Emotionally wrought imagery conveys the characters’ struggles in this rich fantasy novel.
Set in a world full of darkness and demon influence, J. M. McDermott’s We Leave Together is a story of love, addiction, despair, and desire. This heart-wrenching tale follows the final memories of a King’s man—a man who devotes his life to carrying out the will of the king—whose entire life has been affected by the existence of demons who walk the earth.
The unnamed narrator, a “wolfwoman” blessed by the god Elishta to see into the memories of the fallen King’s man Jona Lord Joni, goes back in time to learn the truth of what actually happened in Dogsland so she can tell the world what the king has truly done to his people. Her mission to write it all down for the world to read is challenged by secrecy, broken memories, and partial recollection of the locals. Soldiering on in her search, however, she discovers the true origin of demon weed; the secret that changes demon-child Lord Joni’s life forever, along with the fate of the entire town.
McDermott demonstrates a masterful ability to convey the emotional struggle of the characters through imagery. “Sergeant Calipari stepped up from the bed, and he was already in his uniform. He had slept in it. He pulled his boots on over bare feet and grabbed his cloak and belt from the night table, which was almost the only furniture here.” This scene illustrates the melancholy of the characters and strengthens the drive that pushes the characters toward their goal.
The complexity of this novel, although a bit confusing at first due to the scattered sequences of the scenes, can also be appreciated. Being forced to piece together the events of the story with scenes that do not happen in order, as the main character is piecing the story together for herself, is both challenging and intriguing. The only drawback to this is that by the middle of the novel, readers already know what happened after those events. It’s like reading the ending first, something not all readers enjoy.
We Leave Together is definitely a novel to add to the reading list.
Jessica S. Council
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.