Benjamin Kane Ethridge
Published Oct 30, 2012
A nameless woman awakes to find herself in an unfamiliar room with a body she doesn't recognize. She's starved and isolated, but for the molestation she suffers from her sadistic nurse, Maggie. Our protagonist must somehow escape her torturous existence and discover who she truly is... but does she really want to...?
Sometimes, you pick up a book and have no idea what you're about to get dummied with. You flip a page and start reading, and the next thing you know it's 1AM you're going on another night of no sleep because you HAVE to find out what's going to happen next. Dungeon Brain is one of those books.
It has such a weird premise, and the weirdness runs the entire story. It doesn't just peter out into an orgy of senseless sex and gore (not that I don't appreciate that, sometimes) or spiral into the abyss know as "Unrealistic Character Action Development". It starts off with a woman trapped in an institution with a head full of deviates and sickos. Her caregiver is a psychopath obsessed with haircuts and touching people in places their bathing suit covers.
And that's just the beginning. Literally, all that happens only about a third of the way through the book. After that, all kinds of crazy shit goes down, and at no time could I expect what might come out of the blue next. Not that the situations were so outlandish that nothing made sense (duh, aliens obviously have to exist) but it was more so that I'd never read anything similar, so I couldn't know where things were headed.
Another standout point of the book was our protagonist (whose identity I'll leave you to discover, rabid readers). She goes through a remarkable change of countenance; from drug-addled victimized wreck to... well, if I tried to describe what she becomes, it would seem crazy unless you actually read the book yourself. And that's where her beauty lies: her transformation is so organic and realistic that she comes across as a rare genuine heroine. She's not perfect; in fact she's decidedly flawed. She allows thing to happen that no other protagonist would (well, no other writer would, anyways) and yet maintains the reader's affection. Hell, is easier to love her, because she does things we would do, as opposed to your average hero. But with all that, she not written in such a way that she appears weak, and I really appreciate the author didn't turn her into some blubbering wiener or glorified sex toy (not that I don't like that either) because there are so few strong female characters that I like one every so often to make me feel more badass.
And can I mention that the writing was superb? Not one thing out of place, no editing issues (at least none glaring enough that I consciously thought about them) and some pretty beautiful sentences peppered here and there. It was terrifically readable, and just picked up more and more steam with every page I turned. Now THAT'S writing. I also appreciate the fact that the sci-fi stuff was very slowly introduced and I could enjoy it all without either being overwhelmed by techno gibberish or feeling completely incredulous of the situation. Ease me in, go gentle, and let me get used to it, said Kat only once in her life during one book review ever.
I wish I could get more into it and tell you all my favorite parts; however, I'd be giving too much away and would spoil some of the fun of the read. Lord know I want to punch a motherfucker in the teeth when they give away key plot point too early on. It just gives me something to be antsy about getting to. So I won't do that here. Instead, you can go out, get the book, read the shit out of it, and then we can chat about it. So, yeah... don'r you have a novel you should be purchasing?