Cover Image: An Ordinary Violence

An Ordinary Violence

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Billed as a supernatural thriller, this one is really more of a slow burn character study of folks that are down on their luck with no hopes of changing that. Not a bad novel but not what I was hoping to read. Some really might like this but not for me. Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book.

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This was a tad bit too slow for my taste. While I found the book atmospheric and the author’s writing impressive, it felt like a much longer book than what it was. It also wasn’t giving me the horror feeling that it was marketed as.

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"An Ordinary Violence" by Adriana Chartrand is a spooky, eerie book with dark secrets simmering under the surface. Anyone who likes slow-building tension and cosmic horror should definitely be on the lookout for this novel on its expected publication date of Oct 31, 2023.

Chartrand has a beautiful way of writing that adds to the allure of the story that unfolds. This is one of those books that's impossible to put down because you're busy trying to piece together what's going on before the end. Chartrand is great at giving subtle hints throughout the story that don't give away the ending. In fact, I'm quite sure those clues were meant to be misleading, which makes the ending so much more shocking.

I love that the story is character-driven. We get to know Dawn who grapples with issues that are relatable and causes some self-reflection. It's clear she cares a lot about her brother and feels he's mixed up in something not so good, which mirrored a different kind of real-life circumstance (that I originally thought was the issue in this novel but I turned out to be wrong).

This did read more like a thriller than it did horror and it was a slow build to the conclusion, and yet I still enjoyed the novel and think it's worth reading. I hope to see more stories by Chartrand soon!

Thank you to NetGalley and House of Anansi Press Inc (Spiderline) for providing me with a free e-arc of this novel in exchange for my honest opinion in this review.

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Atmospheric. Creepy. Puzzling. This book kept me guessing constantly and I loved every second of it. Part fever dream, part coming of age, part cosmic horror, this novel had elements of everything. Overall, I think this is a great read if you are just getting into horror or wanting to try something in this genre for the first time.

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An Ordinary Violence was plain ordinary to me. It is billed as indigenous, as horror, as supernatural. It's not any of those things to any great extent.
I don't know who I could recommend this book to, unfortunately.

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Not for me. This writing was messy and read like a high schooler wrote it. Repeating sentiments and weird phrasing. Not an easy or comfortable read and the plot didn’t help. Maybe could have used more editing.

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Thank you Netgalley for the arc of this book!

This felt like a homecoming of sorts. I will be interested to read it after the release to see if something or anything changes but this was my favorite kind of horror. The kind the creeps up on you real slow and then swallows you whole. This was such a strong book

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I had to slog through AN ORDINARY VIOLENCE. The writing was fine, even beautiful in many parts, but the story just wasn’t there. I can sum up what happens in one sentence and not give anything away because not that much actually happens:

An adult daughter returns to her struggling father’s house around the same time as her estranged, recently jailbroken brother and the brother ends up conjuring something supernatural.

The “supernatural” part takes, like, two pages near the end of the book. The rest of the book builds toward this moment, sort of, but both the build-up and the pay-off (not actually a pay-off) are boring. IMHO, it’s because the book is written in third-person omniscient and we don’t get inside anyone’s head deeply enough to care about them.

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“What was so confounding about the fact of an ordinary man’s violence? So many people needed monsters to look monstrous. They couldn’t accept, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the demons looked just like them. That a seemingly regular life could conceal a deeply vicious soul.”

Described as a chilling horror novel about an indigenous woman who’s haunted by the oppressive legacies of colonization, I was expecting something far more insidious and terrifying.

However (and unfortunately for me, a mood reader who was in the mood for horror), AN ORDINARY VIOLENCE was largely a character-driven, contemporary/literary fiction about a young woman navigating life with an absent father, deceased mother, and a brother who’s recently released from prison. And that’s not a bad thing — the last 10% really delivered on all the cosmic horror I was hoping for throughout! — it’s just important to adjust your expectations before going in.

The story is incredibly bleak and heavy at times; the author doing a phenomenal job of clearly articulating the depths of depression and setting the mood throughout.

“She knew already by then that absence was not the presence of nothing; it was the phantom presence of someone who had gone. Or had been taken. Absence begets absence—a life was taken, and those left behind were taken from, too.”

I also have to praise the writing. It’s not often I highlight whole paragraphs, but there were sections in this book that were almost poetic and stood out in all the best ways.

Even though this wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, I’m looking forward to reading more from Adriana Chartrand in the future.

Thank you to publisher for the ARC.

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I really enjoyed this book. It had my favorite type of ending.

read if you like; complicated family relationships, magical realism, ambiguous endings.

I just reviewed An Ordinary Violence by Adriana Chartrand. #AnOrdinaryViolence #NetGalley

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I was not able to finish the book and therefore do not feel that I can give an unbiased review about the book, its plot, characters, or the author's work. I might revisit this book at a later time and finish it then, but not right now.

