Cover Image: Revelator

Revelator

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Member Reviews

I started this one and I had a hard time getting into the book. It just wasn't grabbing me at the time, so I did not finish... I appreciate the consideration!
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I'll start by saying that this is the first book I have read by this author. I will be looking for more!

There are plenty of plot summaries out there. It is difficult to add much without giving the story away. If you are uncomfortable questioning religious thinking, then this book will be difficult to engage with. Why do people worship something? Does that something have the same motives / desires / whatever that its worshippers put on it? What does sacrifice look like? Communion? Paradise? How do our egos allow us to be used? In what ways? 

Although Stella isnt really the center here, you'll have to like her to get into the book. But she is so fun! The writing style does a lot to convey her, and I found myself reading pieces out loud to my partner and friends. That said, it is also easy to forget the limitations of Stella's pov, especially with not getting her complete story until near the end. Like all of us, she is limited by her personal story and ego, and if you see beyond that, you will see the twists coming. It doesnt make them any less satisfying. 

I'll be recommending this one widely!

Thank you to Daryl Gregory and Knopf Doubleday for a copy of the ebook!
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I kind of hated this book.  It started strong but then (for me) plummeted in a hurry.  Just wasn’t for me.
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Oh man what a ride! It wasn't heavy on the horror and it didn't have a lot of "scary" scenes like I was expecting but boy did this pack a punch. I really enjoyed the southern gothic aspect, all of the characters played a part in the overall narrative and they all seemed to fit well. Loved the religious undertone and the flip between past (Stella when she was younger) and present (Stella when she was an adult) and came at the right time. Stella as a character was great; she was tough and has survived stuff as a young child. I won't go into to much because I def think the reader should go into this a little blind. AND THE ENDING, knocked it out of the park. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf for a free book in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you for the advanced copy of this book! I will be posting my review on social media, to include Instagram, Amazon, Goodreads, and Instagram!
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Very creepy! I would recommend for readers interested in horror mixed with overcoming family trauma. I am a reader who loves a somewhat open ending, and thought it was well done.
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Wonderful southern gothic monster story! This novel couldn't be more strange and I am here for it. I enjoyed the journey of the badass main character Stella. More like this please!
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Holy WTF! I almost think this is a book you want to go into knowing as little as possible, but I will say: southern gothic, tough-as-nails smart female characters, creeping sense of dread, dual timelines, and a hefty does of OMGWTF. The sense of place is super strong, the plot just drives, and the characters are all super interesting. If you think you know what’s happening - you probably don’t. An excellent, creepy read!
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Revelator is a novel about a family in the 1930s that lives in Tennessee. Their is a god named Ghostdaddy that the women are able to interact with. Stella leaves Tennessee but has to come back for her grandma's funeral. From there things get weird and creepy! 

Thank you NetGalley and Knopf books for the galley of this book!
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One of the best new horror novels of the year! Eerie, creepy, unique, intriguing and terrifying! Can't wait to read more from this author!
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This one wasn't for me at all. I found it kind of confusing and just not something I would continue to read. I didn't finish this one but may come back to it when I'm at a better time.  I would give it a go if you're curious.
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**Thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday in connection with the Mystery Book Club for the eARC in exchange for an honest review. This in no way changed my thoughts**

I read this book as part of the Mystery Book Club on Bookstagram. While I enjoyed the interchange of thoughts with the club, I was part of the minority who didn't enjoy this. I DNF'd about 50% through and skimmed through the end, so I know what happens and feel like it didn't make sense or make for an enjoyable read. The "ghost daddy" should have been explained more thoroughly and I feel like the author spent more time on Stella and the community surrounding her, the family dynamics, etc. than they did on the actual religious aspect of the book and the strange Appalachian religion established by her family. I didn't feel satisfied with the narrative and felt like it didn't have much to say. I'm sure there is an audience for this as evidenced by the enthusiastic response from the rest of the book club, but I wasn't in that group, unfortunately.
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Geez, this book is so good. I am a massive sucker for backwoods/Appalachian horror, so I had high expectations going into this, and it generally met and even exceeded my expectations. From the fascinating and mysterious Ghostdaddy (whose name fits the tone of the story perfectly, imo) to the truly terrifying old white patriarchs of Stella and Motty's clan, there's so much rich horror to mine in this world, and it's told in a gripping, expansive way as it transitions between present-day bootlegger Stella (who is a PHENOMENAL main character) and child-Stella, who's learning all about holler living and her family's bizarre traditions. And while the characters and their development was great, the plot itself was pretty stunning too, as were the underlying themes and overall ideology. The ending was a stunner, too--that kind is always a favorite.
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Wow. This book keeps you hooked and every time you think you have it figured out you are thrown another curveball. It is a terrifying, intriguing, and new take on the horrors to be unearthed in the Appalachian culture. I enjoyed the way it flipped between the past and present to build the suspense. I am looking forward to reading more of this author's work.
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Revelator is a genre bending work that can be described as a multigenerational family drama, historic fiction, and Appalachian noir. 
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I thoroughly enjoyed this unique story! It's spooky, disturbing and unsettling, but not outright scary. If you are a lightweight (like yours truly) when it comes to the horror genre, and especially if you are a fan of the Southern gothic, then this one will make a perfect Halloween read!
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I found the descriptions of the Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains enchanting, and the whole moonshining during the prohibition era part of the novel thoroughly fascinating!

Revelator has some pretty fierce female protagonists (Birch women, Stella in particular).

