had been reading the physical book, I probably would’ve DNFed after the first few chapters. The only reason why I finished it is because it was an audiobook. I multitasked and definitely zoned out on some parts. Some things are a blur and I was already disturbed enough that I didn’t even bother going back to see what I missed. It somehow got more and more disturbing.
The story flips through different character povs, and even different perspectives, which got confusing at times. It even had a few scenes of breaking the fourth wall. Those had me chuckling a bit.
Another reviewer mentioned how they’re surprised this got traditionally published. I am as well. I’m shocked a publisher kept everything in. I can’t even imagine if they made Rumfitt cut anything out, how intense those scenes would’ve been.
There was definitely a social commentary going on with how trans and queer people are treated in the world. There’s so much hate and bigotry out there. Political terrorism is a big thing with queer rights right now. So many countries have been dealing with this hate. I appreciate this aspect of the book.
It’s always nice to see more queer and trans books. Especially in the horror genre. I feel bad rating a queer book so low. But unfortunately I can’t love every book I read. It’s still nice to have these options out there for people to read.
The cover is terrifying and fits the book perfectly. Yes, worms become a major point of this book. The narrator did a great job as well. They’re actually a trans person, which is great.
Overall, this book is not for me. I do hope other people enjoy it. It had some good elements, but for me they were overshadowed by the disturbing content.
Again, please check trigger warnings before starting this book! Read other reviews. Even check out ones where people enjoyed the book so that if you chose to read it, you can go in knowing what to expect and that it wont be triggering or too much for you.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an audio ARC of this book
DNF @ 40%
I really tried hard with this one but honestly just can’t do it anymore. I feel like at 40% there should have been something that made me want to keep reading. This book had its moments but they were far and few between.
The author consistently switches narration styles between 1st 2nd and 3rd person and as a reader I found that to be super confusing.
I feel like I have a grasp on what the book was setting out to do (Queer, Horny, Horror.) but it didn’t do it well. I think there were a lot of themes and the book lacked focus. As far as the horror goes it felt like the writing was trying hard to be “disturbing”.
I do wish this book was more horror (ex. Tell me I'm Worthless) instead of the focus on the grotesque. "Downright filthy" scenarios don't do much for me and leave me bored. The cover conjures up more images in the reader's head than the worm body horror in my opinion. I wanted to be affected by the internal worm scenarios but it never reached that point. I was always waiting for those scenes to finally get to that climax but it never happened. Those scenes left me unfulfilled. I wasn't a fan of how Rumfitt wrote the political terrorism outside of the woman bomber. I think in some ways the kink and sex distracted from the message. There were times where I replaved the audio in those sexual moments to see if I missed something that would move the novel along. All in all it was too gross and sexual that it slightly distracted from the " reality of political terrorism while exploring the depths of love, pain, and identity."
1 am looking forward to her novel as she is the only author l've encountered who writes about trans identity (specifically women which is sadly under written) in a transgressive horror style.
Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for this ARC. This was my second read by Alison and I think it will be my last. I think Rumfitt wrote a very compelling and interesting story, but I struggled through this. I ended up switching to reading the physical ARC of this one and I found myself skimming a lot of the book.
Very well written story but the body horror was a bit much for me.