Review: The Shadows by Alex North

The ShadowsThe Shadows by Alex North
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Paul Adams was a teenager, a classmate of his was quite brutally murdered. Paul was arrested and accused of the murder.

His mother, who knew her son was innocent, fought like a dog to regain his freedom. Paul was innocent, but who were the real culprits?

It turns out that two of Paul’s one-time friends, Billy and Charlie Crabtree, were the killers. Of the two, Charlie was definitely the leader. Billy went to prison and Charlie, subsequently, disappeared into the local woods, known as The Shadows.

Having suffered enough in the public spotlight of his village, Paul moves away as soon as he can, leaving his mother behind. He doesn’t return for 25-years.

He only returns after receiving word that his mother, who is in poor health and suffering from dementia, has taken a fall and is now being kept in a nursing facility.

As you can imagine, returning to the village he fled so many years before, stirs up a lot of memories and emotions. Making matters worse, a copycat crime has been committed, bringing the brutal violence of the past to a whole new generation.

As with, The Whisper Man, I really enjoyed North’s writing and the way he chose to format the story.

We follow a couple different perspectives, as well as past and present timelines. I just feel like he makes such clever choices with his storytelling and I’m down for it.

There were definitely moments I didn’t see coming, as well as some solid red herrings.

I wasn’t crazy about the conclusion to some of the mysteries held within the story, but that is purely personal preference. It is no way a reflection on the skill of the writing or the book itself. There were just a couple of things, I personally wish would have wrapped-up differently.

Overall, this is a fun, creepy read. I love the is it paranormal, is it not paranormal feel that North brings to his work. That’s how I live my life and I love it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Celadon Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated books of the year and it did not disappoint!

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Review: Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Home Before DarkHome Before Dark by Riley Sager
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

RILEY SAGER!!!

He has done it again, and actually, I think this is his best work yet!!!

Loved. Loved. Loved.

Perhaps I should throw together some coherent thoughts? Yeah, let’s try.

Upon the death of her father, Maggie Holt, is shocked to discover she has just inherited Baneberry Hall, the allegedly haunted mansion her and her parents abandoned some 25-years earlier.

Quite literally fleeing in the middle of the night, her parents refused to ever return to the property. Her father then published a best-selling non-fiction account of their time there. As you do.

For Maggie’s part, she remembers nothing of her time at Baneberry. Of course, she was just 5-years old and apparently her little mind wiped the slate clean after they departed.

She has read her father’s book, House of Horrors, numerous times, but doesn’t believe a word of it. Her parents, whose relationship didn’t survive the Book, wouldn’t tell her anything, even though she pleaded with them frequently to do so.

Returning all these years later, Maggie hopes to piece together a bit of the truth while she is renovating the home for sale.

As soon as she steps foot on the Baneberry property, however, she’s knows it is not going to be as easy as she had hoped.

Alternating between Maggie’s current perspective and full chapters from House of Horrors was an absolutely delightful way to read this story. I loved how Sager set that up.

The pacing was perfection!

I was so engaged with this throughout. It got into my mind.

I was racing towards the conclusion trying to discover how much of House of Horrors was the truth.

Baneberry Hall was such a presence in the story. It was ominous and creepy AF.

I can’t imagine being Maggie and actually staying there on my own!

Home Before Dark is without a doubt going to be on my top books of the year list!

If you haven’t read anything by Sager yet and are wondering where to start, I highly recommend giving this one a shot. I think it is a perfect example of his style.

If you have read Sager before, and are a fan, what are you waiting for!?

I cannot wait to see what he comes up with next!

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Flashback Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

AllegedlyAllegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

Hello, my lovely book friends! Today I thought I would bring you a Flashback review. I originally read and reviewed this novel back in September 2018.

Why am I bringing it up again, you may be wondering?

That’s easy. Because I love this book and still think about it to this day. Also, this novel introduced me to one of my FAVORITE YA Contemporary authors. Tiffany D. Jackson’s writing takes me places and I love every minute of it. Read my full thoughts below and I hope, if you haven’t already, you’ll seriously consider picking up some of Jackson’s work!

Allegedly was Tiffany D. Jackson’s debut novel!?

Yeah, think on that for a while. This. Is. A. Debut.

I am still reeling from this book. It’s one of those stories that sticks with you long after you turn the final page.

Following teenage protagonist, Mary Addison, after she is released from ‘Baby Jail.‘, she now resides in a group home and is trying to adapt to surroundings.

