Tor Nightfire. Oct. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781250826084. $26.99. HORROR
DEBUT With a Shirley Jackson–inspired premise, YA author Thorne’s (Night Music) adult debut centers on an island called Lute, where every seventh summer, seven people die as a tithe for the good fortune the inhabitants experience. Although fictitious, Thorne has steeped her island in the real geography and history of England. Lute has endured for millennia, and there are disturbing reasons as to why. The protagonist, Nina, becomes a Lady of the main estate on Lute by marrying Lord Treadway, whose family has a long history of protecting the island. She doesn’t believe in the supernatural or ghosts and thinks it’s all just a bunch of nonsense until she finds out the hard way that there are sinister things lying in wait for her and her children. The Celtic myths that Nina has heard become more frightening and real as the impending death ritual advances. Someone wants her family dead, and they won’t stop until the task is done.
VERDICT Fans of gloomy British horror will adore Thorne’s novel, with its references to the Shining Ones and other fae creatures. Recommend to fans of Catriona Ward, Sarah Pinborough, and Kristin Cashore.
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