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"A dystopian fantasy of earthquakes, killing fields, drug addiction, and routine eviscerations that is also profoundly humane and laugh-out-loud funny." —Camille DeAngelis, author of Bones and All

The Gone-Away gods were real, once, and taller than towers. But they’re long dead now, buried in the catacombs beneath the city of Eth, where their calcified organs radiate an eldritch power that calls out to anyone hardy enough to live in this cut-throat, war-torn land. Some survivors are human, while others are close enough, but all are struggling to carve out their lives in a world both unforgiving and wondrous. Darkly comic and viciously original, Viscera is an unforgettable journey through swords-and-sorcery fantasy where strangeness gleams from every nook and cranny.

“Exquisitely imagined, deeply insightful yet scathingly witty, Viscera barrels along at a scorching pace after vividly realized characters whose separate quests—for identity, for revenge, for release—find themselves on a collision course in a world that's simultaneously both grimdark and surreal. Lusciously weird and utterly unique.” —Nicole Kornher-Stace, author of Archivist Wasp

Viscera is a work of gleeful weirdness, set in a world that calls to mind China Miéville's Bas-Lag novels, and full of characters fighting to reshape themselves and their destinies, in search of deep and resonant truth.” —Kat Howard, author of Roses and Rot

304 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2016

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About the author

Gabrielle Squailia

3 books126 followers
Gabriel Squailia is an author and professional DJ from Rochester, New York. An alum of the Friends World Program, she studied storytelling and literature in India, Europe, and the Middle East before settling in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts with her partner and daughter. Squailia's first novel, Dead Boys, was published by Talos Press in 2015.

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5 stars
146 (33%)
4 stars
147 (33%)
3 stars
105 (23%)
2 stars
28 (6%)
1 star
13 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 94 reviews
Profile Image for Bogi Takács.
Author 55 books580 followers
February 2, 2017
I think I have found the sleeper hit of 2016 and it is full of guts. Literally.

Viscera is a dark fantasy novel – wait, a body horror novel – does it count as horrific if it is presented as “just the way we do things”? – a sword & sorcery satire – a — wait, what? *clears throat* Viscera is a novel that’s hard to categorize. But it certainly contains viscera.

Read the rest on Bogi Reads the World!
Profile Image for Arantzazú.
236 reviews50 followers
October 30, 2016
There are some stories that rarely get told. Viscera is not only a rarely told—and sorely needed—story, it is also an exquisite amalgamation of heart-wrenching truths and singularly eccentric fictions.

A motley crew is assembled on a journey, thrown together by mere chance, as life so often has it: the unkillable Ashlan, whose torn-out guts or poison-filled veins just keep regenerating anew; Rafe, a wandering junkie with chest pains that hint at deeper secrets; the sinister walking, talking cloth puppet, Hollis; and the inscrutable Tanka, a delightfully outlandish mix of nature goddess and mad frankenstein-esque biologist. Colorful characters though they may be, their feelings and motivations betray their humanity. They are, indeed, just like us: flawed people with painful secrets they are each, in their own ways, trying to escape.

There is little else that can be told of the story or characters without spoiling the excellent build-up, slow reveal, and breath-taking twists. The hard truths these characters must face about their own identities and pasts are peeled back slowly and painfully over the course of their quest, and as they get closer and closer to an end goal they themselves could never expect. Though initially shockingly gruesome, their literal eviscerations and physical wounds serve a powerful metaphorical purpose. Squailia’s use of literal viscera, blood and intestines, tendons and bone, allegorically matches her deep exploration of identity issues. We cannot live without our guts; we cannot truly live without acknowledging the truth about our very souls.

So often books with characters outside the default straight, cis, white narrative are relegated to positions of lesser influence. The publishing industry often classifies these stories as “special interest”, and critics so often give negative feedback due to being unable “relate” to their characters. It is extraordinarily refreshing to read a book featuring characters and issues that are so often left unmentioned or unnoticed, yet a book that is not marketed as an “issues” story. Instead, Viscera is a fun, vibrant romp through an imaginative landscape, populated by uniquely weird people who yet feel, for so many reasons, viscerally real, and, yes, relatable.

