We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Other Possible Prompts: 5. Chapters have titles, 8. Involving the art world, 22. An unlikely detective, 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name

This is not my favorite Grady Hendrix, not by a long shot. I knew it wasn’t going to be, but what a bummer! I just really, really hate band books I think. This was no exception.

Spurred by a gap in her own personal sense of time, Kris Pulaski embarks to find what’s left of her Dürt Würk metal bandmates from the 90s. Believing their former lead singer to have sold their souls to “Black Iron Mountain”, she endeavours on an epic road trip to find all her former bandmates and stop Terry “The Blind King” before his Hellfest ’19 music festival: which Kris believes will bring the end times.

If this synopsis sounds like a bad trip, that’s because it is. I love Grady Hendrix’ creativity, but this one was so far gone to me I couldn’t keep up. Whatever it was, it made a lot of sense to the characters…but I guess I missed that critical point where everything was supposed to click. I got the general idea of things, like “Black Iron Mountain = bad”. But it just took things a lot further than my mind was willing to go.

Good god, I have absolutely no idea why I still try to read books about bands. Excepting Daisy Jones & The Six, which to this day remains one of my favorites ever, I can’t think of a single book about a band that I liked or cared about. That atmosphere, those types of characters: I really dislike everything about them. I should’ve known to quit while I was ahead when it came to Hendrix and this novel. It doesn’t alter my opinion of Hendrix as a writer, because I cannot objectively say this a bad book. My judgments here are heavily based on my bias.

And speaking of Hendrix, his horror writing skills remain top notch. Nothing about the scenes of horror in here were bad, I just couldn’t be bothered to care if the characters lived or died through them. Is that bad? I’m also very curious where they all found their wills to live, particularly Kris: her life had gone to complete crap, she finds out her former bandmate sold her soul for fame and money, and she’s like… “better go round everybody up and stop him”. I’d just lay down and cry, frankly. Even so, Hendrix remains one of few writers who can unfold a jump scare movie in my mind. Even if I did not care for this story, I cannot deny it is written with giving the reader the creepy crawlies in mind – and succeeds.

This book really did just…bore me. I hate saying it but it’s so true. I couldn’t stop zoning out, and the only character I was really invested in was Melanie. I can’t go any higher than 2.5 stars for good horror, but a bad story. I just didn’t like it for me, and I don’t think I’m the only one…no one talks about this novel when they talk about Grady Hendrix.

So thus concludes my thoughts, of which there are few, on We Sold Our Souls. I won’t say it’s not up to his standard; I just really, really didn’t like it. I’ve used a lot of really’s and very’s…point being, not for me.

Have a great week, peeps!

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 5. Chapters have titles

Other Possible Prompts: 23. An author with an X, Y, or Z in their name, 36. Recommended by a favorite author

Not a lot of prompts for this one! I want to be able to fill it in somewhere but none of these feel too good as a fit. I may end up moving this around later on.

I picked up Survivor Song last summer and finally got around to reading it this year. I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t wow me. Let’s jump in!

A unique and very powerful, fast-moving strain of rabies has hit New England. People are quarantined to their homes until they can vaccinate enough animals to reduce the threat. Meanwhile, people getting bit are reacting within hours, becoming feverish, delusional, and very, very violent.

After nine-months pregnant Natalie is bitten by a crazed man who kills her husband, she meets up with her best friend, Rams – a pediatrician in the area who was about to be called in for her shift at the now overrun hospital. Time is running out for Natalie to receive the rabies vaccine to slow the spread – but what’s worse is that they cannot guarantee it will work. Navigating a world fraught with misinformation and government neglect, the two race to get Natalie to a working hospital to deliver her child before infection digs in its teeth.

First things first, this book is not for the faint of heart. Like, at all. There are some scenes so brutal and gory, I was gagging just reading them. I feel like it has to be, given the situation, but it can be really hard to read if you don’t like that stuff or can’t stomach it (which is me, most of the time).

It’s in these moments, though, of extreme gore or pain or anxiety, that I can see why Tremblay is a revered horror writer. He is quite good. The scenes he depicts are well written and most certainly horrifying….I just don’t know as if the apocalyptic stage is for him. I am curious to read some of his other, more paranormal/ghosty novels now. I might pick up one or two just for comparison’s sake.

This book is also quite difficult to read post-COVID quarantine, if that affected you mentally (which I think it has to all of us, in one form or another). You may think you’d be okay to read this, but there are some stark connections to humanity that don’t paint either situation in a pretty light – and it can be very hard to read without getting upset. Especially given its release time, and the dates that they used, I think it’s fairly obvious COVID was always meant to be the inspiration, but some of the similarities are jarring. People’s response to misinformation was especially nerve-wracking.

I found Natalie’s character to be quite annoying, which made me feel bad in the end, because she’s obviously going to be a quite different person in such a stressful situation. Rams handles it better, but Rams is also in a position to handle it better. I’d be freaking out if I were Natalie too…but her freaking out is pretty darn annoying sometimes.

I think this one just didn’t ~wow~ me. It’s pretty hard to wow me as of late. This is a good story but it just didn’t have me like “better recommend this to someone, stat”. Nah. Like I said though I think Tremblay spins a good yarn, maybe this just isn’t his wheelhouse. I think this one primarily became so popular because of COVID and the parallels between the two.

Have an awesome week, friends.