Dungeon Brain is a unique dark, science fiction novel. Exceptionally well written by Benjamin Kane Ethridge, the novel presents an interesting lead character that isn’t just one character but many. June wakes up a captive in a nearly abandoned hospital in a war-torn world that is in many way reminiscent of Europe during World War II. Unfortunately for June, she is not alone at the hospital. She is under the care of Maggie — think Misery Chastain from Stephen King’s Misery. June has no idea who she is, where she’s at, or what she’s doing there. To complicate matters, not only does June have voices in her head, she has a whole slew of actual people in her head. These people are locked away, and sometimes they can feed June information, but mostly she seems confused by them, not that I blame her. It’s hard enough to sort things out in your head without having people trying to talk to you.
Outside of the hospital lurk the alien Rotviqes. Are they friend or foe? That’s what June has to figure out as she hatches a plan to escape from the obsessive Maggie. June later finds herself out of Maggie’s clutches and in a maze, where she begins to learn more about herself. In the process she finds out that the stakes are much higher for her than what she had originally thought.
Ethridge’s prose has a lyrical quality to it. He weaves a tale that is complex and at times a bit daunting yet very satisfying. Ethridge also effectively puts the reader in June’s head, making them feel as she feels, sorting through the confusion of losing her memory and dealing with all of the people living inside her. The story has a slow momentum build, gaining strength as June figures out who she is and what she must do, delivering big time for a fiery finale. Dungeon Brain is a departure from Ethridge’s previous works, but also a welcome addition to his prior literary efforts - a novel I highly recommend.
Carl Alves - author of Blood Street