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A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror

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4.04  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  75 reviews
The award-winning and critically-acclaimed master of horror returns with a pair of chilling tales—both never-before-published in print—that examine the violence and depravity of the human condition.

Bringing together his acclaimed novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and an all-new short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow, John Hornor Jacobs turns his fertile imagination to the
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Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by Harper Voyager
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Average rating 4.04  · 
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Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cemetery-dance
Review originally published at Cemetery Dance Sept. 23rd, 2019

The cover of A Lush and Seething Hell depicts two figures standing in some brambles; a darkness looms behind them, above them, all around them. It’s a menacing tower of darkness bearing down, but also rising up. Upon closer inspection, the figures aren’t so much standing as they are cowering.

I know because I stared at the cover and the title for awhile before I ventured past it to get at the meaty insides. And it’s that posture of
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Char
After reading THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY, I became an instant fan of John Hornor Jacobs. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL reassured me that my respect and high esteem for the man was earned and well placed.

This book is comprised of two stories, the first a novella, (the aforementioned THE SEA DREAMS IT IS THE SKY), and the second, a short novel titled MY HEART STRUCK SORROW. This review is going to focus almost solely on the second tale.

When I saw on Twitter that this book was coming out, I clicked
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Paul
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My gushing blurb!

The audacity of John Hornor Jacobs to write two brilliant, hallucinatory, terrifying short novels that mash up South American poetry and politics, pre-WWII American folk songs, all-too-human depravity and longing, and cosmic horror. And then, he presents them in one book, A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL; one of the best books of the year. Damn him.
Sheila
4 stars average--I really liked it. This is a book of two horror novellas. Both are really well written.

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky: 3 stars. This is a story of cosmic horror, and also the tale of a South American dictatorship and all the horror that entails. It uses one of my favorite plot elements: a mysterious manuscript that must be translated, and that might reveal some universal secrets. If you're squeamish, be warned that there's lots of torture here. I liked the story, but thought the
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Emily
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5

A Lush and Seething Hell is comprised of two books - a novella called The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, and a short novel called My Heart Struck Sorrow. I read an ARC of The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky last year, so I'm copying my review into this one, and then will talk about My Heart Struck Sorrow below that.

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky:

I wasn't entirely sure what to expect from The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, and I'm so glad that I picked it up. This story immediately drew me in, and I was hooked
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T. Frohock
Jun 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Horror is many different things to different people. What scares one person isn’t the same as what frightens another. For me, the best horror is a deep examination of our negative emotions; those thoughts and fears that disquiet in the depth of the night: moments left undone, words unsaid, the strange, the weird, the obscene brought to light. Done well, it is a cerebral exploration of the darkness that lies within everyone.

If that is your vibe, too, then here are two stories done exceptionally
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FanFiAddict
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to Harper Voyager and the John Hornor Jacobs for an advanced reading copy of A Lush and Seething Hell in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this eARC did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novel or author.

Note: Though the book is comprised of a novella and a short novel, I will really only be reviewing the short novel this go-round, though the extent to which I savored his writing will be plastered all over it.

I was lucky enough to have received an advanced reading copy of
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Will Klein
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Initially reviewed here at thequilltolive.com

I am not a religious man. Despite my Catholic upbringing and coming of age in the American midwest, the world of the spiritual has never called out to me. I’ve never felt the rapture of religion or the whisper of the divine. As such, I find myself sorely lacking in vocabulary to describe my experience with A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs. Comprised of the novellas The Sea Dreams it is the Sky and My Heart Struck Sorrow, this “
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Christine Sandquist (eriophora)
This review and others can be read on my blog, Black Forest Basilisks.

This is not a comfortable book. It is brutal. It is often gory. It is violent, torturous, and painful. It is not palatable. And yet, A Lush and Seething Hell is perhaps one of the most polished and seamless books I have read. As Chuck Wendig put it in the foreword, “his magic tricks remain pure fucking magic. These murder ballads are ones we have not heard before.” I cannot find it in myself to disagree with him. When I review
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Michael Hicks
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, netgalley
My review of A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL can be found at High Fever Books.

A Lush and Seething Hell is the kind of novel that you hope will, and even expect to, take an author’s career to the next level. It’s the sort of work that, if you haven’t been reading John Hornor Jacob already, you’ll be kicking yourself for this oversight and scouring bookstores for his past releases. The good news is that you’re getting two sublimely literary tales of cosmic horror here, one a novella and the other a short
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Becky Spratford
Jul 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Review will be appearing in the October 2019 issue of Library Journal: https://www.libraryjournal.com/?detai...
Alisi ☆ wants to read too many books ☆
My feels upon finishing:



The first novella was okay. I'm not one for cosmic horror but it had tentacle-y guy and was a quick read. The second one was like slogging through Hell. It was boring and stupid. I hated all the characters. Harlem talked like a 2000s "woke" dude (like, this is set in 1938 and he's shook that another white guy, in the South, calls black people nigger -- like, he's so shook that he just says 'the n word' repeatedly. I'm not saying all white people were racist back then but
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D.K. Hundt
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL is the first book that I have read by John Hornor Jacobs, and I can honestly say, I really like his writing style. I especially like how Jacobs divides each narrative using passages from journals. I have to admit when I started reading ’My Heart Struck Sorrow’, I was really on the fence about that one because of the slower pacing and content, however, as I got closer to the ending – when all is revealed – hands down, I knew I was going to give this story and this book ...more
 Martin
Oct 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 and 1/2 stars

I really enjoyed this one. Not too very familiar with the cosmic horror sub-genre but what I got from it is a strange feeling of dread while reading both stories. I can't say I like one story more than the other (but if I had a gun pointed to my head I would say the first one only for the breath of fresh air feel I got right up from the start) but what I can say is that the reader will probably be as enthralled as I was. A LUSH AND SEETHING HELL reminds me of the Dell /Abyss line
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Ryan Hixson
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Lush and Seething Hell by John Hornor Jacobs is two books in one, a novella The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky and a short novel My Heart Struck Sorrow. Both stories challenge idea of death and hell on earth. They both involve the past and choices made, fro the better or worse. Both stories have good wrap ups and ending that will leaving you thinking for a bit after the story has ended. My Heart Struck Sorrow was the new story The Sea Dreams It is the Sky has been published before. I enjoyed My ...more
Kitty Marie
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This title contains two novellas, one is perhaps shorter than the average novella and the other is longer than average.

I'll start with the first, The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky. This one takes up about 30% of the book, or somewhat over 100 pages. This story gave a fantastic first impression and would get five stars on its own. The writing style is immediately noticeable for its artistic and insightful range.

The story takes place in a South American country not unlike Chile and makes references
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Chad Guarino
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
A Lush and Seething Hell collects two not-quite-novel length tales of cosmic horror by John Hornor Jacobs. While cosmic horror is a term that gets bandied about probably far too often by anyone with an even slight inclination towards the Lovecraftian, Jacobs' collection is exciting, original, and often terrifying.

The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky -
The first tale in the collection focuses on a dictatorship in a fictional South American country and the ways it influences and changes the lives of the
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Dorie
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
A Lush and Seething Hell: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror
by John Honor Jacob's
due 10-8-2019
Harper Voyage
4.0 /5.0

#netgalley #ALushAndSeethingHell

This pair is chilling tales have never been published. They explore the darker side of human nature. Exceptionally well written, this is top-notch haunting horror.
'The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky'
A once famous poet, Avedano, and his young student Isobel Certa, both exiles from the dictatorship of Magera, South America, are living in Spain. Isobel finds a
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Adam
The fact that I hadn’t seen Hornor Jacobs’ name in the anthologies with all the usual suspects gave me the idea that this might fall outside that group’s shared style. As it happens, it’s maybe closer to that “house style” than most of the writers in that group. In fact, both of these novellas feel like riffs on John Langan’s style specifically. Now, some people are dumb and think a claim like that would be disparaging in some way, but it’s exactly what I want to be reading. After all, Langan is ...more
Janice
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio, scribd, 2019
I put off listening to this book because I was pretty sure I'd have issues with it.

I was right. Maybe cosmic horror (and some earthly horror) just really isn't for me.

The language the writer uses is fine. He writes very well, with lots of lush adjectives.

I listened to "My Heart Struck Sorrow" first. A musical folklorist goes chasing after the origins of a song in the rural south. There may be some cursed verses of the song. He goes looking for them, and finds some weird stuff. A generation or so
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Daniel
Oct 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this was a disappointing book for me. The two novellas within are not badly written by any means, but I feel like they are too long for what they are. Imagine if, say, HP Lovecraft had taken a story like "Cool Air" and padded it out to 200 pages; that's kind of how I felt about this book. It's too long. The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky is by far the better of the two stories and the only one that truly brushes up against "cosmic horror" (bad piece of deceptive marketing there, by the ...more
Emily Fortuna
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 — My Heart Struck Sorrow is definitely my favorite of the two. That one is well executed...it would seem that horror is just not my preferred genre.

The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky has some very interesting qualities—the setting and milieu of a fictional South American country for example, but there were a few moments in my view that made it obvious the author was writing a female main character and yet the author was not a woman. Didn’t love those.

But all in all, interesting work and My Heart
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Mike
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think "The Sea Dreams its the Sky" edged out "My Heart Was Struck with Sorrow" in terms of creep-factor. The former walks certainly evokes Lovecraft to a certain extent however it brought Clive Barker more to mind for me. "My Heart Was Struck with Sorrow" is impeccably researched and the amount of detail, not so much to be overwhelming, lends the tale an air of credibility that only heightens the tension. Recommended for horror fans.
David H.
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
What a fascinating set of tales. The first one, The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky, has this great Spanish/Latin American vibe that I just fell into. The second, My Heart Struck Sorrow, has this Depression-era American South setting that played with music so much (I found out that "Stagger Lee" is a real song, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to listen to it). The fantastical/horror elements were explained just enough for me to appreciate.

I look forward to reading more from Jacobs.
Todd
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent pair of cosmic horror stories.
Michel Avenali
Oct 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent surprise. Incredible writing and two hefty scary novellas made this an absorbing and satisfying October read.
Jackie (Jacademic)
Two brilliant novellas that meld Lovecraftian weird fiction with Latin American magical realism ("The Sea Dreams It Is the Sky") and Southern Gothic ("My Heart Struck Sorrow"), respectively, to make for some very refreshing and imaginative cosmic horror. Searing, smart, and scary as hell.

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this title.
PfromJ
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ stars. Reads like classic, classy horror. These are great stories, masterfully told.
FTLOReading
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
• Title: A Lush and Seething Hell
• Author: John Hornor Jacobs
• Series: Stand-Alone
• Pages: 384
• Genre: Horror/Thriller
• Rating Out of 5 Stars:
Story 1- 1 Story 2- 3


This is a bind up of two novellas.

1.) The Sea Dreams It Is The Sky 1 out of 5 stars
I don’t particularly have anything constructive I can say about the first. I found it unappealing and uninteresting. I might be desensitized but I didn’t get the psychological thriller aspect of it at all. The horror aspect was basically torture
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Sophie
Sep 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
the first short story was good - the second was some of the most incredible southern gothic lit i've ever read
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John Hornor Jacobs has worked in advertising for the last fifteen years, played in bands, and pursued art in various forms. He is also, in his copious spare time, a novelist, represented by Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. His first novel, Southern Gods, was published by Night Shade Books and shortlisted for the Bram Stoker Award. His second novel, This Dark Earth, was published ...more