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The Rampant

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It’s ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods arrived in Southern Indiana to kick off the end of the world, but things have not gone to plan. A principal player decided not to show. Now humanity is stuck in a seemingly never-ending apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey are determined to travel into the lands of the dead and force a c It’s ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods arrived in Southern Indiana to kick off the end of the world, but things have not gone to plan. A principal player decided not to show. Now humanity is stuck in a seemingly never-ending apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey are determined to travel into the lands of the dead and force a change. “Equal parts playful and heartbreaking, this apocalyptic novella offers one-of-a-kind answers about the end of the world….This clever and surprisingly fun take on the rapture is the perfect theological horror story.” — Publishers Weekly “Day perfectly balances dark and light in The Rampant, and offers up a fresh take on apocalyptic fiction that draws on ancient mythology and literature to create something that feels completely original and new. “ — The Book Smugglers, Women to Read “I loved the epic journey of our two teenaged lesbian heroes, Gillian and Emelia, through the sprawling horrors of the Sumerian afterworld. The clash of their modern feminist sensibilities with the cruel and rigid theocracy of the very oldest gods out-weirds much of the New Weird. In The Rampant, Julie Day calls us to visit a fantastical landscape in a voice that is hers alone.” —James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards “The Rampant was so much fun to read! Is that the right way to blurb a horror novel? I don’t know, but it’s the truth. Julie Day’s novel is smart, playful, sly and, yes, horrifying too. A short gem of a book.”—Victor LaValle, winner of the World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and British Fantasy awards. “The girl-powered post-apocalyptic Sumerian underworld quest I didn’t know I needed.”—Sarah Pinsker, winner of the Nebula and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award “The Rampant is one of the most original Apocalypse tales I’ve read in ages. Julie C. Day avoids cliché and gives the reader the end-times by way of Sumerian myth—except this particular end-of-the-world stalls when one of its principal players decides not to show up. What unfolds is a journey into the underworld filled with joy and horror, hope and loss. It’s a wise and lovely story—exactly what I’ve come to expect from Day.”—Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award


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It’s ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods arrived in Southern Indiana to kick off the end of the world, but things have not gone to plan. A principal player decided not to show. Now humanity is stuck in a seemingly never-ending apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey are determined to travel into the lands of the dead and force a c It’s ten years since the hordes of old-world Sumerian gods arrived in Southern Indiana to kick off the end of the world, but things have not gone to plan. A principal player decided not to show. Now humanity is stuck in a seemingly never-ending apocalypse. Sixteen-year-old Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey are determined to travel into the lands of the dead and force a change. “Equal parts playful and heartbreaking, this apocalyptic novella offers one-of-a-kind answers about the end of the world….This clever and surprisingly fun take on the rapture is the perfect theological horror story.” — Publishers Weekly “Day perfectly balances dark and light in The Rampant, and offers up a fresh take on apocalyptic fiction that draws on ancient mythology and literature to create something that feels completely original and new. “ — The Book Smugglers, Women to Read “I loved the epic journey of our two teenaged lesbian heroes, Gillian and Emelia, through the sprawling horrors of the Sumerian afterworld. The clash of their modern feminist sensibilities with the cruel and rigid theocracy of the very oldest gods out-weirds much of the New Weird. In The Rampant, Julie Day calls us to visit a fantastical landscape in a voice that is hers alone.” —James Patrick Kelly, winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards “The Rampant was so much fun to read! Is that the right way to blurb a horror novel? I don’t know, but it’s the truth. Julie Day’s novel is smart, playful, sly and, yes, horrifying too. A short gem of a book.”—Victor LaValle, winner of the World Fantasy, Shirley Jackson, and British Fantasy awards. “The girl-powered post-apocalyptic Sumerian underworld quest I didn’t know I needed.”—Sarah Pinsker, winner of the Nebula and the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award “The Rampant is one of the most original Apocalypse tales I’ve read in ages. Julie C. Day avoids cliché and gives the reader the end-times by way of Sumerian myth—except this particular end-of-the-world stalls when one of its principal players decides not to show up. What unfolds is a journey into the underworld filled with joy and horror, hope and loss. It’s a wise and lovely story—exactly what I’ve come to expect from Day.”—Nathan Ballingrud, winner of the Shirley Jackson Award

