Read for the New Release square.
Holy shit. This is how horror is done. Review later after I put myself back together.
Here it is:
“I was a mean, morbid girl, and I resented everyone and their perfect, living family members. “
TO BE DEVOURED does everything a five star horror novel should do, if you ask me. It unnerves, it sickens, it terrifies and it lingers well after you turn the final page. With that said it is not a story for everyone because it is fucking brutal and disturbing on a level most books never reach.
Andi has anger issues and morbid compulsions but she’s in a relatively stable relationship with girlfriend Luna until Luna unkindly rejects Andi’s gift that she so painstakingly created over several months. Soon enough Andi begins obsessing far too much on the vultures she sees lurking near her home. They invade her dreams and start to invade her waking moments. What does carrion taste like? Will it fill her up? Fill up the emptiness always dwelling inside of her, as it does the vultures?
To say any more is to say too much.
I hadn’t read author Sara Tantlinger before this work crossed my path but my fellow #LadiesOfHorrorFiction adore her poetry and once I began this book it was clear this work was written by a poet. The words are beautifully composed and often grossly descriptive, terribly bleak, and the mood is set to pitch black where it stays in nearly every scene.
It is a dark and grotesque descent into madness but the character of Andi is so well drawn I found myself agreeing with many of her thoughts, at least earlier on, haha. Those anger filled feelings fueled by grief were vivid and potent and excellently put down on the page. Her thoughts on death and its aftermath and all of the crazy customs that go along with it feel so very accurate. But I am strange, I suppose. I tell my husband and children to bury me in the backyard and give me back to the earth if I happen to keel over young because the thought of being pumped full of chemicals so people can “say goodbye” to my rotting corpse haunts me. See me when I’m alive or don’t bother and let me feed the earth or the squirrels when I’m dead. That is far more natural to me. They laugh but I’m truly only half joking.
“Our bodies have ruined the earth, it seems only right such bodies give back to nature, to the animals.”
Anyhow, what I guess I’m trying to say, is that this book takes those feelings of pain and loss and rejection that some of us experience way too young, when we aren’t properly equipped to handle any of it, and ponders what might happen if one allowed those feelings to twist and simmer and transform into an internal and unnatural dialogue that takes the horror out of horrifying thoughts and actions. This book does that and it’s not one I’ll forget easily.
As I said, this book isn’t for everyone. There’s a scene that I wanted so badly to look away from but couldn’t because I had to keep reading. Don’t take that as a gentle warning. It’s something you won’t be able to unread. If you’re up for it, you’ll be repulsed and rattled by its dark beauty and it will haunt you on an intimate level. That I can pretty much guarantee.