Review copy provided by the publisher.
Aaaaaaaaaah yikes yikes yikes this book.
Okay, so it said on the label that it is horror, and I know I am not a big horror reader. But I have been enjoying T. Kingfisher’s other books so much, and sometimes when people say horror they really mean dark fantasy, and so I thought, okay, yes, I will read this one!
Friends, it is not dark fantasy. It is horrory horrory horror. It is “I made sure I finished this book with enough time to go read a nice short story about nice things before I had to go to bed” horror. It has Kingfisher’s (Ursula Vernon’s) engaging, entirely readable voice, and it uses that voice to take the reader to some terrifying and unpleasant places.
The taxidermy is mostly not the creepy part, is a good gauge for this book. It is full of taxidermied animals, and they are mostly okay. But there are dimensional problems in this book, not just issues but problems, and there are willows, or willow-like entities, and it all adds up to quite a bit of aaaaaah.
Kara–known to her immediate circle as Carrot–is living with her uncle Earl in the aftermath of her divorce. He’s trying to take care of her. She’s trying to take care of him–and when things go pear-shaped, Uncle Earl makes for extremely effective stakes in the story. Must protect Uncle Earl from interdimensional peril is something I was very sold on, yes, we are here for Uncle Earl, Carrot, do the thing. Her relationship with her friend Simon is also extremely well-drawn, and it was exactly these elements that kept me reading a horror novel that does extremely horrory things that aaaaaaaah.