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The Balance

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  69 ratings  ·  46 reviews
When myth becomes nightmare … The price of blood is always blood.

Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult
Kindle Edition
Published April 28th 2020 by LVP Publications
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  69 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Sadie Hartmann
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: night-worms
Every so often, I’ll download something to my Kindle I’m really excited about so I’ll read the first couple of pages to ‘see what happens’. I don’t mean what happens in the book--I mean, what happens to me; to my reader’s heart. Will the story urge me to go on past those first few pages?
It’s an exciting experiment that I love trying out. THE BALANCE by Kev Harrison is just over one hundred pages so I figured, if I get sucked in, I could probably just breeze through it in an hour or so, and gues
The Coycaterpillar Reads
The Balance epitomises everything that I love about folktale horror. It’s a story of balance, order, the coming full circle. There’s secrets at every corner, an unknown set of scales allowing harmony and control. What happens when humanity grasps for more control, more power? Will that balance tip and allow everything to come crashing all down? Time doesn’t exist whilst reading this book. Yes, you can hear it whittling down, each tick getting louder and louder until it beats furiously in your br ...more
Well Read Beard
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Folk horror perfectly played.
This book now resides somewhere firmly in my top 5 Novellas.
I felt a marriage of Miller's Crucible and Shyamalan's The Village.

What exactly is folk horror? I am no expert, this discussion came up in a recent Edward Lorn livestream with no real definitive answers. Some of this is what I have found, and some of it may just be my opinion. For me it's a tale in a somewhat small but well defined non-modern location and time, free from modern technologies. The story will
Blake Blanco
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: purchased
When I think of Folk horror, I Immediately imagine secluded little villages or settlements like those in Eggers ”The VVitch” or M. Night Shyamalan's ”The Village”, both providing overt ominous religious overtones, and The Balance is right alongside them.

The dread that is prominent from start to finish, will creep into you, latching its talons into your brain. While reading I found myself transported to the small Polish settlement where our tale is set, on the outskirts of this town there's a for
J. Maddux
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fine mixture of old folklore and horror makes a great recipe.

Natalia and Kuba are our playing when Kuba takes a tumble, shattering his ankle. Natalia and Kuba's distraught mother blames Natalia. With this being a time and place where modern medicine doesn't exist, the village doctor wants to chop that thing off before it's too late.

Natalia has other ideas. Enter BABA YAGA!

The story is great. The story is intense when it needs to be intense, and intimate when it needs to be intimate. The beauti
Simon Wilson
Dec 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love folklore and tales of Baba Yaga, so this novella was something I was excited to pick up.
Happily, it met my expectations.
This was a great read. An excellent tale of folk horror. I could imagine this being made into a Guillermo del Toro film.

Highly recommended!
Aug 09, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the emerging genres of the last few years has been folk horror. Books such as Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucy McKnight Hardy, Andrew Michael Hurley’s excellent trio of books The Loney, Devil’s Day and Starve Acre and Pine by Francine Toon are just a few examples of the superb books to be discovered within this genre. Even films, through the likes of Midsommar and The Witch have shown us the value of folk horror. The folk horror revival shows no sign of slowing and The Balance by Kev Harri ...more
Ben Long
Dec 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story immediately drops you into conflict and gives you a protagonist you can really empathize with. I truly feel the guilt and sorrow Natalie carries after her brother's accident, as well as the emotional weight that increasingly burdens her as the story progresses. She faces a lot of tragedy and death throughout, including an unbelievably difficult decision in the later half, and I was rooting for her the entire time!

Baba Yaga has always been a fascinating character to me, and I like the
Brian Bowyer
Nov 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sinister and Sublime

The Balance is a creepy mixture of horror and folklore that I breezed through in only a couple of sittings. I especially enjoyed the atmosphere, the bitter cold, the feeling of isolation, and the overall setting in this beautifully crafted novella. The writing is tremendous, and the characters had me invested from the beginning; I had to keep reading to see what happened next. The Balance was the first offering I've read from this author, but it definitely will not be my las
I love EVERYTHING about this novella!

