I don’t know much about Aiden E. Messer, other than what they post on Instagram. They write extreme horror with LGBTQ+ characters and read and review lots of extreme horror. And sometimes they see my review previews on Insta and tap that little heart. Which is cool. I love author interactions. I downloaded a sample of Against the Lockers the first time I saw their name on my notifications.
I finished up Full Brutal, by Kristopher Triana a little while ago. Since the work day is half over, I didn’t want to dive into another full length book that would only end up put aside until the weekend once the work day is over. So I scrolled through my kindle looking for something to kill an hour or so and there was that sample. It’s time.
Content warning: sexual assault, blood, gore
My first thought is that it could benefit from another round of editing. There are a few typos and inconsistent verb tenses. There’s some odd paragraph formatting. None of this takes away from the story, but some readers are nitpicky about stuff like that. I am not bothered by that stuff because my brain autocorrects, but I do notice.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ for me. This story has a good premise. The idea of a sexual assault victim getting revenge on their rapist in the most brutal fashion is quite appealing, but I wish it was more fleshed out. This feels like it’s not quite finished. I would have liked to see more details, more descriptions of the impactful moments. The revenge is great. The reactions of some of the supporting characters like the dean, the police, and a couple of Colin’s friends feels pretty realistic. It is not uncommon for authorities to ignore or downplay sexual assaults, particularly of LGBTQ+ people. And sometimes friendships don’t survive difficult times. And if real life judges go on the record saying that victims’ bodies can prevent rape, it is certainly believable that fictional characters would also believe that a victim has control over their bodies’ responses. So yes, this is a good story. It’s just missing a little something to make it a great one.
For a buck and a half and an hour of your time, Against the Lockers, by Aiden E. Messer is a no brainer. It could use some fine tuning, but it’s still a good read.
Aiden, if you read this, I hope you don’t feel like my review is too harsh. On my personal rating scale, 3 stars means I liked it! I look forward to reading your future works.
Monica at Totally Normal Human (aka @mononorama on the ‘gram)