13 June 2019
Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Horror
In house in a wood, Ada and her father live peacefully, tending to their garden and the wildlife in it. They are not human though. Ada was made by her father from the Ground, a unique patch of earth with birthing and healing properties. Though perhaps he didn’t get her quite right. They spend their days healing the local human folk – named Cures – who visit them, suspiciously, with their ailments.
When Ada embarks on a relationship with a local Cure named Samson, and is forced to choose between her old life with her father, and a new one with her human lover. Her decision will uproot the town – and the Ground itself – for ever.
I was originally drawn to ‘Follow Me To Ground’ because of the cover. I was scrolling through Netgalley and it spoke to me. I loved the spiny tree roots, reaching down, fashioning themselves into a pair of lungs. I thought it was beautiful.
Then there was the blurb, which sounded to me to be quite YA Fantasy-ish. I was thrilled when I got the e-mail that I could now read it. Yay!
But I was wrong.
This is not some average YA Fantasy, this is something different. And I mean that broadly. It’s like nothing I’ve ever read before.
We follow the journey of Ada, who is permanently child-like. She is described at one point as too old to be a child, but not yet a woman, like a young adult (I’m paraphrasing there). That’s not the only giveaway for her being a little bit different. She can also cure the local townsfolk of any ailments, she can fix a sore throat, speed along the menopause, even cure cancer. That’s why the townspeople like to keep her around, despite the fact that she’s a child forever, and despite the fact she wasn’t born, she was made.. in the ground.
As the blurb mentions, Ada develops a relationship with a local boy called Samson. Things start to get weird from now on. For us, I mean, not Ada, for whom everything that happens seems perfectly normal. But for us, the readers, it’s a whole lot of sick and twisted to deal with.
Honestly, I wasn’t wholey comfortable with any of it, but you know what? I couldn’t put it down. I. Could. Not. Stop. Reading. There were times I felt sort of.. ashamed? For wanting to read on, despite how uncomfortable I felt. In fact, I read the whole thing in a few hours (at just under 200 pages, this is easily do-able).
I can’t say much more about the plot, without giving too much away, so let’s just end it with ‘it’s a wild ride’. If you read it, and you finish it, you will sit back and think to yourself, ‘what the hell have I just read?’, ‘what has just happened?’, ‘Can I erase this from my memory?’. You will. I promise.
It’s a trippy ride. One I will be reading again. I need to.. It’s a whole lot of weird to unpack.