Lute by Jennifer Thorne horror audiobook reviews Lute by Jennifer Thorne horror audiobook reviewsLute by Jennifer Thorne

There are many words I could use to describe Lute by Jennifer Thorne. I could say words like “atmospheric” or “haunting.” I could also say “beautiful” or “terrifying.” Lute is a book that evokes many descriptors, but none really captures the story in its totality. The blurb from Tor Nightfire says “Wickerman meets Final Destination.” That description is about as accurate as it gets. 

Lute is an island off the coast of Scotland, a typical specimen of its type filled with rocky shorelines, clumps of forest, and rolling windswept hills. It’s a destination for birders, hikers, and those looking to disconnect from the mainland for a while. It’s truly a lovely place. The people who live there love it so much that they’re willing to die for it. It just so happens that they’ll be asked by the island’s magical ancestors to do just that every seventh summer. Seven people will die on a single day. No more, no less.

Nina Treadway is a citizen of Lute on The Day. A good portion of the book is spent introducing us to the locals and helping us understand Nina’s place on the island as the newest Lady of the Treadway family. Despite her foreign roots, the locals seem to adore Nina and they try their best to prepare her for that day.

The island’s inhabitants are as lovely as the island itself, and the scene of the story is truly idyllic. When that dreadful day actually comes, it is quite jarring. I found the juxtaposition of the peaceful, loving community and then 24 hours of absolute hell to be quite the ride. It’s a bit surreal to experience terror alongside those kinds of positive feelings. I wasn’t expecting such a beautiful story of love, grief, and sacrifice.

I listened to Lute on Macmillan Audio and enjoyed the experience. It’s narrated by Victoria Blunt who has a knack for accents which helps maintain the atmosphere of the remote Scottish island. If you read Lute, I highly recommend that you give the audio version a try. 

Published in October 2022. Wicker Man meets Final Destination in Jennifer Thorne’s atmospheric, unsettling folk horror novel about love, duty, and community. On the idyllic island of Lute, every seventh summer, seven people die. No more, no less. Lute and its inhabitants are blessed, year after year, with good weather, good health, and good fortune. They live a happy, superior life, untouched by the war that rages all around them. So it’s only fair that every seven years, on the day of the tithe, the island’s gift is honored. Nina Treadway is new to The Day. A Florida girl by birth, she became a Lady through her marriage to Lord Treadway, whose family has long protected the island. Nina’s heard about The Day, of course. Heard about the horrific tragedies, the lives lost, but she doesn’t believe in it. It’s all superstitious nonsense. Stories told to keep newcomers at bay and youngsters in line. Then The Day begins. And it’s a day of nightmares, of grief, of reckoning. But it is also a day of community. Of survival and strength. Of love, at its most pure and untamed. When The Day ends, Nina―and Lute―will never be the same.


  • Justin Blazier

    JUSTIN BLAZIER (on FanLit's staff since September 2009) is a Cyber-Security Analyst/Network Engineer located in Northern Kentucky. Like many fantasy enthusiasts, Justin cut his teeth on authors like Tolkien, Anthony, and Lewis. Due to lack of space, his small public library would often give him their donated SFF books. When he is not reading books he is likely playing board games or Tabletop RPGs. Justin lives in a quiet neighborhood with his wife, their daughter, and Norman the dog.

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