Cover Image: Eye of a Little God

Eye of a Little God

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Member Reviews

A fun sapphic romance.

I didn’t think it was anything too special though.

The writing was good and the characters were someone intriguing

3 stars

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Diving into "Eye of a Little God," I found myself caught in a whirlwind of emotion and confusion. A.J. Steiger weaves a tale that's as intriguing as it is perplexing, setting the stage with Eddie Luther's eerie journey into the unknown. The book's blend of horror, magical realism, and the hint of romance promised a riveting adventure but delivered a labyrinth of disjointed narratives that often left me scratching my head.

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This book has left me feeling like I just had a fever dream. I was completely consumed reading this, I had to read the next chapter to find out what happened, unfortunately it was the last 50 pages where everything went out the window. Maybe I had different expectations as to what would happen with the characters but the ending seemed very lacking and rushed to me. I was left feeling very unsatisfied,

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Although the book has a lovely ambiance, the story is disjointed and can be perplexing at times. However, if you persist, you will become familiar with it and discover a compelling plot and dynamic characters beneath the surface. Great writing, plot was tough for me.

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This book defies easy categorization, blending elements I adore, yet leaving me with a complex mix of emotions. The uncertainty I felt while reading proves intriguing – a potential positive aspect. The summary, in my opinion, falls short of capturing the depth of the book, as unexpected elements unfolded beyond what was initially hinted. Above all, the representation within the story resonated with me, adding to the overall enjoyment.

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Eddie, a Vietnam vet living in 80’s small-town America, becomes entangled with a mysterious woman named Noelle after a chance encounter in the woods. As he races to rescue her from a figure known only as ‘The Painted Man’, Eddie discovers more about the world around him than he could have ever imagined. Magic and demons hide around corners, but so do new connections with faces familiar and not.

Eye of a Little God is an exploration of loneliness and isolation, ostracism and trauma. Our three central figures are all social outcasts who have been dealing with their trauma in vastly different ways, but find commonalities in one another.

I struggled to finish this one. In the end I don't regret pushing through, though I had a little trouble getting into it at first as the blurb was a little misleading. Technically all the elements in the blurb do occur – there are horror and romantic elements, someone falls for someone who might be possessed, there are queer main characters. However, I would classify this as magical realism more than a romance or a horror novel, and while the central romance is queer, it doesn’t come to the forefront until the final climax of the story. The dissonance between what I expected and what I got made my reading experience frustrating, which judging by some of the other reviews I am not alone in. I do think a slightly different blurb might allay this.

Eddie, Lou, and Carrie have distinct voices and perspectives. The characterisation is very distinct and their unique vulnerabilities broke my heart repeatedly. Stieger did a masterful job in really digging into their psyches and allowing the reader to experience some of the tragedies they were dealing with.

There were a few noticeable grammatical errors and some repetition that got tiresome, but there were also passages that were just gorgeous, with measures of beauty and aching sadness. Some scenes where characters experienced dissociation or derealization were profoundly moving, but also pretty triggering so be careful when you read this one, please!

The pacing wasn’t great. The beginning was good, it started off quickly and kept up the intensity, but the middle dragged a lot for me. Carrie's story was needed, but I always felt like her sections were slow or too clunky in their insertion into the plot.

Spoilers ahead for the ending!!!

I usually thoroughly detest books where whether the supernatural elements were real is left up to interpretation or are just due to mental illness/neurodiversity. Here, however, I was not as upset as I’d usually be. From the start, the reader is unsure about how much of the plot is occurring, so it didn’t feel like a lazy choice/rip-off when the ending is left up in the air. The fact that many of the supernatural phenomena might be artifacts of the characters’ PTSD or trauma did not feel poorly done as there were multiple characters with trauma of different kinds in this story. I also found the romantic relationship so quietly lovely in the aftermath of the conflict. This book was not what I expected but I did enjoy it in the end!

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This book was something that I don't know exactly how to define. It's a blend of so many things that I love, but at the same time, didn't know how to feel while reading it. Which i believe can be a good thing! I do, however, feel like the summary doesn't do the actual book justice, and so much more than what was foretold occurred. Overall, I loved the representation!

