I specialize in reviewing Print-On-Demand (POD) published books for my website and Midwest Book Review. Please query for a review by email to hgunther234@hotmail.com.

Monday, September 29, 2008

DOWN TO A SUNLESS SEA by Mathias B. Freese

Tucson, Arizona
Genre: Fictional/Short Stories
ISBN: 1587367335, $11.86, 148 pp.

When this small book was submitted to me for a review, it came with gold award stickers on the cover–Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice and Indie Excellence Finalist Book Awards–plus fourteen pages of supporting interviews and prior reviews. As I did not care for the book, I wrote to the author saying that I would not be doing a review as I did not feel I was qualified to do so. If so many people thought it had some merit, and I didn’t...then there must be something wrong with me. The author then asked me to return his book. As I have no intention of going to the expense of returning an unsolicited book, here are my thoughts after reading these tales.

Down to a Sunless Sea is a collection of fifteen short, depressing stories. I personally did not care for the collection or the author’s writing style–too affected for my taste. The collection felt in someways to be a personal memoir but rather than present it directly as such, he chopped it up into disassociated tales, and though the stories are very short, he regularly managed to mention a penis, if only for a few lines.

My question would be ‘why’. Why was Mathias B. Freese compelled to write such a depressing collection?...catharsis? Unless you have a penchant for sad stories about childhood problems growing up, you may wish to spend your money elsewhere.

Kaye Trout - September 29, 2008