Review: Butterfly Potion by Trent Zelazny (Novella)

05 Sep

I grabbed this eBook off Amazon when Trent and his friends on Facebook posted that it was available for free, and after a long while (with me struggling to get an app on my phone that would allow me to read Kindle editions), I finally got to read the book.

‘Butterfly Potion’ isn’t Fantasy or Horror, nor even Urban Fantasy – it’s a deeply moving and often searing look at alcoholism and depression, and it has to rank as one of the most memorable tales I’ve read.

The main character, Perry, is a broken man, spending his days drinking and trying to drown the pain of having lost someone powerfully dear to him. He wakes up disoriented and in pain after a hectic bender, not sure where he is or how he got there, knowing only that he has been robbed and that he desperately needs a drink.

The story has one other stand-out character, a damaged woman who is the ‘keeper’ of the Butterfly Potion of the story’s title. As he retraces his steps she allows herself to be tugged along, offering him what she can and what she feels she is worth, all the while subtly reminding him of everything he has lost. And from which he is running.

Trent does an incredible job of bringing these characters to life and paints the scenes they inhabit with a brilliant eye for just the correct amount of detail. Putting the focus on these characters -the people we usually find ourselves being disgusted by and whom we laugh at (and not always quietly) forces the reader to inhabit the skin of these people. It would have been easy to use these characters to show the reader the ugly sides of life, but Trent takes the more difficult path – leading us on an unapologetic journey into the beautiful things in life that are often hidden under the ugliness.

I was already impressed with Trent’s eye and mind for stories with the anthology, ‘Mirages – Tales from Authors of the Macabre‘, (reviewed here), and now I can honestly say that I’m damned impressed with Trent’s ability as a storyteller – he’s a word-weaver of skill and subtlety, and shows a great capacity for sympathy and honesty.

Definitely a writer who will remain on my radar – and should be on yours!

9 / 10

Butterfly Potion

To order your copies of ‘Butterfly Potion’, click the appropriate links:

Amazon US Paperback, Amazon US Kindle Edition,

Amazon UK Paperback, Amazon UK Kindle Edition

And for those of you who are in South Africa, check out this selection of Trent’s work, available online with Exclusive Books, but unfortunately not Butterfly Potion.

For more info on Trent and his body of work, check out his website here and his Facebook Page here.

Until tomorrow,


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Posted by on September 5, 2013 in Reviews


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