Written by: Aurelio Voltaire
Published by: Spence City
Cover Art: Michael Komarck
Interior Art: Paul Carrick
Interior Layout: Marie Romero
Chapter Animation by: Aurelio Voltaire
Release Date: First Edition – 2012
It’s very rare for me to find someone who even knows of the name Voltaire when referring to this particular media personality, but Aurelio Voltaire is one of my favourite music artists, and it feels like he’s certainly one of those people that can do it all. He’s a stop motion animator, musician, writer, artist, YouTuber, toymaker, online video-game guest, and more! He’s a goth icon and his music is fantastic.
Though you may not have heard his name, you may have heard at least one of his songs if you ever watched the Cartoon Network classic, The Grimm Adventures of Billy & Mandy, Voltaire provided the voice of a brain-eating alien, who sang a song called ‘Brains!’ funnily enough.
I have been lucky enough to meet Voltaire twice at two separate Whitby Goth Weekend events. One of which saw me take to the stage with a few other fans to form Voltaire’s choir for a particular song (I can’t sing but I don’t think most of the others could either…it was great fun either way).
So back in 2012 when I read on his social media that he was releasing a book involving goth teens going head to head with a supernatural beast from hell, I knew I had to grab a copy hot off the press! I even went to WGW in 2014 and got the man himself to sign my copy, which I treasure dearly!
The gates of Hell have been opened and all manner of creepy ghoulish creatures have come pouring out of the abyss. All of these creatures are terrifying of course but none of them are quite so terrifying as the infamous Jersey Devil. A beast with hairy, hooved legs, a muscular but spindly body made of flesh, large multiple horns of varying sizes, a dragon-like tail, and large leathery wings like a bat, with black demonic eyes and razor-sharp teeth. Quite literally the stuff of nightmares, and it roams within the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, USA, preying on unwary victims.
In this story, five goth mallrats from the suburbs and a washed-up goth rockstar must face the terrors being unleashed within the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, after a gig-gone-wrong leaves them stranded with no way of calling for help. Only one person holds the power to send the hellspawn back to hell from whence they came, but can she succeed in her mission to save the world from the creatures that pour out from the bowels of hell, or will the Earth fall victim to the blood-curdling call of the Jersey Devil!?
Aurelio Voltaire, in my opinion, has always been someone who can really paint a picture with his words. Be it the lyrics in his songs or the text he uses to write this book, you can envision the creatures and characters, the settings, and the emotions of this story because Voltaire’s descriptive words really paint a picture, and not all of them are pretty pictures, especially the rotting corpses, but that’s what makes this book so good. You aren’t just reading the book, you’re sucked into the world and feel like you’re a part of the group of outcast mallrats trying your best to keep calm in the face of such horrors being unleashed. This is advanced even further by including some brilliant interior art to give you a sense of what the writer is portraying because let’s face it, not everyone can imagine so vividly, so the use of a few pieces of artwork added into the pages, makes it easier to understand the horror of the story.
You can tell that a lot of thought and a lot of heart went into Voltaire’s debut novel. Whilst it’s clear to see that the washed-up goth rockstar is portrayed in the image of Voltaire himself, in a rather self-deprecating way I should add, you can tell that he made this book out of love for the goth culture that he has become a highly respected figure within, but as any good writer does, he also wanted to portray the humour that comes from the view of others who see these characters as weird, dark, creepy and a long list of other less than pleasant words.
Hell being unleashed is the obvious choice for a group of goths to be a part of and it couldn’t make any more sense. Voltaire has created a genuinely enjoyable, fun read that in certain places is genuinely horrifying. Descriptive, intense, hilarious, and full of heart. I would recommend this book to any fan of horror fiction with a sense of humour.
Voltaire’s debut novel is a few years old now, and though he has worked on a children’s book and is constantly a busy man, I’d love to read any novel he writes. If he ever releases a new book, you can be sure that I’ll be one of the first in line to grab a copy because his work is honestly inspiring for a young aspiring writer like me, but more importantly, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable read that brings laughter to a macabre theme, and that’s what makes Voltaire so enjoyable.
You can learn more about Voltaire and his work at his official site: https://voltaire.net/