Fallow Heart

Young Adult - Horror
406 Pages
Reviewed on 09/03/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Seventeen-year-old Lorelei ‘Lori’ Blake was attacked by a strange beast on her way to work, and convinced that she was going to die right away. Yet, she awakes some time later on the same pathway, with the beast nowhere to be found. The only evidence that something had happened is a crescent-shaped scar over her heart. When her dad’s annoying girlfriend ends up dead, with half of her lower body missing, and a bully in her class dies with a broken neck, Lori feels that a company called D.C. (Demonicus Capitulum) is her only choice for help. However, a mysterious busker, Kasabian, tells her things that the D.C. people never bothered to inform her.

The intriguing Fallow Heart by K.C. Finn is engaging from start to finish. I liked the story premise right away, and the characterization is solid in terms of character development. It’s easy to root for Lori, who depressingly acknowledges her life as a miserable, lonely, and overweight teen. Her family situation isn’t helping either. That said, Lori’s own low self-esteem can be more damaging than what she becomes. The plot is fast-paced, has good fight scenes and thrilling moments. The anticipation of what was going to happen next kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought I could figure out some parts of the plot’s direction, but Finn put good, unpredictable twists. The otherworldly forms of the characters are incredible, and it would be interesting to see them illustrated.

Fallow Heart is definitely an expected delight, as this is not the first of K.C. Finn’s books that I’ve read. Finn’s narrative skill solidly evokes strong emotions and bring her characters to life in an imaginative story. I hope a sequel is in the works- I would like to read more about Lori, Marax, Allardyce, Owe, and Addy. This may be a YA imprint, but older readers can enjoy it as well.

Kell Cowley

Body horror meets body dysmorphia is this dark fantasy thriller. When we first meet "fat friendless virgin" Lori Blake she is waking up from a half remembered trauma that somehow involved a fearsome horned demon. The mysterious scar left on her chest tells her that her experience wasn't a hallucination. And pretty soon Lori is being stalked by all manner of creepy strangers with rivaling agendas, not to mention a trail of blood and bodies that keeps leading back to her. And then there's the voice of self-loathing in her head that seems to grow more powerful and malicious by the day.

What I loved most about Fallow Heart was the different levels this story operates on. First there's the horror layer, which is equal parts gruesome gore and psychological chills. Then as Lori begins to investigate all the demonic carnage suddenly surrounding her, it feels more like a fantastical detective story with its own very captivating mythology. But put the supernatural elements aside and this novel could also be read as an allegory of a teenage girl struggling with body issues and extreme self-loathing. Lori clearly has demons long before her heart is marked by one, but I loved how her mental health issues were amplified through the magical storytelling. I also loved how this metaphor was extended through the different conditions that the other Sown kids are suffering with at the DC clinic. So much to sink your teeth into here. I'd recommend this dark urban fantasy noir to fans of Neil Gaiman, Holly Black and Kendare Blake.