Thanks to Tor.com and the author for a finished copy of The Atrocities in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy did not influence my thoughts or opinions on the novella.
Part ‘The Boy’ and part ‘Alice in Wonderland’ with Gothic influence, The Atrocities is a nightmare-filled, trippy waltz that delivers on the weird side of horror. Strange and original, this was a story that kept me engaged until the end. Having said that, the end felt like Season 2 of True Detective: a rushed letdown.
Our protagonist, Ms. Valdez, arrives at the dilapidated mansion, Stockton House, to begin her new job as governess to the estate’s heiress, Isabella. Only, there is no Isabella to teach, or so it seems. As things begin to spiral out of her control, Stockton House reveals more to Ms. Valdez than she bargained for. The secrets that lie beneath its surface begin to permeate through the walls and into her mind, clouding reality.
The Atrocities is my introduction to Shipp’s works and probably won’t be my last. The writing style is gripping and led to some quite terrifying moments, and the originality of the story was definitely engaging. I can see how this novella wouldn’t be for the casual reader as it does flip between extremes as times and makes you scratch your head a bit. But if you can get past that and just enjoy the author’s ability to put paint to the canvas, you are in for a treat.
Overall, if you enjoy Gothic horror, or horror tied to emotional distress, this one is right up your alley. The ending may not stay with you, but the meat of the story will captivate.