From the acclaimed author of Spoonbenders comes the gripping tale of a family's mysterious religion, and the daughter who turns her back on their god.
In 1933, nine-year-old Stella is left in the care of her grandmother, Motty, in the backwoods of Tennessee. These remote hills of the Smoky Mountains are home to dangerous secrets, and soon after she arrives, Stella wanders into a dark cavern where she encounters the family's personal god, an entity known as the Ghostdaddy.
Years later, after a tragic incident that caused her to flee, Stella--now a professional bootlegger--returns for Motty's funeral, and to check on the mysterious ten-year-old girl named Sunny that Motty adopted. Sunny appears innocent enough, but she is more powerful than Stella could imagine--and she's a direct link to Stella's buried past and her family's destructive faith.
Haunting and wholly engrossing, summoning mesmerizing voices and giving shape to the dark, Revelator is a southern gothic tale for the ages.
About Daryl Gregory
Award-winning author of Revelator, The Album of Dr. Moreau, Spoonbenders, We Are All Completely Fine, and others. Some of his short fiction has been collected in Unpossible and Other Stories.
He's won the World Fantasy Award, as well as the Shirley Jackson, Crawford, Asimov Readers, and Geffen awards, and his work has been short-listed for many other awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon awards . His books have been translated in over a dozen languages, and have been named to best-of-the-year lists from NPR Books, Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal.
He is also the writer of Flatline an interactive fiction game from 3 Minute Games, and comics such as Planet of the Apes.
He's a frequent teacher of writing and is a regular instructor at the Viable Paradise Writing Workshop.
In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda — and he begins to move.
The family hides the child — whom they name Stony — rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret — until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.
In Part I, the Mayhall family find a woman long dead on the side of the road with a baby wrapped up inside her coat. Shortly after, Wanda Mayhall realizes what he really is, yet decides that they are going to keep him anyways and hide him from the world. We watch Stony change and literally grow from a baby into a young man just as any normal living human being does. We watch him become an integral part of the Mayhall family and develop into his own unique person. This was my favorite part of the novel.
Following Part I, which I was absolutely in love with, there was a major shift in the story and I wasn’t exactly on board with it. It became overly political, it became slightly philosophical, and I realize in retrospect that this was the world that the author was creating but it wasn’t exactly how I thought the story was going to go (or how I would have preferred it to go). I did enjoy the scientific aspects of the story and how the Living Dead were researching to find out what made them the way they are and what made it possible.
’Here was Thomas’s blood before he died, six hours after the bite: perfectly normal. And here was Thomas’s blood after he passed, at the 6:12 mark: dark, viscous, waxy. The transformation had occurred between observations, like the state change in a quantum particle. Like death itself.’
Many parts of this book required a certain amount of imagination. The idea behind the zombies in this book was that “Consciousness was the key.” At one point Stony explains how he once removed one of his toes and yet it still failed to decompose even though it was completely separated from his body. Once the toe was finally off his mind and he had failed to continue checking on it and thinking about it, only then did it finally start rotting and decomposing. I found this to be quite an interesting concept yet extremely hard to understand. Was that the only thing that kept these zombies ‘alive’? That if they had stopped thinking about themselves as a living dead person would they simply cease to exist?
’Where one dead thing ended and another began was largely a problem of perception and definition.’
I was overall disappointed with this book; however, I think that was largely because I was expecting something different entirely. I thought the storyline with the LD ‘governments’ and the plans being hatched by them was pretty strange and largely unbelievable. I had a hard time understanding where all the money came from… how one person could be the sole benefactor of so many. Also, the ending was inevitable but a bit too anticlimactic I thought. I loved Stony in the beginning but I was pretty disappointed at how the rest of the story unfolded.