Mary Addison entered Baby Jail after being accused, and prosecuted, for killing a baby that she was helping her mother take care of.

Allegedly.

The majority of the book is stream of consciousness narrative, which generally is hit or miss for me. This is a definite hit and how it should be done.

It was incredibly moving to hear Mary’s remembrances of various parts of her childhood, her challenging relationship with her mentally ill mother, and of her alleged crime.

The rest of the book cleverly fills in the blanks with an excellent assortment of mixed media sources, such as police interviews and court transcripts.

I thought the blending of these two styles together was executed perfectly to reveal the truth at the heart of the story.

The thing I appreciated most about this book was the way it reflected upon the juvenile justice system. Shining a much needed light on the hopelessness and desperation these kids experience, not to mention the general systematic failures.

Behind every case number, inmate number and statistic, is a story. This is just one.

Mary Addison is a whip-smart, mixed race girl, who struggles with low feelings of self-worth and faces a boatload of obstacles.

Her codependency with her mother and her mental illness was so raw. I truly felt for this girl. I was drawn into her story. It was such a struggle to get through some sections, but completely worth it.

It was so well done that at times, I would be so wrapped up, I had to remind myself that Mary Addison is FICTION. Sadly, for a lot of kids out there, too many kids, this story is all too real.

I did listen to the audiobook for this and DAMN, Bahni Turpin can make you feel all the feels. She is so talented and truly brought the story to life for me. I was listening to Mary as far as I was concerned. I could not recommend this audiobook highly enough.

Loved it, loved it, loved it!

Tiffany D. Jackson is one hell of a writer!

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Review: Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor SongSurvivor Song by Paul Tremblay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

THERE WILL NEVER, EVER, EVER BE A BETTER TIME TO READ THIS BOOK.

After the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is hit by a super contagious strain of a rabies-like virus, the entire state goes into lockdown.

Hospitals are overrun, public resources drained, people are ordered to go into quarantine and it is literally dangerous to go outside.

Dr. Ramola ‘Rams’ Sherman receives frantic news from her best friend, Natalie, who is currently 8-months pregnant with her first child.

Apparently, Natalie’s husband has just been killed after an infected neighbor broke into their home and attacked them. Making matters worse, if that’s even possible, Natalie was bitten by the infected man during the attack.

Due to the very rapid rate of progression for the virus, the clock is ticking for Natalie. She needs to get medical care right away and calls the one person she knows will help her, Rams.

Natalie makes her way to Rams and the two women set out together to try to make it to the closest hospital. Even though the hospitals are at max capacity, the fact that Ramola is employed there as a pediatrician, makes them think that they will be able to receive care.

The rest of the novel takes place over just a matter of hours, as the two women race against time to try to save Natalie and her unborn child.

This book is compact and extremely intense. Following Rams and Natalie on their journey was so incredibly vivid. I could completely imagine what they were seeing, hearing and feeling.

Picking up Survivor Song in the midst of a global pandemic, I will say, is a surreal experience.

Within the first 20-pages, I’m thinking, is Paul Tremblay clarivoyant? How the heck did he release this book at just the right moment?

I think reading this, hot on the heels of the beginning of the pandemic, when we were first coming under quarantine, for the first time in my life, made this soul-shattering story even more impactful.

While this is a horror story that, in concept is as frightening as hell, to me the most important aspect of the story, the aspect that effected me the most, was the relationship between Rams and Nats.

Their relationship reminded me so much of my own relationship with my best friend, Nichole. Just imagining going through what these women were going through, the choices they had to make, it tore my heart out.

I’ll admit it, I cried. It was very much one of those, there but for the grace of God, go I-moments for me. It was hard to read.

I texted her a few times throughout the ending of the story and of course she was sympathetic.

She knows how I get with my stories!

There was one scene that I did have to skip over, but I don’t think editing that out for myself diminished any of the story for me.

For those curious, (view spoiler) in an ignorant attempt to halt the spread of the virus.

I’m too sensitive on that topic to subject myself to that, so I just flipped on through.

With that being said, this is an great story. One that will haunt me for years to come and isn’t that really what Horror it is all about?

Thank you so much to the publisher, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and as I expected, Tremblay does not disappoint! Get your hands on this as soon as you can, I know a lot of people are going to be talking about it!

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Blog Tour: Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

‘Sometimes the princess is a monster’

Girl, Serpent, Thorn is the sophomore novel for Melissa Bashardoust; one I have been highly anticipating.

