Evening's Land by Pauline West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Thanks to Netgalley and the author herself for providing me an updated version of this manuscript for review. Some of the formatting issues were resolved nicely.
That being said, I need to rave a little bit about this book. It's like being handed a good W. H. Auden poem and learning that it has been turned into an erotic dream full of ghosts, a suicide, occultism, and sex, sex, sexy sex.
I normally don't seek out things like this, but let me be honest here: I thought it was all damn tasteful even if the directions it took was always there to push your limits.
Do you like seduction taken on a grand scale? Do you like concepts like evil and sacrifice mixed with your sexytime? Do you like playing with death as you play with your lover, at least in the pages of a tale? Then this is for you. Definitely, this is for you. It's beautifully written and lyrical and it assumes you've got a great vocabulary. No dumbing things down for any of us! The arousal permeates the pages, but beyond that, I was equally fascinated with the Evening's Land itself, the dreamscape where the dead come back and haunt (or seduce) the living.
This is a real trip, and poetical to boot.
I've seen some people say that this book is full of trigger warnings and that is absolutely true. If you have ever been in abusive relationships or absolutely controlling ones, you'll feel the shock of it here, especially since Mary welcomes it with open arms; infidelity and naughtiness being absolutely key.
And Faye's suicide is equally dark, but for different reasons, and we get that PoV very strongly, too. Ada's relative innocence becomes a rather wild abandon as she tries to work through her main story.
Even so, this is an adventure of life and living and excitement and art. It may be interspersed with all the darkness, too, but it's so hard to separate one from the other. In that respect, it's very close to life. :)
The author doesn't coddle us. She speaks her mind and her characters push a lot of boundaries, perfectly willing to make us, as readers, uncomfortable. But... I say this is wonderful. :) This is what good literature ought to do when it forces us down these fantastic paths of the human heart and experience.
This is very cool fantasy.
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