Epeolatry Book Review: Goodbye Butterfly

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Title: Goodbye Butterfly
Author: Anna Alicia Knifton
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: 1st May, 2017

Synopsis:

Faced with a horrifying personal disaster, and plagued by hundred year old Witches, could an ancient Demon be to blame? Or are the events too bizarre to be believed? A story of horror and heartache and the fight against both.

“I’m falling… wind rushed past my ears like the roar of madness…”  Great start!

Goodbye Butterfly is the tale of a legendary demoness named Lamashtu who thrived on the demise of children. Her brother managed to stop her devious behavior and entomb her in the Underworld. Centuries later, failed attempts are made to resurrect her.

Now, a deal is struck – and it requires a female bloodline descendant of Lamashtu to bring the villain forth. The innocent victim is revealed, and our protagonist must find a way to save the young girl.

The story is in present tense, which enhanced the suspense. Mysterious dream and nightmare sequences are interspersed, and consistently end with a hook, but the action didn’t follow through. By Chapter 14, the dreams still hadn’t moved the story along.

Knifton’s painted a clear and realistic picture. The main character, who I’ll refer to as “MC” because her name is never given, was believable and relatable. Convincing dialogue demonstrated MC’s insecurities and fears throughout the book.

I couldn’t tell what time frame was covered. It felt like months, but years are mentioned toward the end. Occasionally, the dream interjections seemed out of place, which I found confusing in regard to “real” time. 

MC’s BFF dies in Chapter 10. She was alive in 9, and then she was dead.  No wait – she’s alive again. Never mind, she’s—dead?  I’m all about ghosts and spirits making themselves known, but the separate realms needed more clarification to follow MC’s interactions in them.

MC was tired and felt like she was being watched—all the way up to Chapter 11. It became dull to continuously read how she needed a nap.

On a technical note, italics were overused. They could have served to clarify live action from the dreams. Instead, they were used sporadically and inconsistently. That forced me to re-read in order to keep on track with the action. It lessened the urgency and slowed the pace.

For me, ellipses, metaphors and adverbs were used in excess. Too many repetitive phrases described hairs standing up on the back of necks, and characters looking like they’d seen a ghost.

The hint of a budding relationship involving MC was given, but never came to fruition and by the end, only served to add a pinch of Hallmark to a parent-babysitter bond. The opportunity was there to spice that up and make the situation more significant to the story.

Two characters (who at first were barely mentioned) resurged as significant players in the end and that felt detached. I re-read the story looking for details connecting the characters to the final action, but there weren’t any. I would’ve loved to see more to keep their purpose from falling flat.  

Incidentally, the significance of the title, Goodbye Butterfly, escaped me.

As currently written, the plot is summed up like a stand-alone short story in the last four chapters. I believe that powerful final scene deserves more writing! Knifton rushed through it and the impact is lost.

Goodbye Butterfly has the potential to be a well thought out tale of ancestral demonology. With some critique and grammatical fundamentals attended to, this story about a sleeping antagonist who lies in wait to be set free and reemerge into the modern world will appeal to lovers of horror. 

2.5 stars, not quite a 3 because of the number of basic writing and grammar edits that need made. 

Available on Amazon.

Brenda Tadych

Brenda Tadych is a Pennsylvania native and graduate of Harrisburg Area Community College. She has been a contributing writer with the Press and Journal publication, Dauphin County Woman since 2011 when she began writing seriously, quite by accident. In addition, her articles have appeared in The Patriot-News, Hummelstown Sun, and Wisdom-Magazine.com. She was a participant in the Perry County Council of the Arts programs, “A Novel Idea” and “Critique 101.” One of her short stories was published in the anthology, Strange Magic. An installment with a supernatural twist can be found in the serial novella, The Blue, the Gray, and the Red. She credits black and white classic monster movies with cultivating her excitement in horror, and the 1970’s for enriching it with “The Exorcist,” “Halloween,” and that guy who introduced her to characters like Carrie White, Mr. Barlow, and Jack Torrance. Her Dauphin County Woman columns can be found at womannewspapers.com. For a journey into her random world, visit her blog at brendasumthin2say.blogspot.com. She can also be contacted at [email protected]

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