Her debut, Girls Made of Snow and Glass, a wildly creative reimagining of Snow White, blew me away when I read it back in 2018. I was astounded by her vivid imagination and level of skill bringing it to the page.

This latest story is an original fairy tale following a princess, Soraya, who due to a curse put upon her before she was even born, is poisonous to the touch. Because of this, her family has kept her locked away, a secret from the rest of the kingdom.

As she grows older, watching the world move around her from high atop the castle, unseen, she begins to grow resentful. Her brother, the Shah, is set to marry a girl she once considered her best friend; who was in fact, her only friend.

When circumstances arrive that bring a captured Div, a magical demon, into the castle’s dungeons, Soraya believes they may hold the answers she seeks. The cure for her curse. Little does she know, that one bit of information could be the downfall of them all.

I enjoyed this so much. Bashardoust’s writing continues to impress. The world-building was fantastic. I loved the Persian feel of it all.

Although this is an original story, I could feel the influences from many other mythologies and fairy tales. I thought it was executed beautifully. There were moments when I could see a bit of Beauty and the Beast, Arabian Nights, Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel, to name a few.

Although it was a story full of magic powers and beings, the writing didn’t suffer from trying to be overly whimsical. I find with some stories, they try to up the magic so much that it ends up overshadowing the overall plot with its whimsy. That certainly wasn’t the case here!

As Soraya discovers the truth of her curse, she begins to question her entire life, what she has been told and who she can trust. There was a lot of back and forth between different characters, where as the reader, you weren’t even sure who she could trust.

There were a few deep deceptions, a lot of plotting and a lot of monsters. The stakes were high and I was definitely cheering for Soraya the whole way through. She has a great arc over the course of the story as she grew in confidence and courage.

I would highly recommend this to YA Fantasy readers. If you are looking for a diverse Fantasy, Soraya is a bi-MC and the Persian influence can be felt throughout. I think this book really has something for everyone. There is a lot more I could talk about with regards to the plot, it has plenty of depth and intricacies to explore, but I think it is best to go into the story knowing as little as possible.

You can enter this one confident you are in the hands of a skilled storyteller. Bashardoust has never let me down and I will continue to pick up anything she has published.

I would like to thank the publisher, Flatiron Books, for not only providing me with a copy of this read and review, but also including me on the blog tour for its release. It is an honor to be able to help promote Bashardoust and her beautiful stories!

 

 

Review: All the Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault

All the Pretty ThingsAll the Pretty Things by Emily Arsenault
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

**2.5-stars**

Going into All the Pretty Things, I had some reservations. I had heard some mixed reviews and wasn’t quite sure what sort of experience I would have with this book.

First off, the synopsis describes this book as an ‘all new thriller about a boy who turns up dead under suspicious circumstances.’

I would not classify this as a Thriller and the death of the boy, which wasn’t the main plot BTW, didn’t seem that suspicious, certainly not so much so, that a girl not even involved in the incident would make it her life mission to investigate.

Okay, I think I am getting too far ahead of myself. Let’s go back.

High schooler, Ivy, spends her summers working at her Dad’s amusement park, Fabuland, in rural New Hampshire. She mainly makes cotton candy, but sometimes helps out with other positions as well.

After taking some time off to visit relatives, she returns to find the park in chaos. While she was away, one of the park’s employees, Ethan, died. Her best friend, Morgan, discovered his body.

Morgan, apparently distraught from her discovery, gets drunk one night and climbs to the top of the ferris wheel. Authorities, fearing she may try to take her own life, contact Ivy and have her go to the top of the wheel to talk Morgan down.

Plausible?

Morgan promptly gets sent to a psychiatric ward.

Ivy then begins an investigation into the death of Ethan.

There were some moments of interest for me within this story. I wouldn’t necessarily say this was a bad book, for me it just seemed like a poorly formulated story.

This is really, if you look at the actual biggest issue in the book, which I would not say is the death of poor Ethan, a hard-hitting YA Contemporary. Why it would try to be spun as a murder mystery is beyond me.

The more I think about it, the more I am turned off by the whole thing.

There were some fairly serious issues touched upon in this book, but in my opinion they were not handled well.

Yeah, that’s really all I have to say. Sorry I can’t provide more clarification. I certainly do not want to spoil anything for people who want to pick this one up.

Let me be clear, just because this book wasn’t for me, I know there are readers out there that will enjoy this a lot. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t me.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Delacorte Press, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Although this wasn’t necessarily the story for me, I still greatly appreciate the opportunity!

