I love horror. I love seeing horror movies, listening to horror podcasts, and reading horror novels. Every Halloween, I binge-read the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe because I just find his work so fascinating. So when my partner and I went to the library and saw Bleeding Earth, a horror apocalyptic novel, on the shelves, we just had to check it out. And I'm glad we did!
The story follow Lea as she struggles to survive a world covered in blood, bones, and hair. Sounds interesting, no? The premise is so intriguing! I've never read a book where the end of the world is happening as the characters were living their normal lives. Usually books take place after the apocalypse has happened. So this was an interesting take on the genre.
I'll be honest, the writing is nothing special. Not that it's bad in any way. It's just very simplistic. I didn't fall in love with the way Ward writes descriptions of scenery nor did I fall in love with her character portrayals. Yet I did fall in love with her ideas and the way she executed them. I loved how she wrote about the world being nothing but an ocean of blood. I love how she described the gore and horror of what this world became. The writing may be simple but it helps the reader envision the dire situations these characters are in throughout the entire novel without making it overly complicated. My one complaint about the story as a whole were how desperate the characters want to hang outside because "there's nothing to do at home." Are you kidding me? With the world ending, there's no way anyone in their right mind would want to be outside. And I know there's the whole "psychosis" disease that comes with the blood if you come in contact with it, but the characters were talking about being outside in the blood before that disease took place. And there's plenty of things you can do at home! You can read a book, watch YouTube video, binge-watch a show on Netflix, play video games, exercise, etc. There's a million things to go at home. Why the hell did these characters only cared about going outside and partying?
Speaking of characters, I feel they are the weakest aspect of the book. Lea, the main character, falls into a lot of "teenage drama" tropes. In fact, a lot of the time, she was bratty with her parents just to be bratty. Not to mention that she acted really stupid throughout parts of the novel. Who the hell wants to go to a party in the forest when the world is being swallowed up in blood? Who would even want to party at a time like that!? But I digress. Lea is definitely not the most annoying character I've ever read about but she certainly did a lot of moronic things for no other reason than just because she could do them.
Then there's Aracely, Lea's girlfriend. She's actually not a bad character. I found her the most intriguing out of all the characters in the book. She starts off shy and reserved. She really likes Lea but wants to keep is a secret since she is not out yet and that's fine. You should only come out if you're ready and safe to do so. And I love that, throughout the novel, we see her grow and become more comfortable with who she is. Hell, she even becomes a badass! I do like her, I just wish we got to explore her more. Aside from seeing her grow into a more determined person, we literally know nothing else about her. Not her past or where she came from. Very little is known about her and I wish she was explored more.
The side characters are really nothing too special. Hillary, Lea's best friend, is kind and always willing to be there for her friend, but she literally contradicts herself when she believes her boyfriend (who's a jerk) over her friends. It made no sense why she would be upset with Lea for treating her boyfriend harshly when he was literally taking advantage over a drunk girl. Speaking of that drunk girl, Mikayla was forgettable. She was only in the book just to have that scene in the park and served no other purpose. Cadence, another friend, couldn't even remember her friends long enough to invite them to said party. Felix is nice but apparently has a big mouth. And they are all just kinda... there. None of them, aside from Hillary, served any point to the plot other than to be a nuisance. All these sides characters were just so shallow that I did not connect to a single one.
Another thing that bothered me about this novel was how it ended. No spoilers but... it left a lot to be desired. I was hoping for a bit more closure and I did not get that.
But with all my critiques, you might be wondering why I gave am recommending this book then. Well, because of how engaging it was! I couldn't put the book down. I HAD to know what was going on. I HAD to see where it was going to end. I needed to know why the Earth was like this and how they were going to resolve it all. I liked this book because of its diversity. We have two queer girls in a relationship and one is a PoC. I liked this book for the world it presents. I liked the anticipation it builds and intrigue it instills. Basically, I just had a lot of fun reading this book.
Do I recommend this book? Yes. But to only those who are looking for a horror/gore-filled diverse adventure. It's not without flaws but it is an entertaining book. Keep in mind that this book has descriptions of blood, gore, violence, murder, and suicide. So if any of that might be triggering for you, then do not read this book. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy reading this despite the flaws. It really is quite the fast read.