Rhinehoth- Brian E. Niskala
Here’s a quick overview-
A jewel thief (Simon) gets sent to prison (Rhinehoth) in Germany. For about half the book, Simon starts to figure out the secrets and terrible past of Rhinehoth by watching and listening to other prisoners. For example, the guards of the prison are eerily wolf like, there is a doctor who sometimes shows her fangs, and he learns there is a vampire prince locked somewhere in the castle. The signs start to become overwhelmingly obvious to Simon and he begins to indulge these rumors as fact. He eventually learns he is the key to ending the horror that happens behind the walls of Rhinehoth and to do it, he must rescue the vampire prince.
Now, I’m a sucker for religious art, throw in a few fantasy creatures, and I’m hooked. Niskala does exactly that by incorporating Catholic beliefs and items into the story. There is the Calvary mark (three crosses- mirroring Jesus’ crucifixion), a witch’s spell that only a cross can break, and it even alludes to the classic biblical tale of David and Goliath. He also brings other religions into the mix by including reincarnation as one of the main ingredients to destroying the evil prison.
Oh and if you were paying attention –
Yes, ladies and gentleman, this is a werewolf/vampire story- and no, it is not Twilight. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as obsessed as the rest of them, but this is a much more adult and classic tale of the two foes. Niskala indulges the myths that have followed vampires for centuries; they have no reflection, garlic is a deterrent, and they kill people. He also mentions in the story that werewolves and vampires are not mortal enemies; they just don’t trust each other.
Now here come the critiques…..
Niskala’s writing is a bit different than I’m used to. It’s hard to explain, but it took a little while to warm up to it. I eventually figured it out and it became a non issue. I also have absolutely terrible eye sight and the print was very small for me and would hurt my eyes, especially when reading at night.
Overall, I’m a new fan of Niskala. I loved his creative tale of history combined with present, religion, and fantasy. It’s a story that has been told before, but from a new perspective. I encourage all of you to check out Rhinehoth and to keep an eye out for other works by Brian E. Niskala.
I scored an interview with Brian; make sure to check that out on July 8, he gives further explanations on a lot of the subjects talked about above.
Buy Rhinehoth at http://www.amazon.com/Rhinehoth-Brian-Niskala/dp/1449907601.
Follow Brian at http://twitter.com/#!/Rhinehoth.