It’s October, which means Halloween, which means it’s a great month to talk about horror books. One of the best horror novels of the year so far comes from Paul Tremblay. Publisher’s Weekly wrote “[t]he apocalypse begins with a home invasion in this tripwire-taut horror thriller. Eric and Andrew are vacationing with their seven-year-old daughter, Wen, at remote Gaudet Lake in New Hampshire when their cabin is invaded by a quartet of weapons-wielding strangers, each of whom has been driven there by a shared vision: that the world will end unless one member of this family sacrifices another. That sets the stage for an excruciatingly tense standoff between them and their prisoners as they try to outmaneuver one other. Tremblay skillfully seeds his tale with uncertainties, including news reports of portentous world catastrophes, that suggest the invaders’ vision is genuine, and he introduces enough doubt into the beliefs and behaviors of all the parties to keep them and the reader off-balance. His profoundly unsettling novel invites readers to ask themselves whether, when faced with the unbelievable, they would do the unthinkable to prevent it.”
When I finished this book, I was disappointed but not for the reason you might expect. I was disappointed because I would never again have the pleasure of reading this amazing book for the first time and also because it’s the first in a trilogy, the last two books of which are not yet published. In case I’m not clear, I LOVED this book – as did every reviewer I’ve seen. For example, Publisher’s Weekly gave it a starred review, writing “Bennett’s stunning fantasy, the first in a series, is set in Tevanne, a city-state run by four merchant houses, funded by pillaging nearby lands and powered by scrivers who use sigils to make devices that defy reality. When talented thief Sancia Grado steals a sentient golden key named Clef, she’s pursued by paladin-like police captain Gregor Dandolo, scion of the Dandolo merchant house. Clef and Sancia are both shocked when they find they can communicate telepathically. This and Sancia’s other abilities—linked to a painful scar on her skull—hint at strange, terrible things in her past. When someone tries to kill Gregor to get Sancia, they discover that a very ambitious and powerful figure is building something that could “annihilate scriving on a mass scale,” a disastrous disruption of Tevanne’s society. With a little help from Gregor and Clef; Orso Ignacio, the eccentric Dandolo head of research; scriver Berenice Grimaldi; and other singularly skilled allies, Sancia sets out to pull off the most dangerous theft of her life. The endlessly inventive Bennett brings humor and empathy to his portrayal of Sancia, a dark-skinned woman who bears substantial physical and psychological scars from being enslaved and experimented on, and who deeply resents her unwanted talents. Sancia and Clef’s friendship is poignant, and her journey of self-realization serves as a backbone for nearly nonstop, cleverly choreographed action sequences. This is a crackling, wonderfully weird blend of science fiction, fantasy, heist adventure, and a pointed commentary on what it means to be human in a culture obsessed with technology, money, and power.” Hope you like it too!
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