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Publisher's Summary

“DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK. Authentically terrifying.” —Stephen King

A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!
STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!
Anticipated and Recommended by Bustle, USA Today, CNN, i09, The Nerd Daily, LitReactor, GoodReads, LitHub, and more!

Sundial is a new, twisty psychological horror novel from Catriona Ward, internationally bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street.

You can't escape what's in your blood...

All Rob wanted was a normal life. She almost got it, too: a husband, two kids, a nice house in the suburbs. But Rob fears for her oldest daughter, Callie, who collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends. Rob sees a darkness in Callie, one that reminds her too much of the family she left behind.

She decides to take Callie back to her childhood home, to Sundial, deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is worried about her mother. Rob has begun to look at her strangely, and speaks of past secrets. And Callie fears that only one of them will leave Sundial alive…

The mother and daughter embark on a dark, desert journey to the past in the hopes of redeeming their future.

"A story where nothing is what it seems—a thrilling hall of mirrors full of deeply disturbing twists. This book will haunt you." —Alex Michaelides, #1 New York Times bestselling author

A Macmillan Audio production from Tor Nightfire

©2022 Catriona Ward (P)2022 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

A LibraryReads Top 10 Pick!

STARRED review from Publishers Weekly!

Anticipated and Recommended by Bustle, USA Today, CNN, i09, The Nerd Daily, LitReactor, GoodReads, LitHub, and more!

Sundial is a heart-in-the-throat smash.” —Joe Hill, New York Times bestselling author of The Fireman

“Masterful...[A] must-read for fans of gothic literature and taut psychological thrillers.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Sundial is as brilliant and moving as you would expect from a Catriona Ward book.” —Sarah Pinborough, New York Times bestselling author of Behind Her Eyes

What listeners say about Sundial

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Skip if if you are a dog lover. I can't finish.

I go back and forth on 3 stars and 4 stars on the story because I can see that the story has great potential if you are not a dog lover. I think I will have to stick with 3 stars because I can't make myself finish. The reason: It's too heavy for me where the discussion of laboratory dogs and abuse is involved.

Discussion of harming a child or a puppy briefly is understandable. But we covered it with too much detail for me, then we touch back on these hard situations again and again.

PLEASE NOTE: Spoiler alert starts here. I want to explain what I mean -------> There is an imaginary character called "Dumpster Puppy" within the thoughts of one of the major characters, a girl named Callie. She is the daughter of the main female character whose name is Rob. Callie has Dumpster Puppy living in her thoughts because she killed him, then cleaned and bleached his bones to glue on a paper. She has done the same thing with other small animals. Other discussions of tortured dogs and children take place. For instance, much of this takes place in the past in a laboratory setting in the desert. The researchers and assistants finally stop naming the dogs they work with because the dogs go bad too frequently and have to die. They give the dogs numbers as names. One dog (a Rottweiler) that is called "23" has had her tail broken repeatedly. She becomes pregnant. Ultimately, although a good dog mother, the experiments performed cause 23 to kill her puppies of less than six weeks old and then to stalk and kill adults. <--------- Spoiler is OVER.

I adored the creepy but terrific book "The Last House on Needless Street" and pre-ordered this one as soon as I finished it. I had to put down TLHONS when it got too intense, also. I was warned by reading TLHONS that this author could go to the dark side because TLHONS had some weird abuse stuff going on in it, also. But it didn't push my buttons quite as hard as this one does. I have had to put down for hours at a time and think of something else. I have tried skipping through the third quarter of the book (10 chapters) to avoid the hard parts, but there's more to come in the last quarter of the book. The book kind of made me feel sick, I am done. Sure, as a horror fan, I read to shudder, but there was simply too much of the shuddering for me personally.

I am not going to send it back because I want to support this author, but I will be really careful not to read another one BY C Ward without waiting until at least 500 have read and reviewed it. I hope this review doesn't come off as too critical of the author. I just think this was not a book for me.

The performance and reading was okay, but I didn't love it. I was probably too put off by what she was reading than anything.

Keep on writing, Ms. Ward. You can spin a yarn like nobody's business. I will be watching for the next one.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good, but long winded

I absolutely LOVED “The last house on Needless Street.” I tried “The Girl from Rawblood” but the narration was difficult to listen to and so I gave up. I’m enjoying “Sundial” but honestly the writing is kinda long winded…the narrator is good and story is interesting…but I feel like the timeline (then and now) makes it seem like two completely different stories. I want more “now.”