The cover, the floppiness, the texture of the pages, right down to it's scent! but the GUTS, the guts of this story, HECK YES!

This was my first experience with Kev Harrison's work and it absolutely will NOT be my last.

I knew the moment I saw Well Read Beards review on YouTube that I needed a copy of this read but first and foremost I needed to go, find the author's socials because I am all about support. That's when Kev offered to send me a copy of this bea
Catherine McCarthy
I read this novella over just two session as it was so compelling. So what were the elements I loved?
It reads like a folk tale, which it is, of course, but not every author is able to do those folklore elements justice. This one did. It kind of felt like I was a child again, being read an old favorite but with adult-level, horror included. One of my top five ever reads is The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, and The Balance reminded me of that in its telling.
Well written, with an old-fashioned homely f
David Sodergren
Jul 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written dark fairy-tale horror. Strong sense of place and nightmarish horror sequences.
Ross Jeffery
May 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Kev Harrison is a new writer to me but after his offering ‘The Balance’ he is a writer I will continue to read and seek out!

‘The Balance’ is a strange beast it’s like the offspring of the folklore brilliance one expects from the Brothers Grimm and absurdity and visceral writing of James Herbert - and I bloody loved it!

Folklore is a huge part of our lives, we have all heard tales issued forth from families and communities about the places we live or visit - shared around campfires and hushed con
David Thirteen
Jun 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Balance pulls off a nice trick of telling a modern horror story while fully embracing the fairy-tales of old. In this case, the fair-ytale is the witch Baba Yaga that is popular in Eastern Europe and Russia but might be less familiar to English audiences. The writing captures the sense of one of these ancient children’s tales that might be too brutal for children. In fact, I’m not sure it was meant for a younger audience, but the language and themes would make it easily accessible to teens. ...more
Richelle SheReadsHorror
When I said horror is tough but teaches us lessons, this is what I meant. This book started from page one made me feel the dread of what’s to come. The character connection is immediate and you can’t help but feel for the characters. I got folklore and grief horror from this one. I’ve never heard of Baba Yaga so I had no idea what to expect but I was definitely pleased with the results.

Here is a snippet of the story: When myth becomes nightmare… The Price of blood is alway blood. Natalia is in
Edward Z
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We follow Natalia, a sixteen-year-old girl who's failure to watch her brother playing results in him breaking his leg. The town doctor does what he can but without proper supplies, he'll likely have to amputate the soon infected leg. But Natalia knows stories of a witch that lives in the woods and she takes her brother to her...

While this does work out and the boy's leg is healed Natalia’s very religious mother figures this out and turns her in which leads to the wrath of the Church and the obvi
J.A. Sullivan
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
Folklore has fascinated me for as long as I can remember, so when I noticed the Baba Yaga mentioned in Kev Harrison’s novella, The Balance, I was quick to snap it up. And, I’m very glad I did! Not only does the story reimagine the Baba Yaga legend, but Harrison insightfully weaves in elements of eco-horror as well.

The novella begins in Cold War era Poland, with Natalia rushing home after her brother, Kuba, fell while climbing a tree. With the bone protruding from Kuba’s leg, it’s clearly been br
Christopher Stanley
Jun 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Weaving together elements of folk and eco horror, Kev Harrison’s take on the Baba Yaga legend is an enjoyable and satisfying read. Set in Poland, it’s a story of bold decisions and terrible consequences. I liked that Natalia – the young girl whose story we follow – is headstrong and independent; while Baba Yaga plays a more maternal, less villainous role (despite her outward appearance). And I think this is the real strength of Harrison’s novella – that time and again he confounds expectations w ...more
Demi-Louise Blackburn
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Wonderful novella. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for more of Kev Harrison's work. Finished this in one session and it seemed to fly by. Excellent bit of folklore that reads like a fairy tale unfolding, edged with just enough horror for my morbid brain to indulge in. I do have to admit that some of the characterization fell a little flat for me hence the reduction in rating. The conclusion threw me for a loop initially, but I think it was because I was expecting/wanted more, so I can't re ...more
Steve Stred
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 star review coming to Kendall Reviews!
May 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Convincing reimagining of a Slavic myth set in Cold War Poland

