For any of you who love 80’s nostalgia, this novel is a true monster mash of The Exorcist, Heathers, and The Breakfast Club. It explores the love, horror and intensity of teenage female friendships, and how difficult it can sometimes be to tell between a demon-possessed high school student, and one who’s simply hit puberty.
‘Ninth House’ is a soft magic system masquerading as a hard magic system. Mix into that a protagonist who's inconsistent, a lack of world-building structure and some ridiculous moments, and you've got yourself a frustrating read.
This might actually be my favorite short story collection of all time. Daphne Du Maurier is a fucking revelation and I'm appalled at myself for not reading this uncanny, intelligent and altogether bizarre collection earlier.
The theme for ‘The Institute’ seems to be that great events turn on small axes. For decades, children showing TP (telepathic) or TK (telekinetic) abilities have been stolen from their homes and transported to the Institute Facility, and subjected to tests and experiments to increase their powers. To escape, they must learn to work together to overturn the evil that captured them.
As is typical in proper Gothic fiction, the environment in which the story is set is as important as the story itself. The plot itself is rather simple - our young protagonist, Catalina, goes to stay with her cousin who has sent a number of worrying letters, claiming her husband, Virgil Doyle, is trying to kill her. Catalina travels to ‘High House’, their mansion in the mountains, and finds the Doyle family to be uptight, weird and at times, disturbing.
Roger and Dodger are twins. Roger has a way with words, and Dodger a way with numbers. But they have no idea of their real connection - all they know is that one day, from across the world, they start to communicate telepathically. McGuire has created a solid and intriguing fantasy world, a dark but hopeful twist of science and gods and quantum entanglement and powers related to math and words.
Much like Silas’ delicate butterflies, suspended in presentation, each character tries to hold onto this attachment to beauty, but all find that it starts to decay as the story becomes more intertwined and the stakes increase. Silas takes the most drastic action to try to suspend and enjoy that beauty - and that’s what really ramps up the pace of the novel at the end.
‘Zone One’ is a zombie novel with braaaaAAAaaaaaains. By that I mean it takes the well-celebrated, detail-oriented style of Whitehead and attaches it to typically what is quite an action-packed genre. While it makes for a pretty interesting literary performance dressed in the zombie genre, the focus on the slow reality of a world (new advertisements and cleanup crews) after an outbreak meant there was little fast-paced action - leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I'll stop.
As far as coming-of-age stories go, ‘Your fault’ is a great literary contributor to the genre. But as far as my enjoyment of the plot or the characters goes - I felt like it could have done with some extra ‘story’.
The Memory Police is one of those rare masterpieces - tackling a massive concept and philosophising on multiple important issues while not sacrificing the humanity of its characters. And on top of that, written in such a Kafka-like dream state that it leaves you, as the reader, feel totally untethered to the ground. It really unnerved me.