Lies About Books: Of the Abyss

As September crackles to a close, it comes time once more to give a wholly untrustworthy review of an excellent book! This month, I had the privilege of reading Of the Abyss by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, which was released in e-book form this week and will be released in hard copy this November.

Hansa is the only duck in the pond, with bright plumage, a proud purple stripe down his side. Lord of all that he swims in, he is happy. Until, that is, one day, when a strange raindrop brings changes.

A drop of a dark, inky substance falls into Hansa’s pond. First, it just sits there, one black speck on a sea of sparkling blue. Harmless. But it grows. And as the black liquid, slightly thicker than the water, spreads, things begin to change. The frogs emigrate first, seeking greener pastures, safer places to swim. Then the fish start to mutate, becoming many-legged, sharp-toothed horrors writhing in the deep. The pond itself seems to twist and alter. The bottom all but falls away.

Through it all, Hansa remains, stubborn. He will not be scared from his home, even if he must regularly preen away the black fluid which clings to his once-vibrant feathers, even if he is no longer Hansa of the pond, but Hansa of the abyss.

And then, when the transformation is complete, and not a drop of clear water remains in what was once the pond, a glistening duck appears from the murky deep, like a photo negative of Hansa’s coloration. Can these two learn to share the pit that is now home to both of them? Or will their differences accomplish what nothing else could do, and destroy them both?

Beautifully crafted, alluring and seductive, Of the Abyss is a definite keeper. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys stories with forbidden gay romance, demon spawn, and references to ducks.

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