The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller is a horror story set in a historic small town, with LGBT+ representation and a theme of gentrification at its core.
Ronan Szepessy, a gay man and famous photographer, returns to his hometown, despite the (mostly) bad adolescent memories of bullies and intolerance. The only thing is, he doesn’t remember why he decided to return. Something is pulling him back, and he needs to find out what.
When he arrives in Hudson, he notices how much things have changed. Gentrification has taken over the historic town, replacing its former diners, bakeries, and corner shops with a horde of uber-quaint antique stores and overpriced coffee shops. Townsfolk that Ronan has known all his life are getting evicted in droves. Not only that, but Ronan is plagued by strange dreams and visions. But is it withdrawal, or is it something stranger?
*I received this book for free from the publisher (Ecco Books) in exchange for an honest review.
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The Blade Between by Sam J. Miller: My Thoughts
The premise reminded me slightly of When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole (it’s about gentrification, but with more horror elements). The concept was unique, and the history behind the town was fascinating.
I had some conflicting thoughts with this one, though. On one hand, the story was well written and lyrical. For the most part, the characters felt like real people. I especially loved Dom and Attalah – I was rooting for them the whole way. The beginning definitely had me interested. As you can tell by the cover, whales play a part in the story, which I thought was really cool.
But then it got more bizarre from there, and I think it lost me a bit. I’m all for a strange and surreal story, but this one didn’t feel very cohesive in its execution. In the end, I think there was too much going on at once. I had trouble following some characters’ motives (and there were a LOT of characters). So many themes or messages were introduced, and I felt like they got a bit muddied up along the way.
Overall, I liked The Blade Between – it was different than anything I’ve read before! I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.
Rating: 3 (out of 5) stars
Release date: December 1st, 2020
Looking for more great book recommendations? Check out my list of most-anticipated book releases in December 2020!