I still feel it’s an appropriate response to reading this book. If this wasn’t your response, at least subconsciously, I worry for your mental health. I really do.
This book was super weird, and super gross. And funny. But also violent and horrible. It is many things at once, and they all combine to do things to your brain. Is it fantasy? Is it horror? Is it the fever dream of a Franciscan monk from the year 1525 who got all high and then fell asleep while doodling in his illuminated manuscripts? Yes, it is all of those things!
I don’t want to explain about any of the plot, other than to say it involves a little orphaned girl, a very mysterious library, and lots of gross murder stuff. Also LIONS AS CHARACTERS WITH ACTUAL CHARACTER ARCS THEY WERE MY FAVORITE. And did I mention the black humor? Scott Hawkins must be a twisted sort of motherfucker. But I liked it?
There you go, “It was gross, and I liked it.” Sums up the book.
Honestly, I still kind of can’t believe this is his first book. It was super sure of itself in its weirdness, and it went places I’ve never seen another book go.
So, without spoiling anything, read this if you like dark fantasy edging towards horror, dark humor, don’t mind violence (violence that is always serving the plot, and is never gratuitous), and would like some nice new fuel for your nightmares.