Every once in awhile there comes a writer whose prose is so elegant, they change the river of literature in their wake and leave an indelible fingerprint on the landscape of the reader’s imagination. Such rare treasures are often buried deep in the sea of good-to-mediocre, their diamond presentation just waiting for the right time, the right hands. Thankfully, at last I can say that Miss Claire Monserrat Jackson is such a jewel. You’ve the hands, dear reader, and the time is right now.
Some who want everything for nothing will complain that the serial is too short for its price, and although I agree with the former I vehemently argue against the latter. For the price of a cuppa, you get a tiny puzzle box world so intricate and detailed and layered with meaning that it might well take multiple readings to see all the carefully crafted gear work moments of confusing perfection. Monserrat Jackson’s prose weaves its way through mythology and history in a dance that’s familiar, yet eldritch and alien giving you a dystopian afterworld gilded with gods and myths of the past wrapped up in passages that yearn for Sam Spade’s office.
Claire Monserrat Jackson’s heart beats on the page, the blood in the words and the ink, and the work is better for it. Our protagonist is a woman of color (and song!) and from what I can guess, at least a little more than Queer in the LGBTQIA sense. Which, frankly, in a world with too many white male heroes, is a giant relief. People want diversity in speculative fiction, and Miss Monserrat Jackson serves it up on a plate of caviar prose. Make no mistake, she’s a genre breaker, delivering such a svelte story so impressively drenched with just the perfect detail to leave you in the moment of that world.
If I haven’t impressed this upon you yet let me scream it from the roof tops. Blood Ties: Part One is an amazing masterpiece of urban punk noir, and you should buy it yesterday.
Some notes: Although I was given access to an advance copy, I purchased mine, and was not paid or otherwise coerced to do this review. She's just that good.