A review by arielmarkenjack
Hungers as Old as This Land by Zachary Rosenberg

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


The #sfnovellaofthemonth for April 2023 is Hungers as Old as This Land by Zachary Rosenberg, forthcoming in May 2023 from Brigid's Gate Press.

I can never resist dipping into anything that seems like it might offer the Weird Western experience I'm always looking for and haven't quite found. I still have yet to find precisely the Weird Western of my dreams (perhaps this means I will have to write it), but I nonetheless thoroughly enjoyed Hungers As Old As This Land.

Rosenberg's fast-paced plot whips through the craggy landscape at breakneck pace, with fists and hooves flying and blood watering the dusty soil. His central characters--Esther and Siobhan--are an endearingly fierce young couple, made more real by their frequent spats and more sympathetic by the way they both work very hard to improve themselves and their relationship. I was rooting for them from the very start, and touched by the support they received from family and community despite their differences from those around them. 

I would have loved to see more exploration of this novella's thematic elements on bigotry and antisemitism. It can be challenging to dig very deep in a novella-length work, and I expect Rosenberg's future work will continue to examine these issues, but in my experience the one flaw of Hungers as Old as This Land was the way it held up important and interesting topics and then did not mine them as deeply as I wanted it to. That's a minor quibble, though, because--despite not going as deep as I hoped--it remained crystal clear that this book's heart was in the right place. 

Overall, Hungers as Old as This Land is a rip-roaring good read I'd recommend to any fan of horror westerns, queer adventure stories, and shadowy creatures sated only by blood.