Book Review: Chuggie And The Desecration Of Stagwater by Brent Michael Kelley

In the first installment of Mischief Mayhem Want and Woe, Brent Michael Kelley unleashes the horrors of Desecration on Stagwater. 

Norchug Mot Losiat, Chuggie to his friends, is Brother Drought. When, in his rambling, he stumbles upon the remote city of Stagwater, he finds love, temptation, and treachery. He fights against men, demons, and his own nature to battle the sinister forces threatening the city. But Chuggie? All he wants is a boat.


There is a town called Stagewater that has a river running through it. It would seem normal by comparison to any other town, but there are things brewing that most of its citizens don’t know about.

The town is under the protections of Steel Jacks (robot aliens from another planet), and run by the magistrate, Haste, and his lackeys. Haste and his tight group of counsel use a method call tourgery to collect the sorrow from Stagewater’s citizens. By drinking in the sorrow, they enter into the Pheonal Trance, which allows Haste to predict the future of Stagwater. It’s deemed a necessary evil for the greater good of the city.

One of Haste’s trances induces the vision of a traveler that will bring the destruction of the town. The word is spread to send any strangers north of the city walls.

Disease, Fire, Flood, and Drought were all born somewhere around the beginning of time. Norchug Mot Losiat, better known as Chuggie, is the incarnation of Drought. His goals aren’t by any means hard; he just wants to make it to the ocean with his anchor and chain, which is attached to his ribs.


“I’m want. It means I thirst. It means I’m poor. It means something’s missing. It means I fall short.” Chuggie spat at a mossy log. His eyes pointed at the ground, but his gaze pointed inward.

“That sounds like you get the losing end of the stick. If that’s really true, why would you keep on trying.”

“It’s just true enough.” Chuggie squinted. “Result is I don’t waste a lot of time makin’ plans. Usually just go. Livin’ like that can really shake the confidence if you aren’t as amazing as ol’ Chuggers.” His smile returned.

On his way to the ocean his anchor gets snagged in a tree outside of Stagwater. Gaurds are sent to direct him north, and by all means, keep him out of the city.

Chuggie grows upset with the way that he has been treated and suspects that the guards have used a spell on him. So he defies their request to head north and wanders south. South of Stagwater he finds a witch that has been banished from Stagwater and bound to the place that she lives. Chuggie has to free her, but first he needs to bring her some items, and this involves entering Stagwater… and heading north. What lies to the north? No one knows, because no one ever comes back.

Brent Michael Kelley did an excellent job of creating a colorful cast of characters for Chuggie and the Desecration of Stagwater. Demons, alien robots, incarnates, witches, and animated objects all come together to create a great dark fantasy that will stick with me. I loved it, and I’m glad that I had a chance to read it. 

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