Her name is unimportant.
I was granted eARC access to Extasia by Claire Legrand via NetGalley in conjunction with the HarperCollins Canada Influencer program and #FrenzyPresents. Thank you for the opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
About the Book
by Claire Legrand
Publishing 22 February 2022
Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins)
Genre: YA Fantasy Horror
Page Count: 496
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Her name is unimportant.
All you must know is that today she will become one of the four saints of Haven. The elders will mark her and place the red hood on her head. With her sisters, she will stand against the evil power that lives beneath the black mountain–an evil which has already killed nine of her village’s men.
She will tell no one of the white-eyed beasts that follow her. Or the faceless gray women tall as houses. Or the girls she saw kissing in the elm grove.
Today she will be a saint of Haven. She will rid her family of her mother’s shame at last and save her people from destruction. She is not afraid. Are you?
This searing and lyrically written novel by the critically acclaimed author of Sawkill Girls beckons readers to follow its fierce heroine into a world filled with secrets and blood–where the truth is buried in lies and a devastating power waits, seething, for someone brave enough to use it.
**One of BuzzFeed’s Great LGBTQ+ YA novels to Warm up Your Winter**
From New York Times bestselling author Claire Legrand comes a new, bone-chilling YA horror novel about a girl who joins a coven to root out a vicious evil that’s stalking her village. Perfect for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Grace Year.
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads
This book is everything I was hoping The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson when I read that in 2020, and yet somehow it just didn’t work as well as I had hoped. When I read The Year of the Witching I was hoping for a feminist Blair Witch meets The Village, but there was no The Village element in sight. Extasia has it in spades and does similar things to The Year of the Witching in terms of religious perversion.
Some readers are going to absolutely love this book and declare it a new favourite, and I’m happy for those readers! I do think it’s good and will speak to some readers, it just didn’t click with me. All the elements I wanted were there and Legrand’s writing skills shine through very strongly, but the final result was a little lacklustre.
This book is extremely graphic, and I don’t mind that, but I must make note for the sake of future readers that there are a lot of potential triggers. Religious trauma, physical, mental and sexual abuse, and murder.
I do love the IDEA of where Amity and the other girls decide to go with their situation. I love the idea of them taking this messed up magical religious cult they’ve been raised in, rising up into high positions themselves, and then using their power to tear it all down. That’s the sort of awesome girl power I look for in a fantasy horror! I’m 100% on their side. Where I think this all went wrong is that there were so many girls wanting revenge that I had trouble keeping track of who was who, what each wanted, and who each wanted to destroy.
I must praise this book for being so loudly and positively sapphic, and for adding a vital plot element similar to The Village much more successfully than M. Night Shyamalan was able to achieve in his film.
If I weren’t reviewing an ARC I might have given up and DNFd this one, but I’m glad I didn’t because the latter half is what I loved. That’s where we go from the horrors of Amity’s reality with this girl as a captive bystander to Amity the strong and powerful priestess who’s going to destroy everything. Perhaps if the plot had been squished and stretched differently I might have enjoyed it a little more.
If witchy YA horror is your thing and you’re up for a lot of graphic violence, this book might just be your next favourite! If you’re squeamish or not looking for something that looks a little too much like fringe Christianity doing evil, maybe check out a different Legrand title instead.