In Viscera, Squailia shows us that, sometimes, the best way to speak our most unique truths, is to use unconventional fictions. And regardless of how far any of us may be from living as our most authentic selves, we may be comforted by the wise words one of the protagonists leaves us with, claiming they are true of every soul: “How they tried, how long, how hard, they tried.”
Profile Image for Allamaraine.
73 reviews31 followers
November 9, 2021
I really, really liked this. I don't know, I feel like I've been reading a lot of stuff that was just "okay" and to finally pick up something that made me excited to get home and devour - well, that was nice.

I was reminded a lot of the Bas-Lag trilogy, but even more of The Black Iron Legacy. As much as I like Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan's series this was a tad better, in my opinion. Really well written, good world-building, but the problems the characters faced were all too human (especially those of the trans character Rafe) which contrasted nicely.

Reading this made me realise I'd never really read much about trans people before, in a fantasy world or otherwise, and that's really a me problem. It's not like the books aren't there. It's up to me to seek them out.

This isn't a great review I know, since I've finished it I've trying to think of what to say and the words just won't come. But if you liked The Black Iron Legacy, Bas-Lag Trilogy, or American Gods or whatever, I'd really recommend this.
Profile Image for Kaa.
566 reviews50 followers
September 30, 2018
So first of all, it's important to know that this is a book filled with blood and guts and death. There's lots of gore, lots of trauma, and lots of violence. There's anti-trans and anti-queer violence and threats. It addresses addiction and suicidality. While it's written in a very matter-of-fact way that makes these things (at least for me) easier to read about, there's still a lot of darkness in this book.

But there's also a lot of humor, and in the end, a lot of hope. A gorgeously written, wonderfully creepy story.
Profile Image for Cameron Sant.
Author 6 books19 followers
October 15, 2017
THIS BOOK IS VERY GOOD AND VERY CREATIVE but it is not for me. If I rated it based on quality I'd give it a 4 or a 5.

This is a dark fantasy about an immortal woman (who produces most of the book's gore) who falls in with a puppet made of guts. The other main character is a trans man drug addict who has fallen in with a group of addicts who kill for drugs and worship Lady Luck. Rich fun world building, which was my favorite part of the book. The city the story revolves around is built on the bodies of dead gods who cause earthquakes when too many people have died.I felt the characterization of the two main characters is also very good and thoughtful, and the minor characters are very unique and quirky.

TW: Gore, gore, gore. Creative uses of gore... and like, that's the book. Escalating gore creativity. Death. I read an interview where the writer, who is a trans woman, said this book is based on things she finds scary as a trans person, so like, lots of trans-specific trauma (misgendering, anti-trans murders, naked trans reveals, etc, most of it centered on a trans man. He struggles to keep a binder on most of the book for various reasons which is a trigger I didn't know I had) Drugs that involve getting stung by beetles. Drug addicts feature prominently. People held captive and having experiments performed on them against their will. There's probably more I can't remember.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
247 reviews34 followers
October 5, 2018
I thought I had marked this on my Goodreads when I started but I guess not!

This was a very interesting read, and very difficult for me to describe what exactly it's about.

But it's considered a fantasy novel, and it's a really unique way to engage the genre. If there were more fantasy novels like this, I think I'd get back into reading it for sure!
Profile Image for Erin Crane.
644 reviews6 followers
April 10, 2021
4.5 stars?? This was bananas. What an imaginative author. I was like, am I really reading this book and taking a living, talking doll seriously?? Loved the creativity of this story and our two lead characters. This was more of a personal journey for each of them within a fantasy setting. The setting is actually difficult to get a handle on. Whatever war is going on is completely beside the point. Unlike most fantasy stories, the characters we follow are not the decision makers of this war, not involved in this war, not the ones who will end this war. I think sometimes a vagueness to a fantasy setting works really well because if you try to explain too much it can actually start to make less sense.

I think the plot of this book was a bit unfocused. Everything comes to a satisfying conclusion for me, but the way there felt random. Having said that, it didn’t bother me much?? 😂 I was enjoying the ride all the same.

Rafe’s actions at the end were unexpected (to me) and compassionate.