43 review for The Rampant

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    I thought this was an okay read. It was an interesting mix of LGBTQ, YA, apocalyptic, dark fantasy, and horror. While I’m not crazy about dark fantasy, I find it can be pretty depressing, the rest sounded really good to me. I was hoping this would be right up my alley instead I’m left thinking that it was just alright. A bunch of old Sumerian gods have come Earth to start the end of days. However, one of the gods that was the key to these end of the world plans never showed up so the I thought this was an okay read. It was an interesting mix of LGBTQ, YA, apocalyptic, dark fantasy, and horror. While I’m not crazy about dark fantasy, I find it can be pretty depressing, the rest sounded really good to me. I was hoping this would be right up my alley instead I’m left thinking that it was just alright. A bunch of old Sumerian gods have come Earth to start the end of days. However, one of the gods that was the key to these end of the world plans never showed up so the word is stuck in a constant apocalypse. Demi-gods and gods are running around eating humans just for the fun of it. Sixteen-year-olds Emelia Bareilles and Gillian Halkey have had enough and are ready to travel below to the land of the dead to finally end the way things are. I love Greek and Roman mythology but the only thing I know about Sumerian mythology comes from the original Ghostbusters movie. Well Gozer and Zuul are not even real demi-god and gods so I actually know less than nothing. This apocalyptic idea seemed so different to the ones I normally read I had to give it a try. The apocalyptic world on earth actually reminded me a bit of Karen Marie Moning Fever series, except this book is with gods and demi gods many who are monster like. That does change quickly though since most of the book takes place as the girls are traveling the underworld. I think when I saw the horror tag I expected this to be scary. I do understand the horror tag here but it’s more gory horror than scary horror. There are a lot of gross things and people dying. This is YA, the characters feel like 16 year-olds, but this might not be appropriate for kids under 14. I could see it becoming possible nightmare territory. I’m no expert on kids so this is a guess on my part. This does have a light wlw storyline. The two girls are best friends and it’s clear one girl has stronger feelings we just don’t really know how the other feels. There are some mixed messages. But when it comes overall to the teeny tiny romance everything stays very G-rated. This book was a bit depressing and gross at times. However, I do have to mention there were some nice girl-power moments near the end. Not everything is doom and gloom and it was nice to see these girls trying to take their power back. This is the kind of book I might remember just because it was so different. It didn’t really end up being for me personally, but I could see it working better for other readers. A copy was given to me for a honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cécile C.

    This was a surprise, both extremely dark and extremely compelling. The premise (two teenage girls attempt to speed up the end of the world, because the Earth just before the Apocalypse is just too miserable to live in) may sound gloomy, but somehow the story still manage to convey a sense of hope. The narrator's voice is just glib enough to add spice to the story without becoming annoying, and the blooming relationship between the two main characters rings true, and touching. I also enjoyed the This was a surprise, both extremely dark and extremely compelling. The premise (two teenage girls attempt to speed up the end of the world, because the Earth just before the Apocalypse is just too miserable to live in) may sound gloomy, but somehow the story still manage to convey a sense of hope. The narrator's voice is just glib enough to add spice to the story without becoming annoying, and the blooming relationship between the two main characters rings true, and touching. I also enjoyed the mythological undertones. The journey of the two girls down to the Sumerian netherworld mirrors Gilgamesh's, but is also reminiscent of Inanna's journey (with Ereshkigal waiting down there), which adds an extra layer to the story: it's not a tale of desperation but of love, and carnal love, and its potential to restore life and joy to the world. I kept turning the pages until the end. The length was just right, too, long enough to fully develop the story, short enough to avoid letting the dark and gloomy side take over the hopeful side.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Catherine Schaff-Stump

