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Reviewed by Si Ning Yeoh for Readers' Favorite
Deep within a twisted forest, far beyond the roads of man, there lies a mansion. It is an ancient, rotting edifice, pulsing with secrets and shrouded in the gloom of everlasting night. This is not a place for the fainthearted mortal; rather, it serves as a refuge for the insane, the malicious, the grotesque. But soon it may be a refuge no longer. The forest is encroaching. The wood golems are killing. The mansion’s ruler is ignoring her duties in favor of eating. Welcome to Patrick Clinen’s Tenebrae Manor.
The first thing which hits you about Patrick Clinen’s novel is how utterly, sweepingly beautiful his writing is. The story of Tenebrae Manor flows like a poetic, otherworldly song; macabre and mysterious, it is akin to Lovecraftian Gothic horror at its finest. And yet, it eschews the omnipotent, inhuman malignancy of true Lovecraftian monsters. Though the eldritch creatures which form its cast of characters are horrifying in mien, one cannot help but sympathize with and root for them as they struggle to cope with the torturous burden of immortality. Though Clinen deftly weaves in many a moment of comedy - the gluttonous Lady Libra, in particular, cuts a figure of tragic, pitiful hilarity - the overall tone of Tenebrae Manor is one of somber, wistful melancholia. The demon Bordeaux is a fine protagonist who embodies this tone; his world-weariness, his loyalty to the manor, and desperation to do right by his friends is touching. It is definitely a book which will have an impact upon you, and leave you thinking about it for days to come. I highly, really highly, recommend this to you.