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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Blog Tour Review - Sorrow's Forest by Kaitlin Corvus

Blog Tour Review - Sorrow's Forest by Kaitlin Corvus

Banner design by Noly

Sorrow’s Forest teems with beasts, some ugly, some beautiful, all unnatural. A ban restricts travel beneath her branches, existing for as long as Lakeview Township has, and most who disobey do not return.

To win a bet, twelve-year-old Mackie King enters the forest, and in its depths, he discovers a boy-like devil. Then he steals him from the trees.

In as little as an hour, the devil names himself Blue and fits seamlessly into the Kings’ life. No one seems to remember he wasn’t always there. Only Mackie knows the truth.

Now, Mackie and Blue are grown, Queen Sorrow has awakened, and she wants her devil back. She’s willing to tear the town apart to reclaim him. Mackie has always been resourceful, but it will take every bit of ingenuity he and Blue possess to thwart Queen Sorrow and her minions, save the town, and free themselves from the shadow of the bittering forest.

I read Sorrow's Forest as part of the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards, the BBNYA. This meant that I read the first few pages of it in the first round, scored it, got it to read again in the second round, a chapter or so this time, and finally got to read the whole book in the final round. It was the first time I'd approached a book that way, and I think this is the only one I read in all three stages.

From those first few pages, this book really intrigued me. It created such a richness of atmosphere, a sense of eerie foreboding almost immediately and left me eager to read more. This township felt strange, the forest was creepy and there was this peculiar boy who'd been plucked from its shadowy depths.

The slightly longer extract had moved forward in time quite a way, and both boys were now fully grown young men at college, but there was still a lot of mystery and intrigue there, strange things were happening and I still wanted to know more.

Then I finally got to read the full book when it made it through to the finals. It was exciting learning more about Lakeview Township and the forest that surrounds it. The story has a wonderful way of revealing some of the mystery without explaining too much away. This kind of folk horror fantasy needs that edge, those pieces left unexplained, to work, and it hits that sweet spot. 

There's so much to explore in this story. Who Blue really is, where he came from, and why. How Lakeview Township has developed this tradition of not going into the forest and seemingly not seeing anything that comes out of it. What is changing and how can it be stopped before things get too much worse. There's definitely an escalation in the attacks and strange goings on, and this is in a town that apparently has a tradition of people going missing and turning up just as bones. This is a very macabre, spooky story with a palpable sense of tension and unease from the beginning that only increases as the story goes on. It weaves in lots of classic folk horror tropes, particularly around the idea of sacrifice and the ancient bounds between the forest and the people living near by it, but it also adds a fresh perspective to it, its own unique take.

It's hard to get a sense of just who Mackie is at times. Although he's our main point of view character, it felt like even by the end of the story I didn't really know him. In some ways that was frustrating, but in others it felt like it fitted the tone of the story, the mystery and unknowability of it all. Blue was deliberately quite hard to read, but at the same time was a wonderful character, so full of life and love and excitement and I loved the fluidity of his character.

Mysterious, exciting and at times quite gory, Sorrow's Forest was a macabre treat to read.


Sorrow's Forest by Kaitlin Corvus is out now.

I was given a review copy to read as part of the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Awards. This blog tour is produced by The Write Reads.


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