AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: https://cwsnyder.net
SERIES: The Balance
PUBLISHED: November 20, 2018 by Curiosity Quills Press
GENRE: Dark Fantasy, Horror
Alice hoped to find peace after the death of the Red Queen. Instead, she faces a new foe: a plague of madness that threatens to bring Nod to its knees, shaking the foundations of the afterlife. Forced to flee from her home and abandon her throne, she is led on a journey that has the potential to remake or break her.
From the forest world of the Fae to the expanse of the multiverse, Alice and Zee search desperately for a cure before it’s too late. Along the way, they meet new companions and enemies – the powerful and deadly Magi, the changeling princess Maggie, and the Triad, a sinister trio of brothers who would stop at nothing to subjugate all they see.
The fate of Nod hangs in the balance, and the key might just lie in the one place Alice has never dared to go – the depths of her own mind.
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She knew the storm would have to come, because without rain, there was no life, and without life, there was no meaning.
Once again the fate of Nod rests in the hands of Alice, now Queen of the realm. With hopes that her people can finally find the peace they deserve, a whole new threat bears down on the unsuspecting population, a threat that could tear apart the very fabric of the multiverse itself. Alice embarks on a quest riddled with monsters, pain, and sacrifice, in order to keep the promise she made to protect her people. She seeks aid and allies in unexpected places to prevail over the howling voice seeking refuge in the darkest corners of her mind. But is it enough or will all fall into nothingness?
Queen of Nod is a highly imaginative, creative, and immersive journey into madness. It’s a cautionary tale of the repercussions faced when attempting to gain unwarranted and undeserved power, and how greed for more only leads to corruption and anguish. Of being comfortable with and confident in yourself, unwilling to change to appease others, and battling those parts of yourself you loathe, emerging the victor and becoming something new, even if the cost is great. While it may be easier to follow the examples of others, their paths may lead you astray, and the only way to prevent getting lost in the darkness is to follow your own heart.
“I think at this point we’re all a little mad.”
Snyder continues to amaze me with his exceptionally unique and surreal The Balance series with this eerie sophomore addition. Where I found Child of Nod to be a whimsical adventure, this story is more of an artistic, darker amalgamation of psychological thriller, epic and high fantasy, and horror. It’s beautifully poetic and metaphorical, while using fragments such as ‘sunlight filtering through the leaves and branches like knives stabbing the gloom” and “rocks smoothed by gentle tide and time” to exquisitely bathe you in the surrounding world. References to folklore and mythology bring in a whole new understanding to the various aspects of the world without being explicitly exposed, often leading to the formation of your own interpretations and conclusions.
The characters are superbly complex, flawed, and forced to not only fight the monsters that stalk the dark, but the demons they carry within. Alice and Zee perfectly balance and influence each other, even though they initially appear to be polar opposites. While it’s great to see familiar faces, new strange and exciting characters join the already colorful cast – there’s never a dull moment along this adventure. The threat is chilling, urgent, and palpable, pulling influence from myths and Lovecraftian horror, making this impossible to put down. The settings we’re dropped into are ghastly, often hellish nightmarescapes we have to pick our way through to find the light of safety. In all honesty, what could be more haunting and terrifying than an excursion into the human mind?
The thing they don’t tell you about hunting monsters is it’s always dark…The light reminds them of what they are.
I’m loving this series to pieces. It’s weird and fantastical with splashes of humor, all while delving down the deep and dark rabbit hole of exploration of human nature. It’s intelligent and eyeopening and tragic, yet hopeful for a brighter future. Queen of Nod has a little bit of something for everyone and I highly recommend giving it a try.