4 Stars - Strongly Recommended / Carr brings the goodness with this novel about shadow suckers
Releases: August 2017
Like a whisper coming off their hearts...
Brian continues to bring the weirdness with his debut novel SIP. Though there are no motherfucking sharks to be found, or plagues of monsters at the end of the world, we are thrown headlong into a future where people are addicted to sipping shadows. Yes, you heard me. Like a hungry little vampires who suck up your blood, humankind discovers an awesome high when they suck up their own shadows.
I know. Sounds kind of harmless, right? Why should we care if someone wants to bend over and sip at their own dark reflection? Well, because once their own shadow is depleted, they begin to prey on others by sipping at their shadow which causes a sort of painful and, once sucked up completely, totally permanent condition in the victim - If your shadow gets sucked dry, you are now ALSO tied to a life of stealing and sipping shadows, or you risk going mad due to sleep deprivation. Because in this brave new world, if you are shadowless, you are unable to find rest until someone's shadow is sitting pretty in your mouth. So it's steal or die. And steal they do.
This is a future of us vs them. Those who still have their shadows intact flee to the Domes, which are safe, established, human outposts. The domes are protected by trains that run nonstop on a circular track and by armed soliders who guard the permiter. It's a militia-like life, with lots of guns and bland food rations and not a whole lot of fun. But hey, you've got your shadow and a good night's rest.
Those who don't want to live a Domers life remain outside, with the shadow addicts, and run the risk of being shadow-sucked, AKA being 'turned'.
Mira, a young girl whose mother had her shadow stolen, isn't interested in being a Domer. Partly because of the fact that her mother wouldn't be welcome, and partly, I think, because of her BFF Murk, who is a shadow addict. Mira, whose shadow is still whole (because she discovered a way to keep it hidden) helps her mom sleep by stealing shadows for her. From their farm animals. And from birds and wild rabbits in the field. Because, oh, did I not mention? You don't have to just steal HUMAN shadows. You can steal shadows from any living thing. And you don't 'turn' unless you SWALLOW the shadow.
So Mira tucks those little sips of shadows into her cheeks and then breathes them lovingly into her mother's mouth. And then mommy-dearest is out cold, dreaming dreams of flight (if it's a bird shadow) or dreams of tunnels and darkness (if it's a rabbit shadow).
On one of their shadow-hunting excersions, Mira and Murk catch wind of a rumor that the shadow sickness can be cured, but only if you were to find and kill the one who stole your shadow (kinda like chasing down big daddy vamp or the alpha werewolf, right?!). And then, only if they are caught and killed before the comet makes its trip back around the earth, which is scheduled to appear any day now. Did someone say roadtrip?! Mira and Murk join forces with a recently exiled Domer and decide to head towards The Town of Lost Souls to hunt down her momma's shadow theif.
The world he creates is nothing less than amazing.
It's lyrical. It's violent. And it's surprisingly sentimental.
SIP is exactly the type of novel that one would expect from Carr - gory and glorious and downright bizarre.