Title: The Atrocities
Author : Jeremy C. Shipp
Publication Date: 04/17/18
“Jeremy Shipp brings you The Atrocities, a haunting gothic fantasy of a young ghost’s education
When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn’t suffer.
But Isabella’s parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella’s… condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor.
Or is there…?” (Synopsis from Goodreads)
★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆ ★ ☆
I have to say… for the first half of this novel–every time I stopped to reflect on my reading, I was thinking “what the actual heck am I reading?!”… This novel is super dark, super eerie, and sometimes, just plain super weird. And most of the time, I love that.. but there was just so much going on in this novel. The setting is over-the-top horrifying and dark.. creeping sculptures (“The Atrocities”), gruesome paintings on the walls, strange happenings… everything you see in a horror movie, but ‘next level’ dark. And the main character is experiencing these odd flashbacks (dreams? hallucinations?) connected to her mysterious past, that are some of the most intense state-of-consciousness experiences I have ever read—I’m talking holes in the walls with eyes peering through them, decaying body parts, and a very psych-ward feel to the setting of these images.
My opinions changed significantly in the second half. Once I became invested in the PLOT instead of the SETTING, I was flipping pages like crazy, trying to figure out what was going on. Being as short of a read as it is, I really can’t get much into the plot without exposing spoilers, but it is very much a mystery mixed with horror. There are questions of paranormal entities vs psychological manifestations–and ultimately a questioning of perception vs reality (at least in my opinion..).
At only 100 pages, this is a fairly quick read that I honestly wish would have been longer. There were so many little questions that lingered with me and I found myself totally over-analyzing the ending of the novel. There were also several mentionings of a tragic backstory for our main character that was really left as a tantalizing ‘unknown’. I would have loved to have seen more of these things fleshed out on the pages of Shipp’s work.
There are so many things I would love to discuss and contemplate with others (because the ending is slightly ambiguous and I’m not certain that the entire story isn’t highly symbolic and containing multiple layers of meaning..)— but I don’t want to spoil anything. If you have read or are going to read this title, hit me up on IG or GoodReads so that we can chat about this dark and strange little novel!
**My mixed feelings in the beginning vs the end made this (along with the short length of the book) a very difficult book to provide a rating for. This is a very strong 3.5 rating. I think that for people who love this genre.. this will be a great little read!
Thank you to Jeremy C. Shipp and Torr for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.