Thursday 31 December 2020

Book Review: Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon (Fantasy/Gothic)

Title: Sorrowland
Author: Rivers Solomon
Publisher: MCD
Publication Date: 4 May 2021
eBook - EPUB
Genre: Gothic/Fantasy
Source: ARC via NetGalley

Vern - seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised - flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future - outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s
Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction.


Sorrowland is a most original and captivating work. At first glance this is the tale of a young woman escaping from a cult; however, as the blurb promises, the genre soon bends until it morphs into a fantasy/gothic horror story. I don't want to elaborate too much on the plot and risk spoilers, but I can say it is a book that explores many interesting themes through diverse characters, in a piece that builds slowly at first but then quickly picks up the pace for an action-packed ending. The only slight niggle I had was the fact that the children's speech at times felt a bit advanced for their age, but that's a very minor gripe and may well have been intentional and a result of their background/genetic makeup. In all other respects, this was a thrilling tale and I recommend it to fans of both LGBT fantasy and Gothic fiction who are looking for something out of the ordinary. It gets 4.5 stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

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