In a post-apocalyptic world far in the future, humans are divided into two factions: those who achieve a high from drinking their own shadows and the shadows they've stolen from others (including animals), and those who live inside artificially lit domes, where no natural shadows exist. Murk is a self-shadow drinker. "He found the sun and put his back to it.... Down he went like a starving man. His mouth bored open, he crashed against dirt, and he gulped at the dark, each swallow dimming the shade." He and fellow outsider Mira befriend Bale, a domer evicted from his city, in search of a cure for the addiction before the arrival of Halley's Comet, an event that could change everything.

Brian Carr's short chapters flicker and shift like the shadows they're filled with, not quite revealing every detail of this odd and grisly world. As they search for answers to questions they barely know how to form, Murk, Mira and Bale cross paths with more curious characters and lodge in the Town of Lost Souls, which feels like a place from an old western crossed with something from Mad Max. More information about the dome cities could have been included to balance out some of the gruesomeness of the shadowlands, and a little less staccato-like delivery of some of the events would have helped solidify this shifting world of light and dark. Overall though, Sip is a fast-paced, strange and enjoyable leap into a flickering world of addiction. --Lee E. Cart, freelance writer and book reviewer

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