I read this back in January, but I’m (slowly lol) trying to move my Goodreads reviews to my blog!
Hammers on Bone (written by Cassandra Khaw, published by Tor.com)
FOUR OUT OF FIVE STARS
CW: this book contains graphic depictions of violence, body horror, & children in dangerous situations.
I sometimes have trouble articulating what about the Lovecraftian aesthetic I so enjoy because my hatred for H.P. Lovecraft is unmatched. Stephen King gets close sometimes, to broaching cosmic horror in the right way, to making up for the lack of humanism in Lovecraft’s universe. But this book gets it so on the mark it’s incredible.
Cosmic horror is disgusting. It should be. It’s all the sinew and tendons and bones and viscera of life tossed about without regard to meaning. It’s all the effluvia that builds matter but without sense to it, without need for sense. And this book gets that so well…the writing is made of polyps and blisters and pus and it’s AMAZING. But what this book does is even more than perfecting tone: Lovecraft’s problem was he had no idea what human beings even were, let alone how to write them accurately or affectingly. Cassandra Khaw, however, does get human beings. She gets the space left open by Lovecraft–between cosmic indifference and the immense, inscrutable, self-flagellating yet pathetically persistent human will and that elevates the genre.
I want more of Khaw’s worlds because she is a master at crafting them. I highly recommend this book.