In the Hickmans’ second Nightbirds novel (after Unwept), amnesiac protagonist Ellis Harkington is beginning to understand why she’s trapped in a peculiar place that resembles an early 20th century warped by a fun house mirror. To get answers, she must face painful truths and avoid the people who want to keep her prisoner. With the basic worldbuilding already complete, no time is wasted in showing the horror of Ellis’s situation as her former lover Merrick torments her by shaping the setting around her. Details of Ellis’s lives in different dimensions come into focus via perfectly executed gothic sequences depicting war-torn lovers in WWI, a progressive woman trapped by Victorian mores, and class resentments. There’s a great feeling of claustrophobia as Ellis travels a mazelike path through this strange, morphing space. Some biblical allusions distract, but otherwise, this woman’s struggle for her right to self-determination is developing into a compelling horror-fantasy. Agent: Matt Bialer, Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/22/2016 Release date: 10/11/2016 Genre: Fiction
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