Cover Image: Leech

Leech

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Member Reviews

Hauntingly atmospheric. Hiron Ennes is a beautiful wordsmith, building an apocalyptic thriller encompassing medical mysteries. This dark, cold new world, infested with Leeches, commandeering the medical profession is rocked on its heels when a new parasite enters the battle for control of this barren, wasted world. A true glimpse of how an apocalypse can be repeated over and over, how seemingly good deeds turn deadly is a story you will want to immerse yourself in, and cower from all at the same time. With writing as fluid as watching a film, this is one not to miss.
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Thank you so much to @netgalley and @torbooks for a copy of this e-ARC. 

Synopsis: In a desolate frozen north, the doctor of a baron has died unexpectedly, and quite frankly, strangely. His replacement comes up from the Interprovincial Medical Institute, but they are horrified by what they find. A strange parasite appears to have lead to the death of the doctor: a parasite not unlike those that already control the doctors themselves. 

Review: At it’s core, Leech is a gothic sci-fi horror novel set in a dystopian future. The publisher describes it as “genre-bending,” and they are 100% correct about that. Our narrator is a doctor, but they are also not human. They are a body-snatching parasite working to preserve what is left of humanity for the benefit of their symbiotic relationship. The whole concept of this book is incredibly unique. I can safely say I have never picked up a book that is exactly like this, and the choice to have the narrator be a parasite in control of a human body was an intelligent one. 

I do have a major issue with this book though: the first half is terribly tedious. The prose reads very gothic and is heavily laden with words that are unusual, totally made up, and from other languages. The native tongue of the characters can be hard to follow.  The entire story also takes place in a world that is not adequately explained. I’m not sure if this is our own world post-apocalypse in the vein of the Hunger Games or if this is an entirely made up fantasy world. All of the places are fictional, but the foreign language feels decidedly French (but I couldn’t confirm via google) or Latino depending on whether the person speaking is from the north or the south. The reader is also never told what year it is or given any real context for time. On top of this, nothing really happens in the first 50% of the book. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get through it. 

The second half of this book, however, saves it. Once events begin to pick up and more horror elements are introduced, the prose feels far less tedious and the story ends very well. After the 55% mark I was hooked and finished this in 1 sitting. The body horror is superb in one scene in particular, but I won’t spoil which. Towards the end Leech begins to read like a horrific fever dream in the best way. Despite the slow beginning, I found myself wanting more of the story by the time the book ended. 

Overall, if you enjoy sci-fi horror and/or dystopian horror, give Leech a go. Just keep in mind that if the beginning feels too stagnant, the payoff is worth it to push through. Unfortunately because of the lack of balance to the story and the lack of world-building, I can’t give Leech 5 stars. This is a 3.5 rounded up to 4 because the second half was really good and I appreciate the uniqueness of the story.
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This was an incredible creepy ride. Ennes conjures up a vividly terrifying world of intense cold, claustrophobic isolation, and slow-burn paranoia. I enjoyed this Gothic mystery's evocative atmosphere and dense, lush prose.
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What a unique story! Fantastic writing. Loved the setting, the atmosphere, and the characters. I could feel the intense cold & anxiety & the seriousness surrounding our main character. I was expecting more horror elements than what we got but still really enjoyed this gothic sci-fi mystery. The chapters held within the chateau were definitely my favorite. The atmosphere of it and the characters living within were so interesting! Outside of the chateau, the world was a bit hard for me to visualize. I would’ve loved a map of the town. 

It did read a bit dense for me. Lots to take in and a lot for my brain to process. The writing style made this take some extra time to read. But overall I think it was great and would totally pick up more from this author. 

To hear my full thoughts on this novel watch my reading vlog here:
https://youtu.be/e01IsIMO9f8