    Day has written an intense horror novel, full of ghastly mythology. Perhaps a next level novel of the undead, The Rampant is two teenage girls trying to bring about the End of Days as they exist in a twilight that is neither dead nor undead. Day is a precise writer whose sentences are poetic, even in this intense setting. The book is almost perfect in its execution.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bandit

    Apocalyptic fiction comes in many varieties today and there’s certainly no shortage of options, but apocalypse based on Sumerian mythology…now that’s bound to grab my attention. I’m interested in all mythology, but Sumeria seldom gets its time in the sun as it were, so for this I was willing to take a chance on an unknown author/unknown publishers and, more importantly, try to ignore the fact that it screamed YA. Because this slender volume managed to get very complimentary blurbs from respectab Apocalyptic fiction comes in many varieties today and there’s certainly no shortage of options, but apocalypse based on Sumerian mythology…now that’s bound to grab my attention. I’m interested in all mythology, but Sumeria seldom gets its time in the sun as it were, so for this I was willing to take a chance on an unknown author/unknown publishers and, more importantly, try to ignore the fact that it screamed YA. Because this slender volume managed to get very complimentary blurbs from respectable authors of proper adult fiction, I figured (hoped) maybe this would just be one of those stories where the protagonists are young, but the writing isn’t. Alas…this wasn’t it. This was very, very much YA. Two teenage girls, suddenly in love, and determined to travel the inevitably inhospitable Sumerian land of the dead to maybe, just maybe reset the world from the bizarre reality it’s been in for the last decade, since the Sumerian apocalypse set in. Told in the snarky sarcastic quippy style that seems to very a YA go to narration choice. The characters and dialogue are all very much age appropriate, 16 or so, and definitely no more. And while there is an inexplicably large adult audience out there for books deliberately written below their presupposed intellectual and maturity levels, I’m not it and I was unable to…get with it. The Sumerian angle was fun, the mythology and deities and rules…all very entertaining. But the story left a lot to be desired…too much Y, not enough A, that sort of thing. It was fun enough and short enough to entertain adequately, but not much more than that. Traditional YA audience (you know, teens and intellectually immature adults) would probably get so much more out of this. Otherwise, it’s just too…young. The publishers (going by their statement) are on a mission to put out feminist themed material and this qualifies. Girl power all the way, positive message and all that. So…very good. For teenage girls. Thanks Netgalley.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

    Wow. Wow! I love a good descent into the underworld story (see: Hadestown), and this is one of the best I've come across! Two teen girls in Indiana embark on a perilous journey into the Sumerian underworld, and you won't believe what happens next! Do yourself a favor, and get this book, then go back and read Julie C. Day's short story collection Uncommon Miracles.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Maria Haskins

    Funny, dark, strange, and heartwarming at the same time, this is a fast-paced horror/dark fantasy story about two queer girls in love who try to save the world by bringing about the Sumerian Rapture (which might seem to be an odd way of saving the world, but hey, in this cast it works). The characters are wonderful in all their fiery, gnarly teen girl glory, and their "road trip" adventure through the underworld is phantasmagorically trippy. The story moves at a fast clip, and it was the voice o Funny, dark, strange, and heartwarming at the same time, this is a fast-paced horror/dark fantasy story about two queer girls in love who try to save the world by bringing about the Sumerian Rapture (which might seem to be an odd way of saving the world, but hey, in this cast it works). The characters are wonderful in all their fiery, gnarly teen girl glory, and their "road trip" adventure through the underworld is phantasmagorically trippy. The story moves at a fast clip, and it was the voice of the main characters and their bond that really kept me hooked.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Brett

