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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Pretty/Ugly is a work of fiction in the horror, thriller, and social issues subgenres, and was penned by author Jennifer Anne Gordon. The work is intended for the mature adult reading audience and contains the use of explicit language throughout, as well as moderate sexual content and references. Our protagonists are Omelia, a damaged young woman hiding behind the veneer of social media and using it to live the life she wants instead of what she has, and Sam, the heir to a political dynasty, who is listless and ready to rage against the drudgery of his life. Their coming together begins a surreal, tragic, and beautiful dystopian adventure into the darkest corners of our souls.
Author Jennifer Anne Gordon has crafted an emotive and highly visual work of fiction with plenty of clever and unique horror elements to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the sense of duality that runs throughout, from the well-placed juxtapositions of the veneer of the ‘high-life' world and the dark, terrifying realities of the horror fantasy elements which leave both central figures reeling with confusion and terror. These jarring sensations hit home in the hearts of Omelia and Sam, whose inner conflicts are beautifully staged to make them very relatable despite the bizarre and extreme circumstances unfolding around them, which grounds the plot in reality and makes it all the more unnerving and resonant. Overall, I would highly recommend Pretty/Ugly to fans of psychological horror fables, emotional dystopian personalities, and for fans of immersive fantasy writing everywhere.