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Viscera

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3.89  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  77 reviews
"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 eld
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by Talos Press (first published 2016)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  351 ratings  ·  77 reviews


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Bogi Takács
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!
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Zazu
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
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Kaa
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
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, wo
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Cameron Sant
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tatiana
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
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!
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Isaac R. Fellman
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A dazzler. Wildly adventurous and experimental, and yet it plays perfectly within its self-created rules — like a chessboard with only knights. Squailia gives us a rich cast of beautiful dirtbags, characters who don’t remotely try to ingratiate themselves, but who nonetheless make me wish I could spend a lot more time with them (and to be honest, I *never* have that feeling these days). Absurdly powerful, reverent and irreverent whenever it’s right to be so, and one of the finest SFF novels I’ve ...more
Renay
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 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. ...more
Lulu (the library leopard)
3.5
Really weird & unique, though sometimes I had a bit of a hard time keep tracking of stuff. Hopefully a longer review to come because this book was doing some really interesting things!
Michael Hitchcock
Dec 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lara Donnelly
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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 cla
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Jimmy
Jan 29, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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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 ...more
Shawn Falkner-Horine
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
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Andy Coleman
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A SIMPLE MAN'S REVIEW:

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 yo
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Juushika
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. Th ...more
Gretchen
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Vandrolyn
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
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 nar
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Erin Crane
Apr 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
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 i ...more
Catherine
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
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
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Tori
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
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
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Lilliana Rubio
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 ar ...more
Morgan Maria
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 exa
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Alex
Jun 02, 2020 rated it liked it
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 recl
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Sam
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 m ...more
Gus
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Viscera takes place in a world built on body horror, and the characters are flawed and hurting, and the spirit of the book cares so deeply about the characters. I am not personally a fan of gratuitous gore; this book doesn't do that. The viscera in this book is what gives it room to be so compassionate towards characters who struggle with their bodies and the things their bodies can or can't do and the way their bodies make them feel.

The worldbuilding in this book pulled me in and the characters
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Joshua Hansen
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it
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, e ...more
Thalia S Kirsch
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read a good bit of fantasy and scifi and all that and this book was definitely unique. The world structure was interesting and took me awhile to figure out and I loved finding out things about the world and the main character bit by bit. I was so intrigued by the book that I looked up the author and ran across an article she wrote https://www.bustle.com/p/how-eyeliner... that I highly recommend. I keep the article open on my phone so I can read it when I'm feeling down or off. In looking that ...more
Rosie
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book - it was a bit of a surprise to me, as I picked it up at Half Priced books a while back in Iowa of all places. It sat on my to-be-read shelf for a while. This year I've fallen into the habit of reading a selection of books pretty regularly -- mostly reading a few pages a night of each of the nonfiction selections and a bit more of my fiction selection.

When I picked it up I did note that it said "dystopian" on it, but it had a format and font that suggestion YA to me. When I st
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Leslie
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came for a quick read with some lovecraftianish body horror, and lovecraftianish body horror I did receive! However, the trans representation, world building (the story manages to be both self contained while introducing us to what seems to be a sprawling and complex world) and entirely-too-likable-for-the horrible-things-they-do characters bumped this up to four stars for me. Definitely check it out if descriptions of characters wading through a river of corpse slurry in their bare feet doesn ...more
Chelsey
3.5/5 ⭐️ - it’s hard to describe exactly what i think of this book. on the one hand, i found it very confusing to get into and hard to follow. on the other hand, i powered through it in less than a day, riveted by the writing and the characters and some unexplainable force that kept me reading. this book is a gore and guts-filled adventure of a rag tag band of characters that are all quite likeable. the book touches on themes of transphobia, addiction, and immortality in a way that i think is su ...more
Whitney
Mar 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I'm counting this one as a hidden gem. It's set in a wild and wildly inventive fantasy world (with lots of body horror - believe the title). It deals with trans and other identity issues in its world of puppets animated with guts, repeatedly eviscerated immortals, drugs manufactured from the glands of buried gods, etc. Other reviewers have mentioned Mieville's Bas Lag and Vandermeer's Ambergris. I'd add Vance's Dying Earth and Harrison's Viriconiam to the DNA of this novel's world building, but ...more
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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. ...more

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“My family taught me, too, to begin every burial with these words, which my mother said were true of everyone who lives long enough to walk and talk—from the most honorable person lying here, down to the very worst.” He closed his eyes and touched his chest. “ ‘How they tried,’ ” said Rafe. “ ‘How long, how hard they tried.” 4 likes
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