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Ethereal Custody: Anthologies by Byron Allanvre [BOOK REVIEW]

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Ethereal Custody: Anthologies is a story about a young man, who was born in an underground slum and decides to risk his life for a chance to reach the surface. During his pursuit, he discovers that he is part of a much larger scheme of a supernatural nature, in an alternate reality. To escape his world, he grasps the opportunity to create utopia. But paradise has a dark side too.

While we follow this main character, we also follow different characters, who are part of the alternative world that this man created in his dreams – with their own stories of supernatural nature, Angels and people with animalistic tendencies involved as well. 

“We don’t hold grudges against Angels who didn’t save us. Our self-held grudges stem from the idea that we should have been able to save ourselves.”

The story follows a few different planets, with a lot of different characters.

The book is written in the form of a journal. For me, it was very difficult to keep track of the planets and characters. I was losing interest very quickly, re-reading the same page a few times, seeking for adventures and plot twists, when all I could see were descriptions of places and objects. Sometimes there were good parts, where the story was really intriguing. Other times, I had to put the book down and read something else.

“I don’t know if it’s forgiveness or love or grieving. But life feels like this slow and heartbroken process of learning to live without something we wanted so badly that we cannot have. To go on without those loved people we miss so much and all the precious moments we could have shared and knowing those futures will never be. It’s having to learn how to trek forward in a new life without a part of yourself; that missing fragment of a loving heart we surrendered and gave away as a gift to someone who’s no longer here with us.”

There were many descriptions of places being repeated with the exact words. This made me wonder and question myself whether I’ve read this before. I then needed to go back in the book and reassure myself. It was very irritating to go back and find the same paragraph a few chapters earlier, with the same description of a place. 

“If there’s anything I learned tonight, it is this: I want to die with a smile on my face.”

I am sad to say I didn’t enjoy this book.

Honestly, I liked the idea and where it was intended to go. I also liked the way it was written in the form of a journal. However, the writing was bad. Not only from a grammar and editing point of view, but also the skill to keep the reader intrigued. This book put me through a big reading slump. I am not a fan of DNFing books, but I was close with this one. I recommend Ethereal Custody: Anthologies, if you enjoy multiple planets, a lot of characters and a bit of supernatural sprinkles on top, but this book wasn’t for me. 

“We are afraid to be silent, yet afraid to speak. We fear to be alone with our demons in the dark, yet we are terrified of those demons being seen in the light among friends. Afraid to be powerless; afraid to be influential. I don’t understand it. I just don’t want to be afraid of myself anymore.”

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