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Friday, November 29, 2019

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love (reviewed by Łukasz Przywóski)



Order Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Mercedes M. Yardley is a whimsical dark fantasist who wears stilettos, red lipstick, and poisonous flowers in her hair. She recently won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red. Mercedes lives and creates in Las Vegas with her family and menagerie of battle-scarred, rescued animal familiars.

FORMAT/INFO: Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu is 175 pages long. The book was originally published in 2016 by Crystal Lake Publishing. Cover design by George Cotronis.

OVERVIEW: I won’t lie. I’ve read the book because of the title. It showed on the Goodreads Readers also enjoyed feed of Seth Skorkowsky's Hounacier and once I saw it, I just had to try it just to see what kind of story is hidden behind such an amazing title.

It turns out it’s a love story.

But instead of chocolate and roses, our lovers share eviscerating others. It’s a short story of a blossoming romance between an Asian-American serial killer and a stripper he kidnapped. Nuclear Lulu and Apocalyptic Montessa do horrible things together but they also love in a very real and fierce way. Their romance is self-consuming and baptized in tears and blood. As melodramatic as it may sound, it’s a very well written book that’s not afraid to go to very dark places.

Both characters are deeply damaged and went through childhood trauma. Montessa’s relationships were empty and hurtful. She admits that

it was easier to be with a man who wanted to murder her, and would appreciate it than be with a man who would only beat her to death.

Lu is a serial killer who loves to make people suffer. It’s his true calling. It’s something he does well. Their relationship evolves quickly and they end up meaning the world to one another. Despite their flaws and craziness Lu and Montessa are endearing.

Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu doesn't idealize love. Neither does it try to sell it to you. Love is presented as a violent thing rooted in imperfection. There’s a little world outside a pair. Other people appear but they’re barely sketched. The focus of the story lies elsewhere: in picturing impossible and yet relatable romance with words and sentences.

While Mercedes M. Yardley prose is economic, it’s poetic in places, melodramatic in others:
He held out his hand. She walked over and took it. Sparks flew. Magic happened. Nuclear reactors melted in joy. The world combusted.

Not everyone will like this style. I loved it. It’s strong. It delivers feelings pretty well and, in places, sets a bit surreal ambiance.

Overall, it was something else. The book is very short and strong. It’s dark and twisted take on the topic of soulmates. Obviously, some moral questions may arise as we start to cheer for a pair of psychotic killers and it’s good to think them through.

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