Book Review



  • Author: Tamsyn Muir
  • Genre: Horror
  • Publication Date: November 15, 2022
  • Publisher: Amazon Original Stories
  • Series: Into Shadow #5

CONTENT WARNING: gore, blood, violence

Rating: 4 out of 5.

When a stranger comes to town, secrets are sure to come out. New York Times bestselling author Tamsyn Muir spins a twisty—and twisted—short story of revenge and survival.

A fresh-faced newcomer arrives in an isolated, gang-run town and soon finds herself taking a job nobody else wants: bodyguard to a ghoul. Not just your average mindless, half-rotted shuffler, though. Lucille is a dancer who can still put on her own lipstick and whose shows are half burlesque, half gladiator match. But the stranger is no stranger to this particular ghoul. Both women are undercover in their own way. And both have something to lose if their connection comes to light.

It feels like I might be the only book blogger who hasn’t jumped on the Tamsyn Muir train yet, but space operas just aren’t my thing. So I was a little nervous going into this one, not quite knowing what to expect. Now that I’ve actually finished reading, I can safely say that whatever I would have guessed, it would have been completely wrong, and I’m glad that I went into this with no preconceived notions.

This is a dark, gritty, and surprisingly intriguing story that took me a couple of chapters to get into, but once I passed that point, I was way more invested than I thought I would be. Ghouls are basically a nicer way of saying zombies, but Lucille is a relatively high-functioning zombie—she wears makeup and is a showgirl who incorporates her “hunts” into her routines. 

However, for such a short story (58 pages), I think that it tries to take on too much. It’s kind of confusing for a lot of it, and I had questions that weren’t really answered by the end of the story. This could have been so much more fleshed out in a longer story. Between the ghouls, the gangster setting, the Widower and her beef with the Charlies, and both Starr and Lucille, I had more questions that weren’t answered.

But overall, this was a pretty interesting read, and my biggest complaint basically sums up as that it wasn’t longer. There’s some pretty serious action in the story, and it is a dark and violent setting. I love the lesbian representation in the stories, especially the ones who are clearly mentally unbalanced, and the plot twists had me incredibly surprised. Muir has so much talent, and after reading this, I’m definitely considering trying her other books even though space operas generally aren’t my thing.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 4

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