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A confusing book, it mirrors the mind of the main character and many people in today's society. A fun read.

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A mix of horror, surrealism and dreamlike atmosphere. A good story that I liked even if it's not always easy to follow.
Not the type of book you read if you want a classic whodunnit.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Eddie Luther has been drifting his entire life, feeling unreal and empty. Enlisting was his one shot at finding purpose, but all Vietnam did was leave him emptier, hopeless, and alone. Now he’s slipping—sleepless nights, losing time, and twisted nascent thoughts that sometimes birth frightening words. When he gets fired from his latest job during the holiday season, Eddie realizes he’s tired of struggling to stay alive. Filled with a sense of peace and inevitability, he turns down a dark road into the woods to take the pain pills he’s kept for just such an occasion. Before he can end it, however, the words “Help me” sizzle through Eddie’s damaged ear, and he runs out into the night where he sees a flash of red as a woman flees. Picking up her discarded notebook, the images and words inside show Eddie his destiny—here is his raison d’être, here is the woman he has been put on this earth to save and protect.

As Eddie tries to divine clues from the nightmarish imagery and words within the notebook that seem pulled from his darkest depths, his search leads him to Lou Frye, another invisible lost soul who speaks to Eddie’s own desperate loneliness. Convinced Lou knows more than he claims about the mysterious woman, Eddie tries to draw Lou from his shell and ends up forming a friendship. However, as the mystery leads him down a rabbit hole of magic and fantasy, Eddie becomes more determined to give his very soul to save the woman in the red dress. Will his attempts to save her unleash the violence within and destroy them both?

Eye of a Little God is a meditation on loneliness, depression, and finding a flicker of hope in the darkness. The story is steeped in ambiguity, including how it’s marketed. Though billed as queer, that label is doing a lot of heavy lifting. All queer representation is at the end and open to interpretation. For example, Eddie and Lou’s friendship is platonic, so it’s equally plausible to interpret Eddie’s declaration of love (especially given its circumstances) as a continuation of their friendship or the potential for romance. Additionally, the story is not a flawed hero’s journey via horror, it’s via mystery with a few horror elements, such as disturbing art and socially horrific behavior. However, these components are effective in evoking a firm and ominous sense of place, even in moments of disorientation.

The people of Devil’s Fork are all hanging on the edge in one way or another, even those with some ties to humanity. Most of the characters are steeped in inner demons fostered by isolation and handle their turmoil in many ways—from erasing themselves, to becoming living ghosts and “befriending” demons. There is witchcraft, demons, and magic fueled by loneliness. Or is there? Eye is a blend of surrealism, magical realism, and fantasy and the writing creates a melancholic atmosphere filled with shredded and deteriorating souls in a grasping search for freedom and meaning. The story follows Eddie, a man who’s as forgotten and shambling towards ruin as the small town he’s drawn to. After years of finding illusions of purpose that end in disaster, he’s ready to end it all and what better place than the dying Devil’s Fork? However, whimpers of pain and a woman in a red dress fleeing begin his journey down the rabbit hole.

Growing up, Eddie was an outsider, unable to make friends, as if people could sense his hollowness and preoccupation with death. Unlike many kids shunned by their peers, Eddie’s quietness contained violence at its core that erupts more easily after his time in Vietnam. Eddie has the urge to protect, but this urge tips easily into obsession. His mystery woman trips all his protective instincts and keeps his rage bubbling at anyone he feels is a threat to her or his mission to save her. The woman’s notebook is “like Cinderella losing her slipper on the glass stairs” and sends Eddie on his quest through the kingdom to find his soulmate. The signs and visions he experiences and the notebook entries that speak of love and violence knotted together tell him that she is the purpose he has sought all his life. He flings himself headlong into this belief and refuses to let go despite questioning his sanity and looking his dangerously compulsive nature and compromised motives straight in the eye.

