40. Bronze – Kit Reed
Based on the three books and a short story I’ve read by Kit Reed so far (Enclave, Little Sisters of the Apocalypse, Bronze, & “Waiting”), I feel she is the Ween of authors. While there are some similar concepts in her books – strongly developed female characters (including likeable and non-likeable ones), an overarching sense of impending doom – if they weren’t labeled I wouldn’t have automatically known any of them were by the same author. Ween’s albums frequently span different genres and styles of music and it’s one of the reasons I love them so damn much. I’ve also enjoyed everything I’ve read from Kit Reed so far.
I do have a couple of issues with this one – for one thing, I read a first edition, with typos, and it ended with a comma. When I went online to research whether or not it is supposed to end with a comma (It could have been a period and it would have been just fine!) I found that this book has been largely ignored on Amazon – it has one review, one star (so, I have two reviews now on Dawn of the Interns and both are very nice, but it feels weird to me to be thinking that my book is doing better than something by Kit Reed in any capacity) and on Goodreads as well, one review with threeish stars, I gave my own book five stars (I like it. I’ve read it several times years after finishing it and pretending it didn’t exist and I like it. And other authors I respect also gave their books five stars, I feel no shame in liking my own work; I’m filling a niche, man, filling a funny, rodenty niche). And no one discussed the comma! So now I have to find another copy of the paperback or something to sort my punctuation business out. Anyway, the people who reviewed it didn’t seem to like it much, didn’t care about what happened and I guess that’s okay. That wasn’t exactly my experience.
My thing is that, while it’s got that little “a tale of terror” phrase attached to the title, it’s like reading a horror story by someone who is used to horror occurring in real life as opposed to being supernaturally based. There are some supernatural elements in the story, not many though, and they aren’t fully explored. I would have been very pleased if the horror had not been spurred on mainly by a consistently stated terror felt by the characters (I was happy that the priest who heard one of their non-confessions of whining was also annoyed by their inability to be direct about what was going on); if it had been environmentally presented in addition to being regularly stated it would have been better, as that would have allowed much more of a build in unease. To be fair, I am an artist and I suck at sculpture but Mr. Cheese doesn’t and he’s used wax to cast in iron, so I’m not oblivious to artistic processes, even lost wax. I think that gave me an edge in understanding the super-bitch villainess and her drive to keep the Benedict family name at the top of the artistic money chain, even by totally evil means. My artistic familiarity also allowed me to know exactly what the twist was going to be, but it did not play out as I expected – so, I have a lot of respect for that. For all the wailing and teeth gnashing and “you don’t understand!” of the terrified Benedict family members, I definitely will allow that the twist was nicely played out. If they’d said less and acted more creepy than whiny I would have appreciated it more though. There were zero times when I wanted to give up on the story, seemingly unlike other reviewers, and in contrast to the super-bitch villainess there was a meek but working on it heroine and Great Aunt Benta, the Gandalf of the Benedict family, so, yay for multiple fully formed female characters!