Couple fav quotes:
“We all do strange things to keep ourselves from dying. And when it comes to it, love, no one knows which of those things might lead us back to life.”

“How they tried,” said Rafe. “How long, how hard they tried.”

Hope Gabrielle keeps writing!
Profile Image for Renay.
236 reviews125 followers
February 28, 2017
Body horror gets in the way of my emotional connection to stories, I guess? The writing was so lush and good, though, that I'm sad I didn't like it more.
Profile Image for S..
116 reviews
March 26, 2022
There was so much that could have made this a great, unique horror book. For the first quarter of the book I was really excited. Then, so much potential was derailed by trans issues being centered in a story that instead of lending them weight made them seem shallow, if not absurd. I'm all for representation of marginalized groups, however, when burlap sacks full of human guts, having been animated with runes, are forming a murderous army it's hard to care about one boy's feelings about his binder. Why are we even giving more than a glancing thought to the binder? But these aren't just passing thoughts; they are a good fifth of the story.

When you are in a world where people can be healed after the fires of death, why not have a creative solution for this? Spells can be bottled that spill out muscle fibers to catch prey at a price even junkies can afford, but a mastectomy is off the table? All sorts of other magic exists and is utilized, but not standard glamours? Every time the long rambling train of trans issues came chugging through this book the concerns felt out-of-place and the story stalled. It was like coming up with a plan to rescue citizens from a nuked city and every few slides going back to discussing how to handle the dietary needs of the few citizens who may have Crohn's. Is Crohn's a serious potentially life threatening disease that requires management? Yes! Is it appropriate to bring up when discussing an exit plan for a nuclear disaster? Not really.

I think Squailia has potential to be a good writer, if they could immerse themselves in their new world without bringing their baggage from this world.
Profile Image for Michael Hitchcock.
126 reviews6 followers
December 11, 2016
I'm tempted to just say "writing VISCERA took a lot of GUTS (get it?)" and leave it there. Because guts are intimate and messy and confusing when you've got them all splayed out, the temptation is to just let them speak for themselves. But I do want to talk about a few of the things in these guts I found worthy.

Viscera was sort of a strangely constructed story. The two main characters, Rafe and Ashlan had almost the same journey, though neither really helped or were even fully aware of one another's struggles or goals. But both characters were disturbed people who found peace by embracing their transformation, creating/accepting a new family for themselves, and reconciling themselves with the spiritual practices of their birth.

It's funny that in a story with a luck-worshipping drug-addled murder cult, killer gut-filled robots, and dead but lingering Gods, the actual plot feels that straightforward and earnest to me, but that's what I felt was important here. You might be in it for the magic and battles and witty dialogue, but I'm looking at the guts and trying to make sense of them.

The fact that the two main characters had such a faithful reflection of one another's journey towards peace, I felt very strongly that Squaillia was trying to get us to see the eternal, universal struggle with identity, change, family, and faith that all individuals must take.

But this wasn't a difference-erasing EVERYONE IS THE SAME kind of message. In fact, the main antagonist was motivated by that very type of ethos! To the contrary, in Viscera, Squaillia went in the other direction, using this established universal struggle, to highlight the specific differences of the struggles their characters had and how their specific identities and situations shaped and intensified that universal struggle.

Even though the crosswise (or trans or non-binary or etc.) seemed perhaps more prevalent in this world than ours, they faced a similarly severe reaction from the culture at large, existing only in the liminal spaces they could find unoccupied and unseen. Within these spaces, they may have been able to live freely, but outside was a world in which they must remain closeted or risk meeting harassment or a sudden and traumatic ending.

This leads me to the most emotionally affecting part of the story for me, which, in an interesting parallel with their first novel, is also a tragic death told in a flashback a good way through the novel that adds a lot of context to how the character got the way they were.

In this case, it was Rafe's partner and major influence/introduction into the world of the crosswise, Gingerbeard. Their tragic, senseless death explained so well how Rafe became a drug addicted assassin cultist.

But none of that would have meant anything had Squaillia not already gotten us on Rafe's side with the way they introduced and revealed him. It was brave and magical to write from the drug-addict's point of view and give him a voice. For whatever reason in our culture they are one of the groups of people it's ok to treat as less than human.

