Book Review: The Balance
Many thanks to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!
SUMMARY: When myth becomes nightmare… The price of blood is always blood. Natalia’s in trouble. She only looked away for a second, and now her brother’s hurt. Her relationship with her mother is fractured, her brother’s condition is deteriorating, and her only hope lays deep in the unforgiving forest. A secret spoken only in whispers offers a way out. But when help comes in occult forms a sacrifice may be the only way to restore the balance. Humanity and nature collide in The Balance by Kev Harrison, a modern reimagining of the Slavic folk tale of Baba Yaga, set in Cold War Poland.
This story immediately drops you into conflict and gives you a protagonist you can really empathize with. I truly feel the guilt and sorrow Natalie carries after her brother’s accident, as well as the emotional weight that increasingly burdens her as the story progresses. She faces a lot of tragedy and death throughout, including an unbelievably difficult decision in the later half, and I was rooting for her the entire time!
Baba Yaga has always been a fascinating character to me, and I like the twist this story takes on her mythology. There are also a lot of horrifying scenes where nature is reclaiming the town and its people, often in gruesome and disgusting ways. Those were a lot of fun, and they added narrative punches that kept the story clipping along at a good pace.
I’m a big fan of creepy folktales, curses, and eco-horror so this story really found its mark with me! Other things I found fascinating include: the time period and setting, the lore for the backstory, and the dramatic tension between Christianity and paganism. My only complaint is that I feel like the story ends in a very abrupt manner, but otherwise it’s great and I can’t wait to read more from the author!