Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr
*I received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review of this book.
Winter Masquerade is a bizarre and wonderful fever dream of a story, a magical mystery tale running on dream logic, punctuated by nightmares; speaking slantwise of slowly coming out from gaslighting, falling out of love, perhaps realizing it was never love at all.
It conveys how it feels to slowly realize that everything is wrong, that it's okay to not be okay, and how hard it can be to try and make a change. This runs on witty banter and dream logic; that's a style which I specifically enjoy, and this is a particularly concentrated version of that type. The story has a recognizable kind of structure, a narrative style which mimics how dreams feel when you try to remember them; the pieces connected so beautifully while you were asleep, but upon waking they feel disparate and discordant. This mimics how it can feel to realize that things are a little bit wrong, a little bit broken. That maybe what you thought was “good enough” is actually neither “enough” nor “good”. That air of wrongness permeates this fantasy, hinting towards the reality which undergirds it. It gradually becomes more overt as the MC strains to figure out how to feel and what to do about it when this dream finally ends.
CW for graphic violence, domestic abuse, and drug use.