Review: “The Mirror of the Nameless,” Luke Walker

Rating: 5 out of 5

Luke Walker’s horror novel The Mirror Of The Nameless was written before his The Day of the New Gods, but in-world it takes place afterward. I read Day first, and I’d recommend doing it that way. It makes the events of that book more surprising.

Dave Anderson, 41, made the mistake of walking down the wrong streets at night. The Children of Naz Yaah, the Worm, chose him as a sacrifice to their god. When he’s rescued by a mysterious young man named Tom who claims to be in love with Dave’s daughter Ashleigh, the two of them head off to hunt her down and save her from an attempt to do something very dangerous. For 30 years now the gods have ruled the earth: Gatur the Green, who drives people so insane that they attack and kill the very people they love. Segoth, the giant zombie who drops burning, rotting flesh that melts people and turns them into his minions. And Naz Yaah, the least understood of the three, the giant worm dripping acid who rules her younger siblings. Ashleigh believes that the writings of an author named Makepeace hold the key to rescuing humanity and freeing them from the rule of the gods, but Tom thinks she’s going to get herself killed–or worse.

Much like Day‘s main character, Brian, Dave spends most of the book fighting tooth and nail to get to and save his daughter. However, Ashleigh is a bit older than Brianna, very much knows her own mind, and has a plan. So the relationship ends up being very different between them. Dave is a bartender who writes on the side (it’s basically heresy to write fiction, so he ghost-writes celebrity books), and he has a lot less practice at being tough than Brian did. He doesn’t have the firepower Brian had, and has to rely on his wits as well as whatever improvised weapons may come to hand. Tom isn’t an amazingly deep character, but it is interesting to watch his somewhat sheltered views get shattered.

What’s really fascinating for me in this book is the opportunity to glimpse civilization several decades after the arrival of the cosmic horrors from beyond. It’s wild to read about–both the ways in which civilization has continued to exist, and the ways in which it falters.

Content note for brutal death and dismemberment, as well as alluded-to offscreen rape.

Usually, sunset came anywhere between nine and midnight. Some nights, it didn’t come at all.

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