Dueling Review, Recommended Read

Dueling (?) Review: Headless by Aveda Vice (2021)

For our final monster smut of October, we’re talking about Headless. This is not so much a duel as a short discussion because (spoiler alert) we all liked it. Definitely recommended if you’re in the mood for some Halloween reading.

Heat Factor: It’s very much about how their sexual relationship keeps them connected, but it’s more evocative than squelching body parts.

Character Chemistry: Big sad feels that they only have their throuple together one night per year!

Plot: After Brom disappears one Halloween, Abe and Katrin spend the rest of their Halloweens awaiting his ghostly return

Overall: I was expecting Headless Horseman throuple sexytimes and this is that but…it’s completely different than I expected

How would you describe this story?

Holly: When Erin told me that this book was not what she was expecting, I was surprised, because it’s Ichabod, Katrin, and the Headless Horseman having sexytimes, so how surprising can it be? But she was right. It was really surprising and I loved it.

I would call this an erotic horror story…that’s not all that detailed in the eroticism. Rather, the details that are included are really vivid and haunting. 

He hovers over her, a blanket of darkness, a starless sky that teases her open. She gasps, arching, writhing, all pale skin to the pitch-black clouds of his being. Abe lies beside them, chest heaving, almost blue in the light of the moon, slick with sweat and beating heart as he strokes into his hand. He watches them with glassy eyes, like they’re memories he’s keeping.

Erin: I, like Holly, expected weird Headless Horseman threesome action and this was not that. It is definitely a story about the throuple that is Ichabod and Katrin and Brom, and a lot of it is about them having sex. But it isn’t kinky fun times. It’s so atmospheric and so emotional. I finished reading it and immediately wanted to talk about it with someone because it makes use of vivid imagery and metaphors in such interesting ways. 

Ingrid: It’s very short, and I thought it was uniquely done. It has a very dreamlike quality to it.

H: Dreamlike is a perfect word to describe this book. 

What is your sense of Abe and Katrin’s relationship outside the Halloween nights when Brom returns?

H: Vice writes: “Brom was not the only thing they lost so many years ago.” Their relationship is kind of…sad. There’s a hole there because Brom was the glue that held the three of them together. 

E: Yes, this is a short story but it’s extremely powerful. The primary feeling I had was of melancholy. A lot of Abe and Katrin’s emotional energy is spent not on what they have together—the life they made where Brom is remembered but not present—but in searching for Brom’s returned permanence.

I: It’s definitely not traditionally sexy—it’s sad and deep and dark. But then also a little sexy.

Is Brom still meaningfully included in the throuple?

E: It almost seems like there’s not much of a relationship without Brom there, TBH. 

I: Well, Brom doesn’t get any of the daily ins and outs of the relationship. But then there’s a huge hole in their lives that isn’t filled until Brom arrives on Halloween. So I’d argue everyone is missing out in some way, really. 

E: Yes, that’s exactly what I was thinking of. Brom is only present for one night, and even then his interactions are limited, so he’s definitely missing out. But Katrin and Abe just seem so lost without him. Their sense of eupohria at Brom’s presence and listlessness at his absence is so vivid.

What stuck with you the most after you finished this book?

H: Besides the sense of melancholy? The image of the Horseman’s Jack-o-Lantern head with glowing eyes sitting on the bureau while they have sex. Katrin makes eye contact with it and watches the lights flicker as she cums. That image will live rent-free in my head forever, and now you get to know about it too!

E: The scene Holly describes is so memorable, but rather than any specific interaction or scene, I sort of simply remained haunted. The ghostliness of Brom and his ephemeral presence combined with the melancholy mood of Abe and Katrin are haunting.

Buy Now: Amazon

Looking for something similar?

Unusual Retellings

Short and Sweet (and also, Not so Sweet)

Big Sad Feels

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