And yes, it is a fun, atmospheric read, perfect for the season, but it is not just that. At the heart of the novel is a multigeneratinal family drama complete with it's own history deeply interwined with American history, years of disseption and discrimination, it's own folklor, and superstitions. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the symbolism that is present throughout the novel. Most notably it can be found in just about anything related to Birch women. It is obvious from the start that Birch women have been used as the "means to the end" by Birch men for 100 years. However as the novel progresses we learn that the women of the family are in fact the only ones who actually know what the heck is going on, yet the men deem themselves the leaders of the "church" and treat women as useful for the time being but clueless in the long run. Sounds familiar? :)

I will definitely be checking out Deryl Gregory's Spoonbenders.

Thank you to A.A. Knopf and Deryl Gregory for my review copy!
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This isn’t a book I would normally pick up, but it was our book club pick so I gave it a go! I like gothic novels normally, and there were quite a few mysteries left to unravel so I was interested for a while in the beginning.

To be honest I don’t feel like I’m able to adequately review this the way I normally would. I was confused a lot of the time and had trouble paying attention, which might just be the headspace I was in at the time. Though creepy and interesting, I can’t say I have much to offer in way of critique, and would recommend this only to someone who is a fan of the author or is looking for a book waaaaaay off the beaten path.
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super gripping and spooky. i love a good story that has me on the edge of my seat and flipping the pages!
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I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Actual rating = 4.25

Y'all this book was....a revelation. (See what I did there?) It was also super weird and messed up and original and all the things I love. It honestly reminds me of one of my few 5-star reads and all-time faves, "The Library at Mount Char." Not so much because of the characters, plot, or even writing style, but in terms of being unlike anything I've read before. 

Without getting into spoiler territory, this book is split between two timelines that both follow our MC, Stella Birch. The "flashback" timeline covers about a decade of Stella's childhood, spent with her grandmother, Motty, alone on a farm that also houses a church and the temple of their family god. You see, despite living in southern Baptist country, the Birch family worships the God Under the Mountain - a non-human entity that communicates exclusively with the female line of the family, who are known as Revelators. Among other things, the flashback timeline shows how Stella's relationship with both the god and her family develops. The "modern" timeline is much shorter, spanning just a few weeks. Stella is a successful moonshiner who is forced to re-visit the past she fled from when Motty dies unexpectedly. As the eldest Birch woman, she's now responsible for her young cousin Sunny, who will be the next Revelator.

Sound crazy? That's because it very much is. 

The Setting:

"They loved tales of true country folk, authentic and unsullied, running barefoot in the hollers and living life the way it was supposed to be lived. Nobody thought of themselves as a hillbilly, but they liked knowing they were out there somewhere, like the buffalo."

The setting of this story is so atmospheric I could die. It takes place in rural Tennessee in the 1930s and 40s and good lord, why aren't there more horror/fantasy novels set in this creepy ass world? Daryl Gregory does a masterful job crafting an atmosphere of overwhelmingly beautiful nature with repressive laws and traditions and intense poverty but with a bit of a wink and a chuckle. It just feels very Southern, but a type of Southern I haven't encountered a lot. PLEASE, AUTHORS OF THE WORLD - GIVE ME MORE.

The characters:

This is a very character-driven novel, so there's a lot I want to talk about but can't because it's right up against spoiler territory. Suffice it to say, every single character was fleshed out and imperfect and, while there were many I didn't care for, I cared ABOUT all of them. This is very much a novel cast with real characters, and therein lies one of its great strengths. 

I do want to get a little more specific about Stella though.

"'I thought you made a sacrifice to get a god to do you a favor.'"

Stella, my homegirl. I loved her so. She's like, the opposite of a Mary Sue. She's funny and witty and brave and smart and arrogant and naive and thoughtless and is probably an alcoholic and makes some pretty terrible choices. Basically, she's a real person and I just couldn't help falling in love with her. 

So clearly I'm gushing over this book, why not make it a 5-star? Fair question, review reader.

This book is insanely strong, but it wasn't quite perfect. There were parts of the text that I felt dragged a bit, and parts that I wish had been delved into more. The fantastical elements, in particular, weren't given quite enough page time. The ending of this book also screwed with me - it was a satisfying ending, don't get me wrong - but satisfying in that way some horror has where you immediately wish there was a sequel. I do believe this is a standalone, so that was just Gregory screwing with us.

Overall I highly recommend this book and think it's a perfect fall read, despite not taking place in fall specifically. It just has that creepy, sinister atmosphere that I associate with fall reading, and the characters are top notch.
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Revelator is an odd, suspenseful sci-fi novel with a mix of cult-iness tossed in. A family in the 1930's lives in the backwoods of Tennessee and follows a mysterious god known as Ghostdaddy who only the women can interact with. Stella turns her back on her birthright and moves away only to have to come back years later for her grandmother's funeral and what she comes back to isn't what she expects. The novel is atmospheric and creepy. There is a weirdness to the story, but it works with the tone. If you're into weird cult novels, this is a good one to check out!
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REVELATOR by Daryl Gregory was this month’s @mystery.book.club pick and a completely new author for me. I devoured this story. Strangely enough, I enjoyed spending time with a haunted family in the Smoky Mountains of 1930s Tennessee.

As a child, Stella Wallace learns from her grandmother that their family communes with Ghostdaddy, a god in the mountains who lives below the land where they live. Only the women are allowed to interact with their god, but Stella ignores her birthright and moves away to have a life of her own. Over a decade later, her grandmother passes away, so Stella returns to the Smoky Mountains to discover something more than she bargained for.

We toggle back and forth between Stella’s past and present, which makes for a quick read. Gregory’s REVELATOR is dark, weird, and draped in fear. Trust me, you want to know more about Ghostdaddy. I highly recommend this for fans of horror folklore and fans of Adam Nevill (ahem, Ritual).
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