**3.5-stars rounded up**
Rob does not have a good relationship with her husband. In fact, their relationship is so toxic that I had to take a break from this book only 10% in just to get away from it.
The couple have two young daughters. Callie, the oldest, favors her father, while Annie, the youngest, is definitely her mother’s favorite.
Rob struggles to understand Callie and her increasingly disturbing behaviors. Unfortunately, the older Callie gets, the more frightening her behaviors become. It even seems that Callie may pose a serious threat to Annie, something Rob cannot stand for.
Rob’s husband, Irving, doesn’t see the way Callie is. He doesn’t understand Rob’s concerns, not that she could have expected him to be on her side regardless.
Knowing she has to do something before tragedy strikes, Rob steals Callie away and heads back to Sundial, the mysterious property where Rob grew up, deep in the Mojave desert. What her parenting plans are for after that point seem ominous, at best.
After the pair arrives at Sundial, the focus shifts to exposing the history behind the property, about Rob’s childhood and the truth of who she really is. Through this, the Reader also learns how Rob’s own history could be influencing her current circumstances, as well as her daughter’s lives.
I was very intrigued by the past perspective. It was an interesting set-up and like nothing I have read before. I enjoyed the SF-feel of some the activities occurring during Rob’s childhood.
I do think it is important to note that Rob’s parents kept dogs on the property and I don’t mean as pets. I was hesitant once I discovered that because I am quite sensitive to any harm coming to animals in books.
I can get past it, as long as it is not too drawn out, or as long as it has a point within the larger narrative more than just shock value. In this story, there’s a point. There were a few places I had to skim read, but for the most part, it didn’t have too much of an impact on my overall enjoyment level.
There were times that I even wished the entire book was just the past perspective, but on arriving at the end, it became clear why there’s two perspectives. I was impressed with how Ward tied it all together, as well as the themes explored by doing so.
The ending was wild and crazy, but I liked it. For the most part, while I wouldn’t say I enjoyed this story, as there is literally no joy to be found within these pages, it’s definitely intriguing. Ward succeeded in keeping me uncomfortably interested the whole way through.
It’s the kind of story where you are desperate to know what the heck is going on. I won’t claim to understand the points Ward is trying to make here 100%, but I think I have enough of it to be impressed.
Unique from start-to-finish, this is definitely worth a pick-up for Readers with the stomach and mental fortitude to tackle such a story.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Nightfire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I think it is fair to say that I will pick-up whatever Ward throws at us next!