Today is the release day of my favorite horror novel of 2022 so far. The mighty and fiercely intelligent Catriona Ward is back with another gripping, unsettling novel. I had the pleasure of reading Sundial earlier in the year; here’s my five-star review.
I went in to Sundial knowing pretty much nothing, and I suggest you do the same. It’s a thriller covering horrific themes, centered around a family with an incredibly strange dynamic.
Rob has a seemingly perfect life; an outwardly strong marriage, and two lovely daughters. But when Rob discovers her daughter Callie’s disturbing artwork, and hears her whispering to her imaginary friends, Rob decides it’s time for a mother-daughter pilgrimage. They head to Sundial, a desert community where Rob grew up. Here, Rob will reflect on her own past, and consider her role in her daughter’s uncertain future.
Oh my word, Sundial is an incredible book. A complete departure from Ward’s previous novel, The Last House on Needless Street, Sundial is an unconventional thriller. What begins as a family drama slowly descends into “WTF?!” territory, in the best way. To say it is full of “twists” is to do Ward a great disservice; Sundial is incredibly well-paced and plotted.
Keep in mind, the subject matter of Sundial is incredibly heavy. This is by no means a comfortable read. Trigger warnings for abuse (child, animal, domestic). Ward handles these incredibly sensitive topics well, and the reader leaves Sundial with a sense of redemption.
The slightly offbeat direction of this novel may not be for everyone, but I absolutely adored it. It’s a cliche, but after the jaw-dropping ending, I genuinely wanted to read the whole book all over again.
Sundial is out RIGHT NOW from Tor Nightfire. Huge thanks to the publisher for an advanced copy of the book for a fair review.