Unseen Moon by Eliza Victoria
Number of pages: 220
My copy: ebook review copy from the author
Ghosts in a mansion. A home invasion. A group of friends haunted by a murder. An unlikely friendship, a dead body in an abandoned house. A girl falling to her death, and another falling into the viewless darkness.
Unseen Moon collects five suspenseful stories by award-winning author Eliza Victoria.
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When Eliza Victoria sent me an email about sending a review copy of her newest book, I couldn’t say no. Note that I’m not really a fan of dark fiction, or horror or suspense, but this is Eliza, guys. I read her stuff and liked it, even if they’re not the usual things I go for. I’m not really one for scaring myself, but I make certain exceptions especially when the author just writes really, really well.
Unseen Moon is Eliza’s newest collection that contains several of her short stories, most of them never been published in print. They’re part horror, lots of crime and suspense…and well, lots of dead bodies. Like her other works, the stories are well-written and I think they are exactly what she intended them to be — dark. Sometimes, a bit too bloody. But definitely dark. Here’s a mini-review of each of the stories, and my rating for them.
Needle Rain (3/5) – This is the story of Cleofe, Cedric, Brian and Emily, their friendship and the murder that happened in their town. For some reason, this story felt distinctly Filipino. The combination of the small town, hanging out with friends in the afternoon while eating, and the storms that raged in the story reminded me of my own younger years, where I would work on projects at home while a storm happened outside and it was only a matter of minutes before the house is plunged in darkness because the storm caused a power interruption. Of course, that’s the only thing that I related to in this story. :P Needle Rain comes off as a murder mystery story at first, and then it spirals into something else. I was quite prepared to be scared at first, but in the end I felt more sad. If only the characters were wiser, then it wouldn’t have turned out that way.
The Ghosts of Sinagtala (4/5) – This is a story of Ben and Emma, who inherited a mansion from their grandparents that had a dark history. Oh what a creepy, creepy story. Tricia was tweeting about this when she read it first, so I knew well enough to read this in broad daylight. And even then, I still got terribly creeped out. This is my favorite in the book, and I really liked the connection between the mansion’s past to Ben and Emma. This is the story that successfully made me not want to go out of my room at night to get a glass of water because I was afraid to find a little girl crying in the darkness. O_o
Summer Evening (2/5) – Twins Amarilis and Carlos were left behind by their older brother, Nathan, to his ex-girlfriend, Alicia, because he had a job to do. The twins hate Alicia, so when two guys entered their house to do something to her, they turned their backs. I wasn’t really a big fan of this because it felt too violent for me, and it kind of took me by surprise. That, and there was just something a little too disturbing with the characters — perhaps I just refused to believe that they are capable of what they are doing in the story? It’s still well-written, though, and the ending kind of made me want to wring one of the characters’ necks, but this was one story that I kind of wanted to end quickly because the events made me just a bit queasy.
December (3/5) – Gabriel makes an unlikely friend in an orphan named December, who has her own issues with the people around her. A dead body in an abandoned mansion, a dead body in the lake and lots of music form the core of this story. This one sort of reminds me of Summer Evening, but it was less violent and a little more melancholic than the previous story. In some ways it was a little bit disturbing, but I was able to sympathize with the two main characters in the story more than I did for the previous story.
The Viewless Dark (4/5) – I read this back in October 2012 and I really liked it. I didn’t exactly reread all of it when I read this book again. I still read parts of it, though, and felt the same chill I had when I first read it, and felt the same attachment to the characters, both dead and alive. I think this is a good story to end this collection.
Overall, Unseen Moon is another good collection of Eliza’s stories. It’s not as scary as I expected (except for The Ghosts of Sinagtala – remembering several scenes still gives me the creeps), but it was really quite dark. This collection is a little bit more similar to Lower Myths than A Bottle of Storm Clouds, sans the paranormal aspect. If you want to get to know Eliza’s works but you’re not a huge fan of anything that is out of the normal world, then Unseen Moon might be the right Eliza book for you. If you’ve read Eliza’s other works and you want more, then you won’t want to miss this one. :)
The ebook edition of Unseen Moon is available via Smashwords right now (four stories only, since the ebook edition of The Viewless Dark is available via Flipreads), but if you’re a print person, you can pre-order a print copy of Unseen Moon until May 10 through Eliza’s blog. An excerpt of the stories is also posted in the same blog entry.