Thanks to NetGalley and HarperCollins for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: December 1st, 2020
Synopsis: Ronan Szepessy promised himself he’d never return to Hudson. The sleepy upstate town was no place for a gay photographer. But his father is ill and New York City’s distractions have become too much for him. He hopes that a quick visit will help him recharge.
Ronan reconnects with two friends from high school: Dom, his first love, and Dom’s wife Attalah. The three former misfits mourn what their town has become—overrun by gentrifiers and corporate interests. With friends and neighbors getting evicted en masse, and a mayoral election coming up, Ronan and Attalah craft a plan to rattle the newcomers and expose their true motives. But in doing so, they unleash something far more mysterious and uncontainable.
Hudson has a rich, proud history and, it turns out, the real estate developers aren’t the only forces threatening its well-being: the spirits undergirding this once-thriving industrial city are enraged. Ronan’s hijinks have overlapped with a bubbling up of hate and violence among friends and neighbors, and everything is spiraling out of control. Ronan must summon the very best of himself to shed his own demons and save the city he once loathed.
As someone who’s not overly fond of the small town I was born and lived in until a couple of years ago, the premise of The Blade Between, immediately piqued my interest. And while I hadn’t read any of Sam Miller’s previous books, he’s been on my radar since his Nebula Award nominated Blackfish City came out in 2018. After finishing this in two days, I can honestly say that this gave me a completely unique reading experience unlike any other.
Ronan, a forty-year-old recovering crystal-meth addict, is planning on getting revenge on the people taking over his town by setting up a fictitious online persona, looking for blackmail material, and pining after a lost love who is now married to a woman. What could possibly go wrong! It has to be said that while Ronan is a brilliant photographer, emotionally, he’s a hot mess. Yet, he’s also sweet, and surprisingly funny and likable at the same time. He’s quite complicated, which is my favorite type of character.
The story itself is equally complex, and beautifully explores the good, the bad, and the downright ugliness, of revisiting your past, while blending in intriguing supernatural elements. It’s incredibly fast-paced and I was glued from the first page and couldn’t tear myself away until I had finished it during the wee hours of the morning. One minor spoiler: It has whales!
Going home is something most of us will have to deal with at some point in our adult lives. For some it will be a positive experience filled with happy nostalgia, for others, a nightmarish revisiting of traumatic memories that have long simmered under the surface. The Blade Between will have widespread appeal for its thoughtful treatment of what can be an emotional time of life. As you can guess, I absolutely LOVED it and it’s no doubt going on my list of top reads of 2020. This is the first book I’ve read by Sam J. Miller, and it’s left me determined to read his others. I HIGHLY recommend this for anyone who’s looking for a completely unique tale with flawed yet endearing characters.