But Squaillia wrote him so faithfully that by the time it was revealed he was biologically a woman, we were able to be in a place to reject the gender of their birth as thoroughly as they themselves do. And since trans people are widely considered socially on par with addicts as non-humans unworthy of respect, I found it amazing that our point of view was so tightly and sympathetically tied to theirs.

But this book wasn't all transgressive politics or whatever, it was full of witty dialogue and interesting relationships over the backdrop of a repressive culture ruling over a landscape of endless professional war and drawing on the power of the remnants of long dead Gods. In fact, I think one could read the whole thing without getting hung up on the identity politics of it.

The swift skeleton of it was the plot, basically an extended barter between a bunch of characters who mostly don't really care about one another, but who all have what another character so desperately needs. The handsome, pretty flesh of it was the colorful cast and the decaying background and the repressive toppling government, but the guts of it, the part I wanted to think about because they were what the book was presumably named after, was the transformation; the courage it took to embrace transformation.

We can't recognize how we're all different until we understand the ways we are all the same, but we can't see how we're all the same until we start to embrace the differences. This book brought us into intimate contact with people who exist on that boundary all the time, who are both exactly the same as us and, at the same time, wildly different. Squaillia gave us deeper glimpse into that specific difference, even though their differences were of a kind people are less likely to be accepting of and they gave us this glimpse in enough of a sympathetic way that we could love the characters the way we love ourselves- honestly and without that pathological need to uncritically accept every single thing about them.

They wrote a moral novel across the background setting of an amoral world. A funhouse world that was amoral in many of the ways our own world is amoral. With the speedy feel of the book and all the subtle nods to current real-world practices and institutions, and, above-all with the dead, but still powerful persistent remnants of the Gods, Squaillia made a great statement for these characters self-directed/soul-directed morality taking the good and great from the old ways. In our world and in the world of the story, that takes some guts and is still somehow controversial, even as so many millions already live that way.

But I will reiterate one thing and close with one thing I never mentioned at all. First, the novel is fun and has a lot of elements of the weird and fantastic and does not need to be read into the way I did and could be enjoyed very well even only on a surface level. And finally, I want you to know I could be wrong about all of this. I could have brought it all into my reading of the novel where it didn't belong.

In ancient Rome and Etrusca, there were diviners called the haruspex, and their entire job was to look at the splayed out guts of sanctified animals and read therein the future. These diviners tell a complicated story from a heap of viscera and a different diviner would see a totally different story in the same pile of guts and that's just how things are sometimes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Sam.
3,228 reviews234 followers
April 20, 2021
Okay, the first thing I need to say is that I already feel the need to read this book again. It was so packed with great and joyously complex characters and superb interwoven stories that I honestly feel like I've missed bits. Viscera is just as gritty and gory as its title suggests, and more so as it weaves in Gothic and gory horror with truly visceral human issues that pull on the heart strings...right before tearing them out. Not to mention some seriously dark and witty humour just for good measure. To be honest the only reason this isn't a full 5 stars is because there is so much going on that even now I haven't been able to process it all and I feel as a reader I can't take it in all at once, I'm willing to bet that on my second reading (which will happen) this will be jumped up to the full 5.
Profile Image for Lara Donnelly.
Author 10 books398 followers
March 9, 2017
Weird and wonderful and beautifully disgusting, Viscera belongs on your shelf between China Miéville and David Edison. Squailia uses body horror to talk about body politics in a way that hurts just as much as a knife to the gut. And she sprinkles it all with a strange combination of steampunk, sci-fi, and high fantasy.

This book has brings together a sadistic talking doll, a snarky superhealer who just wants to die, a one-armed snaggle-toothed con artist, a trans man assassin from a long line clan of corpse-cleaning priests, and a witch without a womb hell-bent on bearing a child. They've all got a similar goal, but vastly different motivations ranging from drug addiction to death to motherhood.

Read it in two days, and would like another, please.