Still listening though so it must be a good book. I don’t waste time on books I’m not into.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Unsure

I’m not quite sure I know how to feel about this book. The overall storyline is fantastic, with unexpected twists and turns. However, the addition of Arrowwood, a story within a story, felt like fluff. It somewhat related to the story, albeit VERY loosely, but not all that much. I enjoyed the time jumps, but the Arrowwood parts seemed to add nothing to it besides diversion, and seemed to take away from the tempo of the story. I very much enjoyed the complexity and character development of all the characters, though.

The story does talk about extremely triggering topics such as animal testing, and physical abuse which was extremely hard to read. However, when things like this are so hard to read, it is often because the author has such a way with connecting you to the character. In this story, I really connected with Rob, for the first half. In the second half, I began to hate her (Rob from then). In the end, although I rooted for her in her conflict, I really was indifferent towards her, which I didn’t mind. I appreciate character arcs that aren’t always flattering, as not all human beings are always likable or relatable in all aspects.

SPOILER ALERT: Although I thought Rob’s relationship came to a fitting end, so much was left untidy. What was revealed about Annie was such an unexpected twist, but it almost seemed like an afterthought. It was a shocking revelation, but it would have been so much more satisfying and powerful, if that had been fleshed out a little more. I have so many questions that could have been answered in a few pages, or less. What happened to Hannah? Did they arrive in time? Did anyone question Rob’s injuries?

I feel that the story was extremely well-developed, until the end. The ending just seemed so unfinished and thrown together. The author could’ve scrapped all of the Arrowwood sections, and added more closure to the story, specifically concerning Annie. Even just a few pages would’ve helped.

4 people found this helpful

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  • DP
  • 03-03-22

Nature vs Nurture

This book was disturbing, gut-wrenching and horrific, but somehow still somewhat enjoyable and will, for me, provoke many different and difficult questions for days to come.

There were many slow areas and I found myself looking at how much time was left, but the last quarter really took off and I couldn't stop listening.

No spoilers, but a warning: it has a lot of graphic details which include human and animal related testing and abuse. But if you're able to stick it out, you will be satisfied with the reasoning. At least, I was.

There is a story within the story (Arrow Wood) and it feels as though I've missed some significant connection, but haven't figured it out yet. Perhaps with more contemplation I'll make the connections I feel are there just under the surface...




4 people found this helpful

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Don’t skip this one !

An excellent read focusing on generational trauma with a gripping story. Can be a bit slow to start but really picks up with plenty of horror and a fantastic climax. Could have done without the “Arrowhead” sections but still a great listen overall. Didn’t stop for the last 3 hours!

3 people found this helpful

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Mixed

I liked the story, it’s one of those you have to just sit and listen kinda of stories. If you miss something the whole book is kinda thrown off. I HATED how it was read… it was so boring to listen to.

2 people found this helpful

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Anima abuse

There were quite a few chapters I had to skip due to animal abuse. I don’t recommend this book. Plot is absolutely ridiculous and boring. And using the torturing of animals as a plot point? Wtf?

1 person found this helpful

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This author is A MASTER

Another work of art by Catriona ward. Please don’t stop writing!!! Character development is simply incredible.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

eh

this should have been good but it turned out to be a complete waste . story lines coming in from every direction and nothing but confusion

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ward does it again

I could not put this book down. The audio is a little slow at times so if you’re reading along, it’s good to set the speed to 1.4. The twists and turns of the plot are very reminiscent of The Last House on Needless Street and it’s with the same writing style of each chapter being narrated by a different character. There’s also chapters titled Arrowwood which is a story within the story which can be a little convoluted if you’re not paying attention to all the subtle nuances that Catriona Ward is known for. There’s a lot of symbolism and imagination and the reader/ listener should really find the importance in every sentence because it will likely come up as the story continues. Animal cruelty and abuse are centric milestones to the plot and a lot of the content of this book can be disturbing but it’s a story that is not all sunshine and rainbows and that’s okay. Ward is turning into one my favorite writers. I can’t wait to read more.