A PALE SHADOW, coming out, I decided to celebrate her release of my new favorite book of hers (seriously, I got to beta-read for it, and even in its early stages, I already want to cry over how good it is) by reading the one book of hers that I never read. I think I received an ARC of it when it first came out and I vaguely remember reading it but for some reason I didn't post a review, so here we are, on this dark and exquisite journey.
The world that Heather has created in this novella is dark and bleak. It's a grim future of a dying world where resources are scarce and humans have become commodities in all ways (sexually exploited, harvested for parts). It's also diverse-- unlike many dystopian novels which feature white characters who only speak English, Marlo and several of the other characters speak Spanish (and I believe Marlo is a woman of color, as are several of the other characters in the book). PSYCHOPOMP only really scrapes at the surface of the horrors this world has to offer, but you know they're there.
I saw another reviewer say that reading this book is kind of like a bad dream, and I wholeheartedly agree with that. Several people compared this book to Tanith Lee, and I can see that comparison. I also think that it's a bit like Kathe Koja's work as well, with a dash of Poppy Z. Brite: gritty, surreal, and poetic. Anyone who loves those 90s speculative grunge fantasy works is going to enjoy this. It's a bit hard to follow and since it is so dark, you have to be in the right mood for it, but ultimately I'm glad I read it because it really showcases the author's evolving style.
If you liked any of the aforementioned authors, check this book out immediately, and make sure you put A PALE SHADOW on your wishlist. Also, in case you couldn't tell, I'm friends with the author, but that didn't affect my rating.
3.5 out of 5 stars