Profile Image for Jimmy.
1,413 reviews
January 29, 2020
I could not finish this book. I read all of Book 1, and had no interest in finishing the last half of the book. I was intrigued by the Gone-Away gods and the suggestion of magic. But as the title clearly implies, there is a lot of gore, in the harvesting organs. New weird fiction genre is one that I find difficult for me to get interested in, but I find myself curious about it too. Thinking to myself that this book had potential for me liking it just didn't work out for me. Gender identification and drug abuse are dominate topics in Book 1, (which didn't bother me at all), but I found Ashlan/Lady Ley to be the most interesting character in the story. The other characters were flat and boring. While I didn't like the book, I am still glad I tried it. To each their own.
Profile Image for Shawn Falkner-Horine.
151 reviews9 followers
January 16, 2021
Dark and funny, horrifying and mesmerizing, human and inhumane... This book delivers rich fantasy with a slathering of body horror and a riveting slide into the New Weird.

It also has one of my favorite features in a book, namely the deep sense that there are stories upon stories remaining to be told, constantly glimpsed at the edges and implied by the shadows they cast, teased by richly believable tendrils that weave in and out of view. As The NeverEnding Story so tantalizingly puts it, "...but that's another story and shall be told another time."

Definitely want to read more by this author!
611 reviews8 followers
December 5, 2016

Description of this book is impossible. The blurb released by the publishers stumbles around the backdrop in which the story takes place, but it doesn't touch the actual narrative. Honestly, the title is more telling than the whole paragraph on the back. And now having said that a description is impossible, I can't possibly turn around and describe it to you (although if I were to try, I would say it is about two people, then two more, and then one more and a bear).

What you really need to know is that the story is very entertaining. The characters live in a world unlike any that I've read before (and one that I'm glad I don't have to visit in person). The main thread seems to be redemption, although it takes quite a bit of blood and guts to get there and it often catches the characters by surprise. There are the Gone-Away gods as the blurb promises, but the story really isn't directly about them, so don't read it to learn about their mythology.

You should read it, though, because it is probably outside the type of books you normally read. And I can say that, not because I know you, but because this book is outside of most books. You'll enjoy the narrative, wince a few times, and be satisfied with the ending. What more could you want?

Read it!
Profile Image for Joshua Hansen.
10 reviews
September 5, 2019
I love weird fantasy, and it’s hard to find fantasy much weirder than this. The City of Eth reminds me of Ambergris or new Crobuzon, with a world that is both familiar and brutally alien. Magic works by acting on the human body, like stealing organs to create golems or extending the nervous system to control plants and animals. Characters are interesting, though not always well written. In fact, it’s the writing that hurts what’s an otherwise enjoyable read. It was muddled and tough to follow, especially in the beginning. That said, I’d still recommend the book to fans of China Mieville or Jeff Vandermeer.
Profile Image for Juushika.
1,561 reviews166 followers
July 9, 2020
There's a lot to like here--city and society built on the bones of dead gods, profane and playful in tone, concerned deeply with queerness and with the gross strangeness of bodies. But the execution irks me. This sort of gritty worldbuilding is frequently accompanied by frantic humor, and I concur that something needs to balance the tone, but this solution doesn't work for me. The plot is a slowly-accumulating pseudo-heist that fizzles out, and so feels overly scripted but still lacks payoff. The best of the book, the parts which are inventive and gory and personal, are lost under these missteps.
Profile Image for Gretchen.
147 reviews41 followers
October 28, 2016
Strange, bloody, dare I say...visceral story of a motley assortment of messed up people who band together after trying to kill each other in a disturbingly bloody world. The characters are fascinatingly awful and relatably human, the worldbuilding is intriguing and the plot pulled me through the book even when I was cringing at what was going to happen next. Multiple trans characters were very welcome to see as well
6 reviews1 follower
July 1, 2017
A rare gift of imagination and imagery

