Reviews

The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle

nicobella's review

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3.0

I feel the same about this as I do “The Chosen and the Beautiful” by Nghi Vo: it’s a retelling of a story (in this case Lovecraft’s “Horror at Red Hook”) and without having read it or any Lovecraft I did not appreciate this as much. I didn’t find this a solid novella and I think the storytelling in LaValle’s novel “The Changeling” is stronger. I liked the novel so much that LaValle’s other works are still on my TBR.

bridgette's review

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4.0

Listened to the audio on the drive to the beach. CW for the book for police brutality.

The narration was good. I'm not really a Lovecraft fan, but I do like the idea of old gods, and I really liked having an black man at the center of this story, especially knowing the racism in Lovecraft's stories. It's a bit of a slow burn, but the voice was strong, and the ending made it worth it.

frogggirl2's review

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4.0

This reminds me of a grittier "Lovecraft Country" by Matt Ruff. If you like that or straight up Lovecraft, this is for you.

itskayleighlove's review

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dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

theamon's review

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4.0

:O

judetheunbeliever's review

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dark emotional sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

4.75

ayamimi16's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

trevert's review

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4.0

I'd read a lot of reviews about this prior, all commenting on how it dealt with racism alongside Lovecraftian horror, and that all made me a little leery because damn, I'm tired of writers getting preachy at me in books today (See HERE if you want an example of this). However, I'm pleased to say this was an exception - Indeed, the overall message could be summed up as, "Yes, humans engage in some horribly fucked-up bigotry, but that still pales compared to all life being devoured by a gigantic alien monster."

The story of our main character trying to survive in 1920's Harlem and dealing with the parts of the city that he's just not supposed to enter is still harrowing and tragic, however, and it's a damning look into how entrenched a lot of bigotry is in our lives and systems. Tom is a nice guy and is trying hard, but events drive him into an increasingly insane world of mythos horror just from trying to make the rent. It's as much an indictment of the system of the working poor as it is of race. An invitation to do a paid gig for a rich man's party becomes a descent into monsters, hideous alien worlds, and general insanity, and like all the best Lovecraftian fiction, everything ends rather badly.

BUT... It's also damn good. The audiobook is short, just 3+ hours, and I think Lovecraft fiction works best in short form as a lot of 11 hour Cthulhu books just become a bit plodding and monotonous in trying to maintain a mood of doom for so long. Here, the story is tight and solid and the perfect length to draw you in and smother you in tentacles. Recommended!

bawa's review

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3.0

"To HP Lovecraft, with all my conflicted feelings"

É um retelling de Horror at Red Hook e ABSOLUTAMENTE incrível.

lqualey's review

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4.0

Amazing. A love letter to the cosmic terror and dread of the Cthulu mythos, while at the same time taking a baseball bat to Lovecraft's ridiculous racist ideas. I am so happy I picked this up.