*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
“If you stare long enough, you start to realize the shadows stare back.”
This was my first novel by R. Queen and I am unbelievably proud to say that he has become one of my favorite authors ever. I had such high expectations for this book due to this GORGEOUS cover and the synopsis that I was beyond terrified I would ruin my experience because of it. But as soon as I cracked it open, Queen crumpled my expectations and gave me so much more than I hoped for. The beginning set the perfect mood for the entire story and it had me falling in love from the very first word. Every page in this novel appealed to so many parts of my soul that I kept getting teary eyed. THIS is exactly what I look for in a horror book. It made me cringe, it made me smile, it made me hope while at the same time dread the worst, and most often than not, it made me cry. Queen has such a flawless way with words that I was awestruck by him from cover to cover.
This book is beyond phenomenal, both inside and out. It has a beautiful cover, a satisfying plot, the perfect amount of gore, realistic characters, memorable monsters, a few journal entries from our main character, and fantastic illustrations at the beginning of every chapter.
This story is based on the comic books and I have never read anything like it before. It mainly follows Ariel Chylde, an 18 year old outcast who is grieving and who can’t catch a decent amount of sleep. Her nightmares keep her awake until they start manifesting into her real life, in the most fascinating way ever. She literally turns into the creatures from her nightmares and it made me so giddy to witness it all. Ariel is now one of my favorite female characters of all time. She has such a beautiful heart who has experienced some of the worst things imaginable but she somehow managed to keep a hold of the light within her. I actually related to her in a level that surprised me since I rarely come across it. Some of the things she said and did felt like they were ripped straight out of my life and it was the most amazing experience. We get a few other point of views here and there which made the story so much better, in my opinion, since I loved witnessing certain events through different eyes.
I can’t recommend this book enough and I will rave about it until the end of time. This book needs it’s own spotlight on my shelf and I won’t rest until I make it happen. Every word in this novel oozed extreme sadness and torment which made it even more memorable than it already was. It had enough physical and emotional brutality (and gore) to make my heart sing… I need more!! That ending ripped my heart to shreds and I couldn’t stop crying for a great while after finishing this. There were sooooo many stunning quotes that made up this novel so it was difficult to choose just one to feature on here. So I will feature another one that deeply resonated with me and won’t stop haunting me:
“That weird, apprehensive feeling where you realize someone could be a friend or just one more person to pour fuel on a fire when there’s not much left to burn.”