Friday, June 19, 2020

ARC Review: Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

Title: Burn Our Bodies Down 
Author: Rory Power
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
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Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.

But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.

Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?

The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

Last year, Wilder Girls became one of my unexpected favorite books of all time. I am obsessed with weird horror books and Wilder Girls certainly fit the bill. When I saw that Rory Power was writing a new horror novel, I couldn't wait to grab a copy and dive in!

Burn Our Bodies Down follows Margot on her quest to find family outside of her mother, the only relative she's known. As luck would have it, Margot stumbles upon a clue to help her get there and follows it to Phalene, where she finds her grandmother and a town that's wary of her. At first, Margot is thrilled to have found what she's been searching for, but things gradually become more strange as she realizes there's something sinister about her grandmother and their home. 

My favorite thing about Burn Our Bodies Down, like with Wilder Girls, is the incredible world building. Rory Power knows how to craft a world that draws you in and makes you feel uneasy from the very start. Even before Margot found her way to Phalene, I was already feeling that creeping sense of dread this author is so great at creating. 

While this book did a great job at building tension and creating an incredibly atmospheric world, I couldn't help but feel like it was missing something. The horror aspect I expected took way too long to show up and things were a bit too slow for my taste. I am always here for the super weird, but the delivery of this just didn't hit the same way as Wilder Girls. I think part of my issue is that much of this book feels like your standard contemporary fiction, which isn't something I usually care for. 

Still, Burn Our Bodies Down had some wild twists at the end and I definitely enjoyed the creepy farm setting. There were lots of unique ideas here and I'm eager to see what Rory Power writes next!