I really meant to get down to reviewing Ubo months ago. Unfortunately, I'm me. Much delayed, but still deserving of my time and thought.
Right away, I will note that it was described to me originally as Science-Fiction Horror; while it is that, it's also not horror in the way that pop culture often doles out the label. This is much more cerebral in some of its horrific aspects while still maintaining the visceral, disturbing facets we love so much in horror.
Steve Rasnic Tem has created an unsettling meditation on and look at humanity in its most inhumane moments, without being gratuitous. It is unflinching, unapologetic, and still somehow touching.
About halfway through, I really thought I knew where it was going, what was going to be the reveal--no, i was wrong. I would have been happy to be right, but I was happier with what Tem did in many ways.
My only criticism is that there was an incomplete sense to the world-building outside the space in which the primary action of the novel takes place. Not in the sense that Tem didn't DO the world-building, but that the reader doesn't get the bigger, broader picture. Which isn't necessarily a negative, however; to the contrary, it creates a desire for MORE of the setting and world in which Ubo exists. There are a lot of questions left unanswered, but if you're willing to hold on and go on the ride, it's definitely satisfying.
The story telling is thoughtful and direct, with a solid voice behind it. While I felt some trepidation (both for the storytelling and the story) in the beginning, I'm extremely glad I picked this book out to read!
Transparency: I received this book through the publisher via NetGalley. I do not receive any affiliate bonuses from links to books (or other products) on this blog.