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ARC provided by Tor in exchange for an honest review.
1.) The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion ★★★★
This series means so much to me, and I think these are some of the best novellas that Tor has to offer. Friends, please, stop sleeping on these books and give this awesome series about a group of racially diverse, LGBTQIAP+, modern day Scooby-Doo-like (but instead of the Mystery Machine they have a bookmobile), demon hunting, punk rock, anarchists, a try! I’m honestly begging.
And in this second installment, Danielle and her brand-new friends are on the run after the events that took place in The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion with a certain demonic deer that was summoned. Now, they are half demon hunters looking for their next mission, and half just laying low from the law.
“Also I guess I kind of fed an anarchist to a deer a couple days ago but that’s beside the point.”
And the crew? They are pretty much my favorite crew of all time:
➽ Danielle – 28, has been traveling for ten years, now has a precarious hand bite!
➽ Brynn – Tattoo artist, and half of the sweetest, most wonderful, slow-burn romance with Danielle.
➽ Vulture – My favorite, and the funniest member of the group. He is a transman, black, gay, and Instagram obsessed.
➽ Thursday – I loved getting to know him more in this novella. We knew he uses he/him pronouns and is a PoC from book one, but we found out he is also pretty funny in this book. He is also the protector of the group, and is such a heartwarming character.
➽ Doomsday – She is in a relationship with Thursday and was part of the original summoning from book one.
But they have stumbled upon a new town in Montana, that happens to have a squatter owned building, turned library, that specializes in occult books! Oh, and there may or may not be a necromancer that is raising the dead because of a certain spell in a spell book. #myaesthetic
“Pendleton Library. Still free. Still open to the public. 10 a.m.—4 p.m. Run by anarchists.”
But with necromancy, there is always a price to be paid. And this new, somewhat abandoned tourist town, ends up being a brand-new mystery for Danielle and her new friends. And there is so much good within these magical 160 pages. This book really talks about power imbalances and how people will constantly abuse the power dynamic if you allow it. This book talks about how physical contact can not only comfort but can actually heal. There is always a heavy emphasis on pronouns and correctly using them. This book also completely celebrates the importance of found family. And this book has one of the sweetest and most rewarding friends to lovers, f/f relationships I’ve read about in a long while.
“We don’t get to choose how we die, only how we live, and I like you and I’m glad I got to know you.”
And as diverse as this cast is, there is mention of a gender fluid character, there is talk of polya relationships, and this is probably the only book(s) I’ve ever read that normalizes people not conforming to society and choosing to be homeless and travel around. Also, the author themselves is a transwoman. I also feel like these books are very personal to the author, and the love for these characters truly bleeds onto the page. I couldn’t help but fall in love with them too, and all of their realness and all their rawness.
And Margaret Killjoy has written the most realistic depiction of anxiety and panic attacks that I’ve ever read in my entire life. And I have never even seen another author mention a medical panic attack before. This whole series means a lot to me, but I don’t even have words for how seen I felt seeing Danielle dealing with something I deal with at least once a week.
Content Warnings for a car crash, death of a friend, death of a loved one, murder, talk of cancer, and mild violence.
Overall, I wish I could put these books in everyone’s hands. I know so many of my friends would love them, if they only gave them a try. These are such amazing little horror novellas, that have so much representation just shining brightly constantly. I hope that the world gets so many more books in this series. And I’ll read them all with the biggest smile on my face!
“I’ll stay down here, keep an eye on the door. If I’m going to die again, I’d rather be first and I’d rather be surrounded by books.”
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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.