Under a Black Rainbow

Fiction - Anthology
382 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2024
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Under a Black Rainbow by Adam “Bucho” Rodenberger is an anthology of eighteen short stories that delve deeply into the human psyche, the dream world, and dark, supernatural elements that all of us fear and rarely speak of. There is a darkness inherent in almost every story in this collection but it is a darkness that we have all experienced and thought about ourselves at various points in life. The stories are varied and unique ranging from a tree that becomes a living memorial to a dead child to a weird and deserted museum that houses mirrors showing things no other mirror possibly could, right through to a man going through a breakup whose only solution to beginning anew is to shed his skin. Many of the stories focus on those things we conjure up inside our minds, whether awake or asleep. Readers will identify with the thoughts and often dark voices that the characters experience in these tales.

Under a Black Rainbow captivated me and sometimes mirrored experiences I and others have felt. Author Adam “Bucho” Rodenberger has a grasp of what scares us but, more importantly, what dark thoughts inhabit many of our minds. I appreciated the detailed author information at the end of the book which gives the reader insight into the author’s motivation and difficulties experienced in producing this collection. All the stories in this anthology are worth reading but, as with any collection, there are some that I would label as my favorites. In this case, the three stories that captivated me the most were The Museum of Mirrors and the Dead, which presented mirrors collected over the years that did more than just reflect whoever was gazing into them. Possessing various powers they could tell the character about the past, the future, and so much more. In Terroir, a divorced man finds that the only way he can begin again is to shed his skin by shaving it off piece by piece. Finally, I was captivated by Diamond Blanket Sky, a rather horrific story of a man tasked with guarding an open mass grave in the jungle that was routinely used by the soldiers to dump the bodies of those who had offended the ruling regime. All of these stories, though, have a unique and fascinating quality about them that makes this anthology stand out from the rest. I can highly recommend this read.

Pikasho Deka

Immerse yourself in a surreal collection of short stories that push the boundaries of your imagination and make you contemplate with Adam "Bucho" Rodenberger's Under a Black Rainbow. Feeling overlooked by her husband, a recently married woman develops a peculiar obsession with dust. A father struggles to deal with the growth of an extraordinary banyan tree that has unexpectedly sprouted from the grave of his recently deceased child. At the funeral of one of God's children, archangel Raphael converses with two others on the unknown fate of humanity. A man commits himself to a nightly ritual of carving out tiny silver pieces of his heart and putting them in a jewelry box before falling asleep. An angel books a doctor's appointment to find a cure for his missing wings, only to embark on a new adventure.

In this absorbing anthology, Adam "Bucho" Rodenberger takes readers on a dreamlike odyssey to explore different facets of the human experience. Under a Black Rainbow touches upon topics such as loss, grief, trauma, and more through an enthralling collection of tales, each delving into aspects of the human condition we're all familiar with. Thematically rich and emotionally powerful, these short stories incorporate magical realism in a way that fascinates, shocks, and, at times, even terrifies. Yet you find yourself thinking about them long after you've finished reading. Rodenberger is very descriptive with his prose, creating an atmosphere of suspense and intrigue that keeps you glued to the pages. I was very impressed by the author's ability to build these immersive worlds within a short word count. I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. If you love short stories, definitely grab a copy!

K.C. Finn

Under a Black Rainbow is a work of fiction in the short story anthology, magical realism, and horror subgenres. The work is best suited to the general adult reading audience but is not especially graphic. Penned by author Adam "Bucho" Rodenberger, this engaging and unique anthology is a collection of eighteen stories that delve into various strange feelings and psychological revelations. From a man ritually unlacing the stitches binding his chest each night to lovers embracing their strangest thoughts during lovemaking, each tale offers a glimpse into the strange and haunting corners of the human psyche. With each narrative, Rodenberger delivers a journey into the eerie and unexpected, where arousal comes from the unusual and deserted museums materialize in urban landscapes. These stories are twisted reflections of the human experience, offering unsettling insights and lessons that linger long after the final page is turned.

Author Adam "Bucho" Rodenberger has crafted a work that masterfully weaves together elements of horror, surrealism, and psychological tension to create a collection that challenges conventional notions of reality and taps into the darkest corners of the human psyche. The characters in these stories grapple with profound and often disturbing experiences, confronting their deepest fears and desires in a series of haunting vignettes. What struck me most was the author's ability to evoke a sense of unease and disquietude, drawing readers into a world where the boundaries between the real and the surreal blur with unsettling ease. Rodenberger’s command of atmosphere, dialogue, and emotion is precise and deadly, hitting readers’ minds where it will disturb them most, with gloriously poignant results. This anthology proves the power of speculative fiction to explore the complexities of our minds and the myriad ways we confront the darkness within ourselves, which is an incredible feat in such short story episodes. Overall, I would certainly recommend Under a Black Rainbow as an immersive and thought-provoking experience for fans of short stories everywhere.