Book Review: The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland
OFFICIAL AUTHOR BIO: Krystal Sutherland is an internationally published author. Her first novel, Chemical Hearts, was published in over 20 countries and was named by the American Booksellers Association as one of the best debuts of 2016. The film adaptation, produced by Amazon Studios, stars Lili Reinhart (Riverdale) and Austin Abrams (Euphoria); Sutherland served as an executive producer on the project. Her second novel, A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares, was published to critical acclaim in 2017 and has been optioned for adaptation by Yellow Bird US. In 2018, she appeared on the annual Forbes “30 Under 30” list. Originally from Australia, she has lived on four continents and currently calls London home. Her next novel for young adults, House of Hollow, is set for publication by Penguin in spring 2021.
FORMAT/INFO: The Invocations will be launched in January 2024 by Bonnier Books UK. It contains 400 pages long and told from multiple POVs.
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Invocations by Krystal Sutherland is a compelling rollercoaster of a supernatural thriller in which three young women with a common interest/abilities end up embroiled in the investigation of a serial killer.
Set in the United Kingdom, this mystery centres around the practice of witch-hunting and how it takes on a new form in our contemporary world. The three protagonists end up working with each and find a lot in common despite their differing backgrounds. Thought they come from different stations in life and have their own set of problems, but as they get to know each other, it is clear that they also have the kind of privileges that the others don’t. This book does what I always expect of one that strongly touches on the ideas of how damaging and regressive extremist ideologies can be: it gets them to work together as a team to stop the killer, and they even start to empathise with the others’ situations along the way, disagree as they may.
While this book is pitched as a YA thriller, I have to disagree with this and tell you that this is unlikely to be suitable for all readers in that age category, for it contains is quite a lot of body horror. In general, it would be a good idea to keep this and the other content warnings in mind when picking up this book for the body horror elements in it make it one not for the squeamish.
These young women are damaged, prickly, but they are nothing short of determined. Some of the moments, particularly those that included Jude’s coping mechanism had me laugh out loud at times. She might be awkward, but she’s happy to take risks, and comes up with slightly insane plans, which I appreciated. The writing in second person gives it an eerie vibe, and makes it one of the most atmospheric reads I have come across in a long time. It is inclusive and very simply puts across the idea and womanhood, and there’s a good amount of sapphic pining thrown in to make things all the more interesting. The magic involved is very ritualistic, and while this aspect gets very little page time, it plays a big part in the story.
The only minor flaw in my opinion, would be that I felt certain things moved very conveniently for the girls, as well as the fact that the ending kind of felt a bit flat, given the tension built up until then. But, I slightly changed my mind about the former at the end of the book. Parts of it were a bit predictable, but I can’t help but feel like the story was intentionally done that way.
CONCLUSION: An easy page turner that’s both dark and fun, and one that I breezed through in a matter of hours. Highly recommended to all readers alike.