Read as part of CBR13bingo: myth
I made it a point to know as little about this book going in. I knew that it was a fantasy set in a mythical New York City that involved a family. That was it.
And I think that’s the best way to read this book. There is something horrifying that happens in the first third (or does it?) that made it difficult to read but Victor LaValle’s writing style is easy enough to fall in and out of. His characterization is good, even if his pacing needs a little work.
A few scattered thoughts because I really don’t want want to spoil this…
-There were several clear and oblique references to Donald Trump and his movement. While I appreciated this in general, I’m not sure they worked fully in context. They’re kind of disjointed compared to the rest of the story.
-The story itself focuses on a Black family but the mythologies they encounter are mostly Nordic. Again, I’m sure LaValle is making a larger point here. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.
-I really wish he had explored more of the mythological underworld of New York City. Some of those scenes were really fun.
-I’m probably sounding more critical than I need to be. This was a breezy read that’s easy to like, especially if you, like me, aren’t a real fantasy or fairy tale fan. I’m not sure all of the pieces come together as well as they should but it’s incredibly readable.