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A mad surrealist’s art threatens to rip open the fabric of reality, in this twisted tale of eldritch horror and conspiracy, from the wildy popular world of Arkham Horror.
Aspiring painter Alden Oakes is invited to join a mysterious art commune in Arkham: the New Colony. When celebrated Spanish surrealist Juan Hugo Balthazarr visits the colony, Alden and the other artists quickly fall under his charismatic spell. Balthazarr throws a string of decadent parties for Arkham’s social elite, conjuring arcane illusions which blur the boundaries between nightmare and reality. Only slowly does Alden come to suspect that Balthazarr’s mock rituals are intended to break through those walls and free what lies beyond. Alden must act, but it might already be too late to save himself, let alone Arkham.
I will be keeping a close eye on Arkham Horror from now on.
The Last Ritual: An Arkham Horror Novel is the latest work from SA Sidor the mastermind author of The Institute for Singular Antiquities series. As a big fan of the series I knew straight away that I needed to get my hands on a copy of The Last Ritual and I was extremely fortunate to be approved for a eARC. I will note that this in no way swayed my review and I will not allow my love for Fury of from the Tomb to cloud my judgement. That being said The Last Ritual is a brilliantly eerie and well executed read.
This book was instantly recognisable as being written by SA Sidor. Sidor’s style shines with this book and the prose are familiar yet original so don’t fret that you will not get a unique story. You certainly will be.
I would like to point out that I had never heard of Arkham Horror prior to this read and I can certainly say I will be keeping an eye out for more in the future. Think 1920’s detective looking into the strange goings on in a classic American setting. Arkham Horror is specifically set in Lovecraft’s fictional Massachusetts town of Arkham in the 1920’s.
Depends what you mean by strange. Arkham’s no stranger to strangeness, is it?
This read was incredibly enjoyable albeit slightly mind boggling at times. I often found myself in as much as a spin as our protagonist, Alden Oakes, as he makes his way around the city trying to puzzle together the odd occurrences that he happens across. This is all good however and it all adds to the mystery, placing us right in the middle of the action.
Yet, even abject terror in the face of monsters reaches a lull over time. You manage somehow to get past it. The panic fades to background terror, a jumpiness. But it’s no less a threat once it gets behind you than it was when you faced it head-on. The lingering sense of the monstrous becomes worse than its actual presence. It surrounds you, and fills you with an inescapable pressure that builds and wrecks you inside and out. It’s personal, an invisible invader who might manifest at any moment. Expectation of evil is your new sickness. The worrying eats at you like acid. You and the monster become one thing, and that feels like the dirtiest trick of them all.
Sidor’s use of 1920’s slang and terminology really helps build the world up around us and not for a second did I feel I like I was anywhere else but 1920’s Arkham. The world building is just where it needs to be. Sidor hit the fine balance between over saturating the read with descriptions and leaving us needing more.
The Last Ritual has opened up a whole new genre for me and I can’t wait to explore further. I fear that a lot of TBR piles will be growing to the point of tipping if readers pick up a copy. However you will not regret it if you do so.
If you are a fan of The Institute of Singular Antiquities as I am then you will love Sidor’s latest novel. You would be forgiven for thinking that this was another adventure with Rom Hardy and the gang as it feels so familiar as previously stated. If you are already well established within Arkham Horror then I am sure you will enjoy this read. The Last Ritual is Book Vagabond Recommended, you will enjoy this book.