song-of-kali-fantasy-masterwo8245_fI actually finished reading this weeks ago but have only just got round to writing this review because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say. Some of you will remember that I read my first Dan Simmons novel towards the end of last year (my review is here) and that I absolutely loved it. The Song of Kali is a trickier proposition.

So the American poet Robert Luczak has been commissioned by a magazine to write an article about the Indian poet M. Das, who appeared to be dead but has now resurfaced with a new work. Luczak’s wife is Indian, so she and their baby daughter accompany him to Calcutta to locate Das and see if a deal to publish the new poetry can be worked out. And then, of course, it all goes horribly wrong.

Has Das come back from the dead? Is there going to be a new age of Kali where violence and destruction hold sway? Will the Luczak family get out of all of this unscathed?

This seems to me to be much more of a horror than a fantasy work; it’s incredibly dark, grim, violent and really, really disturbing in places. I struggled to finish it despite the fact that it is so well written, because it is pretty compelling stuff which lodges in your mind, and actually I wasn’t sure that I really did want to know how things were going to work out.

This is very much an acquired taste, and was my first read for the Once Upon a Time III challenge.