“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”
Jesse Teller has written a few stories set in the world of Perilisc. Chaste is the first one I have been offered as ARC.
The begins with a mysterious air. The first chapter is brilliant.
The story moves around the following idea. God primarily worshipped by the citizens of Chaste has been replaced by a malevolent thing, an evil power who influences people to do terrible things on innocents. A group of soldiers (a witch, an assassin, a birdlike man/creature who can’t fly, a warrior who pines for his lost love, interesting cast of characters) arrive in Chaste and some of them are brought under the influence of the evil Master. The residential ex-priestess of the good God goes through a horrific journey of chronic abuse, habitual torture, and cruel humiliation in the hands of the evil Master’s minion. She cannot accept her past and her truth and hence cannot bring the light into this darkness.
The group of soldiers is made of pretty well-structured characters all of whom have an interesting background. The book doesn’t leave us frustrated from not knowing who they are or how they fare after everything.
The priestess is a perfect choice as the primary subject to torture with her high tolerance, endurance, acceptance of fate, and denial of some important event in her past. The steady but well-paced reveal of mysteries smoothly unravels the chain of events (still not sure if that many hardcore abuse scenes were completely necessary to the plot).
Sob, the silent assassin, is a tragically memorable character and deserves her own book (I think she has one).
Jesse Teller knows how to create the perfect atmosphere for horror. Yes, I would categorize Chaste as horror. One of the darkest fantasy works in the self-published field out there, this little work of Mr. Teller is going to make me wait with great enthusiasm for the rest of the stories on Perilisc.
Lucid prose sprinkled with the right amount of imagery, lore, and world-building makes Chaste a very enjoyable read. No, I am not a pervert. I said the writing is enjoyable, not the story. This book wasn’t written for the faint-hearted. Don’t even bother to pick this book up unless you are a horror fan because this book is primarily horror. The reader can be as terrorized as much as the citizens of Perilisc and the evil thing that has taken over the little place makes the antagonists do things even they can’t explain why.
The torture, the gore, the violence, most of it doesn’t happen for rhyme or reason. Pages after pages we spend grabbing the edge of our seat praying all the torments stop. Each scene is so visual and impactful, I felt a physical revulsion towards the antagonists. Kudos to Teller (pun intended by all means) for that. He can leave the reader paralyzed with fear as easily as he shows us hope.
Overall, Chaste get’s 3.5 Bohostars from me for exceptionally good writing, characters, setting, tone.
Wish I could say I loved the book. As much as the author’s prowess as a storyteller impressed me, I feel that this book could do less with violence as it started feeling a little repetitive. Not all the abuse and torture scenes felt necessary to the progress of the story. That’s my opinion, though I do understand the nature of chronic abuse and accept that in real life it goes on every day on a varied level. Just that reading it in a book with no silver lining for a long time, the hopelessness, the helplessness, the horror…Don’t worry, wary readers, the end is superb. You will be left hankering for more from this author.
Chaste: A Tale from Perilisc
When her devout parents were killed, Cheryl abandoned her destiny as a priestess. Despite the unusual decrees of the new priest, an evil threat preys on the town. Tragic murders have become more frequent when a few traveling warriors stop here for the night. Will they help Cheryl’s village or destroy it? She knows better than to trust them. Years of pain and self-loathing have hardened her. To fight back the infectious curse that plagues her home, she must finally face her brutal past.
Genre: Dark Fantasy, Horror
Format reviewed: Kindle
About the author
Jesse Teller has loved fantasy since the age of five. It has gone from love to hobby to professional life. He now spends his time writing novels and short stories in a fantasy world of his creation. Here you can find his thoughts on the genre, samplings of his work, and his process in creating it.
Jesse Teller lives in Missouri. He hasn’t always, but like storytelling, it snuck into his bones. Teller fell in love with fantasy when he played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. His books explore violent issues without flinching.
He lives with his wonderful, supportive wife and two inspiring kids.