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Tordotcom for the arc! 🖤
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There was definitely a lot packed into this book. I loved the plot of this book as well as the medical aspect of this book. And honestly I wasn't expecting to like this--I feel like sometimes medical horror/apocalypse horror just lets me down, but I was really happy with the way this book unfolded layer by layer. Super creepy, stellar horror. I absolutely recommend this to all my horror fans!
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So horrifying good. Hiron Ennes writes a truly original story. A parasite that has infected part of the human population (or what’s left of it after many apocalypses) is headed to the northern most north. One of it’s hosts has been killed and it needs to investigate. It must quietly try to discover what is going on in the chateau where it has been employed for many generations while navigating a family with many secrets. 
When it discovers another parasite that is attempting to take humans as well it must decide how to fight back. 
Told as if peeling back layers one at a time, this atmospheric read was disturbing and creepy and true horror. Get ready for the chills and perfectly disgusting descriptions. I honestly can’t believe this was a debut.
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The gothic and scientific nature of this book are standout qualities, but I found that I had to take quite a number of breaks in order to digest the amount of words I had read.
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This was an incredibly unique and original book. I have not read anything like it before. It begins with the death of the baron’s doctor at an isolated Chateau. The doctor's replacement from the Institute arrives and has a mystery (or two) to solve. Btw, the replacement is quite unusual as it has used "host bodies" over the years. Creepy. Plus, the replacement doctor finds that something is lurking at the Chateau deep below in the mines.

This is a very Gothic and atmospheric read that had me scratching my head a couple of times. This book took me a little bit of time to get into and the thought of an organism trying to study another organism was very interesting. This took creepy to a new level. Plus, the book has a very cold feel to it. It's chilling and dark which adds to the overall feel of the book.


Many times, I put this book down while reading it, then found myself coming back to this highly unusual book. I applaud the author for being creative and original. It took me some time to wrap my head around this book. This began on the slow side, and I struggle with slow builds, the book did pick up speed in the second half when things begin to get very real.

Gothic, atmospheric and unique.  If you are looking for something a little different, look no further!

#Leech #NetGalley

Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tordotcom and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I went into this book with high hopes, but was sadly disabuse of them early on. The premise was excellent, the execution less so. Not only was this book a struggle to read, I felt it could have been half the length it even, if not even shorter. The characters never pulled me in, the local dialect was a tad confusing, and the story had no forward motion for far, far too long. I really wish I could say otherwise, but this book was not for me in almost any way. 

I would like to thank both NetGalley and Macmillian-Tor/Forge for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This was a very strange book that has 18th century Gormenghast Frankenstein vibes.  I felt thrown into a world I didn't understand and LOVED IT.  This book gives you context clues and helps you along the way without spoon feeding, and I highly recommend it.
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this darn book caused me to change my entire reading style for it! I usually read like 3+ books at once, but Leech commanded all my attention because it's so damn weird! I spent a solid two weeks reading nothing but this book and I don't regret it.

Think 'Wuthering Heights' mixed with Mira Grant's Parasite series. Twilight Zone and Mystery Diagnosis mixed with Unsolved Mysteries, but a little more fantasy. It's a genre buster, it's very wordy, and it's wonderfully weird. It's also full of gore, abuse of animals and humans and bleak as hell. I loved it and feel strangely smarter now, but also I'm a lil traumatized now.

The main character has multiple bodies and just one hive mind and once you wrap your measly human brain around that you can really sink into the story of brain worms.

Thanks for ruining my brain. 🪱🪱
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Leech guides the reader through an atmospheric gothic tale of parasites and body horror. Ennes offers a unique concept with the main character being connected through a hive mind, and an attempt a solving the mystery of their predecessor's death. What begins as a simple puzzle escalates to a torrential downward spiral of autonomy and authority.

The prose within the first half of the novel is very dense and I really had to work to wrap my head around the concept of the characters. Once the plot began to pick up, I found myself able to read larger chunks at a time. The length of the chapters are a downside here on top of the density of language. This is one of those novels where I find myself asking whether I'm smart enough to understand it. While intrigued by the story and looking forward to the conclusion, I skimmed the final 30%. 

This one is a not for me at this time but I would recommend for readers looking for a cerebral novel that blends aspects of science fiction and gothic horror.
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I have to say that as a reader, I personally struggled with this book. The writing style is very dense (lots of medical terms and highly descriptive prose) and the story is slow-paced. It was not at all my cup of tea, however, I can think of so many who may like this story just for that. "Leech" is definitely well-written and interesting if you're into those things, and my personal opinion aside, I can see this being a great read for those who are interested and know what they're going into.
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I had to go it, I never do it but I had to. I DNF’d. I have no idea what’s going on, it’s extremely wordy and I’m sure that some people will love that, but it just isn’t for me. The cover drew me in as it is gorgeous. But I got 20% into it and it felt too much like a chore for me. I’m giving it a neutral 3 stars just because I didn’t finish it and it feels wrong to give it an overall rating. 

Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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This book was unlike anything I’ve ever read! 
It had ups and downs, but over all I enjoyed it. I do think I would need to be in a very specific mood in order to read it…it’s a unique mixture of genres and I don’t quite know where to place it. Horror? Sci-fi? Dystopian? Medical textbook? 
Mostly kidding on that last part, but one of the flaws with this is the heavy, heavy clinical language. The main character is a parasite/hive mind situation and is also a doctor. The text includes lots of anatomical descriptions and it sort of took me outside of the atmosphere a little bit. I glazed over some of it, had to google some, and that made it a little less enjoyable. The clinical language isn’t a bad aspect necessarily, but I think it was just overdone in parts and impacted my enjoyment? It felt a little more like studying than reading. 
I did thoroughly LOVE the hive mind aspect and the world-building, as well as the creepy aura. The action and plot was past paced, even if the prose itself was slow in parts. 
I do also think this should include some type of content warning(s), however readers who reach for this will be familiar with horror so they might be ready for anything.  It will be a great spooky fall read for all the chilly, spine-tingling vibes! 3.5/5 stars! But rounding up to 4.
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3.25 stars

This is a nice example of blended genres done well. It has many good elements like being creepy and emotional. The one downfall is the it requires full attention (which is nice in some cases), or you will miss important things that will not come up again. 
It is not necessarily a leisure read, but it is a good one.
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I have no idea how to talk about this book! I went in having read absolutely nothing about it, including the synopsis, and I think I enjoyed the experience all the more for it. But this book definitely isn't going to be for everyone, so I'll try to say something about it without saying anything about it.

Leech is a weird, literary, gothic sci-fi horror -- a stunning blend of genres -- that reminds me a little of Mary Shelley, a little of Jeff Vandermeer, a little of Sara A. Mueller and a little of Chana Porter.

It's a book that requires a lot of patience and attention to detail. If you skim any page, you're going to get lost real quick, because important information isn't repeated and the world-building is so subtle that most of it is seeded through conversation and one-off observations. Very little is explained (or answered), with the author trusting you to understand what's happening off of context clues -- refreshing for some, but potentially frustrating for others. And if you need characters and locations to be meticulously described, this isn't going to be the book for you.

But if you can deal with doing a little extra work as a reader, it's well worth the effort. Leech is spooky, strange, sad, gory and inventive as hell. I loved the time I spent with it, and I can tell it's going to live in my brain for a long time.

Content warnings for death in childbirth, sexual assault, emotional abuse, physical abuse, body horror and gore (all graphic).
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In a distant future, in a ruined world, people survive in part due to the practitioners from the Interprovincial Medical Institute. The practitioners, a shared mind in many host bodies, perpetuate their own existence using unwitting humans as hosts. But these parasites have come up against a rival and their assured survival faces an unexpected threat. 

Set far in the north in a dilapidated chateau, Leech combines a winter Gormenghast with hints of Dune. Something has killed one of the Institute's practitioners, and the "new" doctor must solve the mystery of what killed the previous host body, before the "new" doctor is itself taken over. In service to the (frankly awful) baron and his (frankly awful) son, the doctor tends to a household full of deeply disturbed characters. Haunted by new and old abuses of the bodies it has used, the "new" doctor faces a terrible reckoning: is its continued survival worth subjugating innocent people?

Leech is a deeply atmospheric and haunting read. Parasites are not a new concept, but parasite POV--and sympathetic POV, at that--is unusual, and this is a well-executed narrative that will be embraced (gingerly) by readers who like anything from John Christopher's The White Mountains trilogy to Gore Verbinski's The Cure for Wellness.
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Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for this Arc!

This book has given me a way to touch on every emotion.  I am so shocked by the ending and it's so desperately sad and also profound.  It's amazing to think that this incredible journey through this book began with a new doctor at a chateau in the far North.   She was looking at how the doctor she is replacing died... and it's gruesome and the beginning of a parasite horror.   This mixes old gothic feels  with a new angle on scifi and also *content warning* a very strong and long look at trauma and sexual assault.   But it's done in such a sincere way that I really was right there feeling those same emotions.   

This book is incredible! Remember the content warnings but I have to recommend this to fans of parasite horror and scifi!

Out September 27, 2022!
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Officially a new favorite book! This book was wonderful in a dark way! The writing was stellar and the story had such a unique twist on something that could otherwise be seen as “typical”. Very creative! I enjoyed how this book made me think about certain topics but also on the surface was simply a fun read. I never wanted to put it down!
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