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Cosmic Horror,  Horror

The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper | ARC Review

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

55120033. SY475  - The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper | ARC ReviewThe Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper
Published by Off Limits Press on November 15 2020
Genres: Horror, Cosmic Horror
Pages: 116
Format: ARC, eBook
Source: Publisher
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four stars - The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper | ARC Review

New York City, 1990: When you slip through the cracks, no one is there to catch you. Monique learns that the hard way after her girlfriend Donna vanishes without a trace.

Only after the disappearances of several other impoverished women does Monique hear the rumors. A taloned monster stalks the city’s underground and snatches victims into the dark.

Donna isn’t missing. She was taken.

To save the woman she loves, Monique must descend deeper than the known underground, into a subterranean world of enigmatic cultists and shadowy creatures. But what she finds looms beyond her wildest fears—a darkness that stretches from the dawn of time and across the stars.

The Worm and His Kings is quite frankly a phenomenal novella.  It excels in its characterisation, which is by far, powerful.  First and foremost, it is a novel about acceptance and identity.  Monique, our protagonist, is a trans woman who has spent her entire life trying to fit in, to the detriment for her inner self.  She tries to rectify that, an action that results in physical trauma.  A story that highlights a world full of prejudice and hate.  A cosmic horror novel that had me intrigued but had my search for answers going beyond the story, beyond the deeper meaning, beyond everything I thought I knew. 

Imagine losing the woman you love, not through death but through abduction.  Abduction from a hideous monster that could slice through you with one swipe.  The Worm and His Kings, with its sharp narrative and first-person point of view catapulted me into Monique’s shoes instantly.  Her thoughts, her feelings, the pain, the anguish.  Hailey Piper flicked the switch on my anxiety and didn’t switch it off until the last page.  Be prepared to have one feeling in particular pulse through you – a feeling of unnerving tension. 

“Sometimes you can’t find the right thing unless you quit the wrong one. Isn’t that what you did? Whoever anyone thought you were before, you quit it.


Life hasn’t been the same for Monique since the love of her life, Donna was taken.  There is gossip surrounding the circumstances of women like her disappearing.  She knows deep within her heart that Donna just wouldn’t take off.  She’s been there during the hard times and wouldn’t just give up. Memories of doctors, scalpels and searing hot pain are embedded and only Donna got her through that.  They have an unbreakable bond and she needs to bring her back home.  The characters that Monique interacts with during her task build up the impossible and the inevitable all at once.  I had so many questions, its healthy to question the inconceivable but man did it hurt my head!

The Worm and His Kings was a story told in the now with flashbacks thrown at the reader to give context.  The author hadn’t given us massive amounts of information about Monique’s and Donna’s life together, but I had a taste for how they were, what they were passionate about and just how strongly they believed in something.  This was a testament to just how acute and stunning the author’s skills were.  Now back to the main timeline and we should know that life doesn’t carve an easy way to the ending for us and Monique’s journey is no different. 

The Worm and His Kings was never going to be a maudlin read but always promised on the heart-wrenching.  The confusion, the grief and a life existed was one not meant for this world.  All she wants in this shambles of a world is to have a happy life with the one she loves…move on from this disastrous experience…but what if

Moving on was never on the table?


Hailey Piper author photo red 181x300 1 - The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper | ARC Review

Hailey Piper writes horror and dark fantasy, and is a member of the Horror Writers Association.  She is the author of The Possession of Natalie GlasgowAn Invitation to Darkness, and Benny Rose, the Cannibal King. Her short fiction appears in publications such as Daily Science FictionThe ArcanistFlash Fiction Online, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Tales to TerrifyBlood Bath Literary Zine, and many more. She lives with her wife in Maryland, where she haunts their apartment making spooky noises. Find her on Twitter via @HaileyPiperSays and on Instagram via @haileypiperfights.

Hailey Piper

four stars - The Worm and His Kings by Hailey Piper | ARC Review

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