The Book of the Baku by R.L Boyle review

While R.L Boyle’s The Book of the Baku may seem fantastical from the outside looking in it is a tale very grounded in the story of generational trauma.

Sean hasn’t been able to speak a word since he was put into care, and is sent to live with his grandad, a retired author whom he has never met before. Suddenly living an affluent life, nothing like the world of the estate he grew up in, Sean spends his time drawing and sculpting. But his grandad has secrets of his own in his past. Sean finds one of his stories about ‘The Baku’, a creature that eats the fears of children.

Plagued by nightmares, with darkness spreading through the house, Sean must finally face the truth if he’s to have a chance to free himself and his grandfather from the grip of the Baku.

Boyle really works hard on the character of Sean, who has become mute since the loss of his mother under mysterious circumstances. Through flashing back and flashing forward we slowly piece together Sean’s situation whilst dealing with the looming threat of the Baku.

Using the universal threat of nightmares we see the Baku in action and it is not pretty. This not a dream demon you can wise crack with.

Rich characterisation and a deeply woven plot make The Book of the Baku frighteningly original whilst feeling oddly familiar.

One of the brightest debuts of 2021.

The Book of the Baku by R.L Boyle is available now from Titan Books.

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