When Eddie meets Lou, a quivering rabbit of a man, he knows Lou is hiding something. However, he has to curb his frustration and hair-trigger anger to get Lou to give him information. At first, Lou is an obstacle and a means to an end, but the reflections of himself Eddie sees in Lou foster a sense of camaraderie and understanding as they stumbles into friendship. Lou is all awkward angles and uncertainty, covered in a protective armor that keeps his tangled pieces in more than others out. In appearance, he’s the epitome of the creepy predator, but in reality, he’s the ultimate prey—so stomped down by life and his inner demons that he has permanent boot prints meshed into his skin and no real sense of self. Like Eddie, Lou grew up feeling untethered and alone, but unlike Eddie, Lou had no rage to keep himself safe. His meekness makes him a target of many, including Eddie.

In several small ways, they start keeping one another from drowning. Both men crave human connection and something to fill the void, so much that when a woman showed them kindness, their need for that sliver of warmth, that spark of life led them to a panicky, selfish attachment and eventual stalking—only the women’s fear finally breaking through to them. They are full of self-loathing (when they can feel anything at all) and have cracks in their psyche that leave them vulnerable to the bleakest parts of themselves. Each man is seeking salvation, to be remade into a complete human being instead of a human-shaped abyss, and they learn that though they may not be able to kill their demons or the depression that has sunk so deep it feels grafted onto their bones, they can defang it for a time with their connection.

As mentioned before, the writing does a great job creating atmosphere and conveying the all-encompassing nature of loneliness and how it mingles with violence and despair, so much so that loneliness itself a character. However, this constant evocation of loneliness creates an ouroboros of allusions and mediations and soliloquies. There is only so much ‘outsider looking forlornly at humanity like a street urchin with their face pressed to the glass of a sweets shop’ that a story can handle. As a slow-paced mystery, it’s important to keep the reader engaged, but as it was easy to see where the story is headed early on (for me) and the pacing lags in places, the lamentations slow the pace even more and lose their impact. That being said, the climax is tightly coiled tension, tinged with an air of violent release and aching tenderness. It also perfectly breaks the story’s despondent, cultural version of nihilism with the more positive, active existential nihilism that finds meaning in the senseless of the universe.

Pretty much all aspects are open to interpretation. Did Eddie actually die in his car? Is he dreaming in a coma? Are all, none, or some of his adventures in Wonderland real? All that matters is that Eddie finds home and a true purpose. Though not quite what I expected, I enjoyed this tale of broken people taking a mystical journey to find real connection.

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While this book has a beautiful atmosphere, the plot was very choppy and at times confusing. If you stick with it, you do get used to this and underneath it is a really interesting plot and set of characters.

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This book felt choppy and confusing. I didn't find the mystery in it that compelling. The main character was pretty unlikeable, and I didn't see why he was compulsively looking for this mystery person. It really didn't make much sense.

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I will start by saying that the writing in this book is beautiful, the author's ability to paint the world is wonderful. That being said, I didn't know what I getting with this book, it is definitely not in the realm of what I would usually read and I can't say this was a book for me. Am I glad I read this? Yes. Would I read it again? No. Did I enjoy it? Not really. I was challenged by it, the story is beautifully written and the plot is intriguing and that is why I am giving it 3 stars.

CW - Suicidal Ideation, Suicide attempt, Animal Cruelty

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I thought this book was very original & creative. It’s definitely one of a kind. I’ve never read a book like it.

I did find it a bit confusing at times, simply because I wasn’t sure where some things fit in, and what some things meant or had to do with the story itself. I do feel some things had no meaning to the story, and were just there for “fluff”, while others made complete sense by the end of the story. It all came together by the end.

Our MC Eddie was a sort of “protector” of sorts I felt like, and deemed himself that. It was a wild ride seeing him progress through this journey of finding this unknown person who he felt he was supposed to protect.

This story had magic, devils, demons, and a whole lot more thrown in that I just was not expecting that was a pretty pleasant surprise.

I did find the writing a bit.. odd? But, it didn’t take away from the story in the least bit for me. Just something I wasn’t used to. I enjoyed a refreshing new writing style to me.

The story itself had me on the edge of my seat, trying to figure out what was going to happen next in the story. I felt so much sympathy for Eddie, Lou, and even Carrie. By the end of the story, I loved all of them.

