Author: J.E. Glass
Content Warnings: Mildly graphic depictions of physical assault
Genre: Sapphic Fantasy/Romance
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!