“The night the moon bleeds is the night the world will end. There’s death in the moon. And the moon is you.”
Atra Hart has spent the last seven years locked away in Vanishing Plains Psychiatric Hospital. In that time, her shadow has transformed into its own entity and is growing stronger by the day, threatening to devour her mind. She calls that shadow Dread, and only her missing father knows what it is.
When a fire breaks out at the asylum, Atra makes her way to freedom just in time to see an electric-purple rift sunder the sky. Like Dread, the rift is only visible to her.
Atra’s already loose grip on reality unravels when she learns the rift is a gateway to the world of the dead. And the Queen, an ancient evil lurking on its fringes, wants Dread for her own.
Even worse, Atra can’t tell if any of this is really happening. She might have escaped one asylum, but the closer she gets to unearthing answers about Dread, why her father knows it’s there, and its role in the Queen’s plans, the more she risks getting trapped inside her own mind forever.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The story bounces between Atra and Tom, with a few chapters from Ophelia’s perspective. At first, none of the stories seemed to connect.
Atra’s in a psychiatric ward because her shadow (Dread), has a life of its own. No one can see Dread but Atra. She questions her own sanity more often than not, particularly as she becomes more involved with the rift in the sky and what it means for her.
Tom is an accountant in a dead-end job, running from his past. But his past catches up to him at the beginning of his story, and he’s naturally in a panic. He can’t let his secrets be revealed to his wife or his boss, because those secrets might ruin him.
Ophelia assists battered women, a cause that allows her to help them, but also fulfill a certain dark compulsion she has when confronted with the husbands of those she’s been helping. I don’t want to go into details here and ruin the story, but let’s just say she’s more than a little scary.
It takes a while before some of the pieces begin to fit together, but each story arc eventually ties in with the others. (What I’m saying here is: be patient. When it all begins to make sense, the story becomes hard to put down.)
The concept of Atra’s shadow was pretty fascinating. There’s a lot more to it than it seeming to have a life of its own, but to avoid spoilers, I can’t really go into details. I thought it was a cool aspect of this book.
I’m not sure whether to classify it as science fiction or supernatural horror, as it has elements of both. If you’re a fan of either, check this one out. It’s a strange, yet compelling read.