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  • Writer's pictureTabitha Tomala

The Werewolf Asylum by Gareth Barsby 2023 SFINCs Book Review

SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner
SFINCS 2023 Championship Banner

This review is part of the Speculative Fiction Indie Novella Championship (SFINCS). SFINCS, pronounced “sphinx”. This is a yearly competition to recognize, honor, and celebrate the talent and creativity present in the indie community. It’s a sister competition to both SPFBO and SPSFC, and it highlights greatness in the novella format in all areas of speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, horror, etc.).

To see more information on my team Behind the Musings check out this post!

The Werewolf Asylum by Gareth Barsby  book cover
The Werewolf Asylum by Gareth Barsby

Blurb for The Werewolf Asylum

A novelette of lycanthropy and insanity. In Victorian England, there is a special institution where two men intend to help lycanthropes suppress their nocturnal transformations, while searching for a more permanent cure. One evening, they discover a rare type of werewolf - one trapped eternally in a half-human, half-wolf form - that they believe could be beneficial to their research. 'Martha', however, believing her shape is due to her being a Messiah to her brethren, wishes to see the other werewolves embrace their curse. Can she be treated and cured? Or will her 'Lord' have his way?


Book Review for The Werewolf Asylum

Readers will be disturbed as they venture further into The Werewolf Asylum. Harlston and Smertall are two men seeking a cure for lycanthropy. Not only are their patients dealing with the trauma of their transformation, but Harlston is also experimenting on them. While the two men believe what they are doing is for the greater good, they objectify their patients, bypassing ethics.

The experiments happen in the background, talked about but not witnessed firsthand by the reader. If they had been detailed, it would have upped the feeling of horror already present in the novella. The scene setting of the asylum was also left to the reader’s imagination. Transitions between one setting and the next were quickly done, as this is a plot-forward story versus character-driven.

The Werewolf Asylum certainly hit its mark on creepy and unsettling situations. But it needed a bit more detail to pull in horror elements that would have complimented the story.

To Purchase: Amazon

All or part of this book review may be used in marketing, I only ask that you reference Behind the Pages if you choose to do so.

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