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Sonja Ska Reviews, 3/14/2024

The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion

By Margaret Killjoy

A group of gutter punks summon a demon-that-isn't-a-demon-but-kind-of-is to protect their small anarchistic utopia, and it's super cool until it isn't. The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is a weird little book filled with the type of punks you'll find in People's Park on Sundays. Maybe it's because I grew up in San Francisco, but I didn't mind hanging out with characters named Doomsday, who sit on couches and talk about the ideals of anarchy while getting neck tattoos. Honestly, I was more focused on the blood-red, three-antlered deer demon that conjured hordes of undead animals.

Danielle is dropped into the middle of the putrid mess when her search to figure out why her brother killed himself brings her to Freedom - a utopia carved into the backwoods of Iowa. Instead of finding answers, however, Danielle is thrust into a world of magic, rituals, and a conflict that has turned deadly. A lot is going on, but Killjoy manages to set a steady enough pace to bring the community to life while consistently raising the stakes for Dani and the small crew she's come to call her friends.

How much you enjoy this book will likely depend on how comfortable you are with a story that prominently features political ideologies, but honestly, it didn't feel as forceful as some opinions would suggest. As a long-time horror reader, it was refreshing to see such a diverse cast of characters and the ease with which they were simply allowed to exist.

If you're looking for a weird story with queer rep, sassy banter, bizarre rituals, and a pretty cool folky spiritual guardian that's gone rogue, you'll probably vibe with this. 

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