Wake the Bones by Elizabeth Kilcoyne is a horror out of discomfort and demons. Laurel Early has returned home, only to find a demon ready to take her soul.
The sleepy little farm that Laurel Early grew up on has awakened. The woods are shifting, the soil is dead under her hands, and her bone pile just stood up and walked away.
After dropping out of college, all she wanted was to resume her life as a tobacco hand and taxidermist and try not to think about the boy she can’t help but love. Instead, a devil from her past has returned to court her, as he did her late mother years earlier. Now, Laurel must unravel her mother’s terrifying legacy and tap into her own innate magic before her future and the fate of everyone she loves is doomed.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy and may or may not reflect the published edition.
“Whether it was fated or the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy, Anna only grew stranger the stranger they said she was.”
This story is written in a way that makes you feel the sticky, hot humidity of the farmland. The prose is beautiful. It makes each thing feel tangible and each feeling worth empathizing with. However, the beautiful prose seems to take some away from the story. Without a focus on the happenings in the story and so much focus on the physical sensations and feelings, it’s hard to know what to fear. What’s real, and what’s not? I generally don’t mind this in horror, but in this book, it fell flat.
“It would be smarter for Isaac to stick his hand into a steel trap than to lace his fingers with Garrett’s.”
The characters were interesting. I almost wish there had been a contemporary version where I could learn more about them. But none of the characters were given full opportunity to develop until the final chapter. Except, of course, Laurel. Laurel’s ending was frustrating, and I found myself frustrated with what she settled for. Sure, it could be considered love, but I wouldn’t go there.
“She didn’t know how to be loved, petted into submission like one of his dogs. She only knew how to hold someone at arm’s length.”
The story itself is in a category of horror that I consider myself a big fan of- weird horror. Yet, I found myself bored with the entire thing. As though the interpersonal issues of all the characters woven in with the horror made it feel like two separate books. If there was more horror, I would have loved it. If there were more character issues, I would have classed it as a contemporary but would have enjoyed the plot more. But because we allowed neither one of these things to take center stage, it kept the book from being as interesting as I think it could have been.
“He’d only wanted to suck the taste of terror from her magic-stained fingers.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.