Reviews of Dyscrasia Fiction










ForeWord Clarion Review
FICTION: FANTASY
S. E. Lindberg
Ignis Publishing LLC
978-0-615-39286-8
Five Stars (out of Five)
September 2011

"...highly recommended, though not for the faint of heart..."

“Diary, I tallied the Dissection Theater’s subjects again.”

So begins the debut novel of Massachusetts native and chemist-by-day Seth Lindberg. This decidedly dark fantasy is heavily influenced by Dante, Poe, Lovecraft, and a great love for weird tales.

Opening the novel is the narrator, Dey, a seer and the stepson of Endenken Lysis. Endenken’s father, the leader of Clan Lysis, has recently died. In fact, much of Dey’s and Endenken’s world is dying. Humans and gods (both insectoid and avian) are infected with dyscrasia, a blood disease that is fatal to all who contract it. Endenken’s ancestors, the Picti, endeavored to save their gods through a complicated ritual that allows the Lysis clan to bear descendants who may eventually find a cure for dyscrasia. However, nothing is that simple. In the process of conducting the rite to pass his clan’s powers onto him, Endenken rejects his inheritance in favor of saving his wife and finding a way to end the blood plague.

Outside of the works of Poe and Lovecraft, there are few, if any, novels comparable to this one. It has a bardic tone, as if it was a tale told over many nights. Beowulf comes to mind both for its epic quality and bloody action.
"The pace is nearly breathless..."
Imagery shifts from mundane to surreal in the same paragraph. The pace is nearly breathless, though it never feels forced. Lindberg’s love of the English language and his admiration for Dante in particular are obvious on every page. The melancholic dread that Poe and Lovecraft were so skilled at creating is matched—and at times exceeded—in Lindberg’s prose: "I stared upward at a skull and heap of bones. I knew only the soul of a man spoke to me, and that astral, red warmth emanated from the charnel pile. A woman’s skeleton lay near—her hands gauntleted with insectan claws belonging to some eldritch creature and her head helmeted with a gargantuan bird skull, much like my own."

Apart from a rather obsessive attachment to the words eldritch and ichorLords of Dyscrasia is carefully crafted and fits well into the weird-fiction canon. Given that Poe and Lovecraft have been dead for decades and still remain popular, Lindberg’s novel should find a ready-made audience in readers of the macabre and strange.

Lindberg, who also created more than fifty illustrations and the cover for this book, makes the majority of current popular fantasy fiction read like recipes by comparison. Lords of Dyscrasia is highly recommended, though not for the faint of heart.

- Janine Stinson
"...makes the majority of current popular fantasy fiction read like recipes..."


Reviews for Lords of Dyscrasia are popping up in various places, so I attempt to harvest them in one location (removing duplicates). The highlights are lines that I considered being particularly helpful as summary statements.  

Reader Reviews from 2012

GOODREADS.COM REVIEWS

  • DC Goodreads.com 4 of 5 stars false Read in August, 2012,   Recommended for: lovers of gore, dark fantasy enthusiasts 
"Just be mindful to sacrifice your dark emotions whence you arrive. Your soul will pale. The hue of your memories will desaturate. You will be cleansed. Protected."
This is a story of a man who worked to free himself from a lineage of bondage. He starts with simply denying the Rite of Inheritance of his forefathers, and soon finds himself undead and clothed in the skin of his enemies. For this is the land of the Lords of Dyscrasia, a land where blood and ichor color the landscape.
Reanimation, specters and murderers are ever-present here, as are the traces of insectan elders and terrible harpies. They battle for the supremacy of their masters, fueled by contempt and guilty memories. They fill your senses with sanguine touches, and they haunt your soul with unforgiving murmurs. I would definitely say that this is unique. I haven't read a lot of this genre, of speculative/horror/gore, but I must say that I had quite an enjoyable ramble as I walked through a world where I could sink my feet in bloodied pools or rotten corpses.
While this is not a book for the sick of heart, it is a fairly great story told by quite a technical hand. You have to be rather good at context clues (but it wouldn't be a problem if you're paying enough attention), but the details are consistent, surprising, shocking. I had some problems with the storytelling (rather confusing at times), but I'm sure that some details may be bypassed while still enjoying the story. The unraveling of the plot itself, however, was pretty good. The little details were significant too, which surprised me as I went along.
(Oh, and just to add: I absolutely loved Dey's parts. I liked this young artist of a man, with his sketches and searches for pigment. Bonus points for Dey!) If you have no qualms reading dark fantasy (and feeling as if you've bathed in blood), pick up this book and enjoy. Come, the Lords of Dyscrasia are beckoning, calling you to claim your nightmares.
  • 's review Aug 24, 12 4 of 5 stars false  If you like horror, fantasy and mythology, this is your book! I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline. It was a little slow – and at times a little confusing – toward the beginning, but the story picked up by the second chapter and delivered everything I wanted in a horror story: decapitation, disembowelment, cannibalism, castration (my personal favorite), rape, incest, mythological Gods, insects, birds…the list goes on. It was very disturbing, but that’s what I like. I want a story that shocks the conscious and this story delivered! Bravo, Mr. Lindberg, for a job well done! The story was unusual and your artwork was phenomenal. I look forward to reading your future novels. 
  • 's review Feb 24, 12  4 of 5 stars false This book has some curious ideas and strong characterization. The main characters go through many trials and the will of their souls are challanged on every page. The loss that the main characters go through is heartbreakening and yet they carry on. The last 30 pages were harder to read through and I almost gave up but I skipped over a couple of pages so that I would not miss the ending. If Lindberg could shorten the book a little then the story would be tighter and feel less sometimes like a long journey but a great adventure.  This is also the first book I have read on the Nook Color.
Beauty in Ruins - Blog


