Book Review: Underworld Dreams
SUMMARY: In 10 eerie speculative shorts, ranging in genre from horror to urban fantasy, Braum…explores the boundary between the real world and the supernatural world, and the slippery line between psychological and paranormal phenomena.
I’ll admit, halfway through the first story I was confused and frustrated. But something kept pulling me back into the pages, the eerie dread kicked in halfway, and by the end of that first story I was left hungry for more. Still discombobulated, but with an understanding that I needed to shift expectations. This collection is not straightforward in any traditional sense. It ambiguous and multidimensional, full of nuance and beautiful, dreamy imagery.
Ambiguity is certainly a double edged sword. It allows for a multilayered experience that rewards repeat reads, but it also runs the risk of coming off as hollow and meaningless. It’s either enlightening or incredibly frustrating. I’m happy to say that Daniel’s stories are firmly in that first camp. He writes with such precision, empathy, and imagination. The stories are captivating, and the characters immediately real and relatable. I loved the variety of locales and themes presented, as well as the dips into various genres within horror and fantasy.
The author is certainly interested in the tension between the supernatural and psychology, as most of the stories could be justified through either lens (I love the multiple layers of meaning). I fully allowed myself to sink into the stories and let the current carry me through these strange, dark underworlds. It was an experience that I definitely recommend! Not all of the stories worked for me, but most did. My favorite ones were:
“How to Stay Afloat When Drowning”
Huge thanks to @daniel_braum for sending me this collection, and I’m sorry it took so long to review! The book came out last month and you guys should definitely pick it up!
Overall rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
If you want to learn more about Daniel Braum and his work then check out his website (https://bloodandstardust.wordpress.com/) or follow him and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/daniel_braum/) and on Twitter (https://twitter.com/danielbraum).