Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren
The Time-Ball Tower of Tempuston houses the worst criminals in history. Given the option of the death penalty or eternal life, they chose eternal life. They have a long time to regret that choice.
Maybe it’s fitting, considering the subjects of this story, that it took me ages to finish Tide of Stone. It is a good book, but it is not action-packed or particularly exciting. Instead it is thought-provoking and quietly disturbing. For people looking for the later, it’s perfect. However, I tend to be the type of horror reader that goes for surface satisfaction and action, so it didn’t suit me well.
There were some things about Tide of Stone that I liked, though. Primarily that Kaaron Warren took the ever sought after immortality and immediately turned it into a curse. I was enchanted by the idea of the preservation itself. I mean, the specifics of it. How did it happen that they discovered that they could do it? (I’m sure I missed something.) There’s also a scene near the end where a secret was uncovered that creeped me out. Creeped me out and made me feel sorry for that person at the same time.
I found it interesting (while reading it) that a good chunk of the book is taken up by Keeper reports. As a reader you’re taken from the midst of a story the author has been steadily plugging at, and suddenly set down in the middle of a bunch of single page reports. The reports are… odd.. to say the least. Warren does a good job of tying them into the story later, but while I was reading them, I was definitely wondering what in the heck was going on.
The more I think about this book, the more stuff in it disturbs me. Maybe this is what Warren set out to do. I mean, most of us assume we’re good people for the most part, right? But also, we can be vengeful. It’s only natural, I think. We hear about someone doing something particularly horrible, and we think “Give me five minutes alone with him/her.” But… what if you had a year alone with them? What if you spent a year in a tower with some of the most despicable people you’d ever know. What would you do then?
The way she ended it will stay with me for a while as well.
When I first started this review a few weeks ago, I didn’t know what to think of the book. I don’t think I particularly liked it. I walked away from writing it because the words wouldn’t come. But when I came back to it, and thought about it afresh, I discovered I’d developed a deeper appreciation for Warren’s story. That rarely happens. This is a weird one, but it’s one to check out.
About Kaaron Warren
I wanted to be a writer from a very young age, and wrote my first proper short story at 14. I also wrote a novel that year, called “Skin Deep”‘, which I really need to type up.
I started sending stories out when I was about 23, and sold my first one, “White Bed””, in 1993. Since then I’ve sold about 100 short stories, four short story collections and three novels.
I’m an avid and broad reader but I also like reality TV so don’t always expect intelligent conversation from me.
I’ve lived in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, with a three year stint in Fiji. Currently I’m in Canberra, with my family, two cats and, apparently, rats in the roof.
People always ask me about the spelling of my name, wondering where I’m from. I actually made the spelling up, because there were five Karens in my year at school and I knew I wanted to stand out. Even at 17 I wanted my writing to be remembered, and I thought that a memorable spelling would help me in that quest. Does it work?