We Sold Our Souls – Grady Hendrix
Reviewed by Steve Stred
First off – thank you Netgalley and the publisher for approving this book. It had been on my list to get for some time, but when I saw it available still I snagged it. So thank you.
This book on the surface appealed to me on a number of levels. I’ve heard great things about Hendrix’s storytelling capabilities and his writing shone through for me. His writing style was really easy to read and I was engaged quickly.
I ultimately struggled mightily with enjoying this one for a variety of reasons. A large portion of this review will have mild spoilers, so if you’ve not read it, please be warned I’m going to be specifically pointing out some story sections.
Maybe it’s because of my undying love of all things metal, or my attempt previously to have a band at one point, but I couldn’t connect with the storyline that Durt Wurk (apologies I don’t know how to make the umlauts) who were this band that was struggling to break through, before randomly the singer switched up his focus and became the biggest singer/rock star in the world. All in their crappy band house. The premise sounded so far-fetched it was laughable.
As the story progressed I began to relate this book to The Lord of the Rings, even to the point when the reference to an all-seeing eye began to be used. I even got a large hint of a Metalocalypse episode playing out.
The story focuses on Kris, former guitarist of Durt Wurk who wants revenge on Terry Hunt, former singer of Durt Wurk and now singer of Koffin. So when Terry announces his farewell tour, she decides to confront him, mayhem ensues.
Throughout Kris is confronted with otherworldly issues. Time and time again she refuses to believe them or accept the possibility of them being real, but she also frequently follows the path set forth by the unreleased Troglodyte album Durt Wurk had recorded before breaking up. I became frustrated with this continued disbelief and ultimately came to accept that this is what would happen at each specific key moment, and true to form it was.
Additionally – and the thing that frustrated me was the random inclusion of these underground creatures for one brief scene and then we kind of hear about them again at the conclusion of the story when the back details were revealed over the course of a few paragraphs about how Terry ended up becoming so big.
Lastly – and for some this will really sound nitpicky – but at the concluding concert we get various news reports about fires, chaos, deaths etc but the concert just keeps on going, as though somehow the underlying “nefarious” theme was controlling the people and the bands except the characters specifically discussed throughout the book.
I really wanted to like this, but ultimately it didn’t click for me for several reasons. I think there’s a really amazing story of a band and bandmates in there, it was just hijacked by too many numerous attempts at extra horror. I had a sense that there was maybe four or five short stories brewing that were then added together to make this a long read.
I have two other Hendrix books in my TBR and I’ll be looking forward to seeing if this book was just an outlier for me as the other two have also been highly recommended by other people.
Star Rating (out of 5): 2.5*
We Sold Our Souls
The story of a Faustian bargain set in the world of heavy metal. The story concerns a heavy metal band named Durt Wurk. They were big in the 90s but then their lead singer Terry went solo and now, 20 years later, all the other band members are struggling to scrape by in lousy jobs. The heroine Kris soon discovers that this is because lead singer Terry somehow sold their souls in exchange for his fame and fortune. This discovery sends Kris on a cross-country journey to rage against the machine of our bleak society and ultimately reclaim her soul. Like Grady’s earlier books, this book blends pop culture and horror into a story that feels very contemporary.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…