BOOK REVIEW: Arachnophile by Betty Rocksteady

arachnophile cover
Source: Amazon

Alex doesn’t hate spiders. He’s just really afraid of them. Especially the giant ones who are trying to integrate into human society. It’s just not natural for human and spiders to live together. His fears are so bad, that it’s beginning to affect his relationship with his wife Heather. When a giant female spider moves into the apartment next door, Alex nearly has a nervous breakdown. With his wife’s help, he’s able to get over his fears and learns to accept his new neighbor. Unfortunately, he goes too far in the other direction.

“I had never been so close to one before. The soft curves of her body were beautiful and grotesque, the smooth gleaming shell of her abdomen. The patterns of shapes and colors she displayed were fascinating. She glanced over her shoulder at me, as if she knew I was watching, and something about the way her eyes shone set off a reaction in me, heat filling my cheeks.”

“Beautiful and grotesque” is, in fact, the best way to describe this story. The object of Alex’s affection comes through clearly as a revolting creature, yet filtered through his desires, it evokes an abstract sense of beauty that completely offsets the fact that she’s a giant spider. Betty Rocksteady even managed to make the giant spider seem less like an “it’ and more of a “she,” despite the fact the spider doesn’t have a name and can’t even talk.

The contrast between irrational fear and hatred and irrational desires is what makes up the core of Arachnophile. Alex has no real reason to fear the giant spiders, yet the idea of one living next door absolutely haunts him. His newfound affection for the female spider has an even deeper effect on him. His desire for her invigorates him, but his inability to realize it nearly costs him his job. He wants to stay faithful to Heather, but his relationship with her is hanging by a thread. He can’t pretend forever.

The only problem I have with this book, is it treats the plot point of giant spiders trying to integrate in society as a twist. Everything about the beginning, even the title, telegraphed this “reveal,” so it just ends up being an unnecessary bit of build up. This isn’t much of a flaw though, as this part does focus more on Alex’s fears than anything else.

Some of the coverage you find on Cultured Vultures contains affiliate links, which provide us with small commissions based on purchases made from visiting our site. We cover gaming news, movie reviews, wrestling and much more.