I think this book will stay with me for awhile, I’m afraid the willows have taken root. I know many people draw the obvious parallels with Lovecraft, but for me this one also had some vibes that brought up touchstones from The Mist (Stephen King) and a smidge of Pan’s Labyrinth. Definitely that dark otherworldliness but also the religious and/or mythical undertones throughout.
Sometimes the vastness and imagination that goes into multiverses can be overwhelming but I thought this was beautifully balanced by the characters, with their lightness and their dark humor and being so down-to-earth (which is funny, all things considered!). Carrot and Simon, and even Uncle Earl help even things out and brought levity to a quagmire of disturbing otherness.
The disquieting undertones all throughout was classic horror that I greatly appreciate. It’s like a feeling you get that something is behind you and that paralyzing moment where you’re deciding whether to look or not, to quickly escape or rationalize it away. In willow world or not, that feeling stays with you throughout the story and it’s fabulously unsettling. On the flip side the vivid picture painted with some of the more in your face creepy situations, like the bus or Sturdivant, was grotesquely clear and so easily visualized.
I think my favorite part of all though was the last part in the Museum. It brought a whole new heartwarming element to the tale that I wasn’t expecting. For lack of a better term, there really is no place like home, and the idea that your home might feel that way about you too is quite touching. All in all this was a fast paced enthralling read and I definitely look forward to reading more from this author in the future.
I received an arc of this book from Gallery Books via Netgalley and this is my honest review.