Not for the faint of heart but so richly written it is worthy attention. Gabriel takes the reader to another world with characters both human and inhumane and managed to hit us in the gut with images of our own world as woeful as it could be. This book offers a lot to think about and isn't that what all great writers offer in the end.
Profile Image for Megan Hex.
484 reviews16 followers
January 16, 2020
I’m glad I didn’t know that the basic genre of this one is fantasy, or I’d likely have never read it. It’s got so many things I love—body horror, transness, compassion for addiction, death rituals and examining why they are observed. Fair warning that, while rarely violent in nature, the body horror is constant and graphic; and there are scenes of transphobia and transphobic violence.
Profile Image for Brian Beatty.
307 reviews22 followers
February 4, 2018
At about 100 pages in I was tempted to stop reading, it was just too weird and a little hard to follow.
But I'm glad I didn't. Yes, it was unnervingly strange at times and still confusing in some places, but it was also oddly beautiful.
Profile Image for VANGLUSS.
98 reviews12 followers
June 12, 2017
In short, I wasn't impressed or truly disappointed by this book but enjoyed it enough and that's what matters. To explain further, I will describe with my (pending) patented method of Six Points; where I place credit where I believe it is due and argue where credit shouldn't go - basically, I try to be fair and even.

(Bad) Credit One: The Pacing. This book is only around 300 pages, so I wasn't a expecting a slow burn of a read. Instead, what I got was a lot of meandering and jerking bursts of narrative escalation. A lot of the parts were a drag to get through while others left me utterly confused at the speed.

(Bad) Credit Two: The Scope/Vagueness. To avoid spoilers, I'll just tell you that a lot is at risk if the protagonists fail. This is good and all, but I have no idea how much is at risk or why I should care - everything in the world feels vague and undefined. This clashes badly with the plot, giving me an uncanny sense of everything being grand yet tiny at the same time. I ended up reading just to see what happened next instead of being truly engaged, and left "eh" at best.

(Bad) Credit Three: The Characters. This one hurts the most. Here we have two main characters in cruel world of violence, drug addiction, and weirdness. Even with all that to work with, they came off as flat and not that interesting. They were kinda memorable with decent struggles and backgrounds, except all they really did was act like drug addicted weirdos.

(Good) Credit Four: The Setting. Vague and undefined as the setting of Viscera was, the pieces that did show up were quite interesting. A city is built on the body of a dead god, bones and all. Women can magically give birth to massive, identical broods of children. The brief glimpses of the world's mythology were weird and wonderful.

(Good) Credit Five: The Weirdness. The world of Viscera isn't a pleasant or mundane, and that is good in a special way. One of the (better) main characters is a smart-ass sack of talking organs. There's a cannibal clan of bald-headed people that can control cold fire the dead god produces. Hell, there are potions of literal liquid muscle that can kill people. Lots of dark and clever stuff.

(Good) Credit Six: The Prose/Ending: One thing that made me actually finish this book instead of bemoaning a waste of money was the prose. Frankly, it's good. Not too flowery and not too blunt, but just the right amount of each - fitting for this book's tone. Lastly, there's the ending, a complete mindfucker of a read that reads like sweet poetry.

Enjoy or don't enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Sarah.
521 reviews3 followers
April 8, 2022
Well. I think I can safely say that I've never read a book quite like this before. An unlikely band of adventurers (including two cult members who have been eviscerating unsuspecting passers by in exchange for drugs, the immortal woman they'd eviscerated, a witch with a reanimated bear for a butler and a horrible doll filled with guts) travel to a troubled city that sits on the calcified organs of long-dead gods, each trying to fulfill their own desires.

The world is the definite stand-out here. Crazy things are happening at every second, but the characters think of them as normal and they're described well enough to fit into a coherent world.

Unfortunately I do feel like this book was too long. A lot of things happened that, while interesting, didn't feel like they really mattered all that much. A great many characters are introduced only to die within pages (even someone who looks like they're going to be a major character at first dies without much development) so the deaths sort of start to get a bit boring.

I did like a few of the things that happened with the city at the end, though. It's a pretty quick read so I would recommend if you don't mind buckets of guts in your books and are looking for something unique.
Profile Image for Steve Prentice.
206 reviews
December 21, 2021
Well. What do we say about THIS book?

First it was hugely imaginative. Frankly I have never read anything like it. It was also very clever with a great denouement that I didn't foresee. How often does THAT happen? It is also very dark, full of horror, which is genuinely horrific and full of interesting, tormented characters.

