Book Review Horror fiction Speculative Fiction

TIDE OF STONE BY KAARON WARREN

There is much to like about this novel. It takes chances with style by including the Keeper’s reports leading up to where the POV of the main character Philippa takes over. It takes chances with content, too, by confronting our own assumptions and moral principles around justice and punishment of the most violent criminals. As a horror novel, it does have that creeping sense of dread from the beginning (we know Philippa will never be the same again after her twelve-month stint in the tower as the Keeper), disturbing imagery (one poor woman had some unusual objects pushed up her vagina by the criminals), and above all, a creepy atmosphere from the setting. This tower is a time ball. Every hour the stone ball drops. It’s an effective symbol. Time is always on the Keeper’s minds, as it is the criminals who have chosen eternal life over the death penalty.

In 2019, Tide of Stone was a finalist for a Locus Award for a Horror Novel. Other nominees can be found here: FINALISTS 

Other works by Kaaron Warren:

https://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/books

This is one of those novels that have more impact after you’ve finished reading it because of the ending, the theme of compassion, and the vivid and subtle imagery. I will be reading more by Kaaron Warren, probably Slights next, which depicts madness.

Here is my review on TikTok.

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