Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winterland by Mike Duran


Summoned into her dying mother’s coma, recovering addict Eunice Ames must traverse a surreal, apocalyptic dreamscape in search of three generational spirits who have imprisoned her mother’s soul.

Together with Joseph, a crippled drifter who serves as her guide, Eunice treks an abandoned highway strewn with debris from her mother’s “emotional” wars. Along the way, she encounters Mister Mordant, a perpetually whiny grub, Reverend Ash a fragile, supremely self-righteous minister, and Sybil, a beautiful sylph with a knack for deception. Eunice and Joseph endeavor to lead this peculiar brigade into the hell of her mother’s making, through the swamp of Mlaise and the volcanic plains of Cinder, to the Dark Throne where they were forged. Along the way, Eunice experiences, in awful living color, the forces that have shaped her mother’s descent into madness and disease.

Yet a more malevolent power conspires against Eunice. For not only is she forced to relive the psychological terrain of her own upbringing, she must now confront the darkness it has spawned... the one inside her. It seems Eunice has harbored horrors of her own; years of abuse, rejection, and generational sin have taken root. And no amount of psycho-babble and positive thinking can withstand the literal monster that is waiting at the end of this highway. Can Eunice destroy the spirits that have cursed her family and rescue her mother, or will the sun set on their hell forever?


I don't know that I can really do my regular pros and cons for this. For one thing, I can't decide if I really love or really dislike this book. It's just...weird. Like a very odd mix of horror/dark fantasy and The Wizard of Oz. It's creepy and mystical and wacky. Yet, I appreciated the allegorical aspects of the book and the triumphant (I can't say happy) ending.

It's definitely not for young teens--I don't know if I'd recommend it for anyone under 18, partially because of the hinted-at content, but mostly because it was so dark.

There's nothing I can say against Mike Duran's writing. He is definitely a master of words. The descriptions and turns of Phrase pulled me into the book just as much as Eunice and the plot did.

My rating: four and a half stars.


Kat Heckenbach said...

Agreed. I thought Winterland was very weird and atmospheric, and Mike's way with words eerily poetic. The only thing I differ with you on here is that I thought a couple spots could have been scarier--but I guess that shows a difference in taste, not talent :).

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