Published by Random House Publishing Group on February 7, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Gothic, Hispanic & Latino, Horror, LGBTQ
Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez is THE book you need to read this upcoming spooky season. While its size is intimidating, no page is wasted and there are multiple memorable horror scenes. Many of my favorite literary things are featured: a generational family saga, trauma and its aftermath, cults, Stephen King vibes, dark academia and loads of queerness.
The novel spans decades and focuses on the Argentinian sect of a cult called The Order. The cult members worship a dark power they hope will grant them immortality. The Order is run by a messy, wealthy family that performs heinous acts to appease the dark power. Juan is a medium taken into The Order at a young age. After enduring a twisted, abusive childhood he flees The Order with his son Gasper who may have inherited Juan’s medium abilities. Juan is determined to keep his son safely out of The Order’s grasp. The story is split into six parts, all written in a different style, and presented out of order. The mysteries of the Order are revealed slowly for the reader. Do not expect to understand everything that happens early in the novel. The slow parceling out of information gives this book a high reread potential. Second time readers will likely come across many things that were missed initially.
I felt that each part of the novel had its own flavor, inspired by well-known horror writers or sub-genres. The first part reads like a classic gothic horror story. Part three (my favorite) deals with many child characters and is reminiscent of Stephen King’s IT. Fans of dark academia will enjoy part four where young adults within The Order progress through school. The final part of the novel is quieter than I expected. I was surprised that the novel ended with a slow and reflective tone. Thanks to Enriquez’s great talent Our Share of Night is written in many distinct styles without the story feeling disjointed.
Enriquez flawlessly weaves multiple themes throughout the story. The Order represents the dangers of capitalism. There are many references to Argentinian politics that readers well versed in Argentinian history will pick up on (most these moments went over my head). I appreciate that female characters were pulling the strings behind The Order. While The Order is the worst, I always enjoy reading about a badass matriarchy. I was also thrilled with all of the queer characters and relationships in the story.
My sole critique for this fantastic novel is it desperately needs a family tree at the front of the book. I love family trees, character lists and maps in speculative fiction novels. There are so many characters in Our Share of Night that it’s challenging to keep track of how everyone is related.