The character of Baba Yaga pops up here and there in dark fiction and the fascinating thing about this popular figure from Slavic folktales is that she is never quite presented in the same way. Not long ago I came across her in Michael Thomas Ford’s superb Lily and there were also aspects of her in Sophie Anderson’s recent prize-winning kid’s novel The House with Chicken Legs. In Kev Harrison’s version the ancient witch morphs once ag
Bianca (Belladonnabooks)
I am infatuated by folklore and particularly the Slavic mythology of Baba Yaga so when I saw this novella was based around Baba Yaga I knew I needed to read it.

A quick intro re Baba Yaga - she stems from Russian folklore and there are many stories and fairytales about her but she is generally portrayed as a fierce, wild, wise crone woman who rides around in a mortar and pestle and lives in a house surrounded by bones and on chicken legs. Baba Yaga is often portrayed as an evil witch but she also
Ruschelle Dillon
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Balance by Kev Harrison Review
By Ruschelle Dillon

The Balance is a beautifully told story reminiscent of an old folk lore that gains new life and limbs at every retelling. Kev Harrison entwines the presence of Baba Yaga and the ways of nature into a poor family's life during the Cold War in Poland.
When the young heroine, Natalya, is forced to watch her little brother Kuba suffer from an accident, and medicine from the town doctor is unavailable because of war, she is determined to find him h
Mona Kabbani
May 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
“Be silent, my children, but do not fear, the final reckoning awaits us all.”

What would you do to save someone you love? Would you go against your society’s orders and damn yourself and those you involve? That’s what Natalia does to save her little brother. Only her deeds cause much more chaos than thought possible. When Baba Yaga, a lone, kind woman in the forest, heals her brothers’ wounds, Natalia thought no one would ever know. Until her mother uncovers a bottle of special tea that she perce
May 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
From the moment a young boy is injured and a local healer, regarded as a witch, comes to his and his sister's aid, a tale so often repeated in the pages of history occurs. Blind faith and ignorance lead to tragedy and a disturbing of the balance of things. What can be done to put it right?
The scenes are vividly drawn, you feel the cold of the snow, hear its crunch, hear the snap of bone, feel the pain of the boy. The atmosphere is all enveloping, the writing compelling, taking you completely to
Sophie Elizabeth Woodruff
My friend just gave me this and I loved it so much I feel guilty for not buying it and plan to buy the author's next novella on principle :) I love books that are full of imagery that is beautiful and horrific at the same time, and I loved the atmosphere. Recommended. ...more
S.J. Budd
Apr 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book, so original and entertaining. Full review coming out soon via Aphotic Realm!
Sean Ford
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At it's heart, The Balance is an indelible tale of a young girl's love for her family and the consequences of her actions in the face of adult intolerance.

On the macro scale I attempted to summarize what the "balance" was. Was it light vs dark, good vs evil, nature vs progress? It was only when I stopped looking at these constructs as separate entities on a scale to be weighed that I struck upon my own definition of what the balance was. I see the balance as the middle ground of the kinship sha
Richard Haynes
Jan 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fiction
This little gem of a book is like reading a fairy tale. Interesting story and great characters. This is a 5 star for sure.
Joshua Marsella
May 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Balance is a unique modern spin on centuries old folklore. I had no idea what this story would be about and I was pleasantly surprised. Kev takes the myth of the Baba Yaga and turns it into a dire warning about the consequences of groupthink and mob mentality.

The story follows a young girl whose only wrong doing is caring about her brother and her community. After her brother is injured in an accident while playing, the village doctor’s medical expertise appears to be failing the boy. On th
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Kev Harrison is a writer of dark fiction and English language teacher from England, living and working in Lisbon, Portugal. He has previously lived in various areas of the UK, as well as Turkey and Poland.

He is a staff writer for This is Horror and has had short fiction published in a variety of magazines and anthologies, including Lost Films, from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Below the St

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