Maggots’ Rush: A Gross and Hopeful Story by Ana Rotea

Maggots’ Rush: A Gross and Hopeful Story by Ana Rotea
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.), Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

A boy has ailurophobia and relies on a compulsive ritual to ease his fear of cats. A girl has germaphobia and usually blames the seagulls for her compulsive hand washing. But Herbert and Hortense’s story doesn’t go too deep into their obsessions, compulsions, and fears. Going deep is the maggots’ specialty! The nasty crawlers seem ready to pierce through an entire house and its inhabitants. How much will the maggots eventually gobble up? What are those maggots anyway? The readers will discover (or decide) in the end.

You’re stronger than you might think you are.
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The body horror in this tale was well written. I shuddered at the vivid descriptions of Hortense and Herbert were affected by all of the filthy things they encountered not only inside of Improper House but outside of it as well. They lived in a home that was filled with danger not only to their mental health but to their physical health as well. Seeing how their minds and bodies reacted to all of the terrible threats around them made it impossible for me to stop reading.

It would have been helpful to have more character development for the antagonists and world building in general. While part of the antagonists’ plan was eventually explained, many of their other motives remain mysterious to me. It sure seemed like they could have reached their goal in a much simpler way, so I was confused by why they were sticking to what seemed to me to be a pretty elaborate plan given their ultimate goals.

With that being said, I did enjoy the messages the narrator shared about facing one’s fear and how to react when it seems that all hope is lost. It was delivered in a straightforward manner that was never sentimental in any way. That was exactly the right tone to strike for this particular setting in my opinion. What made it even more interesting was how uncommon it was for the horror genre. Sometimes playing around with the rules of how a certain type of tale should go is a great thing to do!

Maggots’ Rush: A Gross and Hopeful Story was a unique tale that I’d recommend to anyone who loves dark fantasy or horror.

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