Matt Spencer is back with a new edition of his debut novel, THE NIGHT AND THE LAND. It dropped yesterday on May, 13th from Back Roads Carnival Books, but I was happy to read and review the new edition.
Book one of the Deschembine trilogy, we follow Sally Wildfire, who is on the run from her heartless family. Hiding among the exiles of mainstream society, Sally falls in love with Rob, a man with memories of a long gone realm and placing them both on a road to a violent rite of passage. Meanwhile, Sally’s family leaves their mark on the countryside on their way to Brattleboro, where the pair are hiding, marked by blood and corpses.
Coming off his newest novel, Changing of the Guards, this story reads slightly rougher around the edges, but at it’s core is still the fast wit and brutal action that is a trademark of Spencer’s prose. There is little the escapes his notice as he traces Sally and Rob’s journey, while building their relationship amid the carnage.
Readers should take note, as it seems to be feature of Spencer’s books, that they may be too gory for some readers. It does enhance the visceral action throughout the book though, so for some this may be a plus.
The world-building with this is subtle and even though this story takes place mostly in Vermont, there is still plenty of rich backstory and small teases of myth here and there. Spencer’s skill has only been refined overtime and the potential here is a pleasure to read. For a first novel, the story is remarkably strong, filled with memorable characters, and a setting ripe for more stories. It is no surprise that this first book spawned a series.
If you enjoy dark fantasy, do not miss out on THE NIGHT AND THE LAND.