Wild Spaces tackles the monsters we inherit from our families and what it means to face the horrors of our lineage head on. This novella is succinct and achingly beautiful, and I recommend it to anyone seeking a horror-infused novella that will suck you in and wrap its tentacles around your heart.
*Thank you to Tordotcom and NetGalley for the ARC.*
The Salt Grows Heavy is rich with descriptions, gore, and ingenuity. As a story about a murderous mermaid attempting to tear down the cult of three grotesque surgeons, this novella delivers on body manipulation, viscera, and terror. While the prose is luscious, it is also overwrought with high-brow vocabulary that often took me out of the story. While I like the usage of uncommon words, there comes a point where it's a detriment to the story. I also found that, when it came to world-building, there was next to none.
While I believe this would do better in a longer format, I enjoyed the gruesome visuals and romantic undertones. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick and bloody read.
*Thank you to Tor Nightfire and NetGalley for the ARC.*
The Ballad of Black Tom is a reimagining of Lovecraft's "The Horror at Red Hook". It tackles racism and the power balance between whites and non-whites in early-1920s New York. Victor LaValle does a wonderful job setting the scene and developing Black Tom, a.k.a Charles Thomas Tester, prior to shit hitting the fan. I also appreciated the change in POV halfway through; it added another layer to the haunting tale.
Although I haven't read Lovecraft's story, I felt that LaValle succeeded where Lovecraft tends to fail for me: crafting a story that makes sense while simultaneously grappling with the unexplainable.
I recommend picking this up if you enjoy horror or like the idea of Lovecraftian lore but don't love the horror father's execution.
*Thank you to Tor for a complimentary hardcover.*