Undergrounder (2022)

Book cover for J. E. Glass' Undergrounder, featuring a fanged femme fatale wearing a hood and robe, gripping the candlelit stone doorframe. Her eyes glow, and she has fangs.

Author: J.E. Glass

Content Warnings: Mildly graphic depictions of physical assault

Genre: Sapphic Fantasy/Romance

Drowned by men. Saved by a monster.

The last place Alexandra Bailey expects her routine life of domestic journalism to lead is being sucked into icy floodwaters below New York City. Headlines like this happen to other people, but it’s real, and she knows she’s dead. Which makes the circumstances of her survival as impossible as the woman who drags her from the water.

Saved but hardly safe, Alex wakes in the Underground, a world of misfits and monsters thriving below the streets. It’s a journalism goldmine. One Alex can’t resist digging into after learning her beastly savior is Leanna Farrow, adopted daughter of an infamous and “presumed dead” scientist. But Alex’s curiosity, coupled with her rapidly developing feelings for Leanna, put both women in danger when Alex’s inquiries pique the interest of a powerful family with bloody connections to the Underground’s origins.

If Alex wants to unravel the secrets of the world below, she’ll have to walk the razor’s edge, but some mysteries are better left buried.

Book Blurb

RATING out of 10 violets, with 1 being the least and 10 being the most pain

5/10 appropriately painful violets.

This review contains spoilers.

“No time to speak or breathe or think as the crisp line between fantasy and reality blew away in the gale-force winds of a hooded head lifting, illuminating eyes like cold stars nestled in a face plucked from hell.”

Undergrounder, J.E. Glass

As someone who, as a rule, shies away from fantasy, I absolutely adored Undergrounder. Perhaps this is because it is a lesbian retelling of a “tale as old as time.” Perhaps it’s because of J.E. Glass’ sharp wit. Or perhaps it’s because it’s powerfully feminist—the real monsters are not the beings with fangs and claws but HUMANS…often men. Perhaps it’s because it’s a fiercely powerful testament to love between women—lovers, mothers and daughters, friends. The solidarity of powerhouse women in this text, coupled with the female-run Underground community, spotlights exactly what is missing from so many other books.

J.E. Glass’ gorgeous debut novel offers a new side of gorgeous, gothic New York City. Although this is a Beauty and the Beast retelling, Glass’ unique voice and fresh perspective reinvigorate the tale with modern sensibility. Undergrounder is gripping in its twists and turns without ever being too far-fetched, sensuous in all the right places, visceral without ever going too far, and wickedly hilarious. And did I mention how gorgeous her writing is?

The ending is tragically beautiful—a fitting twist for a twisted story.

I cannot wait to read more of Jae’s work!

UNDERGROUNDER on Barnes & Noble | Amazon

J.E. Glass Online


One response to “Undergrounder (2022)”

  1. This was an incredible review and still brings tears to my eyes when I reread it. I’m also really stoked for a site like this. We have so many websites dedicated to “did the dog die” or “did the woman die” but not many (if any at all) to gauge the possible pain a sapphic book might cause. It’s definitely going to help me in the future steer clear of things that might not be good for my mental headspace.


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