Good morning and merry Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Winter’s Solstice! Did you all have a wonderful holiday? I hope you’re having an amazing time on these festive days! 🙂
And to completely change the mood from festive to gorey, I bring you a book review for Cthulhu Armageddon, by C.T. Phipps! He contacted me last month to ask if I would be interested in a review copy of his book and I, being a huge Lovecraft fan, promptly accepted!
So hold on to your seat belts, because this is the darkest, most violent book to be featured on my blog yet!
Cthulhu Armageddon is the story of a world 100 years past the rise of the Old Ones which has been reduced to a giant monster-filled desert and pockets of human survivors (along with Deep Ones, ghouls, and other “talking” monsters).
John Henry Booth is a ranger of one of the largest remaining city-states when he’s exiled for his group’s massacre and the suspicion that he’s “tainted”. Escaping with a doctor who killed her husband, John travels across the Earth’s blasted alien ruins to seek the life of the man who killed his friends. It’s the one thing he has left.
The book begins with John Booth inspecting the ruins of a twisted Black Cathedral in search for some kidnapped children that were taken away from their families by slavers. In these first few chapters, John’s squad will fight cultists, their reanimated corpses, and things much worse than that. In the end, it’s only him and Jessica, imprisoned but alive…
So begins John Booth’s journey of vengeance against Doctor Ward, the man responsible for this catastrophe.
I feel there’s a need for a disclaimer here: even though this novel is inspired by Lovecraft, it is nothing like those tales of mystery and discovery. This is an action-packed story full of violent battles and gorey death. This is a tale about soldiers using the full extent of their artillery against monsters far beyond our comprehension.
I would not be the first one to point out that this world resembles Mad Max‘s in many ways. This is a post-apocalyptic world heavily inspired by the Western tradition where all sorts of horrors roam the Wastelands, where humanity has become so insane that they have no trouble summoning the very monsters they are trying to run away from.
This novel’s biggest selling point is its world building. Phipps has taken a bunch of traditions and inspirational works and has created something genuinely original. The cities John visits are, in their decaying and decadent way, very much alive. In fact, it feels at times like a work of epic fantasy, rather than sci-fi or horror.
The story itself is also quite interesting, though only if you’re into the genre. I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a queasy stomach or dislike gore, because there’s a lot of it. The writing is also very compelling and appropriately descriptive for this kind of novel—the only downside being a bit of redundancy here and there, but not so much that it will detract from enjoying the book.
The one thing I did not feel entirely comfortable with was the treatment of female characters. Not because they’re uninteresting or not believable, but because they all seem to be emotionally or sexually involved with John Booth. Out of the five main female characters, only Jackie has no interest in the man whatsoever—and that’s only because she’s a child.
I have to say that, for the most part, I enjoyed the story, and I’ll be looking forward to the sequel, The Tower of Zhaal.
Who would I recommend this to? Horror fans, Lovecraft fans, fans of adrenaline-fueled stories with little to no taboos.