There sometimes comes a book that changes everything, either the way you view fiction and writing, the way you observe the world around you and the world to come (the afterlife) – and The Sadeiest is one such book.
I was blown away by the imagery on show here (it was I believe supposed to be a graphic novel) it’s clear to see that Austrian Spencer has a vision for his masterpiece and the graphic novel is an ideal space to show this, but seeing as it isn’t a graphic novel (although there are illustrations littered throughout) Spencer has done a marvellous job within his prose at painting the scene for us in blinding clarity – world building that is out of this world that it rests on another astral plane.
The book opens with a nightmarish vision that as I read had me thinking of the very best of 2000AD – the world and vision is so crisp and shocking as one starts this journey that I hadn’t a clue of the world I had just stepped into – but by the close of the first several chapters I was immersed in a world crafted by a visionary and I never wanted to leave.
I read a book a while back by David Eagleman called ‘Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlives’ which is stunning – there are as you would expect 40 stories of what Eagleman predicts the afterlife could be like, it’s mind blowing but also gives the reader pause for thought as they imagine these various un-realities – as they wonder at the brilliance of the page and decipher whether what Eagleman has depicted is a reality that awaits us – and maybe it will, maybe our afterlives are specific to each of us, each one a different or grander version – the thing about afterlives is that no one knows, so anything could be waiting for us at the end and Spencer’s vision is one of utter chaos and horror – but there is redemption too, it’s not all bleak!
I loved the vision that Spencer conjures in The Sadeiest – it’s utterly beguiling and one can’t help but think ‘what if?’ – his detailed example of this new afterlife and the work of the Sadeist’s is quite mind blowing and I have to say when this is first introduced into the book I was a little sceptical and little lost – not because it was wrong but because it goes against anything I’d ever seen, was ever taught or what ever was explained to me – you see Spencer has crafted the most unique idea and it is a true thing of beauty.
Spencer’s Sadeiest’s have a duty to help dying souls emerge from the husk of human flesh they are trapped in – their role is to free the souls moments after death and if they fail they die in place of that soul an eternal punishment but if they are successful in their task they gain rewards – rewards that help them heal and move onwards to rectify the balance.
This is a book that I highly recommend you discover by yourself, like I had – I knew nothing about it before I peeled back the cover and I feel that’s how it is best discovered – I read no blurb, I read no previous reviews – I went into it blind and allowed Spencer to open my eyes to the wonderment on the page, the brilliance of his word and the limitless imagination on show – truly a feast for all the senses.
Their is a great many things to stand back in awe of in this novel and I’ll try to mention a few of these here.
The protagonists Williams and Henreich are richly and deftly portrayed – you grow attached to them and as Henreich teaches Williams the way of the Sadeiest you can’t help but think of one being the master and the other being the apprentice (think Obi Wan and Luke Skywalker).
The brutality of this book is something that makes you stand back and appreciate – it’s not the easiest of reads especially when Spencer goes to town on the horrific details of hanging and suicide and all the other grey areas between of people finding a way out of their troubled lives and Spencer makes you witness these in glorious technicolour – I for one love it, it’s right in my wheelhouse but for some I can imagine it may be too much – but we read horror to be horrified am I right?
The plot – although it is busy and a bit all over the place with body hopping and this other dimension – we flit back and forth at pace but in all of it I never felt lost once, it was as if Spencer had taken my by the hand and walked me through his nightmarish vision of what waits for us beyond. There are paths of the plot I was desperate to run down, to find the answers to questions that had been asked, to know what awaits out characters but Spencer ensures we amble through the story at the pace he has designed and we will get answers to those questions it will we like what we hear?
Again I can’t hype this book up enough – it brought to mind the great works of Neil Gaiman (American Gods), Richard Matheson (What Dreams May Come), Oliver Sacks (Awakenings) and Philip K Dick (Ubik) – plus there were pieces that reminded me of 2000AD, The Crow, Flatliners and so many others… there is so much to savour and enjoy in this stunning title!
The Sadeiest is a nightmarish vision of what awaits us when we slip our skin, it makes you question everything you believe in and in my opinion is there anything more fear inducing than that?
The Sadeiest is available via Amazon.
Austrian Spencer is a horror writer living in, you guessed it, Austria, near the city of Graz, nestled under a mountain, slowly hoarding gold in order to bait a dragon. He lives with his wife and two adult children, in an individually designed house that won the Solarhaus 2014 award.
Austrian is driven by concern for the planet – has reduced his carbon footprint by becoming vegetarian, cycles 15km each day to work (and back, uphill), and who produces his own vegetables when they are not being eaten by everything that is in a war against him (moles, mice, alien insects).
Austrian reviews horror books, and is happy to receive ARC’s with the stipulation that they must be digital. Let’s save postage, carbon production, and paper.
Reviewed by Ross Jeffery
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