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The Best Books I’ve Read in 2020

Now that we are officially halfway through 2020, I thought it would be a good time for me to tell you about the best books I have read so far this year!

My monthly wrap-ups have been nonexistent this year. I think I have written one. So, this serves as sort of a 6-month wrap-up with just good stuff. I am not going to include rereads in this; all these books were new to me in 2020.

First up is a book I am currently reading. I have about a quarter of the book to go, I am taking my time with it because it is so damn good, I don’t want it to end! This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and if you guessed¬†Home Before Dark by Riley Sager, you are correct!

Yes, Home Before Dark is the Horror Thriller of my dreams. When Maggie Holt was just a girl, she and her parents moved into a desolate Vermont mansion, Baneberry Hall. They were there for 3-weeks before they fled for their lives. Her father subsequently released a novel titled, House of Horrors, that tells of their time within the house that he claims is haunted.

Twenty-five years later, after his death, Maggie returns to Baneberry Hall for the first time seeking answers. Was her father’s novel a complicated lie or are the halls of Baneberry actually as haunted as he claims?

Told in alternating sections between Maggie’s current day timeline and excerpts from the Book, I am loving every single second of my time reading this! Horror fans rejoice, this is perfection.

Next up, I would have to mention King’s newest release.¬†If It Bleeds¬†is a four-story short-story collection that includes an anticipated release following one of my favorite characters from the Bill Hodges Trilogy,¬†Holly Gibney.

I felt this was such a great, well-rounded collection. I loved every single story. They all had completely different topics and feels, but somehow worked together perfectly. I actually think I loved this as much as Full Dark, No Stars, which is saying a lot, as that is currently my number one favorite short-story collection.

Keeping with the King, I have to mention¬†Duma Key,¬†which I read last month for a readalong with a bunch of folks in the Constant Reader community on Bookstagram. Firstly, I am so disappointed in myself for not picking up this epic story before now. It was soooooo good. I can’t believe it has been missing from my life all these years.

It follows a man, who after a devastating construction site accident, moves to a remote section of the Florida coastline to recover, both mentally and physically. There he rediscovers a passion for making art, but when Duma Key essentially begins communicating with him through his artwork, the real fun begins. Steeped in family lore and hidden secrets, this story contains beautiful friendships and a ton of hauntings. It is everything!

Even though I have owned a copy of this book since it was released in 2008, I had never even read the synopsis. I had literally no clue what this book was about going in and became completely entranced as the story unfolded. This felt like classic King to me; full of paranormal glee.

Taking a completely different turn, a YA-Contemporary that has blown me away this year would be, Felix Ever After, by Kacen Callender. Following Felix Love, a transgender teen living in New York, this story is a journey of self-acceptance and discovery as Felix learns how important it is to love himself, in addition to accepting love from others.

After a fellow student creates a gallery listing Felix’s deadname, along with photos of him before his transition, he is rightly shattered. He vows to find the person responsible and make them pay. Along with his best friend, Ezrah, he sets out to do just that. For a while, Ez is on board, but eventually Felix goes rogue and continues his revenge plot on his own. During this time, Felix evolves a lot as a character, as he opens up to individuals he had previously blocked from his life and seeks to understand more about his own identity.

Speaking of YA, the YA Mystery/Thriller game has been very strong this year, as I have discovered two new favorites in 2020 releases. Those would be,¬†I Killed Zoe Spanos,¬†by Kit Frick and¬†A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder,¬†by Holly Jackson. Both of these novels follow teen girls doing some amateur sleuthing into unsolved disappearances in their hometowns.

In I Killed Zoe Spanos, Martina Green creates a podcast investigating the mysterious disappearance of Zoe Spanos. Throughout the book we get the transcripts of entire podcast episodes and it was such a phenomenal way to build out the story. I adored this entire book, start-to-finish; the podcast element being just one small portion of the fuller narrative.

In¬†A Good Girl’s Guide,¬†we follow high school Senior, Pippa Fitz-Amobi, as she investigates the disappearance of local girl, Andie Bell, for her Senior Capstone project. Andie’s boyfriend, Sal Singh, has been accused of murdering her in a jealous rage. Pippa knows Sal and is not buying this official story. She thinks the town is covering up something and she is hell bent on exposing the secrets.

Pippa is a fantastic character. I loved reading from her perspective. Even when things got really scary, she was dogged in her search. Never giving up and never allowing others to tell her she couldn’t do something. This was cleverly formatted as well to make it a highly addictive story!