Review by Bob MilneFriday, January 20, 2012

I don't generally read a lot of small-press or self-published books, but when one snags my attention, I'm more than willing to give it a shot. Lords of Dyscrasia is one of those books where everything fell into place - the cover caught my eye; the review blurb comparing it to "the works of Poe and Lovecraft" made me curious; and the concept of infected bloodlines, diseased souls, and necromancy assured it a spot on my shelf.

Stylistically, this was a very interesting read, with a mix of high fantasy, pulp adventure, and visceral horror that worked as well as I could have hoped. Elements of it did indeed remind me, at different times, of H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe, but I also detected the flavour of Robert E. Howard, and even some early Books of Blood era Clive Barker.  The storyline here is interesting, and the investment in the mythology is quite impressive. It's definitely one of the more unique concepts I've come across in a long while, taking a very Cthulhu-like approach to an otherwise standard fantasy trope of interracial breeding and the mingling of mortal & immortal races. The world-building doesn't quite live up to the mythology, but only because we don't get explore enough of it.

This is a very intense, very frantic, very driven read that leaps from scene to scene. The action and the tension is relentless, which has a definite appeal for some readers, but I felt it suffered somewhat because of it. I think one more pass at the story to build some narrative bridges between the scenes, and to pad out the intensity with some subtler moments of reflection could have really served the book well. It's not very often that I put down a book wishing it had been just a bit longer, but her I would have welcome some fluff to round things out.  That said, what's on the page works very well. Doctor Grave is a fantastic character, secretive and manipulative, but driven by an honest purpose. His ethereal assistant is definitely a nice touch, and the ways in which she is used outside the Doctor's environment were a very pleasant surprise. Lysis, unfortunately, came across as a bit one-dimensional for me. I would have like to see some more vulnerability in him, some lighter emotions, but I suspect that lack is due more to the unrelenting intensity of his quest than to any failings on the part of the book.

Other reviewers have said this is a very dark book, and they're right. This is pulp fantasy for the horror fan (not the other way around), and it is wonderfully grotesque. There's a very clinical detachment from much of the horror, which actually serves to elevate the monstrosities to a higher level. Like I said earlier, this reminds me of Books of Blood era Clive Barker on the page, or original Hellraiser era Clive Barker on the screen, and I delighted in that visceral element.  By no means a perfect book, but one that manages to offer something new, and which does an admirable job of bringing it all together. I look forward to seeing what Lindberg produces next, and would even be up for a reread were he to expand the text here . . . an author's preferred edition, if you will. 
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about this one, June 13, 2012; By K. Sozaeva "Obsessive bibliophile"
This review is from: Lords of Dyscrasia (Paperback); Book Info: Genre: Dark High Fantasy Reading Level: Adult

Disclosure: I received a free ebook copy of this text from the LibraryThing Members Giveaway program in exchange for an honest review.

