Friday, January 31, 2014

Bedlam Stories

Pearry Teo's 
Bedlam Stories
Christine Converse
Horror - Fantasy
5 Stars

"It's an excellent foray into the mind of a mad-man claiming to be sane in the pursuit of science. Intense, brutal and deliciously demented and utterly disturbing. I loved every moment I sat spellbound within the walls 
of the Bedlam Asylum."
Char Hardin/Charred Remains

Fans of the tales of Oz with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin-Man and the Cowardly Lion and Alice in Wonderland hold to your memories as the two collide in Bedlam Stories with a horrific spin that will have you leaving the light on to chase your nightmares away. 

I have had the distinct pleasure of immersing my mind between the pages of this book for some time now and its inescapable story sucks you in and holds you captive until the very last page. Bedlam Stories is set in the 1920's in an asylum. Undercover reporter Nellie Bly has set her inquisitive sights on the asylum and wishes to uncover the answers to her myriad of questions. 

Nellie's expose on Bedlam Asylum she hopes will shed light on the pondering of such thoughts as to how the women who were patients at the asylum came to be in such a place. Were they truly medically insane? Perhaps a husband not wishing to go through the proper channels of a divorce just dumped his wife as a means of escaping matrimony and a sizable loss of money wasted on divorce. Nellie wondered if the women housed in Bedlam had been homeless or some other unfortunate event led to their placement. Were the women properly fed and housed? All her questions running in around inside her head have led her to being admitted into Bedlam for observation. "It surprised me how easy it was to convince the doctors and authorities that I was a fit for the asylum that I was to be shipped off to."

Nellie's expose was not just a simply write up in the paper. Yes, she was digging for answers to her questions, but it was also a wake-up  article she wanted to write in the hopes of starting a "Revolution" in regards to how women were treated. Nellie was creating her own movement with her undercover story.

While inside Nellie will meet a young girl named Dorothy and the incident Dorothy shared with Nellie on how she arrived at Bedlam wore heavy on Nellie's heart and she formed an instant bond with the small girl. A bond that would test the boundaries of friendship and test the strength of Nellie's sanity with the introduction of another young soul a frightening entity named Alice.

Within the walls of the asylum, Nellie learned all was not right and her reporter sense kicked into overdrive, but her sense of fear was greater and upon being thrust into a living nightmare at the hands of the physician who took a oath "to do no harm", Nellie will need to gather her inner strength, to survive to tell this hellish tale and share the real truth behind the goings-on within the asylum doors. 

The reader for the first part of the story may think this is a tame story of a nosy woman hell-bent on a story for a newspaper or the chance at a Pulitzer, but (for me) by chapter 10 the story takes a darker stance and all that you once thought you knew about Oz, Dorothy, Alice and Wonderland is laid to rest with a maniacal glee as the beloved creatures become something evil, monstrous and unforgettable.

Excerpt...taken from pages 186 - 187

"" the dreadful vision before her struggled to speak, its voice imprisoned by the timing of its mechanized whirring gears and ticking sprockets.

Nellie clapped her hand to her mouth to keep from crying out. The thing's human skin intertwined with its rusted...panels and lengths of chain, and angry, red flesh bubbled over the edges of its twisted, black pipes and metallic skeletal armatures...Nellie stepped back and turned to run but the automation grabbed her with a m...

Want to know what happens next? I recommend that you click on the website and find out where to go for a copy of your own. Once you arrive at the website you will find a prequel, Project Alice to download for free. I strongly recommend you check it out as well and don't wait for Alice to send you a personal invitation to Bedlam Asylum, order your book right away. The next book in the collection is coming soon! 

I wish to thank Pearry Teo and Christine Converse for sending me a copy of the e-book for Bedlam Stories and for their patience and understanding for the delay of the review. I loved the e-book so much, without hesitation, I ordered the paperback and have read this book so many times that the front and back covers are curled and pulling away from the spine. I truly enjoyed seeing how Oz and Wonderland clashed with the new stories and with Converse's own creative & her horrific spin, I am most anxious to read the next book to find out what happens next. 

This is an highly imaginative piece of work and I am thrilled to learn it's being made into a film. Be sure to "Like" the Facebook page and check back for updates on the progress of the film.

The Bedlam Stories was beautifully written and well edited (Although I do remember just a couple of errors) and the illustrations placed throughout the book was stunning. I loved the presentation of the cover art and that the font was not tiny and had extra space between the lines, made for comfortable reading. The general pacing of the story from its seemingly calm to full out adrenaline rush is suitable for readers 13 and up. Parents of younger readers be advised the descriptions were detailed and the scenes disturbing and violent and may cause night terrors, but fans of horror will love it. 

For days after I read the last word, I could still hear the screams and sometimes, late at night just before drifting off to sleep, I am at the gateway to my dreams, I turn to see a pair of red eyes staring from the shadows and I hear the off-key singing of a little girl named Alice.

This story will be included in my favorite books from 2013 list coming soon to this blog.

From outside her door...someone singing softly, off-key...

His treatments cruel they all did fail:
He left me in a daze,
And when he came to use the drill,
I set them all ablaze;
Then I shook him from side to side,
Until his face was blue;
"And now the time has come, I cried,
To do the same to you!"

Excerpt taken from pages 330 - 331

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