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I was so happy to get this e-arc, I just loved the description and the cover art is amazing. Sadly, I just could not get into this story. It fell very flat for me. There were a few good quotes but writing I could just not engage with.
2 star

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I wanted to absolutely love this novel because it was categorized under "horror." But sadly, there was very little horror.

This is more of a contemporary story about a young mixed Native woman navigating through life with absent parents and a brother who recently got out of prison. It actually works really well telling this story and straddles the line between general fiction and literary fiction.

The general mood is depressing and anything but hopeful. It reminds me of Wally Lamb's She's Come Undone. It's so heavy and you can feel how heavy it is. The author really did an excellent job setting the mood.

The writing was excellent and quite poetic in some parts. I'm not one to highlight sentences or passages in novels, but this was one of my rare exceptions. I'll add a couple of my favorite quotes below.

There was a slight bit of cosmic horror that's reminiscent of Outer Range (2022) on Amazon Prime. But as someone who absolutely loves that subgenre, that little bit wasn't enough to justify putting this in the horror genre. Hence why it took me slightly over two weeks to finish this short novel.

Overall, I wanted so much more cosmic horror and less "woe is me." The last 10% really delivered in the cosmic horror aspect, but it sure as hell wasn't enough to pull me back in when I was mostly checked out already.

Disclaimer: These are quotes from the arc copy, and not the final version.

"So many people needed monsters to look monstrous. They couldn't accept, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the demons looked just like them. That a seemingly regular life could conceal a deeply vicious soul."

"She knew already by then that absence was not the presence of nothing; it was the phantom presence of someone who had gone. Or had been taken. Absence begets absence--a life was taken, and those left behind were taken from, too. The shockwaves reached out and out and out, until everyone was unsteady on their feet. Dawn thought that, surely, everyone in this city should be quaking, struggling to keep their footing. She started to resent those that could still walk steady here, and that resentment took hold in her, wormed its way deep inside her and latched on."


Thank you to Spiderline and NetGalley for this arc.

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A super quick read. I really enjoyed the familial drama and Native American elements of the story. There was a supernatural element as well, but I was more drawn in by the characters and their development.

Dawn is forced to retreat back home to live with her father. She finds her home town uncomfortable and dismal, Things feel off. Her brother, Cody, is released from prison and moved in as well. This is where things get weird. The book has flashbacks from what caused Cody to go to prison and Dawn’s childhood. There is a very off putting and uncomfortable character, Tyler, who the reader never learns too much about.

The supernatural elements are never really explained. Usually this would bother me, but I liked Dawn so much, and her journey, that I wasn’t really that disappointed. This would be a great first novel in a series.

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This story is on the slow side and I was hoping for more horror aspects as it was described as "chilling." I also did not love the nonlinear style of the story and it prevented me from becoming attached to the storyline and removed me from the plot as it shifted. I would be interested in seeing what else this author comes up with as the writing itself was good, even though the execution of the story itself didn't work for me.

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I didn’t enjoy this so much for the plot, but the characters and the writing. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the plot, too, but there was something about the way it’s painted for you that felt almost tangible.

Told in a non linear timeline, we learn that Dawn is returning home to her father’s house, running from life. Back in her hometown with her ailing father and her brother fresh from prison, something about life here feels off, and a lot of it stems from her brother’s friend, Tyler. She gets a super weird vibe from him and she can’t put her finger on it when her brother and father sing his praise.

There is a lot of unanswered trauma that Dawn is dealing with from growing up indigenous in a community that wasn’t always welcoming, with the death of her mother and the reconciliation of her brother’s past violent crimes.

The spiritual and supernatural elements in this book were fantastic, but it didn’t feel wholly horror to me. There is a lot that happens in this book that works in the horror novel realm, but it felt like so much more.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read an e-ARC of this work. I really enjoyed he premise of this work, but could not follow the execution as the writing style was very removed from the narrative. I will be following this author's future works as they grow into their craft.

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Horror and literary fiction are two of my favorite genres and this book didn’t disappoint. I will say in some places it was confusing but for the most part I loved this and omg the atmospheric descriptions were incredible. The added racism issues were a lot to read at times but did add to the story.

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I wish I loved this book as much as I love the cover 😭

I had high hopes for this book as it is described as "A chilling horror novel about a young Indigenous woman haunted by the oppressive legacies of colonization." which sounds exactly like MY type of horror - but I struggled to see where the horror aspects were in this book. There were a few paranormal glimpses but nothing like what I was expecting.

I found the story hard to get into, kept losing track of the different characters, and found myself getting easily distracted while reading because this was not holding my attention at all. The story jumps back and forth between the present & past flashbacks a lot and at times it was just confusing. Unfortunately, this one just didn't work for me 😢

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I've had this in my netgalley for a while and decided I'd finally read it. I found this book to have a great premise, however in excecution I found it quite convaluted. Not sure if I am the targeted audience for this book but it personally just didn't stick out to me. Typically if I ever want a book to end while I'm reading, it automatically reduced by 1 star. It was an okay book, but not one I'd personally reccommend to my audience.

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