Monday, June 10, 2019

The Grand Dark

The Grand Dark is a new standalone novel from Richard Kadrey. Due out 11th June 2019 from Harper Voyager, it's 432 pages and will be available in hardback, ebook, and audio formats.

I requested this eARC because of my familiarity with the author from his other work (especially the Sandman Slim series). This book quite impressively different. It's always interesting to see authors whose work one admires releasing different styles of work. It's a credit to Kadrey that this book is -so- different from his established characters and series. The entire style is different, it's a serious, philosophical, brooding book, with lightning flashes of real horror. The pacing is much slower and the dramatic tension simply builds and builds instead of building and releasing. In a lot of ways, technically, this is a much different exercise (and more challenging). There's no easy banter, very little snark. Other reviewers have said it has a Kafkaesque feel, and I would say that's apposite. I saw flashes of Lang's Metropolis in there as well, certainly intentional.

In a lot of ways, this was an uncomfortable read for me. The pacing was very slow, almost ponderous, and the story arc felt as though it were grinding inevitably along (dragging me with it to a destination I wasn't at all sure I wanted to visit). There was no sarcastic banter. There was a lot of brooding atmosphere and sporadic violence. The world building and atmosphere were masterfully done; I really liked the inclusion of background information and setting through news items, diary entries, and notes/letters.

Four stars. Beautifully written, divisive, uncomfortable, difficult, important.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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