I thought today was a great time to repost that review for my readers both in tandem with my review of the prequel on the horror blog and because it is a great read for the season for all readers looking for a good scare that is also a fun read.
See below for a repost of the original review and jump on over to the horror blog for a review of the prequel novella, Skinwrappers, including updated readalikes for more awesome space horror [maybe not as awesome as Hematophages, but still really good].
Here is the flashback review of Hematophages.
Speaking of fantastic, Hematophages (Sinster Grin, $15.99, ISBN 9781944044558) by Stephen Kozeniewski is one my recent favorites. Paige, an academic who has never left her space station home base, gives the reader insight into a new world of the future where the male gender is extinct, corporations have replaced governments, and most humans live off-Earth. Paige is hired as a historian, part of a team sent on a salvage mission to find a ship that has been lost for centuries. As they travel to their destination, readers meet an intriguing cast of characters and get a tutorial in the intricate workplace politics (remember, this is a world controlled by corporations). When the team reaches the lost ship, the true terror begins, a terror which springs from the hematophages, lamprey-like creatures who attach onto their prey and suck out their insides for nourishment. And these sentient creatures particularly enjoy the human brain. Hematophages has a direct and snarky narration and a seamless inclusion of accurate science which never intrudes upon the fast-paced storytelling, only enhancing it. But because this novel is also horror, it also has terrifyingly awesome and gross scenes of the creatures as they take over the crew, one by one. While this novel is perfect for fans of classic horror movies in space like Alien or Event Horizon, it is also equally influenced by twenty-first-century horror classics like The Rising and The Ruins with more than a touch of the humor of Office Space. All that and a perfect horror ending means that the only problem you will encounter as you hand-sell this book to readers is how to pronounce the title and author’s last name.
Three Words That Describe This Book: dark humor, great world building, terrifying