Random House Worlds (July 18, 2023)
Reviewed by Carson Buckingham
Let me preface this review by saying that I really wanted to love this book. I began this book really wanting to love this book… but by the time I turned the last page I was thoroughly disappointed.
The thing is, I LOVED Mexican Gothic, and had high hopes for this author’s other books. I was excited when Daughter of Doctor Moreau came out only to discover that it was just a feminized, direct rip from H. G. Wells’ original, and much better written novel.
Silver Nitrate begins well. I loved learning about the inner workings of filmmaking, but about a third of the way in the pace got draggy, the book got repetitive.
The story is a mashup of horror, magic, and mystery, but the pacing was slow and I really didn’t care for any of the poorly-drawn characters. Then, when we finally get into the magic/occultists part, I had no clear idea of what was going on. What were the magicians trying to do and why? And why did the film matter so much? It seemed like they could have done without it at one point. Too much telling and not enough showing, so the book bogged down and got boring. It took determination for me to finish it.
And the sad thing is, this was such a great idea, but the execution really fell flat. It read like even the author wasn’t interested in it, and the climax was a real yawner.
Not for me.