Another favorite for 2020 thus far would be Julie Kagawa’s concluding book in the¬†Shadow of the Fox¬†trilogy,¬†Night of the Dragon.¬†Returning to the land of Iwagoto, we follow kitsune shapeshifter, Yumeko, and her friends as the continue to work to keep the infamous Dragon Scroll safe. They are quite literally on a quest to save the world, so no pressure.

As much as I did not want this series to end, I could not have dreamed up a more stunning conclusion. This story shattered my soul into a million pieces. It stole my breath, but also instilled a sense of love and hope. Kagawa is wildly imaginative and an exceptional storyteller. This entire series was flawless. All the stars.

And finally, a new favorite Horror novel for me would be Grady Hendrix’s 2020 release,¬†The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires.¬†This story swept me away from the very first pages. I love the tone of Hendrix’s writing. This one, set in the 90s, felt like the 90s. Following housewife, Patricia Campbell, in her suburban South Carolina town, we watch as she steps outside of her comfort zone to save all she loves, when an evil force arrives in town.

Hendrix can effortlessly blend humor with horror in his novels and I absolutely adore it. This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me cringe and gag; it was incredible. Highly recommend this to any Horror fan!

So, those are my top, top, top books of 2020 thus far. I have read so many great books this year. A lot of 5-star reads, but when I reflect back, these are the titles that have truly stayed with me.

I am slaying my 2020-reading goals as well, which feels great. I set my goal at 150-books for the year and as of this writing, have completed 111-books. It’s fairly obvious to me I will be exceeding my goal.

Okay, that’s enough from me for now! I have to go read! I am participating in the blog tour tomorrow for the release of Girl, Serpent, Thorn¬†by Melissa Bashardoust, so stay tuned for that!

Until next time, Cheers & Happy Reading!

Review: The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

The Black FlamingoThe Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I LOVED THIS SO MUCH!!!!

The Black Flamingo is a novel written in verse. My first read ever in verse. Going in, I was concerned. I wanted to read it because of the subject matter, but I just wasn’t sure if the format would work for me.

My experience with poetry, of any sort, is limited, and those I have had, were not great. My mind just generally doesn’t work that way. Maybe I’m too literal, but I tend to have a hard time deciphering the meaning and I become easily frustrated.

I decided to try the audiobook because it is read by the author, Dean Atta, who happens to be a well-known poet, and I figured, who better to hear the words from, in the way he wants them to be heard.

Upon conclusion, I know that was the correct decision for me. I definitely recommend the audiobook for other readers who may be apprehensive about a novel written in verse.

It literally feels like you are sitting down to coffee with a new friend and hearing about their life thus far.

This story follows Michael, a mixed race, gay boy growing up in the UK. The narrative follows him from the very beginning of his life, up through his time at University; although the bulk of it does take place during his teen years.

He goes in depth into his thoughts and feelings surrounding his family, his heritage of being part-Greek Cypriot and part-Jamaican, his heartache over his absentee father, his discovery of his sexuality and many other topical issues.

As a reader, it completely sucks you in. I could not stop listening. I just let the words wash over me and take me into Michael’s world.

With this novel, I felt the same as I did with Kacen Callender’s, Felix Ever After, in that I was completely and whole-heartedly entranced by the main character’s story and emotions.

I think with both it has to do with the writing. You are reading from the main character’s perspective the entire way through and you get access to their deepest, most open thoughts. Thoughts they may never choose to vocalize to other characters.

I think due to this special insight and openness with emotion, it is very easy to become attached to them, as you know how precious they are and how hurtful the world can be. It made me feel protective of both Michael and Felix; it also opened my eyes to perspectives they discussed that I will never experience myself.

That’s the best way I can think to describe how this book made me feel. My apologies if that makes no sense at all.

My best advice, read it for yourself. I think you’ll understand after you do.

I loved the evolution of Michael’s character as he literally grows up and discovers the best ways for him to express himself and live happily. His character is very open to the experience of University life and takes in all the activities that may not have been available to him when he was younger.

When he joins the Drag Society he begins to gain the confidence he needs to finally be the person he wants to be. These sections, particularly the final scene with his performance, were incredibly moving. Applause for days!

In short, this is an amazing novel, one I think any person can read and take their own lessons from. I will definitely be more comfortable picking up novels written in verse in the future.

Let this be a lesson to you, read outside of your comfort zones!! You never know what GEMS you will find!

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Review: Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

PetPet by Akwaeke Emezi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

Angels can look like many things. So can monsters.