Dyscrasia is a terrible disease in this book - one affecting mainly pregnant women who, if they survive their pregnancy, give birth to mutated creatures half-way between human and elder. The elders are either avian or insectile and they themselves are becoming extinct, leaving only a few, lesser members behind. The cult of people who worship the elders are called Picti, and Lord Endenken is the last of the Lysis clan, the only ones who can handle the power that is transmitted through their blood, only able to mate with those of the same blood or the dyscrasia takes them. It's quite a dilemma, and Endenken wants nothing to do with it - he wants to make his own way.

Lindberg has a real way with words - the language washes over the reader, completely immersing one within the world being created. But this is a very dark world that has been created - while many scenes occur in the daylight, everything I see in my mind is dark - there is no light anywhere. Also the scope is very large - there are scenes, of course, but overall it feels like everything is taking place at a distance. Analyzing my reaction, I think the reason I felt this way is that there are no "good" sides; everyone is really sort of evil, and there is no hero - or antihero - for which to root. Endenken is the main focus of the story, and he started with good intentions, but he's really not a nice man at all. Without someone to root for, I was left feeling sort of unmoored in the story. Dey was the only one I really felt any sympathy toward, and I much preferred Cypria and her quest for freedom over Haemarr.

All the art in this book - cover image and illustrations - are also done by the author. Amazing the amount of talent in one person! Also, amazing how much he overuses exclamation points... Every sentence that could possibly be emphatic ends with an exclamation point! I didn't notice it at first, but eventually I started to see that there was indeed exclamation point abuse occurring. There was also a lot of very awkward and ungrammatical phrasing throughout the book, although since this was an ARC, that might have been corrected before the final publication.

So, I have mixed feelings about this book. The language is lovely and it is beautifully written in many ways, but there is an excess of exclamation points and awkward/ungrammatical phrasing. There is no real hero/antihero for whom to cheer - or at least there were none for whom I felt any connection - and the scope is so large it is sometimes hard to keep track of it. I am sure there are some fans of high fantasy, especially dark fantasy, who will quite enjoy this tale, but it really wasn't for me.

 )twlite | Apr 4, 2012 | 
I won this book from a Library Thing giveaway

This book is a Fantasy/Horror novel. It's very vivid and has many dark and graphic scenes, so it's not for everyone. That being said, this book is a very intense, but moves along fairly quickly. It will keep you turning pages all the way through.

There is a blood disease that is plaguing the elder of the Underworld. Doctor Grave tries to save them by placing the soul of dying Queen into the blood of Lord Ante Lysis. The soul then passes to his descendants until Doctor Grave can resurrect her again. Edenken Lysis journeys to the Underworld to try to get rid of the plague from his soul. He must fight his own battles though, his past and the Doctor's minions.


It's very fast past and very vivid. This book is very gory, but if you like that, it's a great read and you will highly enjoy it. I haven't read a book quite like this one before, so it was a surprise. The characters are great and well rounded. They aren't just good and bad but a mix of both that makes them much more interesting. I don't normally read this graffic of a novel. There are a lot of very evil subjects in the book that may be very difficult to read, so please by warned. This book wasn't my "type" of novel, but it was well written by the Author and could be a very good read for someone who doesn't mind the gore and some of the stuff they do. Although this book wasn't my kind of thing, I gave it 4 stars because the book was well written and may be to the next persons liking. 

Reader Reviews from 2011

Amazon Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy in a fantastic kind of way!October 31, 2011
The book revolves around the characters: Doctor Grave, Crypia, Endenken, and Dey. Endenken seeks revenge, Doctor Grave dreams of restoring what was lost, Crypia wants to live, and Dey is running away from his past. In a world of disease, monsters, and danger, will the passions and desires that drive them be enough to help them survive?

A very well done book by S.E. Lindberg! From the beginning, we are treated to vivid descriptions of the carnage and ruin created by the disease, dyscrasia. Don't expect this author to pull his punches, he's not afraid to make readers squirm! The plot is engaging and fast-paced, once you get through all the exposition. While I don't feel all that sympathetic to some of the characters, they stood out in their own way and are not strictly "good" or "evil".

I should point out that I wouldn't recommend this book to any young readers. Some of the scenes can be pretty brutal. Also, one thing I have an issue with is that the beginning can be a bit confusing, especially when coupled with the book's intricate language. Lindberg switches viewpoints a lot so it's easy to lose track of what's happening sometimes. However, once you get used to the author's style, the book becomes even more enjoyable and you'll finish it in no time!

