Deep in the mountains of Tennessee a mysterious deity slumbers. In Daryl Greggory’s work Revelator, we meet a long like of women, all (supposedly) born out of wedlock, with striking physical characteristics, and a long line of secrets to protect. Stella should have been next in line to serve as the next revelator, until a tragic accident causes her to run from the only real home and family she has ever known, vowing never to return again. After the death of her “grandmother” she returns to find a young girl (Sunny), with an odd appearance, and very peculiar behavior.
The character arch of Stella is a fantastic literary journey that would entrap the interest of any reader. Stella’s return to the cove is an enticing page turner. Her determination to protect and shelter Sunny from the oppressive nature of her family’s religion makes her an incredibly interesting character. Her journey from young religious prophet to a morally gray bootlegger is a fantastic view into the life of a woman struggling for control of her own life.
Greggory’s work felt like is an interesting take on familial relationships and the potential destructive nature of blind faith. The long line of revelators are used as pawns for the spread of the family’s religion and the profit of their family’s pastors. Every page leaves the reader rooting for Stella and Sunny to escape their family’s grasp and leave to find a better life. The Revelator is a spine-chilling journey no reader will be able to put down.
All These Bodies by Kendare Blake begins with a killing spree across the midwest that stops in the small town of Black Deer Falls, Minnesota. This is where we learn that a small family of four was attacked, leaving three killed and only one surviving infant. In the midst of all this carnage a young teen girl (Marie) is found covered in the blood of the diseased. Is she the victim or the perpetrator? How did she come to be in the middle of this carnage? The sherif’s son (Michael) , is the only one who she will tell her story too. After a rollercoaster of an investigation, the reader is left with more questions than answers.
One of the most interesting aspects of the story is the unidentifiable monster in the closet. There was a string of murders so there was clearly a killer but the killer themselves were never the most prominent part of the story. While I was reading Blake’s work, it appeared that the biggest villain in our story, was fear and the want for speedy, but neglectful, justice. The town of Black Deer Falls was terrified of whoever or whatever brutally murdered one of their own. They wanted to justice, not to wait around for a fair and speedy trail (even if it meant harassing and abusing Michael’s family and friends to get it).
While the idea of the story is very interesting and had a lot of potential, the book itself could have had a little more substance to it. I found the characters to be one dimensional, unsympathetic, unreliable, and at times a little infuriating. For example: Marie our main suspect, seemed to be hostile and uncooperative for no real reason and seems to act only as an antithesis the prosecuting attorney (Benjamin Pilson). Whereas, Michael’s (the story’s protagonist) squeaky clean image wasn’t relatable and we don’t really know much about him apart for his future aspiration to become a journalist. His character fell flat, I wasn’t sure why he was given the authority he had throughout the novel, it was simply unbelievable. All three of these characters mash up into a very unsatisfying story. After I read Blake’s work I was left with more questions than answers. Was the killer a vampire? Was Marie a vampire? Was Marie innocent or was she lying the whole time? Who can really be trusted?