Mary: An Awakening of Terror Review

I am so excited to talk about my favorite book so far this year. The premise is of a peri-menopausal woman going back to the town she grew up in to a family she is estranged from and figuring out what happened in her past and how that fits with who she is now. Like most women as they get older, Mary feels invisible, men looking right through her, and feeling lost in life, wondering where the time has gone. She also has some strange things happening to her: she can’t look in the mirror without fainting and people keep dying around her when she gets home. The book being written by a male-identifying person made me hesitant, constantly on guard for misogyny, and any tells that this wasn’t written by someone who “got it”. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

I fully expected flat, one-dimensional characters, no depth, and just jump-scares. Nat Cassidy expertly avoided all of this. I feel somewhat ashamed that I was expecting to be disappointed, and owe him an apology. He writes an immersive story with vivid environments and vibrant characters. The imagery his writing evokes still has me obsessed, and I can’t wait to get the physical copy. I really felt connected with Mary, and was constantly thinking/saying, “I know exactly what you mean!” when she mentioned her feelings of inadequacies and loss. I love Mary and feel like she could be my friend. The other characters in the story are also well developed and have their own personality. Aunt Nadine is my personal favorite of the side characters. She is sarcastic and mean, but tells it like it is.

Cassidy’s writing style is simultaneously beautiful and harsh. He pulls no punches and it feels like the character is sitting with you just sharing their day. It’s immersive and really pulls you into the story, you feel the claustrophobia of being in the walls and in Mary’s skin, you can smell the dust and blood. I would talk about the imagery and story more, but I would literally be giving it away. All I can say is it has haunted me since I read it, and I may have to reread it again soon.

I would classify this as a serial killer horror with a touch of paranormal, so if you liked The Silence of the Lambs and My Sister, The Serial Killer but also enjoyed The Changeling, you would love this one.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5/5 stars. My favorite so far this year.

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