The flame birthed itself at the end of the match. It danced, red and orange, against the backdrop of the still night. Rachel opened her mouth as wide as she could, until the corners of her lips were stretched as far as they would go. She made sure that her mouth was a wide, round circle. Just like the man on fire. Probably just like Mary Reeser had done. She was going to spontaneously combust. She would do it now.
And she could stop waiting for it to happen. She was never going to have to be afraid of it happening again. It was all about to be over. Rachel watched the flame slide down lower, burning away at the wood of the match. It was going to reach her hand soon, so she had to do this fast. Spontaneous Human Combustion started inside the body.
Rachel understood why the man on fire had his mouth wide open.
There wasn’t any time left.
Rachel took the match and placed it into her open mouth.
I often complain that I can never find books that are the perfect kind of scary for me. Sure, I’ve got my King collection, but I’ve had a hard time in the indie-verse finding stories that chill me in just the right way. I don’t want gratuitous gore or visceral descriptions of death. I don’t mind hauntings but they’ve been done to death.
I love creativity, uniqueness, and the human condition. To me the scariest thing in the world is what we humans are capable of. And my friends, Combustion delivers.
Rachel lives in constant fear that she will burst into flames. She can feel the heat building in her gut. She keeps buckets of water under the bed. She keeps them to fend off the flames that her body may create.
Autocombustophobia. That’s what they say she has.
No one will believe Rachel when she explains that she spontaneously combusted once before. That’s why her body is covered in burns.
Rachel’s mother is the only one who knows what really happened to her. All she said was that it was an accident, before she disappeared leaving Rachel to live with her grandparents.
When Rachel becomes reunited with her estranged mother, she struggles to uncover the truth behind her injuries. As Rachel spends time with the mother she has never known, she is thrown into a strange world of paranormal obsession, spells, and sage burning.
Long buried family secrets are revealed and Rachel’s fear of Spontaneous Human Combustion becomes unmanageable.
There are some terrifying truths to uncover and a man on fire. He stands burning at the foot of her bed.
Every once in awhile, I find a story that is so different that I just can’t get it out of my head. Combustion is one of those stories. I came across it when it was just finished on Wattpad, years ago, in its early stages, and it stuck with me so much that I’ve reread and reread and am now celebrating it’s second edition launch!
Jyvur has a distinct style that I adore, and it’s hard to explain if you haven’t read her books. It’s amazing that even across multiple genres and themes and characters she still has a unique and clear voice that says ‘this is Jyvur Entropy’. She’s incredible at building deep, multi-faceted characters and bringing us into the depths of their minds and fears, seeing the world through their eyes with their hearts in our throats.
Rachel is a ten-year-old girl that suffers from autocombustophobia, which is the fear of spontaneous human combustion. In her day-to-day life, she is constantly terrified of her spine becoming a wick and melting her insides. It is insanely visceral and her fear is so raw and potent that I find myself literally sweating at points while reading. It is an uncomfortable read, and I mean that in the best way possible.
Now, because this is a book written for adults with adult themes but told through the point of view of a ten-year-old, you can imagine what other kinds of themes we’re talking about here. Rachel has a pretty horrendous scar over much of her face from the last time she combusted when she was a toddler. She lives with her grandparents instead of her mother that she used to be with when she was very small, and she doesn’t have any memories of her. Her grandmother constantly tries to disavow the spontaneous combustion stuff, but Rachel is convinced that it happened. So even though there is a lot going on in Rachel’s life, we as the adult readers can see what the adults in her life are doing and saying and how they act, and it just builds and builds the dread for this child.
When I first read this book, my daughter was a baby, so I was a hormonal new mom and that was a trip. I spent a lot of time upset over the hardships this poor child was going through and wanting to just hug her and wrap her in a blanket and care for her, and then also sympathizing with her grandmother trying to deal with the fact that Rachel can’t go anywhere or do anything without the constant threat of panic attacks because she’s terrified she’s going to combust. It’s such a deep-seated fear that encompasses every point of her life, to the point where she won’t sleep without buckets of water in her closet… how, as a caregiver, do you help with that? A ten-year-old child that has horrible burns on her body from a traumatic event, and she is paralyzed by fear during every day events like school or dance class or dinnertime… it’s so heartbreaking.
Feeling the fear through Rachel is visceral, but feeling the fear of her caregivers as the interact with her is a punch right in the mom gut. And I haven’t even talked about her actual mother…
All in all, Combustion isn’t just a story about a girl with a phobia. It’s a story about trauma, and the lengths the mind will go to to try to protect itself. About nature vs. nurture, and how the people around us affect our perception of ourselves and the world. It’s about what fear can do to us and hold us back from in life.
And friends, it’s just a really damn good book.
I’ve known Jyvur for a while now, and consider her a friend. So I feel like she’ll allow me a bit of gushing before I get to her bio proper. I encountered her on Wattpad many moons ago, and after noticing she had a book featuring spontaneous combustion I recommended her a community profile about SHC… only to find out that was her profile, haha!
Ever since, she’s been super patient with all of my questions and fangirling, and even mentored me into freelance writing which literally changed my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today without this wonderful human and her kindness and general badassery and I am proud to call her my friend.
Okay enough gooey stuff. 🙂 Here’s her bio!
Jyvur Entropy writes horror and romance. She is a pessimist, a chaotic neutral, and a massive fan of No Doubt and Die Antwoord.
Combustion is her most well known work. It premiered on wattpad in 2016, where it went on to collect over 94,000 views, was featured twice by wattpad and longlisted for the 2018 Watty’s.
Jyvur knows everything about the Columbine massacre and buys a new bodice ripper every time she goes to the supermarket.
She is never seen without an iced coffee or yoga pants, because she’s about as basic as it gets.
She runs a moderately successful book blog and she has a baby youtube channel. You can find all her content and socials HERE!
Of course there’s a giveaway! And you definitely want to win this swag, let me tell you. I have the awesome little accessory pouch and it is the best! This post is one of the stops on the Combustion Silver Dagger Book Tour, so check out the home post below and show Jyvur some love.