Summary from GoodReads:
Mara is a Japanese-American girl with a history of personal tragedy. Though she still cuts herself to quell the pain, she thought the worst was behind her. But her boyfriend’s sudden death, and a visit to one of the most haunted places in Washington State, sends her into a spiral of madness, landing her in a psychiatric ward.
Already suffering from dreams of a strange, ghost-infested house in the woods, Mara begins to question the very existence of reality. She is forced to confront the truth about her older sister’s death and the reason the ghosts have chosen her as their conduit
“Because through suffering, we become purified. And to suffer for another human being is the noblest thing we can do.”
Conduits is a short story with a big bite. I am a fan of gore in my horror, but I also love a dark psychological twist and turns kind of tale, and I certainly got this with Conduits.
The is story drenched in darkness from the very beginning. Mara is dealing with her grief the only way she knows how: by cutting herself. As Mara loses her grasp on reality and becomes more unstable, she is admitted into a psychiatric ward. Forced to confront her issues without the aid her usual crutch, she becomes aware of a separate reality that comes alive in her dreams. A reality that concerns her past and the dead.
I’ll be honest, a lot of the story went right over my head. Sometimes this really bothers me, but with Conduits I didn’t mind so much. I think that it’s because this story is meant to rattle our brains a bit. We’re supposed to wonder whether what Mara experiences is real, or if she is indeed losing her sanity.
The story itself unravels so intricately. Little by little we learn about Mara’s tragic past, and how that plays into her present.The supernatural is executed in the right amount of gore and morbidity. It keeps the reader at the edge of their seats.
I was absolutely fascinated by the Japanese legends woven into the story. It not only offers a cultural insight into Japanese horror stories, but it allows us to understand Mara’s demons better.The Japanese legends gives us clues and insight into the dead’s interest in Mara becoming their conduit. If of course the dead really are interested in Mara.
Overall, Conduits is a horror story that make you work for it. It’s rich and complex and it will leave you cringing and thinking.
Thank you to DarkFuse via Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.