Rating: 10/10

Book Blurb:

Faith shapes the landscape, defines the laws of physics, and makes a mockery of the truth. Common knowledge isn’t an axiom, it’s a force of nature; what the masses believe is an axiom. But insanity is a weapon, conviction a shield. Delusions give birth to foul new god.


Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher is simply this: terrifying, grotesquely, original and compellingly page-turning. I could not put this one down, and I think it probably was the quickest read of my furlough so far – there was no way that I couldn’t be immersed – there was no way that what I was reading was anything other than a new world to fall it. It certainly wasn’t our own. But, the clever thing was that it suffers from exactly the same problems. If not on a physical, grander scale.

The magic system is based on a very intriguing idea: that mental disorders manifest as powers to wield against others, that are very much modelled after the sword of Damocles. One day it will fall on you; the Gefahrgeist, or the sociopath, in the story manifests other selves based on his many fears, as doppelgangers who he’s able to speak to, scheme with. But, he is doomed to be overcome by them – this really is a small and very simplified version of the magic system. With pyromaniacs as fire magicians etc. It’s wholly original, and the repercussions of using said magic are vile, grotesque and hella cool. The gripping originality of this piece and this system are one of the reasons why I rated this so high – Fletcher even adds a glossary to explain all the magics if you get lost.

With the plot as simple as stealing a boy, taking him hostage, and demanding a hostage fee, there’s a lot that goes wrong in it. The three main characters, a trio of morally ambiguous (read: defective) are both lovable and down right despicable. Friends, to deserters, to friends. While adding depth to the characters, and an element of black comedy, Fletcher forces you to care about these characters at the same time as wishing they get what they deserve. From start to finish, this is a clustered mess of insanity that pulls you in.

The character arcs are written well. Some come full circle, while the others fall flat in the Afterdeath, but there’s a sense of satisfaction with each one. Bedeckt, the axe wielding oaf who claims to be the only sane person, was probably my favourite character (it’s hard to want to befriend any of them, but a coward better than a mass murdering kleptomaniac. Trust me.)

The world is as gritty as they come. I don’t think I’ve read anything so vile, and disgusting, yet enjoyable in my whole life; if you had to ask me, I would suggest that this is the very pinnacle of grimdark, but what do I know? Like your stories with the guts on the floor, in your breeches, or burnt to a crisp? This is the one for you!

Overall, this is a book I would recommend, but only to my strong stomached friends, those that are die hard fantasy fans looking for something new, something original and gripping. And just a darn fun read.

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