We don’t often get to see ground zero in cosmic horror. While the genre is known for its sweeping set pieces of apocalyptic carnage and megadeaths piled on megadeaths, most authors seem to skim over the massive loss of human life and the inherent tragedy of the scene. ALTAR certainly fills that gap, by giving the reader a deeper look into a dysfunctional corner of everyday society before the catastrophe.
ALTAR, however, isn’t a cut-and-dry cosmic horror book: its buildup is slow and the book’s horror payout and tragedy do tend to be too subtle, which makes it an excellent primer for anyone who’s looking for a new approach to the genre but not a primer or a quick fix for anyone who’s looking for a bit of Lovecraftian horror.
So here’s the thing: if you are looking forward to having a slice of everyday lower-class life turned into subtle nightmare material with a cosmic horror chaser, then this book is for you.
-Visceral, ground-zero cosmic horror
-Well developed setting
-Interesting approach to cosmic horror
-Too short for its own good
-The ending comes too abruptly and cuts off too suddenly to be enjoyable