“Paimon scanned the roads, looking for any hint of light, but the swathe of black that painted the night remained solid. Even the stars seemed to have dimmed, casting haze through the trees that bled out onto the forest floor like smoke.”
Stephanie Wytovich’s debut novel, THE EIGHTH, is littered with fantastic prose, the majority of which stand up next to any author I’ve read. Better known for her horror poetry, it doesn’t surprise me that she’s this good. I thoroughly enjoyed her vision of Hell, the Devil, and many of those who the Devil has in his troop.
The Devil sends one of his collectors, Paimon, to fetch the soul of Rhea. Things don’t go as smooth as they’re supposed to, and we find ourselves thrown into the story of multiple evils each seemingly with their own agendas. The story does a great job keeping you in as you try to figure out what is going on.
“…their leaves shriveling and falling off forgotten appendages that collected on the ground like dead bodies after war. “
Character-wise, I never really liked Paimon or Rhea (who was pretty interesting in the front part of the story, but lost points with me shortly thereafter). The Devil, The Seven, and especially, Arazel stole the show. Toward the end, I finally began rooting on Paimon (finally!). I’d say the ending isn’t what I hoped or thought it would be, but it was good.
Overall, this is a pretty amazing creation of Hell and its story, dressed up in a lot of beautiful writing and some epic bloody scenes. Definitely, definitely worth a read.
“Paimon watched as a man reached for the lock, and within seconds, the sinner’s limbs were torn off and he was skinned alive, eaten from the feet up.”
I give THE EIGHTH 4 stars!
Rhea Harmon is a living target for the Devil as she possesses the power to detect one’s deadliest sin at first glance. Intended to be used as a weapon of war, the Devil sends Paimon, his right-hand man and top collector, to claim her soul and bring her to him in Hell.
But the Devil isn’t the only one who is interested in Rhea.
When Paimon arrives to collect his payment, he’s immediately taken with her and the resemblance she bears to his late-wife, Marissa. He falls in love with the mortal girl whose soul he is supposed to claim, and instead vows to protect her, thereby severing his allegiance to the Devil and sealing his fate as a traitor.
Consumed by rage and fear, Paimon and Arazel, the Devil’s blood slave and ring leader to the circle of Lust, flee Hell in an attempt to save Rhea, but are instead forced to confront their pasts and their presents as they reevaluate the definition of sin and punishment. So what happens when a demon has to confront his demons, when Paimon has to turn to something darker, something more sinister for help?
After centuries of living in exile, banned from their home and their right to rule, The Seven, the keepers of the deadly sins, are only too happy to answer his call, and if Paimon thought it was dangerous to make a deal with the Devil, then he had no idea what it meant to be blessed by the creators of sin.
Stephanie M. Wytovich, Biography
Stephanie M. Wytovich is an instructor by day and a horror writer by night.
She is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, and a book reviewer for Nameless Magazine. She is a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, an active member of the Horror Writers Association, and a graduate of Seton Hill University’s MFA program for Writing Popular Fiction.
Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated poetry collections, Hysteria: A Collection of Madness,Mourning Jewelry, An Exorcism of Angels, and Brothel earned a home with Raw Dog Screaming Press, and her debut novel, The Eighth, is simmering in sin with Dark Regions Press.
Praise for Stephanie Wytovich
“Stephanie Wytovich’s The Eighth is a savage tale of betrayal, regret, and the dark side of love in its many forms. The poetic imagery she sprinkles throughout balances the brutality with beauty.” Chris Marrs, author of Wildwoman and Everything Leads Back to Alice
“A fierce and emotionally intense debut.”- Craig DiLouie, author of Suffer the Children
“A brilliant debut from a major new talent, full of darkness, fire, and devilry. Indeed, the sins in this novel are so well realized that I fear just a little for Ms. Wytovich’s soul.”- Rio Youers, author of Westlake Soul and Point Hollow
“The Eighth is a stellar horror debut from Stephanie Wytovich. An intimate, painful map of personal and literal hells that would make Clive Barker proud.”-Christopher Golden, New York Times best-selling author
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