Book Reviews

Review: Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

Sorrowland is a book I’ve had on my TBR since before it released. After An Unkindness of Ghosts I knew that Solomon was going to be an auto-buy author. So when I got an e-ARC of Sorrowland I thought I’d dive in right away. But that’s not what happened. But I still made it! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it


(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Sorrowland is a book I haven’t full processed and it’s been a few weeks since I finished. It is an epic, emotional, and raw book with a tinge of body horror, fantasy which will intrigue you, and a fascinating main character. One of my favorite elements has to be the way that Sorrowland examines parenthood and identity. Vern explores this line of where her own desires and dreams end once she becomes a mother. Where she continually has to decide between her own ambition and her children.

This line of identity becoming a mother was intriguing because I feel like I don’t read about that much in adult fantasy. So I could talk forever about how much I appreciated Vern delving into this question of a future for herself as it relates also to her children. But Sorrowland is also an action packed story featuring identity, queerness, motherhood, and the medical experimentation of Black bodies. While these events provide this alternative history setting, the rhetoric and experiments felt just a shade away from our reality.

And this entire alternate history setting is truly chilling. Just when we think we have a handle on the fantasy elements, we’re pulled back to this setting. To a society that doesn’t care about Black bodies, except when they can be used. Sorrowland defies explanation. It’s a book that is thought provoking, intriguing, and heart wrenching in its shades of realism. Solomon explores what makes people. Which experiences shape us, how family can change us, and adaptation.

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Find Sorrowland on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite alternate history fantasy?

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