Tag Archives: ghosts

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow

12 Mar

SorrowsKnotCoverTitle: Sorrow’s Knot
Author: Erin Bow
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 368

The girl who remade the world was born in winter.

Otter is one of the Shadowed People. The free women of the forest live without men, for men are powerless against the ever restless dead. Every bit of shadow could conceal one of the three kinds of dead: slip, ghasts, and White Hands. Slip and ghasts are the little dead – unidentifiable spirits of some living form or another, they cannot kill you on their own, just give you a permanent chill, or unmake the flesh that they touch. White Hands, however, were human once, and to be touched by a White Hand means that over the course of nine days the afflicted will gradually go mad, until another Hand eats its way out, leaving the human body nothing but an empty husk. Otter’s mother is a binder, one of the powerful women whose job it is to contain the dead, and it has always been assumed that she would follow in her mother’s footprints to become a binder herself. However, when the death of the eldest binder in the Pinch unleashes a horrific chain of events, Otter’s entire world is turned upside down and everything she thought she knew about the world begins to unravel.

So, first thing first: this book is FREAKING AMAZING. As in, the best book I’ve read so far this year. It’s dark and lyrical and heavy and just so good I can’t stop thinking about it. Erin Bow is nothing short of intimidating – her writing is so achingly beautiful and fresh that there were times when I actually got goosebumps. Just for flavor, here is the first passage in which we meet one of the little dead:

Something was resting in the nest of shadows under a cornstalk, something stirring as Cricket’s hand came near. Something gawk-stretched and ugly as a new-hatched bird with no feathers and skin over its eyes. Something that moved subtly, like the earth moving above something buried. Something struggling and starving.

Gawk-stretched. GAWK-STRETCHED. That pairing of words is so perfect it makes my heart clench a little, and this entire book is full of the same evocative, lyrical language. Erin Bow is the kind of brilliant wordsmith that makes me feel like I should just give up, because I will never, ever be this good. There is a rhythm to her writing that is reminiscent of telling a story around a fire that keeps the shadows back; the repetition of certain phrases (Ware the dead!) and specific stories adds to the feeling that you aren’t reading a book, but sitting at Bow’s feet and being told a story that’s been handed down time untold.

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Rebel Heart by Moira Young

27 Dec

13042154I’m going to try my best to do a decent review of this book even though I’ve read 2.25 since I finished it. Why? Because, for me, it was one of the most highly anticipated releases of the year. That’s right, I FINALLY got my hands on Moira Young‘s Rebel Heartsequel to Blood Red Road in the Dust Lands trilogy.

It’s late afternoon. Since morning, the trail’s been following a line of light towers. That is, the iron remains of what used to be light towers, way back in Wrecker days, time out of mind. 

After going through hell to defeat the Tonton and rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, Saba is haunted by the memories of murders she had to commit along the way and tormented by the absence of Jack. When she gets news that Jack has betrayed her by going over to the Tonton, Saba abandons her brother’s quest to find the ocean and start a new life to find him. But finding Jack and making sense of his betrayal means going right into the belly of the beast; the territory of the reformed Tonton, headed by a foe from her past who has put a price on her head. But once Saba sets her mind on something, nothing can stop her, even if it means dragging everyone else down with her.

First of all, I want to start by saying that this cover is fucking terrible. Who is that dude even supposed to be? What is this, some trashy romance novel? Where did that dude (I honestly have NO IDEA who he is) even get all those clean clothes? Moira Young’s Dustlands books are about as bleak and gritty a (teen) vision of post-apocalyptic future as you can get, and the brutality of this world is a total mismatch for this weird cover.

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The Diviners by Libba Bray

5 Nov

Remember way back when I said I was super duper beyond excited to read Libba Bray‘s The Diviners? Well, that happened, and it was awesome. So awesome that when I left my library copy at home when I left to fly to New York I bought my own copy from the airport bookstore. Yes. I dug it so much that I couldn’t stand not being able to read it for a week and spent actual dollars on it.

In a town house at a fashionable address on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, every lamp blazes.

It’s the roaring twenties, and free-wheeling modern gal Evie O’Neill has been sent from small town Ohio to New York City to live with her uncle while a scandal she was involved in cools down. You see, Evie has a gift which allows her to see into people’s pasts by touching something that belongs to them and, being the attention-hog that she is, sometimes she hits the sauce a little too hard and whips out her gift, exposing secrets better left buried. Unfortunately for Evie (and fortunately for the reader!) Evie doesn’t have much hope of hiding her gift when she’s living with her uncle, curator of the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult (i.e., the Museum of Creepy Crawlies) and the city is being haunted by Naughty John, a muy muy loco serial killing spirit made manifest by a poorly-timed Ouija game (yes! yes really! I love you, Libba Bray). Evie isn’t the only gifted teen being drawn into the supernatural maelstrom that is enveloping New York; as their stories begin to entwine, it becomes clear that Naughty John’s gruesome murders are just a small slice of a greater evil that is approaching and luring in the Diviners, one by one.

God, where to start. OK, how about this: I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK. It was one of those stellar bits of paper and glue that I couldn’t stop gushing about to everyone who had the misfortune of talking to me for more than two minutes. It has everything: mystery; plucky, dynamic characters; seriously SCARY parts (I actually had nightmares); and some VERY slow burning and STEAMY romance. And. AND. It’s Libba Bray, and she is one of my particular favorite writerly flavors.

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