All in all, I believe this book is worth the read. It’s a great story, creative, compelling, and highly original.

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Perhaps taking a little too long to get into the really paranormal ins and outs, Eye of a Little God is still a great read, with an interesting lead and an engaging mystery at its core. Worth it for some fine horror moments and a good few tugs at the heartstrings.

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This book was unlike anything I've read and truly surpassed expectations. The description doesn't begin to cover the wild ride that is Eye of a Little God. This was a fever dream with moments of true horror - when a book can be gross and haunting and unsettling and lit fic all at once, it's a fantastic trip.

Eddie is a creepy main character - a bit unreliable, off-putting. And so is everyone he meets. His past haunts him and so does the girl in the red dress he thinks he sees in the woods. I won't go into any detail to stay spoiler-free but his quest to find and help this girl takes him on journey that reveals more about the world and himself than he could've ever imagined. There is magic, there is human connection, there is fear and blood and emotional baggage. There are demons inside and out. And making Eddie a Vietnam vet adds an intense layer throughout that was very well done.

I really enjoyed this read - it was addicting. It had a slower start, but the pacing worked well. You were sucked into Eddie's investigation and lose yourself in this other world the way he did. And the writing itself was excellent. There was a simplicity mixed with a poetry that worked so well in the genre, and it really made those horrific moments pop. I look forward to reading more A.J. Steiger!

Thank you to NetGalley & Severn House for my ARC!

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The only reason why I finished reading this book was because I was hoping it would get better. And did it? ... meh...?

By the end I did enjoy how the mystery wrapped up, but I have to say that it was the only part of the book that I genuinely enjoyed. The MC was an interesting POV for the most part, but some of the offhand thoughts and perceptions of the female characters felt unnecessary and not an internalisation that I particularly enjoyed.

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I have mixed feelings about this one. It started strong and then tapered off and for the middle of the novel I struggled to stay invested and I admit I skimmed parts of it to get through it. However, it picked up in the latter quarter and I flew through the ending chapters because I finally got properly invested. I don't think it was enough to make me say I loved the book though, the conclusion also felt a bit anticlimactic compared to what the build-up had been.

This book is uncomfortable to read in places but in a good way in that it throws a harsh, clear light on traumatic issues and topics and it doesn't shy away from being 'ugly' in places which I appreciated and felt fit the narrative of the story. However, it's marketed as a horror and I feel in places it's a little light on that but there are definitely elements of it.

Overall I think this is a tentative 3.5 stars and it had a lot of elements I really liked and parts were downright addictive but it just wasn't 'enough' for me. There was a lot of potential here but I'm not sure it reached it for me.

Thanks to Netgalle and the publisher for an arc of this in exchange for an honest review.

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I have to admit that the synopsis for this book was a bit misleading. With many thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for an ARC, here is my review. The book starts very strongly: great writing, nice pace, some expectations to see how it'll all turn into horror. By the middle, these expectations are dashed: the book has turned into fantasy, as the main character discovers that magic exists and can be used to save a stranger, Getting into the rest of the book proved very hard for me. I'll give it 2.5 stars rounded to 3.

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This book is a horrifically magical experience, and inundated me with a voracious hunger, one that urged me to finish it quickly and left me sitting there, wondering if I could have some more. The characters were incredibly well-developed, and I had a special soft spot for the portrayals of Lou and Carrie as people who became looped into this strange surreal world--whether by choice or by accident--and struggled upon the threshold between their lives and the one that lured them. The descriptions were lush and eerie, and fully enveloped me into this story, so much so that I almost felt I was part of it. The book is saturated with mystery, and I especially loved the introduction of Christina and how she played into the wider story--and how the author described the emptiness of her and others who are chosen by the Painted Man was absolutely chilling. I somehow deduced the plot twist about Noelle beforehand, but its revelation was still absolutely moving for me. This is a very beautiful literary experiment in grief, loss, and suicidal ideation, and though the characters were left off in a comparatively better place than where they began, I was still left yearning for more of their world.

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