Content/Trigger Warnings: Incest, attempted rape, gore/body horror, child sacrifice, human sacrifice, murder, death, racism, fetishisation, eugenics, mentions of loss of parent (in the past), mentions of stroke (in the past), talk of colonization, mentions of epidemics (in the past), mentions of homocide (in the past), sexism, physical assault, scene of seizures, mentions of miscarriages (in the past), mentions of divorce (in the past), child abuse (in the past, beatings with a cane), attempted murder, cannibalism, trauma, sexual assault, gaslighting
Yes, it’s true, this is the first book I’m not giving a rating to. I know, it’s a big shocker because I usually rate every book, no matter how good or bad they are. Yet, this is the first book that’s caused a stir within me that I should state that I’m not the target audience for this book. I’m typically not a horror or thriller reader and so I feel that if I give this book a rating, it’s unfair to the author and the book itself. In truth, this isn’t a bad book, it’s definitely a book that’s not for everyone, but this book does an excellent job in the genre it was published for.
This story is about Noemí Taboada, a twenty-something young woman from a wealthy family from Mexico City, who upon receiving a frantic and disturbing letter from her cousin, departs for High Place, where she’s to investigate what’s really happening and determine if her cousin needs to be brought home. Upon arrival, Noemí will find countless rules thrust upon her by her cousin’s husband’s family. But the longer Noemí stays at High Place, the stranger things become and soon, Noemí might find it impossible to leave.
“The future, she thought, could not be predicted, and the shape of things could not be divined. To think otherwise was absurd. But they were young that morning, and they could cling to hope. Hope that the world could be remade, kinder and sweeter.”
The writing of this book is unique and the story-line is a slow burn kind of horror. It’s been a month since I read this book and I still can’t forget the contents of this book. This isn’t just a slow build, this book doesn’t hold back from building up an atmosphere and as you read, things become more disturbing. However, it gets very graphic, very gory, and if you’re not someone who typically reads horror (like myself) then this book may be a shock to the system.
However, if you’re someone who’s looking for a ownvoices read, that’s set in the 1950’s, reads similarly to dark academy books, and is sure to send chills down your spine, then I can’t recommend picking this book up during fall and spooky season. With the beautifully unique and atmospheric writing of the author, I have no doubt that this book will be making it on to many top books for 2020.
Content/Trigger Warnings: Death, death of animal, murder, torture, human sacrifice, loss of a loved one, grief, trauma/PTSD, abandonment, allusions to child abuse and child neglect, forced gender roles, transphobia, mentions of alcoholism, verbal abuse, manipulation, body horror
I had a lot of feelings about this book, shed some tears, and held my breath for so much. Truly, I think I love this book with every fiber of my heart and can still feel the life this book breathed into me. This is probably one of the best fall/spooky seasons reads I have ever encountered. From the world itself to our three main characters, I don’t know how I went so long without reading this book.
Set in Three Graces, a town that never encounters plagues or misfortune, a deal with the devil is what keeps this town bound from every having to face those hardships. But everything comes with a price especially when it concerns the devil. Every seven years, with the dawn of the blood moon, a saint is sent into the woods without any hope of survival. The woods itself? No one knows what dark, twisted things lurk within it’s depths nor do they know the things that take place within. For those who do manage to survive, haunted by the events that took place, leave Three Graces when given the chance. Our story follows an unlikely trio, united by an unwavering love for one another, who will all play a role when the blood moon comes too soon and the devil demands a heart.
“The sun rises and she approaches the edge. A forest devil, a witch, a young woman, with eyes like a starry night and teeth like cats, and thorny, flowering brambles tangled in her hair, littering white petals behind her. They’re waiting for her. Two of the hearts: one burning, one perfectly in tune. She smiles, lips parted over sharp but not too-sharp teeth. Instead of slowing, she leaps forward. She dives at them, throwing arms around both together. One hisses as some sharp piece of her body slices at his skin, and the other grunts because he catches most of her weight. Neither of them lets go.”
This book was everything I wanted for my fall reading. An atmospheric read that has you on the edge of your seat, wondering what will happen next. The setting is rich with details that chills your skin, the writing is absolutely beautiful, and main characters who aren’t perfect, but shine so brightly you can’t help falling in love with them. And side characters you can’t help secretly loving (I’m looking at you Haf and Devil). There’s also some amazing underlying themes of this book that touched my heart in ways I wasn’t expecting. Ultimately, just everything I wanted and more. However, I think some readers will want a little more and will hope Gratton takes things an extra mile that would shock or stun the reader. Personally, this wasn’t an issue for me, but I think it might be something other readers might not like.
Buddy Read with Robin 💜