Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Slights by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)

Slights is the first novel from Kaaron Warren and what a debut it is!

It is being labeled as a horror novel but there isn't a vampire or a zombie in sight here; in Slights Kaaron Warren explores a different kind of horror, one that is chilling, brutal and all too human.

Slights chronicles the slow descent into madness of Stevie, a young woman with a damaged soul.  When we meet her, Stevie and her mother have gotten into a car accident.  Her mother dies but Stevie finds herself in "a dark room" filled with every person that she has ever slighted in her life, who are waiting to exact their revenge on her.  She survives the accident but is curious about the dark room, what it means and if others experience the same thing and from here her curiousity becomes a terrible obsession.

Warren has won the Ditmar Award for Best Novel of 2010 and the Shadows Award for Best Fiction of 2009 for Slights and it is a no brainer as to why.  The novel is beyond brilliant, a depraved masterpiece of psychological horror.  I don't believe I've ever read anything quite like it and it has definitely quenched my thirst for a truly disturbing read that I couldn't put down.  There were passages that were brutal to read yet I soldiered on and believe me when I say that this book will live with me for a long time. Yes, I thought it lengthy, with a slow buld up but the pay off in the end is completely worth the journey that Warren takes us on. What Warren has done with Slights is to have written a book that will be talked about for years to come, a book that is a shining example of how literate and beautiful horror can be while keeping all those zombies and vamps in its formidable shadow.

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