Robin – now armed with new knowledge about mysterious demon terrorizing her around town, the support of her friends, and the assistance of her old witch-hunter mentor – plots to confront the Lazenbury coven and destroy them once and for all.
Meanwhile, a dangerous serial killer only known as The Serpent is abducting and killing Blackfield residents. An elusive order of magicians known as the Dogs of Odysseus also show up with Robin in their sights.
Robin must handle these new threats on top of the menace from the Lazenbury coven, but a secret about Robin’s past may throw all of her plans into jeopardy.
Warnings: use of racial and homophobic slurs, graphic violence, police brutality; gun violence; loss of limbs and other body horror; arachnophobia; mentions of human sacrifice; gruesome animal abuse and death
Note: Not a YA novel
I Come With Knives builds on the elements constructed in Burn the Dark quite well, and from the start to finish it is a fast-paced action-filled hunt. Robin, with her mentor Heinrich now in town, plans how to eliminate the witch coven; their plans hinge on getting into the house of the witches unseen, but an awkward dinner, and a failed infiltration have them all hanging on the brink. You’d think the characters could catch a break, and you may even ask of the author “haven’t they suffered enough”, but they all, especially Robin and Joel, both go through a lot in this book. From bodily injury to grief, they have the odds somewhat stacked against them, since they are in a town in which the powerful witches hold sway.
Aside from the tense battles that Robin charges into with her friends and allies, defeating one witch after another, the plot also delves a bit into her relationship and her mother’s relationship with those witches. Robin herself has been partly brought up by Marilyn Cutter, a woman she considered her grandmother at one point, and that close relationship also fuels her anger much more, while also making her pause a bit. Robin’s relationship with her mother when the latter was alive was fraught with disagreements, and in the years since, as she realized the lengths to which her mother used her magic on her to scramble her memories, she has been stoking that fury, but now, as she comes to face the circumstances of her existence, she is able to move on from that. Still, there is plenty more things to cause her grief in this book itself.
Joel gets more of a PoV in this book, as his serial killer from the previous hasn’t given up on him. In fact, said killer has powerful allies, so he isn’t even safe from the authorities (not like he ever was, considering he is Black and gay). As he is chased all over, he is also brought into the fight against the witches, bringing his bedazzled baseball bat in tow (he is on the cover!); Joel and Robin also sort of come closer as a family in this book, but I also wish there was more development to that. Finally, there’s also the introduction of another organization in this book, and while it didn’t entirely answer my questions about how Robin has been getting away for 2 years, it sort of reassured me that this point was considered. I liked the new additions, though we didn’t get to learn much about them. Maybe a sequel might have her more involved with them, though this one ended pretty definitively into a conclusion for her arc, so who knows?
Oh, and a final warning – don’t take those content warnings above lightly. The book is horror, and brings all the gore, torture and grotesque elements of it – the body horror, police brutality and animal abuse alone are quite enough to cause discomfort or trigger someone.
Is it diverse? bisexual main character; Black main character; gay Black main character; disabled major character
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Tor Books, via Edelweiss.
Previous book in the Malus Domestica series
Releases on June 8, 2020