Pro: flowery and vivid descriptions, complex characters, unique setting 
Con: Somewhat confusing in the beginning




5.0 out of 5 stars
 
5 STARS!!!November 12, 2011
This review is from: Lords of Dyscrasia (Paperback)
Lords of Dyscrasia is unlike anything I've read and is why it took some time to build an interest to read it being that content is rather foreign to me. The beginning was confusing but the more I read the more the story became clear. Once I reached chapter two I could not put the book down. The book is very graphic and the author paints a vivid image of many brutal fight scenes which are very gory to say the least. To my surprise I absolutely enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more from this author.

3.0 out of 5 stars IntriguingDecember 7, 2011
This review is from: Lords of Dyscrasia (Paperback)
This is an unusual book. It is a mixture of fantasy, horror, and adventure that defies true classification. Now, it is not for everyone, since it does have many grotesque images and scenes, but if that doesn't bother you, then it might be something for you to pick up. 
What I enjoyed most was the atmosphere. There is a really gritty, violent mood to the pages that had me really captivated. It is completely different from anything I've read. Yes, sometimes the violent images seem enhanced more for effect than for the actual plot, but still, there are some very visceral images that will stick with you long after you finish reading the book. 

I do wish we'd had a bit more character development, but, since it is a plot-driven novel, it doesn't really affect the story too much. The fantastical elements more than make up for any lack of characterization. The epilogue alone is worth the whole book. It is nicely done, bringing us, the reader, a bit closer to the story. 

As I said, this book is not for everyone, but for those of you that like a good dose of horror with your reading, this one might be a fun one to try. 
  • First off this story is dark fantasy not contemporary hide it from the kids dark but deeply planned out epic dark fantasy. The plot is intricate and once you get going you'll start to see the how intricate the connections between the characters and themes are woven together. The author manages to blend artistic theory, tools, & techniques with theology and family history to build one of the most unique fantasy worlds I have ever come across. The artwork peppered throughout the book really added to the epic feel and mood of the book for me as I read it. If you are a fan of Charles de Lint and the artist Brom then you will enjoy this book. I have to say if you want a unique read and fresh take on world building then this book is definitely worth reading.  
  • I really, really did not like this book at all. My apologies to the author, who obviously, worked very hard on it. He did create a world completely unlike anything you have ever read about and kudos to him for that. However, it was an extremely arduous read. Another review said it's very confusing in the beginning, but stated that it was much easier the farther you got into it. I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. The whole book, to me, was confusing and just felt rushed. Maybe the underlying themes didn't get fully fleshed out or he was trying to put too much in one book, or it was the way the story seemed to skip time without telling you, but I just couldn't get fully immersed in the story. Another problem I had was the underlying tone of the book. This is, without a doubt, the darkest book I've ever read. I don't have any problem with those sorts of things normally, but this was on a whole other level of twisted evilness. Murder, rape, cannabilism, drinking blood, necrophilia, necrophagia, demonic possession, and things involving children that I wish I had never read. It also seemed irreverent on the subject of life and death and the character's reactions seemed to match that. Someone dies, and then comes back, or is possessed, or sees their family killed and gets kind of upset about it, but they may come back to life, or half-life, or not, and they may have to kill them again, and that sucks but whatever. That kind of somes up the book. You can try to compare it to Poe, who is dark, but not holy crap this is seriously effed up psycho dark.  In summary, this is an amazingly intricate and unique story line which is totally psychotic and I will never read it again.  
  • I received this book free from the Goodreads First Reads. Thanks. This is not the kind of book I usually read. It reminded me of an H. P. Lovecraft alternate universe. It was not what I expected. The storey moves along like a lookey loo on the freeway the first 20 or so pages. Then after the basic storey line is started it moves back up to freeway speeds. This book is NOT for children. After the first 20 pages i began to accept the darkness of the storey and the world the characters live in. The parts I liked best were about Dey the artisan. His interior monologues were one of the things that kept me interested in the storey. Over all I enjoyed this book and will look forward to seeing what else this author has yet to write.  
  • A novel not designed for the faint of heart. A total disease of not only body fluids but of the soul.  For the author to enhance the novel S.E. Lindberg has added the most incredible art. Just in case your imagination is on vacation. 
    • 's review Nov 20, 11 , 4 of 5 stars
      Recommended for: adult horror si-fi