Posted by debaucherysoup
I don’t know what I did to deserve an Advance Reading Copy of Stefan Kiesbye’s new book ‘The Staked Plains’, but the invitation came from the author himself and that alone made me feel incredible.
Not one to look a gift author in the mouth, and considering he is one of my favorite authors, of course I politely and calmly said yes, I would LOVE to be included.
OK, it didn’t come out like that. It was more – ‘teenage girl spots favorite boy band and proceeds to fan girl the fuck out.’
I was introduced to Kiesbye’s work when I read ‘Your House Is on Fire, Your Children all Gone’ in 2013.
I did the ‘carry the book around whilst bumping into walls’ thing with that one. My nook went with me everywhere until the last sentence.
You know you have read a great book when you come out of that last page much like you would a matinee of a great movie. Blinking against the light of day and disoriented.
Yesterday presented the perfect opportunity to sink into The Staked Plains and I proceeded to read the entire novella with a minimum of bathroom breaks. No, the book did not come with me – are you kidding? It’s my ARC copy! I did hate to leave it on the couch though and hurried back to it.
When I reached the last few paragraphs, I greedily read them. And then sat – stunned.
“He did it again.” Was my first thought.
Not just write a damn good book, but managed to throw marbles under the feet of the reader. I was off kilter. Needing more! I kept flipping to the ‘Acknowledgements’ and ‘About the Author’ pages hoping they’d magically fill with more of Kiesbye’s words.
Remember I’ve shared this before:
Well, in this case, the curtains aren’t always blue. Never mind Shrek, Kiesbye is like an onion! Layers upon layers that you KNOW are there but too absorbed to ‘get’ on a first reading. I know for a fact that I’ll need to read this book many more times and maybe even get a degree in archeology before completely understanding.
I love that by the way. I don’t want to be dumbed down by a book. I want to feel almost unworthy reading it. I want the book to challenge me as I try to figure out who the characters are and why they’re doing what they’re doing – and honestly, with this book, Kiesbye keeps throwing those marbles.
I had told Stefan in an email that I would be reviewing the book today – and jokingly said “You don’t mind if I open with the last paragraph right?” I would never. But – let me try to sum up The Staked Plains without giving any of the meat away. (OK, without trying, that last sentence might be an Easter Egg for you.)
For me, on first read – it’s about humanity in a barren environment, with a heaping spoonful of the supernatural. No one is who they seem – and yet they are. Human. Whatever that means. And while the characters are written honestly, I still found myself surprised by what they were capable of – and of what they weren’t.
But that IS humanity no?
We’re all layers. Capable of such good and born with so many juxtapositions inside of us.
The book made me uncomfortable because I felt like I was looking in a mirror and seeing everything I fight not to be, everything that is complex and ugly about me that I can’t tamp down sometimes. And, everything honest and beautiful about my self too.
Currently – the publication date for The Staked Plains is November 24th of this year. THANK YOU Saddle Road Press for publishing this amazing book. And, THANK YOU Stefan for remembering a fan who reached out two years ago with “Hurry up and write another book.”