Wow, this book is a lot to swallow. It is heavy; there is so much here to process.

Pet is a wildly creative story following, Jam, a black transgirl, living in a sort of metaphorical utopian city called, Lucille.

In this futuristic-feeling city, the angels have gotten rid of the all the monsters. There are no monsters left, or so they say.

Jam lives with her parents, Bitter and Aloe. They are so loving and supportive of Jam. She is content.

That is until when night when she is alone in her Mom’s art studio, Jam accidentally cuts her hand and drips blood on one of the paintings.

Okay, no big deal, right? Her Mom won’t get that mad.

But then the painting starts to come to life!

A being is literally crawling off of the page and coming to life. He’s big, he has horns, he has claws; Jam can’t believe her eyes!!

This mess is certainly going to require a bit more explaining then a few drops of blood on a page.

Jam begins communicating with this new being. His name is Pet and he is here to hunt a monster from the House of Redemption.

How can this be? There are no monsters left and Jam knows Redemption.

He’s her best friend. She knows his whole family; there are no monsters there!

Pet is insistent though. He is not wrong and Jam begrudgingly agrees to help him in his hunt. She doesn’t think he will find anything, but she’s goes along with him anyway more to appease him than anything.

Jam and Pet work together to try to weed out the monster hiding among them.

As mentioned above, this book is heavy. Initially, I was under the impression that this was Middle Grade for some reason, but that can’t be correct. I would definitely classify this as YA and maybe the marketing even does that, I’m not sure.

Dealing heavily in metaphor, this story lays out a horrifying reality for Redemption and his family. I was moved by where this went and the vigilante justice that followed.

If you are looking for an impactful, unique, moving story to pick up this summer, with a ton of great rep and beautiful, metaphoric writing, you should ABSOLUTELY pick up Pet!

I am looking forward to reading more from Emezi!

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Review: Duma Key by Stephen King

Duma KeyDuma Key by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Duma Key has climbed the ranks and officially entered my ‘Top 5 Kings’ List. This is quite an accomplishment, if I do say so myself.

Edgar Freemantle is a successful businessman.

Living with his wife of 20+ years in Minnesota, they have raised two healthy girls and have a good life. A solid life.

This is, until the day Edgar is involved in a horrific accident on one of his construction sites.

Crushed by a piece of heavy equipment, he is lucky to be alive, although losing his right arm, injuring his hip and scrambling his brain doesn’t seem so lucky to him immediately after the fact.

His recovery is extremely difficult, putting a lot of strain on his marriage, with him and Pam ultimately separating.

His psychologist, Dr. Kamen, suggests perhaps a change of scenery would be best for his recovery efforts, as well as a hobby. Edgar figures, why not? He has the money, what is he sticking around Minnesota for?

He rents a beach house on a remote, undeveloped piece of land on the Florida coast, Duma Key. The house, something of an artist’s retreat, is perfect for him, as he is feeling like doing some sketching himself.

Edgar begins to settle in and does indeed begin to create amazing art.

He’s unsure where some of it is coming from. He just seems to be compelled. The drawings and paintings pour out of him at an incredible rate, becoming more intricate and astounding as he progresses.

During this time, he makes a new friend while out for one of his daily beach walks. Jerome Wireman lives at the big house on Duma Key, caring for its aging lady of the house, Elizabeth Eastlake.

It is mainly through these characters that Edgar begins to learn of the dark history and lore of Duma Key and the Eastlake family.

However, Duma has a lot to say itself and that’s when things really start to get dangerous.

There is so much to love about this story. I knew absolutely zero about it going in. I don’t even think I ever read a full synopsis.

I was delighted as the story unfolded. The relationships, as is to be expected with King, were so deep and well done. The friendship between Edgar and Wireman is easily one of the best I have ever read.

In my opinion, King is great with this type of human dynamics. Further, I really appreciate how none of the relationships in this story were romantic.

It’s friendship, it’s family, and none of them are perfect, but they’re all so real and compelling.

Duma Key itself was incredibly well done. He has such a sense of place, always incorporating the idea that places remember; pieces of history live on through the lifeblood of the land and structures themselves.

You see this type of idea a lot throughout King’s works, from this one, to The Shining, Pet Sematary and everything in between.

Overall, I could wax poetic about this novel for hours. There is so much to unpack with this story. It’s extremely intricate, I would love to read it again someday and most likely will.

If you are a Constant Reader and haven’t picked this up yet, delay no more. It’s a stunner!

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