by Jennifer Thorne
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Pub Date 04 Oct 2022 | Archive Date Not set
Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire
Wicker Man meets Final Destination in Jennifer Thorne's atmospheric, unsettling folk horror novel about love, duty, and community.
On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less.
Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored.
Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It's all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line.
Then The Day begins. And it's a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina—and Lute—will never be the same.
Available on NetGalley
Thank you to Macmillan-Tor/Forge and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
First off, what a beautiful and haunting cover! Lute by Jennifer Marie Thorne is an atmospheric blend of fantasy and horror. The story revolves Nina, who is from Florida, but is now moving to the island of Lute. Lute is blessed with good fortune while the surrounding areas are ravaged by war. Nina has heard the rumors that seven people are sacrificed every seven years, but she doesn't believe them. But what if the rumors are true?
Here is an enchanting excerpt from the opening chapter:
"“Oh, you stop. There are far worse jobs.” The light in his eyes dims a little.
This is the way we reference the war, in asides, quiet gratitude, and humility, sharing postcards and emails we’ve gotten from those off fighting, well-tended vegetable gardens, and meticulous ration books. Never directly. But maybe that’s just how people behave around me because of my American accent, the voice of the enemy. Don’t mention the war.
Or maybe it’s more that we can’t face the full reality of it, the images we get in the news—all those occupied countries, cities gone dark in military curfew or reduced to rubble, bloated bodies washing up on the shores of practically every continent, refugee camps growing and burning down and growing again, rows upon rows of draped soldiers ready for sorting and sending home.
While here on Lute, everything is perfectly fine."
Overall, Lute is a folk horror novel that will appeal to fans of Netflix's Equinox or Midsommar. The book feels a bit Scandinavian, a bit folksy. One highlight of this book is the atmosphere. I love fantasy/horror novels that do a good job of establishing a creepy, spooky landscape. I definitely felt that here. Another highlight of this book is the main character, Nina, who is a great protagonist. I felt myself rooting for her as the story continued. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of folk horror, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes out in October!
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