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3.0 

Desert Creatures

By Kay Chronister
Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

“A vivid investigation of faith, perseverance, and human violence as they exist at the end of the world . . . Scintillating.” —Brian Evenson, author of Song for the Unraveling World

This “genre-shredding” (Tor.com) feminist dystopian eco-horror, perfect for fans of The Last of Us, traces a girl’s coming-of-age on a post-apocalyptic trek through the Southwest.


In a bleak, desiccated future, eleven-year-old Magdala and her father are forced to flee through the desolate landscape of the American Southwest, searching for shelter and peace. Pursued by horrors both unnatural and all-too-human, they join a pilgrimage to the holy city of Las Vegas, where it is said that vigilante saints reside, bright with neon power. Magdala, born with a clubfoot, is determined to be healed there. But one by one, the pilgrims and her father fall victim to an eerie, all-consuming sickness—leaving Magdala to fend for herself in the wilderness.

After surviving for years on her own, Magdala grows tired of waiting for her miracle. She turns her gaze to Las Vegas once more, taking an exiled Vegas priest hostage to guide her as she navigates the unsettling expanse of the desert and the hungry, dark ambitions of men. Even as she nears the holy land, Magdala must choose: survival or salvation?

In this moving debut novel, acclaimed short fiction writer Kay Chronister twines the strange, terrible beauty of the desert into a haunting exploration of faith and hope. Bold and disquieting, Desert Creatures is a surreal examination of humanity and the myths we tell ourselves to survive.

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33 Reviews

3.0
“TW/CW: Death, death of a baby, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, body horror, post-apocalyptic REVIEW: Desert Creatures is the story of Magdala, a young girl/young woman who is trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world in the American southwest. This book is trigger heavy and very dark. It’s also not a happy story, although it ends on a slightly upbeat note. I can’t say that I loved this book, but it wasn’t terrible. It was very strange, and although I could follow the story, the jumps in time (there are two major ones) and the changes in viewpoint make it a little difficult to follow at spots. When I finished this book, I wasn’t sure exactly what the point of it was. I understood what was happening, but I’m not sure how it all fit in to a understandable story, especially as the ending seemed to go in a completely different direction in the last five pages. Anyway, I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. I would have liked to have finished it feeling a little clearer about the whole idea and purpose of it.”
Thinking Face
Believable charactersDiverse charactersEasy to readSuspensefulImmersive settingHeartbreakingMisogynyViolenceUnengaging charactersUnsatisfying plot

About Kay Chronister

Kay Chronister is a finalist for the Shirley Jackson and World Fantasy Awards for her short fiction, which has appeared in Strange Horizons, Clarkesworld, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, The Dark, and elsewhere. Her first collection, Thin Places, was published by Undertow Publications in 2020. Originally from Washington State, she has spent time in Virginia, Cambodia, and Arizona. She now lives in the Philadelphia area with her dogs and her husband. Desert Creatures is her first novel.

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