It's an exciting day because this fantastic book is out in the world and now I can finally talk about it! I had the privilege to read this one early on and have been champing at the bit to finally be able to share it with you all.
I know I usually don't review books like this, but in my secret heart of hearts, I'm a huge horror fan and I love books that scare the bejeezus out of me, and keep me up late into the night turning the pages to find out what happens next.
This book is one of those.
It has two protagonists, Rurik, a circus strong-man turned security guard, and Sylvie, a member of an ancient sect who call themselves Bloodwalkers and take it upon themselves to care for the dead. Each of Sylvie's chapters is prefaced with a quote from the Bloodwalker's book - a kind of manual for caring for corpses. I loved these little snippets and they added an extra layer of world building to the book.
But on to the real meat of the story…
The book follows Rurik as he hunts down a killer who has been preying on children in every town the circus pitches its tents, and Sylvie as she suffers through an arranged marriage to a brute who doesn't care about the customs of the people he's descended from. Their wedding is held in the circus grounds which is how Rurik and Sylvie cross paths the first time.
Yet it isn't the last time.
As the bodies pile up, Sylvie and Rurik cross paths again, until both find themselves in an abandoned factory in a remote area, fighting off an unimaginable foe.
This is a beautifully written book. The action keeps the story moving at a cracking pace, and the descriptions are startlingly original and evocative. I dare anyone to try and put it down once they start because it's one of those books with a massive cliff hanger at the end of every chapter.
I can't wait for the next book by L.X. Cain.
But in case you don't trust me, here's the blurb:
Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…
When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.
Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.
Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.
When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable…