Harrow County, Vol. 5: Abandoned

Harrow County, Vol. 5: AbandonedHarrow County, Vol. 5: Abandoned by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In this volume of Cullen Bunn’s extraordinary HARROW COUNTY series, we learn more about the Abandoned, the four-eyed bull-like creature in Harrow’s woods, and through his story we discover a shocking revelation about Emmy’s legacy. I thought the events of Volume 4 were a game-changer, but they were nothing compared to what we learn here. HARROW COUNTY continues to raise the stakes, keeping me hooked and entertained.

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Harrow County Vol. 4: Family Tree

Harrow County, Vol. 4: Family TreeHarrow County, Vol. 4: Family Tree by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The fourth collected volume of Cullen Bunn’s exceptional HARROW COUNTY is a game changer. As Emmy learns more about herself and her connection to Hester, the stakes are raised considerably. I’m as eager as ever to find out what happens next!

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things

I'm Thinking of Ending ThingsI’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Iain Reid’s debut novel is everything I love in fiction: voicey, quirky, unsettling, surreal, and disturbing. This is a character-driven mystery, although not one of the whodunnit type so much as the what’s-going-on type, which means everything relies on how you feel about the narrator. Luckily, Reid creates one who is realistically flawed while still being engaging and relatable. I found her extremely well drawn thanks to Reid’s use of precise language and vivid backstory. In some ways I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS reminded me of John Darnielle’s WOLF IN WHITE VAN. Both are very, very close first-person narratives with a focus more on the internal thoughts and memories of the narrator than on the plot.

I guessed the big secret pretty early on, not because Reid is a sloppy writer — he’s not, he’s actually a very careful writer — but because I’m a jaded reader who’s seen all the tricks before. Regardless, I greatly enjoyed the novel. It’s a fast, compelling read, and a surprising page-turner for such a meditative narrative. As debut novels go, I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS is enormously accomplished. It may not be for everyone. If you’re looking for a straightforward narrative, this won’t fit the bill. It’s much more twisty and surreal than that, which personally I enjoyed. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Reid’s next novel.

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Harrow County, Vol. 3: Snake Doctor

Harrow County, Vol. 3: Snake DoctorHarrow County, Vol. 3: Snake Doctor by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The third volume of Cullen Bunn’s exceptional HARROW COUNTY series takes a break from the main plot of Emmy’s struggle to come to terms with her legacy in order to follow some side characters. The first issue in this collection focuses on a solo adventure by the haint known as the Skinless Boy, in which he learns a hard truth about himself thanks to the intervention of a mysterious stranger. The second and third issues are an adventure starring Emmy’s good friend Bernice, who discovers there’s more than one witch in Harrow County. The last issue returns the spotlight to Emmy as she investigates a haunted house on the outskirts of town and unearths unpleasant echoes of the past.

HARROW COUNTY has always been a character-driven story, but this volume drives home Bunn’s ability to make us care about peripheral characters as much as his protagonist. I’m really enjoying this series and am looking forward to continuing with it.

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