Header image with four cats and the text: Pussreboots, a book review nearly every day. Online since 1997
Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts


Month in review

Reviews
Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell
Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand
Blackmail and Bibingka by Mia P. Manansala and Danice Cabanela (Narrator)
Blanche Among the Talented Tenth by Barbara Neely and Lisa Reneé Pitts (Narrator)
A Conspiracy in Belgravia by Sherry Thomas and Kate Reading (Narrator)
Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman and George Guidall (1973) (re-read)
Deck the Hallways by Kate Carlisle
A Design to Die For by Kathleen Bridge and Vanessa Daniels (Narrator)
Dewey Decimated by Allison Brook and Marilyn Levinson (Narrator)
Fly Me to the Moon, Volume 2 by Kenjiro Hata
The Game is a Footnote by Vicki Delany
High Spirits by Carol J. Perry and C.S.E. Cooney (Narrator)
Into the Windwracked Wilds by A. Deborah Baker
Komi Can't Communicate, Volume 3 by Tomohito Oda
Kowloon Generic Romance, Volume 2 by Jun Mayuzuki and Amanda Haley (Translation)
Lore Olympus, Volume Two by Rachel Smythe
Lost Places by Sarah Pinsker
Monkey Prince by Gene Luen Yang and Bernard Chang (Illustrator)
The Neapolitan Sisters by Margo Candela
Nightmare of the Iguana by Ursula Vernon
No Judgments by Meg Cabot
Seven-Year Witch by Angela M. Sanders
6 Times We Almost Kissed by Tess Sharpe
Soul of a Killer by Abby Collette and L. Malaika Cooper (Narrator)
Steeped to Death by Gretchen Rue and Kristin Price (Narrator)
A Tale of Two Princes by Eric Geron
Vampiric Vacation by Kiersten White
Wined and Died in New Orleans by Ellen Byron and Amy Melissa Bentley (Narrator)

Miscellaneous
January 2023 Sources

January 2023 Summary

Previous month


Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Artwork
Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards


Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.


Available Dark: 02/12/23

Available Dark

Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand (2011) is the second book in the Cass Neary series. I read the original book, Generation Loss in 2011 when I was looking to expand my reading of Hand's works from beyond her short stories. How I missed that there was second book out the year I read the first is beyond me, but here we are.

So now, twelve years later, many more books under my belt, I am drawing connections that I certainly wouldn't have made had I read Available Dark in 2011 or 2012. Take this review too with the knowledge that I read the book in the run up to the winter solstice and Christmas.

Cass Neary, still raddled and in hiding after the events in Maine, is recruited to Helsinki to authenticate a collection of gruesome photographs. Death follows her and soon the photographer and his assistant are dead and she's once again on the run.

Her flight takes to her to Reykjavík, Iceland and to the wilderness beyond the coastal city. The farther she goes, the more embroiled in the imagery of the Great Hunt she becomes. This novel being a mystery with horror undertones, Casey's observations on the similarity of her situation to the Hunt draws her to thoughts of both Odin and Krampus.

There is no denying the links that the Hunt shares with modern day Christmas. The dangerous landscape and the fear of being followed, that propagates through this novel had me thinking of the second half of The Hogfather (1996) and especially the 2006 two part miniseries. But the talk of Odin and the fact that Christmas was around the corner, had me thinking of The Librarians episode, "And Santa's Midnight Run" (Season 1, Episode 4).

I wanted to enjoy this novel as much as I had the first but I didn't. I found Casey's reliance on drugs tiresome. I found her incredible luck oddly convenient. The way death kept following her was also difficult to swallow at times.

Chart showing the progression between books on the Road Narrative Spectrum.

Like Generation Loss, Available Dark sits on the Road Narrative Spectrum. Casey, as someone on the outs and on the run, remains a marginalized traveler (66). Her destination this time is utopia (FF) — represented by the impossible places she keeps finding as she flees in terror. Her route there is the Maze (CC) as her route is full of traps, blind alleys, and danger.

The third book is Hard Light (2016).

Three stars

Comments (0)


Lab puppy
Name:
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:
Comment:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis