MixedBooklistBailey...weaves literary allusions and folkloric motifs together with gorgeous prose to create this grief-imbued story, which suffers slightly from disproportionate pacing and a disservice to Erin’s character, who has little agency. This will appeal to fans of psychological horror, fairy-tale retellings, and metanarratives.
C Robert Cargill
PositiveBooklistIn the best stories, Cargill puts atypical narrators in moral dilemmas, from a veteran punishing sinners in the afterlife for a chance at redemption to a suicide bomber recruited to mark one-million people for death. The final novella, set in the world of Dreams and Shadows (2013), will please that novel’s fans with more about the origin of its character, Colby. Cargill’s rich language, excellent ear for dialogue, and gritty yet fantastical settings are on display here.
RaveBooklistVanderMeer marries bildungsroman, domestic drama, love story, and survival thriller into one compelling, intelligent story centered not around the gee-whiz novelty of a flying bear but around complex, vulnerable characters struggling with what it means to be a person. VanderMeer’s talent for immersive world-building and stunning imagery is on display in this weird, challenging, but always heartfelt novel.