Book Review: A Brutal and Haunting Dark Fantasy

Nelvethearia is a land full of full magic, wealthy nobles, and bloody battles. Wars have raged on between the Weavers and the Lasevrens for years. Weavers keep their spiders and Lasevrens keep wasps.

Insects and arachnids have never coexisted in peace.

Nathaniel is neither a Weaver or Lasevren. He is but a lowly harvester who tends to the land, and he wants nothing more than to marry his childhood sweetheart and lead a happy life with her. Until everything comes crashing down around him.
Blinded by heartbreak and betrayal, he flees to the forbidden lands of the north.

The lands of the Lasevrens.

When Nathaniel is captured by Lasevren soldiers, they see something in him, and they spare no efforts in compelling him to join them and forsake everything he ever loved.

Will Nathaniel succumb to Lasevren cruelty and become one of the cruel soldiers heโ€™s always feared or will he escape to the remnants of his old life?

What if the Lasevrens arenโ€™t the real enemy? What if Nathaniel has nothing left?

Goodreads Synopsis

Overall Rating


Spooky Rating


Quick Take

Hive of Blood by Shantel Brunton is an intense and beautifully written dark fantasy with elements of body horror and torture. The world she created is spellbinding, and I was captivated within the first few chapters. Brunton wove horror and fantasy with an expert hand. This is one of the most original novels I have read, and I see a re-read in my future.

Tell Me More

Hive of Blood by Shantel Brunton is an expertly woven dark fantasy that presents the reader with a dangerous and enticing world worthy of lore. Fantasy can sometimes be hard to follow if the author creates a world that is too complicated and doesn’t portray it properly to the reader. However, this was not the case with Brunton. She had a clear vision for the world she was creating and wrote in such a way that the reader became part of the story.

The idea of spiders being kept by the Weavers because they harvested silk from the spiders was an ingenious concept. I loved how both the Weavers and Lasevrens were rivals because one side kept spiders, while the other kept wasps. The focus on insects and arachnids created a “creature feature” concept throughout the story, which was wholly enjoyable.

There is a fair amount of torture and body horror throughout the book, as Nathaniel – the main character – is taken captive and tortured extensively. Trauma is a big theme within the story as well, which may be triggering for some readers. However, Brunton did include a disclaimer in the beginning of the book to notify readers of aspects of the novel that they might find triggering before reading. Lovers of body horror are sure to enjoy this storyline, though, and I appreciated how the novel did not rely on shock factor to keep the reader engaged. There is a lot of depth to the story beyond the horror “shock factor”, and it is sure to appeal to lovers of body horror and creature features.

Hive of Blood by Shantel Brunton is an incredibly conceived dark fantasy with elements of torture and body horror that will appeal to readers who love stories that are a cross between horror and fantasy. Brunton’s imagination is phenomenal, and her writing is effortless. I loved her artistic voice, and the care that she put into creating her world and conceiving her characters. Pick this one up! You will not be disappointed.


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