Sorrowland was certainly an interesting read. At the tender age of 15, flees from Cainland, the isolated compound where she has spent her entire life, and makes a life for herself and her twin children in the woods. The spectre of Cainland and its dark secrets continues to threaten Vern, Howling and Feral even in the wilderness and they find themselves in a fight for their very survival.
I was really taken with the beginning of the book, I was intrigued by Vern’s story and eager to learn the truth about Cainland. I was also incredibly impressed by the diverse representation in the book – albinism, disability, LGBTQIA2S+, BIPOC. I adored the characters especially Howling and Feral, and I was so happy when Vern and her twins built a “found family” with Gogo and Bridget. Rivers Solomon created empowered characters that faced racism, abuse, homophobia, transphobia, religious indoctrination, and yet refused to accept oppression or succumb to circumstance. I really wanted to give the book 5 stars … and then the big reveal.
Warning – Spoilers ahead.
For more than half of the book I had assumed a supernatural/haunting theme to the story and then suddenly the book switches gears and we’re into government conspiracies, human experimentation and hybridization with sentient fungi. That’s where Solomon lost me, it just seemed very disjointed and I just couldn’t suspend disbelief a as Vern turned into an immortal, psychic, exoskeleton covered fungus creature. It became hard for me to remain engaged in the story and I almost DNF’d the book. It was unfortunate because Sorrowland had started out so strong. Maybe other people will appreciate the book’s twist, but it simply wasn’t for me. I did really enjoy the author’s rich storytelling and character building though, so I’d still be willing to try reading more of their work in the future.
Thanks to NetGalley and Farrar, Straus and Giroux for providing an eARC of this book for review.