*Disclaimer – I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
The absinthe seared the back of Violet’s throat, setting her tastes buds alight. She felt it rushing like acid down her gullet and into her empty stomach.
“Whoo!” Violet slammed the shot glass onto the bar, signalling the tender to bring over a second one.
“Steady on, Vi, it’s still early,” Lucy cautioned, in her light-hearted manner.
It may have only just gone 9 p.m., but it was Friday night and Cherry’s Bar was filling up fast. Piss-cheap beer, along with the free-shot-with-any-cocktail deal, made it a popular venue for university students; especially those psyching themselves up for Derby City Centre’s bigger pubs and clubs. Although the cocktails themselves were more juice than alcohol, and Violet had learned from experience that once you got over the excitement of free booze, it was fairly counterproductive.
“Where after this?” she yelled, over the thudding beat of chart hits. “I’m in the mood for some serious boogying tonight!”
“Carry on the way you’re going and you won’t be able to stand up, let alone dance around your handbag.” Another admonishment from Lucy.
A fresh shot glass filled with slime-green liquid was plonked on the bar in front of Violet, along with a milky-looking cocktail.
“I didn’t order this,” Violet told the barman.
He pointed behind them to the seating zone that ran alongside the main window. Violet was only able to identify the mystery man because he was sitting alone. Slouched in a chair, one elbow draped over the back of it in a lackadaisical fashion, a dark-haired stranger had them in his sight. His face rippled with colour beneath the disco lights, which cast surfing rainbows over his black shirt. The scene induced a hallucinogenic kind of dizziness, and in the end Violet had to look away.
“He bought this? For me?” she asked the barman, who clarified with a nod. She offered him some change to pay for the shot, but he waved a dismissive hand.
“Call it a freebie with the cocktail,” he said.
“What cocktail is it?”
“Er, Screaming Orgasm.”
Violet and Lucy glanced back at the stranger, then at each other. They erupted into unrestrained giggles.
After the strange and unsolved death of her younger sister, Violet is spiraling into a pit of self-destruction. Not only is she drinking, but she’s started to black out and forget things, started to get an urge for violence that she never had before. So, when a group of strange individuals come offering answers not only to her lost nights, but also to what really happened to her sister, she follows gladly. But there’s something inside her that’s trying to get out. Can she push the darkness back, or will she use it to avenge her sister?
Though not a classic ‘werewolf’ story, Metas is the reinvention of the struggle to contain and harness the animal within. An urban tale of heightened senses, mysterious groups hellbent on eradicating the problem, and a hunger that cannot be denied. Through broken friendships, stifled lovers, and secrets that would drive anyone insane, Louise brings the reader on a roller-coaster ride through the life of protagonist Violet
Violet is not a perfect hero – she gets her hands dirty on numerous occasions, a morally conflicted woman who was never given the tools to make the right decisions. She may be the least ‘human’ of all the characters in the book but she certainly has the complicated emotions and motivations of a human. She can brave, cowardly, kind to strangers, mean to those she loves, secretive and irrational and this is what makes the story so easy to get through. It was never a difficult task to turn to the next page. Metas gives you plenty to chew on.
I found Metas to be a visceral and multi-faceted story that wouldn’t be amiss on the big screen. The female monster story needs to come back to the forefront and this is a good place to start. Violet is an imperfect main character and one that you can’t always agree with, but you certainly can’t look away from. It’s bloody, it’s messy, there is no perfectly sculpted happy ending here, but plenty of bite.
About the Author –
Rae Louise is a horror writer from the UK. Cultivating a love of darker stories from a young age, she studied movie makeup and prosthetics, as well as creating and selling gothic art. You can find her on Goodreads, Instagram and Facebook.
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What’s your favourite werewolf-esque horror story? Do we need more female werewolves? Who’s your favourite UK horror writer?