Blurb Book Review: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd (spoilers ahead)

Image from Goodreads.com

This book was fantastic, multi-layered, and engrossing. I’m honestly not sure where to begin.

The plot: People are losing their shadows. Without warning and without prejudice, the shadow just detaches and vanishes. When someone’s shadow is lost, they can do magic.

They can re-route roads, create walls of water, put wings on antlers, or make entire areas disappear. But there’s a cost: the loss of memories. The pull of magic is almost too much to resist, so the person will eventually forget what food or water is and perish.

While the book is told from four character’s perspectives, two stood out to me.

The first was Max. She loses her shadow two years after the phenomenon begins and decides to leave her husband, Ory, and the safety of the abandoned hotel they’d been holing up in. She takes her tape recorder with her and dictates her memories. While travelling she meets up with others who are heading to New Orleans, where they’d heard there might be help for the shadowless.

The author did a fantastic job of writing the slow loss of Max’s memory. At first Max doesn’t seem to be forgetting anything, but once her memories are noticeably failing, they degrade rapidly.

The second was The Amnesiac. This is a character who, just before The Forgetting incident, was in a car accident and lost all his memories. Diagnosed with complete retrograde amnesia, he recalls how to speak, what to eat, and whatnot but has no personal memories. While he’s told he loved sailing, it was just data to him, not something where he could feel the salt spray on his face.

He works with a doctor and the very first person to lose their shadow. As The Forgetting progresses, The Amnesiac tries to continue the doctor’s work of searching for a way to re-attach shadows to people. These new shadows don’t hold the memories of the person, though. A shadow of a rock will make a person comatose. A shadow of a book will give false memories.

The Amnesiac is able to use the dictation to create a new shadow, but does that shadow belong where it’s stitched? The author had me guessing right up until the reveal, which was fantastic.

I want to read this again, just to see if I can pick up the clues of the ending sooner. Also because the author’s rich worldbuilding had me engrossed from the first page to the last. Excellent book, and I’m eager to read more by this author.

Shameless Self Promotion

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Image from Goodreads.com? Hell yes.

I’m in a writing group and we’ve made an anthology. This is the fourth for the group, although I’ve only participated in this one. My story, SPAWN BOX, can be found on page 165. Tiny review: it’s about a box that spawns in a pawn shop, and the contents send the shop owner on an adventure. Yes, using a map.

The theme of the anthology is maps, so all stories feature one somehow. I won’t review the stories because I don’t feel like that would be fair. I know these people and I can get a bit brutal if I don’t like the story. Having said that, mine’s the best, in my opinion. That’s my bias showing, I’ll tuck it back in. If you’re interested, you can purchase the book here.

Another story I wrote (I did warn you, this post is self promotion) can be found here. This was written for a competition and had to feature specific elements. I didn’t win, but the stories that did are good. My story is called UNCLOCKING THE ILLUSION and features the same pawn shop as the one in the above anthology, although written in a slightly different narrative voice.

This concludes my promotion of me. Back to book reviews in the next post.