Second the plot was excellent. Each person (creature?) had problems that plagued them such as drug addiction, searching for a meaning for life, homosexuality and so on and these problems impacted the characters and their goals within the broader plot in an entirely authentic way.

Finally the denouement. I am not going to give anything away here, but I thought it brought the novel to a very satisfactory close without necessarily being either a happy or a sad ending!

All in all, if you are up for reading something that is completely original (as far as I know), well written and choc-a-bloc full of horrific scenes within a clever plot then why not give this book a read?

Profile Image for Catherine.
52 reviews1 follower
July 6, 2017
3.75. I really enjoyed this book for the most part. The diversity represented and the storylines for most of the characters is really good.

There were a couple moments in the end (with Ashlyn's POV) that were a bit too loosey goosey for me, but there was a small twist that almost compensated for it.

I'm pretty certain this is a standalone book, but I would love to revisit this world, especially following the aftermath of what happens (no spoilers!!!). I'm really looking forward to reading Squalia's other book and any that may come in the future; this has turned me into a fan!

I feel like the dystopian and fantasy elements create a similar feel to The Gunslinger by Stephen King. As a die-hard King fan I did not like that one and I know others who have struggled with it. If you felt the same about Gunslinger, give this one a shot!

All in all, confusing here and there, but if weird reads are your thing it's worth your time.
Profile Image for Tori.
245 reviews6 followers
March 29, 2018
Honestly frustrated by this book. I felt like for a book that doesn't even crack 300 pages, a whole lot of nothing happened... Which is a huge disservice to the characters that genuinely interested me. I like that this book wasn't afraid of having a trans main character or lgbt relationships and the world-building that went along with it.

However, I feel that the "drama" didn't get a lot of building and I found myself more confused than not. Many words and concepts should have been laid out more plainly as the characters were treated to make sure we got it, wholeheartedly. This book easily could have been expanded and it would have felt less rushed at the end.

So, very interesting and unique ideas/characters with a story that just wasn't executed as cleanly as I hoped. Not a bad book overall, for sure and I appreciate it.
October 8, 2018
A very unique and we'll written book! I kept wishing there was more: more history of the universe as well as more backstory for the main characters, but the plot moved along at a pretty good clip and it was really only after finishing the book in a daze that I wanted so much more. Squailia has a really concise writing style, but it never makes things feel clinical or heartless. Also, this book is full of queer characters!! I have found it hard to find fantasy novels with queer characters that aren't reduced to cheap stereotypes, and here he's managed to write non-binary and trans folks with so much heart, despite the gruesome universe they inhabit. If you're squeamish maybe reconsider this book (it's not called Viscera for nothing, after all) but besides that I would definitely consider picking this up!!
Profile Image for Morgan Maria.
136 reviews21 followers
September 19, 2019
Stopped at page 200. There wasn't anything wrong with the book*, I just put it down for the night and discovered I had no desire to pick it back up again to finish. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone looking for diverse casts, LGBT+ representation, and fascinating world building. Lots of cool stuff, so if you've got the stomach for it, give it a try.

*There is a lot of violence. I'm not exactly squeamish when it comes to blood and gore,(I loved The Black Monday Murders, just for one recent example) but I also have limits as to how much violence and gore I want to see my escapism reading. This book definitely flirted with those limits. When violence in the narrative just becomes an aspect of how terrible the world is, that's when I start to check out. Add to that my inability to really connect to the characters to the degree I want, and I don't think I'll be coming back to this.
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103 reviews6 followers
June 2, 2020
I’m giving this gory romp three stars mainly because I wonder if the story would have the capacity to grip me had it been less graphic. Paradoxically this gutsy horror fest both hinges on blood, fleas, and bones (among other tissues) and is made repugnant by it.
Am I glad I read it? Yes.
Will I read it again. It’s a firm no.
There are of course other themes. What it’s like to be a man, or a woman, or a god, or a ravenous monster? How far can you venture from your roots and how far is to far to reclaim them?
I have to hand it to the author, they know how to set the stage. The world depicted by Squailia is straightforwardly bleak and volatile. You can begin guessing where this is all heading from the first chapter. Yet the ending didn’t let down and the characters showed growth albeit painful.
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