Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Dark Things I Adore by Katie Lattari


There's an old flash game called Viridian Room where you're locked in a green room where it's obvious that something terrible has happened, and the key to escaping the room is unspooling the mystery that lurks in the dark and haunted corners of the chamber. Reading DARK THINGS I ADORE was a little like playing that game-- going down the rabbit hole just to see how deeply you fall into darkness, despite being scared about what you might find.

DARK THINGS I ADORE is multi-POV, dual timeline. In the 2018 timeline, Audra and Max are taking a trip to the woods. It seems like a trip of art and seduction: on the guise of defending her thesis, she will begin an affair with her teacher. In the 1988 timeline, Juniper, a member of an artists' commune, Lupine Valley, talks about the dramatics between the other members. At first, it's petty squabbling, but pretty soon deeper tensions begin to emerge. In the interludes are pieces of Audra's art and their descriptions. Both timelines, and the interludes, will end up converging, and when they do, it might shock you. Or it might not. But at least you'll probably enjoy the ride.

The writing in this book was beautiful and I felt like it really conveyed the visual nature of art through black and white text, which is not easy to do. It's also the perfect fall read, with creepy autumnal aesthetics that wouldn't be out of place in an indie horror movie. I would say that 90% of the appeal of this book is the atmosphere, at least for me, since I was able to predict most of the twists well before I should have. Some things still shocked me, or fit together in unexpected ways, so that was really fun. And DARK THINGS I ADORE was also really tightly plotted, making this a real page-turner.

Less is more going in so I don't want to say too much more about the book, but I liked the writing and the ending and even though none of the characters were particularly likable-- like, at ALL-- I could at least understand their motivations and that made them somewhat relatable. The remote dark academia elements and bohemian trappings set this apart from other mysteries of this type, and I do think it's a great book for fall. That said, it's also not perfect and it lacked the emotional connections and OOMPH that would have bumped this up to a five, but I would definitely read more from this author.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

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