    Julie Day's novella is, as I've said elsewhere, utterly singular. It's rare enough to find a work that can truly surprise you, that can be really different from anything you've seen before. "The Rampant" is just such a work - it's a post-apocalyptic quest, a deep dive into Sumerian mythology that has as its heart a powerful and abiding friendship between two modern young women. More about it I don't want to reveal, but it is stunning in its ideas and the surreality of its world.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Rover Reads)

    Disclaimer: I received a free Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review. What a fun little book! Gillian and her best friend (and crush) Emelia have a mission: finish the Rapture that started 10 years ago, thus ending the world as they know it. The reason? The world as they know it sucks. Gods and demigods are running rampant, killing and feeding and slaughtering the humans systematically. To complicate matters further, the dead that are considered 'imperfect' are doomed to dwel Disclaimer: I received a free Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review. What a fun little book! Gillian and her best friend (and crush) Emelia have a mission: finish the Rapture that started 10 years ago, thus ending the world as they know it. The reason? The world as they know it sucks. Gods and demigods are running rampant, killing and feeding and slaughtering the humans systematically. To complicate matters further, the dead that are considered 'imperfect' are doomed to dwell forever in the Plains. Imperfect frequently meaning 'killed and eaten by deities, thus leaving their relatives with an incomplete or no body at all to bury'. In the next realm, the Netherworld, the perfect dead reside as well as the missing God The Rampant needed to complete the Rapture. The Rampant has been pulling Gillian down to the Netherworld in her dreams, explaining his plan to her in bits and fragments. One thing is clear, however: they need to travel down into the realms of the dead in order to free him. Along the way Gillian and Mel meet a number of ghosts of their own, change the plan, save the world and maybe... fall in love?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Cute and fun! Comparisons to Percy Jackson are probably inevitable – teens x mythology and all that – but this book did give me strong Percy Jackson vibes, not just thematically but tonally. (I loved Percy Jackson, so that’s okay with me.) The best parts of the book are definitely the physical descriptions of the underworld, which are very visceral and imaginative and shot through with real horror. I’d have liked a deeper dive into the characters and a deeper understanding of their motivations a Cute and fun! Comparisons to Percy Jackson are probably inevitable – teens x mythology and all that – but this book did give me strong Percy Jackson vibes, not just thematically but tonally. (I loved Percy Jackson, so that’s okay with me.) The best parts of the book are definitely the physical descriptions of the underworld, which are very visceral and imaginative and shot through with real horror. I’d have liked a deeper dive into the characters and a deeper understanding of their motivations and personalities, and I’d also have liked to dwell more on the “Girls should not be sacrificed” theme, which I think is really powerful but was maybe underutilized. Still, like I said, cute and fun and a worthwhile read. Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Domi

    I love YA post-apocalyptic books. This has an interesting subject with a not well-known Sumerian mythology angle and 2 kick-ass girl heroes. That being said this one didn't really do it for me.. could not really relate to the main characters and the writing was a bit chaotic for me. A lot needed to be said in a short space it seems. Descriptions were good though, but maybe the book was a bit too "young" for me to really get into it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tom Davidson

    A great little book helping us to understand just how it might go down if the long awaited Rapture fails to live up to its promises of world-ending glory. The main characters are well written and really help to carry things along as they bring the story to the Sumerian underworld. Really enjoyed it.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lateniteknitter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Read

  14. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Glorimar

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nav

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Shaw

  19. 5 out of 5

    McPhaul M.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trink

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chris Butler

  25. 5 out of 5

    Greg

  26. 5 out of 5

    Robyn

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rosa

  28. 5 out of 5

    Regine

  29. 5 out of 5

    Beth

  30. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Henderson

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ciara Salazar

  32. 5 out of 5

    Eelsmum

  33. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  34. 5 out of 5

    Dua

  35. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  36. 4 out of 5

    Carina Bissett

  37. 5 out of 5

    Dixie

  38. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  39. 5 out of 5

    John Ratcliff

  40. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Maddux

  41. 5 out of 5

    Decoo

  42. 5 out of 5

    StarMan

  43. 5 out of 5

    Christina

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