After reading Chantal Noordeloos’s EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS: WRATH (heretofore referred to as WRATH), I knew two things. One, she might have the coolest name on the whole fucking planet. Two, she can hold her own with the best in the business when it comes to writing horror.
WRATH is the second in a series–the first one being EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS: PRIDE–but it’s a standalone story and you don’t need to have read the first one to enjoy this one. The only thing the two stories share in common is the setting, a version of hell that could only spring from the mind of Chantal Noordeloos. I haven’t read the first one, but I’ve been told that it’s a very horrific, sometimes humorous tale. If you’ve read that one and you’re expecting the same from WRATH, you’re in for a surprise. WRATH is not funny. It’s a horrific tale of a mother’s loss, her wrath, and a dark quest that eventually leads, well, you’ll have to read it to find out where it leads, I won’t spoil it.
Fatima, the story’s protagonist, is a tragic character, a woman who’s heart boils with unfulfilled rage, a mother who has suffered great loss and now, in the realm between Heaven and Hell, must make a dire choice. She’s also the thing that draws this whole story together and makes it work. She is completely realized and three dimensional and you will find yourself feeling sad for her and cheering for her as she realizes a strange sort of redemption. Noordeloos is a master storyteller and it’s evident in WRATH that she gets great enjoyment from the process. I found myself so engaged with this story that it was over before I really knew any time had passed, and I think any other lover of the horror genre will too.
The world that Noordeloos has built is a strange and fascinating place, full of story potential and peopled with a diverse array of wonderful, quirky characters. I hope she keeps developing this place and these stories. I was absolutely enthralled with this story and with Chantal’s writing style, her rock solid character development, and her ability to draw you out of this world for a time, transporting you to a place you’ll want to visit again and again.
I hadn’t had any experience with Chantal Noordeloos prior to this book, but I will seek out the rest of her work now, including the first book in this series, EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS: PRIDE. If you want something new and different and delightful, check out EVEN HELL HAS STANDARDS: WRATH. I’m confident you will enjoy it and that you’ll find yourself seeking her other works soon after you turn the last page.
About Chantal Noordeloos: Chantal Noordeloos lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.
In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.
There are many genres that Chantal likes to explore in her writing. Currently Sci-fi Steampunk is one of her favourites, but her ‘go to’ genre will always be horror. “It helps being scared of everything; that gives me plenty of inspiration,” she says.
Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”