Friday, February 9, 2024

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed

Four years ago, I wrote in a review of Premee Mohamed’s first book: “After reading this book, I will definitely pick up the next book by Premee Mohamed.  This author has a great deal of potential and I look forward to seeing what else she writes.” I am so glad I stuck with this author because The Butcher of the Forest is beautiful, lyrical, hear-wrenching, and wonderful. 

This is not the first book by Ms. Mohamed that I enjoyed - I liked The Annual Migration of Clouds a great deal and I am looking forward to the sequel coming out soon. But this book spoke to my heart. 

This novella has a dark fairy tale vibe - a woman is called upon by an evil tyrant to venture into a haunted fey forest to retrieve his lost children. But that plot description doesn’t do this book justice. In a few paragraphs the author can capture a mood and paint a picture that entrances and ensnares the reader. The language in this book a gorgeous and brutal. The sense of dread is palpable. I am unable to put into words how enjoyable the act of reading this book was. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, February 4, 2024

What Feasts At Night by T. Kingfisher

In the past 3-4 years, I have become a HUGE fan of T. Kingfisher aka Ursula Vernon. 

Ms. Vernon is the author of the Hamster Princess books, which both of my daughters have enjoyed (as have I!). Those books were my introduction to her, along with her social media presence, which I found through Seanan McGuire. 

Ordinarily, I don’t like horror. I never wanted to watch scary movies as a kid. I got nightmares from E.T.  But based on recommendations I read the Twisted Ones and The Holllow Places and I realized that I loved Ms. Vernon’s writing and I could make it through the scary parts unscathed with her as my guide. 

I started devouring her back catalog and putting all new releases on hold at the library.  I have subscribed to her Patreon and I convinced my wife to read Nettle and Bone, which she loved (as did I). 

I really enjoyed What Moves the Dead when it came out - I adored Angus and Ms. Potter and I thought Alex Easton was one of the most interesting, enjoyable protagonists in a Kingfisher book I had ever seen. (Toadling is still my favorite, I think). I didn’t remember the original Poe story that influenced it, but my only complaint about that book was that it was too short. 

So I was thrilled when I found out that a sequel was coming and even more thrilled when I got an audiobook eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

This new book, I believe, is not based on a Poe story but is an original creation. And it is wonderful! I was so happy to see Ms. Potter and Angus again, the Widow was my new favorite character, and the story was creepy in all the best ways. The descriptions of Alex’s PTSD feel very real. Once again, my only complaint is that it was too short! 

I really liked the narrator as well. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher!