Dark Fantasy Review: The Taming by A.M. Rycroft

Working both as an exciting fantasy tale and a convincing horror story, The Taming is a fast-paced, well-written novella that all but demands to be read in a single setting. A.M. Rycroft imbues her tale with just enough worldbuilding and history to ground the reader, but allows the strength of Thystle to carry the story.

Without giving anything away, I loved the fact that Rycroft took the parasitic approach to vampirism here. Forget your crosses and your holy water, and don't count on daylight to save you. The vampires here are something both more natural and more monstrous. It's only when they're blood-starved and driven to madness that they become truly dangerous - a fact that the villain here uses to turn people against them.

Thystle is (to some extent) your typical fantasy anti-heroine, a brash loner trying to drown the sorrows of her past, but she's entirely sympathetic. Here we have a woman who was put into an impossible situation, and who must live with the consequences. She's being hunted herself, and is reluctant to put her trust in the young barmaid to offers her heart as well as her blood. The romance there is secondary to the action and the horror, but an integral part of the overall package.

The Taming is a short novella, barely topping 100 pages, that leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, there's an entire novel available (Into the Darkness), set in the same world, that expands upon and opens up the wider story.

Paperback, 122 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Mighty Quill Books

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.