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Leech
2022
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Library Journal Review
DEBUT Ennes's novel is an amalgam of multiple genres that mutates into something truly unique. In an isolated mining town, a baron's doctor has died mysteriously, and the Institute sends a replacement (who narrates this story) to find out what happened. The Institute is more than just a guild of doctors; all of its members are a hivemind, all parts of an organism dedicated to keeping watch over humanity. This doctor, and subsequently the Institute, discovers a new kind of parasite spreading throughout the baron's chateau, which could usurp the Institute's rung on the evolutionary ladder. Ennes blends several different genres here, including science fiction, postapocalyptic fiction, gothic horror, and body horror, turning them into a delightfully original work that explores multiple themes including identity and autonomy. Readers must really pay attention to the story, since the narrator is used to being one of many bodies, but for their efforts they also get to watch the narrator evolve away from the Institute's influence. VERDICT The fascinating world and original narrator that Ennes creates in their debut produce a sublime gothic sci-fi tale that grows into a story greater than the sum of its parts.--James Gardner
Publishers Weekly Review
Emotionally complex, wildly inventive, and full of squirming terror, Ennes's debut begins when the doctor assigned to the Château de Verdira dies under mysterious circumstances. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends another of their own to replace him. The nameless protagonist arrives on a mission to discover how the previous doctor died while harboring one of the biggest secrets in this postapocalyptic world: the Institute is not only a medical association. It's a hivemind of parasites that have systemically taken over the minds and bodies of every human medical professional to fulfill a mandate to protect and care for the human race--who have proven incapable of doing so themselves. The death of the chateau's previous doctor marks the first time the Institute's lost a body without remembering how. As the protagonist discovers it's not the only parasite within the chateau's walls, both the health of the chateau's residents and the ironclad hold the Institute has on its hosts begin to crumble. Ennes builds a postapocalyptic world with an expansive history and innumerable creeping horrors hiding in its shadows. The author's greatest strength is in narrative voice, rendering the Institute's hivemind with laser precision. This is a must-read for readers looking for something new from the horror genre. Agent: Alexander Cochran, C&W. (Sept.)
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