This is not for the weak… or sensitive.
Banned. Notorious. Infamous. Splatterpunk is definitely not for the faint at heart. Aron Beauregard doesn’t hold back when he tells a story and for that, he has become one of the most popular authors in the genre.
First to understand SPLATTERPUNK. Just what it sounds like. Wikipedia says: Splatterpunk is a movement within horror fiction originating in the 1980s, distinguished by its graphic, often gory, depiction of violence, countercultural alignment and “hyperintensive horror with no limits.”
With that said, Playground has gone viral on TikTok because of it’s no holds barred look at story that goes beyond trigger warnings. If you have any, I’d recommend you stay far, far away from this book. Now, I am not one to shy away when people mention that they couldn’t get past page 40 of the book. Well, I was listening to it on audio so I wasn’t all too sure where page 40 was but when I heard it, I was sure that was it.
The story is about a vile old woman who couldn’t bare any children, so in her misery, she creates a death playground and invites unsuspecting poor families to her estate where she offers them loads of money for their children to test the grounds, more like an amusement park of horrors. Her sick twisted mind wants the parents of these children to witness the death the kids because they should be no way to survive it. One by one, the children die horror vicious deaths as they travel through the obstacle course to the entrance. If by chance they survive, the old lady wanted to claim the child as her own. But that wasn’t page 40.
Page 40 has to do with a very disgusting sex scene / memory in which her adult adopted son must please her and the memory of how she killed her mother. Its all in the same three pages of story where this happens. I did not get disgusted by it, more so laughed my ass off because of the absurdity of the entire scene and memory. The author took three pages and toss such grossness at the reader so fast… that is why people talk about this book. If these three pages had been spread out through the entire story, I doubt it would have had this much controversy.
This part of the story didn’t need to exist to drive the plot. It was quite irrelevant in the grand scheme of it but that is what makes splatterpunk popular. It is gratuitous descriptions of the most vile sense. I read the book more so to understand Splatterpunk as a whole because I am trying to incorporate the essence of this genre into the Sapphic world. What I do know about the Sapphic community is the readers are a bit more “sensitive.” They are women, mostly romance readers and like their HEAs. They don’t want abuse or death to children or animals. As a writer in the Sapphic community, I have to be aware of that. This book would not be for them.
Overall, I gave Playground three stars just because I was amused but wasn’t truly engaged. The story didn’t HOOK me.