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PamGodwin

PamGodwin

The Scholomance - R. Lee Smith Welcome to the Scholomance. This isn't a nursery school. It attracts the most depraved humans. Shoving fellow applicants off a Romanian cliff increases the odds of admittance. Tuition is affordable too. That is, if your life has little value. This is a trippy but effective shock-suspense horror about a psychic girl on the hunt for her "missing friend, her best, her only friend." The sick sympathy this book extends to its heartless anti-hero, Mara, separates it millions of worlds away from the traditional hero/villain horror fantasy. Often, it's inappropriately sensual in a beastly-eel-penis kind of way. Sometimes, it's overwrought in a repetitive kind of way. And once in a while, it's shockingly touching. RLS uses the densely mysterious plot to create a tucked away world packed with unforgiving rules, sadistic magic, and terrifying demons with myriad attributes, such as quills, horns, countless eyes, and overlong arms that cling to the memory even if you don't want them to. This exploration into the darkest, filthiest tunnels of the demons' mountain is just as easily a study of the suppressed depth of Mara's true identity. With her knife cut white eyes, she wades through a savage student body and a pompous clergy of demon Masters, panning their nonsensical and frightening truths. Bold, even for a horror novel, it's a touch slow in the middle, but its mission glows like a beacon throughout. Find her friend. Get the hell out of Dodge. Engrossing, different, and very long, this book is poised to reach a narrower audience with its horrific, creepy-crawly tour of the rectum-like passages of the Scholomance, which are vast, dark and skin-slithering alive, by the way. It's not a gore-fest, but you might feel like taking a shower when you're finished. And in the same spirit as RLS' Heat, you might fall in love with the cruel monsters against your best judgement. Really, it's hard to dislike a book in which the fearsome demon consistently asks, "Shall I disrobe?"