What does carrion taste like? Andi has to know. The vultures circling outside her home taunt and invite her to come understand the secrets hiding in their banquet of decay. Fascination morphs into an obsessive need to know what the vultures know. Andi turns to Dr. Fawning, but even the therapist cannot help her comprehend the secrets she’s buried beneath anger-induced blackouts.
Her girlfriend, Luna, tries to help Andi battle her inner darkness and infatuation with the vultures. However, the desire to taste dead flesh, to stitch together wings of her own and become one with the flock sends Andi down a twisted, unforgivable path. Once she understands the secrets the vultures conceal, she must decide between abandoning the birds of prey or risk turning her loved ones into nothing more than meals to be devoured.
Title: To Be Devoured | Author: Sara Tantlinger | Publisher: Unnerving Press | Pub. Date: 29 July 2019 | Pages: 62 | ASIN: B07R6ZXD9X | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: Sam: 5 out of 5; Gracie: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration
**Note: This is a double-dip review, with reviews from Sam & Gracie.**
To Be Devoured Review
This nearly never happens to me: this book has left me just a little bit speechless.
I am in complete and total awe of Tantlinger’s writing. From the very first sentences of this short novella, I was utterly entranced. Every sentence is heart-rendingly beautiful, every word perfectly chosen. I haven’t read any of her previous poetry collections, but there’s certainly a poetry to the language she chooses in this book. Each word is devastating, visceral and horrifying, and all the more gorgeous for the horror that it carries.
I read most of this novella through tears, partly due to just how ridiculously beautiful the writing is, but also largely due to how painfully human Andi is. Her desire to belong to something, anything, and at any cost, is terrifying and yet still relatable, even if the actions she takes to get there are not. Even with the short length, I had to put this book down a couple of times and just take a breather because the story had my stomach in absolute knots. I don’t want to say much about the plot, because I really do feel it needs to be experienced with as little foreknowledge as possible, but suffice to say that Tantlinger packs an incredible amount of horror into these 62 pages.
This is a total gut-punch of a book. Between the horrific imagery that Tantlinger conjures and the insane emotions I felt while reading, I was a complete wreck by the time I finished this book. An absolutely stunning novella, I think this one may have just taken over as my top read of 2019!
To Be Devoured Review
I’m…kind of speechless. And that rarely happens with a book. I read Sarah Tantlinger’s Devil’s Dreamland and really loved it. That’s unusual because I’m generally not overly fond of poetry but The Devil’s Dreamland really had me enthralled.
I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed To Be Devoured as much as I did The Devil’s Dreamland but Sarah Tantlinger’s remarkable command of language and how it flows is on full display here. I have to admit that near the end it did get bogged down in the descriptions and prose a bit. It got a bit much.
But while the steam was running, it was running hot. I probably read this on really the wrong day. When your head’s already in a, well, not the best state of mind…reading a book that describes darkness so well, maybe it’s not the best read at the time. The emotions are raw, visceral and very real. She also does a very good job of describing Luna’s emotions and feelings (which, honestly, are probably a bit more relatable than Andi’s). Even though she’s a secondary character she doesn’t feel like one.
The descriptions are pretty top notch and some of the scenes made me regret eating while I was reading it. A lot. I’ll leave future readers to guess which ones.
I’m not sure if I can give it a whole-hearted five stars but it definitely gets a solid four from me. The descriptions near the end got a little repetitive when it was gearing up for the big finale and I just wanted to get to the denouement. I also caught one tiny little continuity error
But it is a beautifully written novella. Just don’t expect it to be an easy one.
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