{Book Review} Ex Nihilo: Seth Masek

Ex Nihilo – Seth Masek

Reviewed by Steve Stred

If you’ve been carefully following my reviews (and we know you have!) you’ve heard me discuss two reading ‘things’ that have entered my life. The first was my rediscovery of enjoying poetry. The second was my late, late, late discovery of NetGalley.

Through NetGalley, I found a number of great books and was auto approved through a few different promotion companies. Through one of these companies, I stumbled upon a book with a stunning cover – “Mythics” by Seth Masek. I read the synopsis and found it was a book of poetry. I snagged it and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A short time after reviewing the book, the author reached out and thanked me, which was very kind. He also mentioned he had a second book of poetry called “Ex Nihilo” and where Mythics had been upbeat and positive, Ex Nihilo was darker and closer to the horror realm. We did a book swap and he kindly sent this one over. As of writing this review, I’ve now seen it pop up on NetGalley (May 2019).

As the author mentioned – Ex Nihilo is definitely a different beast than Mythics. The two collections work well as a Ying and Yang or light and dark pairing.

Ex Nihilo is broken into four parts – Judgement, Pain, Hope and Love and the book follows this narrative really faithfully.

I did find that while reading through the Judgement and Pain section, I felt a kinship between the poems and the movies Prometheus and Alien: Covenant. It wasn’t any direct references, it was more specifically phrasing and wording. Masek does a great job of really connecting with the reader and ensuring that the poems resonant, while still remaining ambiguous in their exact nature.

For me, poetry works best when the poem itself has its own purpose. The specific poem will either be completely vague or completely direct. I’m not a fan when it goes back and forth, sometimes within a few sentences, but Seth makes sure that every entry here was created to have its own place within this collection and it really is outstanding.

The other thing I really enjoy with poetry is when the poet doesn’t come off as though they are trying too hard, trying to sound academic for poetry’s sake and never once did I feel this. Masek writes from the heart and it allows the stanzas to really bounce along to the rhythm of their own beat.

In a collection of short stories, I’ll often have a favourite or two and will point them out. Personally, for me, poetry collections are different. The poems connect with each reader in their own way and while a few of them were elevated above the others, for me those were personal reasons. I’ll just say for each reader that checks out this collection, you’ll find a few poems you’ll bookmark and read again.

I think this collection would be a really great starting off point for horror fans or dark fiction fans who want to get back into reading poetry. For current and long-term fans of poetry, this will be a great addition to your collection.

Star Rating (out of 5): 5*

Ex Nihilo

“The night I die, be by my side
My final thoughts I’ll in you hide
The night I die, please hold my hand
That I might with the angels stand”

In this stunning collection of poems, Seth Masek takes us on a journey from darkness into light, and in between are the shades where most of us reside.

The collection is divided into four chapters: Judgment, Pain, Love, and Hope, allowing us to venture into the chapter that matches our needs at any given time.

We journey from the brutality of judgments to the deepest of pains to the beauty of love and the highest of hopes. From being lost in self-doubt, we emerge in healing to find love and ultimately the inspiration to fully live.

Penned by a gifted and honest poet, the collection delves deeply into the most powerful elements of our emotional core and the bedrock of our humanity.

Steve Stred

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

The Stranger

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.



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…



The Stranger. 

You can buy The Stranger from Amazon UK Amazon US

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