Tag Archives: horror

Review of Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant

I borrowed an audio copy of Mira Grant‘s Into the Drowning Deep through Hoopla.

Description from Goodreads:

The ocean is home to many myths,
But some are deadly…

Seven years ago the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a mockumentary bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a tragedy.

Now a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost.

Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves.

But the secrets of the deep come with a price.

Review:

These are mermaids of the old stories, the mermaids of nightmares, the mermaids closer to sirens that Ariel. And I loved them. Or well, not them, but the story around them. Yes, as others have commented, the book is on the slow side. Keeping the suspense high at the expense of pace. But I appreciated that. I also appreciated the love in various forms (familial, platonic, queer, straight, and strained). I liked that an autistic character got to be a hero and that somehow Mira Grant made me feel sorry for an endangered species hunting psychopath (that couldn’t have been easy). All in all, I really quite enjoyed this.

Review of The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle

I borrowed an audio copy of The Ballad of Black Tom (by Victor LaValle) from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:

People move to New York looking for magic and nothing will convince them it isn’t there.

Charles Thomas Tester hustles to put food on the table, keep the roof over his father’s head, from Harlem to Flushing Meadows to Red Hook. He knows what magic a suit can cast, the invisibility a guitar case can provide, and the curse written on his black skin that attracts the eye of wealthy white folks and their trained cops. But when he delivers an occult page to a reclusive sorceress in the heart of Queens, Tom opens a door to a deeper realm of magic, and earns the attention of things best left sleeping.

A storm that might swallow the world is building in Brooklyn. Will Black Tom live to see it break?

Review:

I found this a really powerful novella. It deftly shows how easily the injustice and cruelty of everyday racism can push even good men to monster-like acts. (I was going to say turn them into monsters. But I don’t think Tom is ever a monster; just emotionally beaten by the racial realities of the 1920s.) I found it especially poignant how, even after the fact, the primary white character erases Tom from the event, effectively hiding the embodiment of white America’s sins (and his own participation in it) from himself, rendering it moot. All in all, I found this atmospheric and evocative. Plus, Kevin R. Free did a great job with the narration. A+

Review of The Twilight Pariah, by Jeffrey Ford

I borrowed a copy of Jeffrey Ford‘s The Twilight Pariah from my local library.

Description from Goodreads:
All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion’s outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

Review:
Not bad, but I wouldn’t say it covers any new ground or anything. I appreciated that, even with the narrator being male, the leader of the gang is obviously the women. Similarly, the inclusion of an incidentally gay man (and his boyfriend) with no need to include a homophobic encounter was nice. The writing was easily readable and the editing was good. But I finished the story with a shrug, rather than a shiver.