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“The Dead Take the A Train” is a thoughtful, well-crafted, and fun read for anyone who loves dark fantasy, horror, and some weird stuff.

The Dead Take the A Train

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The Dead Take the A Train, written by Cassandra Khaw and Richard Kadrey, engulfs the reader within the dark/urban fantasy world of demons, cosmic entities, and the corporate bros of New York City.

The main character, Julie, is unlike most protagonists. She is a vulgar, addict, and magic-y demon-y hunter just trying to make it by in a city that feels against her.

Julie takes any job that comes her way, like the iconic opening of her trying to save the bride from the inhabitation of a grotesque demon, but she wants more and needs to step up when her best friend Sarah shows up needing her help. Julie not only faces demons, but her shitty ex-boyfriend is using her to climb the corporate ladder.

This novel has many moving pieces and characters but does a good job of intertwining each piece.

Khaw and Kadrey are phenomenal at world-building from the start of the book.

I did find myself slugging through the start of the book as they set the scene, but I appreciated all the details as I continued reading on.

I could clearly visualize this alternate universe NYC and each graphic detail of the different demons Julie fought; some images will never escape my brain now. Along with that, these authors truly delivered when it came to crafting fully realized characters. I felt like I knew the characters as much as Julie did. This aspect is often rushed within books, but not in this one.

I adored St. Joan and Dead Air, two side characters that brought so much to the story through their constant support and care for Julie. This ended up being a beautiful contrast in how society and Julie’s ex-boyfriend, Tyler, see and treat her.

From the first page, I found myself loving this crude and unhinged main character because she was real and also totally badass.

The story follows multiple plot lines and characters so that the reader gets the full picture of what is happening and knows more than Julie does, which makes us root for her even more, knowing what she is going up against. (It also really makes us angry at the ex-boyfriend.)

The cover art does a fantastic job of giving insight into some odd and creepy demons that wait among the pages.

Khaw and Kadrey knock it out of the park with the intricacy of the story and world that the readers find themselves alongside Julie.  

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 5

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