Book Review: The Cipher

Title: The Cipher

Author: Kathe Koja

Narrator: Joshua Saxon




Kathe Koja’s classic, award-winning horror novel is finally available as an audiobook.

Nicholas, a would-be poet, and Nakota, his feral lover, discover a strange hole in the storage room floor down the hall – “Black. Pure black and the sense of pulsation, especially when you look at it too closely, the sense of something not living but alive.” It begins with curiosity, a joke – the Funhole down the hall. But then the experiments begin. “Wouldn’t it be wild to go down there?” says Nakota. Nicholas says “We’re not.” But they’re not in control, not from the first moment, as those experiments lead to obsession, violence, and a very final transformation for everyone who gets too close to the Funhole.

THE CIPHER was the winner of the 1991 Bram Stoker Award, and was recently named one of‘s Top 10 Debut Science Fiction Novels That Took the World by Storm. Long out-of-print and much sought-after, it is finally available as an audiobook, with a new foreword by the author.


My Review

4/5 Stars

Nicholas and Nakota have a pretty normal life until they discover a black hole in their home. They ironically name it the fun hole and from there, they start to experiment. Various items go into it, and with it, their obsession starts to grow. What happens to the items that they put in and what would happen to a person?

So when I first started listening to this audiobook, I wasn’t sure what to think. The prose is written differently from a lot of books I’ve read. It’s almost poetic, and at times, I had to pause it to really stop and think about what it was that the author was trying to say. I don’t think I’ve ever had to do that with a horror story before, but that made it all the more interesting.

There was plenty of suspense and intrigue in this story. The more Nicholas and Nakota messed around with the black hole, the more I was curious to see what else they would do. Of course, as the items got bigger and bigger, so did my questions.

Narration really brought the characters and story to life.

Interesting unique piece of fiction here. Not for everybody, but I recommend it for people looking for something that’s outside of the box.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

Published by Author Kayla Krantz

Proud author responsible for Dead by Morning and The Council, fascinated by the dark and macabre. Stephen King is her all time inspiration mixed in with a little bit of Eminem and some faint remnants of the works of Edgar Allen Poe. When she began writing, she started in horror but it somehow drifted into thriller. She loves the 1988 movie Heathers. She was born and raised in Michigan but traveled across the country to where she currently resides in Texas.

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