Review: SIP by Brian Allen Car

Reading time 4 mins


I just finished SIP. I don’t really know what I just read. It was written in such lyrical prose that I had a hard time following it. I did catch the gist of the story, but it was problematic for me.

This is the story of Mira, who has a shadow sipping friend named Murk. In the this dystopian story set in the future, the country is divided into those who sip shadows and those who don’t. It started with a boy who discovered he could get high by sipping his own shadow. When that shadow was gone, he set out to steal other living beings(¹) shadows and the sipping sickness spread.

Except a very few like Mira who have learned to hide their shadow, most non shadow sippers carry guns in an effort to keep the dome they live in free of the sickness. Mira’s own mother’s shadow was stolen years ago and so Mira must find and catch living shadows so her mother can sleep. It isn’t fair. When Mira and Murk find an ex-domer, named Bale, they set out together to find a mythological cure that must be found before Hailey’s Comet come, and it is on it’s way.

This book starts off as a straight out story. We are following Mira in her daily struggle to find shadow for her mother. Here we learn so much about the sipping sickness and what it does to those who are effected. Mira is capable of hiding her shadow but how and why are never revealed.

Mira gets this idea to maybe kill herself by trying to cross the tracks that lead to the dome. The tracks are heavily guarded by Domers who don’t want any sippers to get to them, so they shoot on site, and shoot to kill, any who attempt to cross the tracks. Mira isn’t shot by a domer named Bale, who becomes an ex-domer for that act (of not shooting her).

I understood Bale and Mira, but Murk made very little sense to me in this story. We do learn how he became a sipper but he was a hanger-on drug addict that didn’t do much to move the story forward.

The story moves from Mira’s residence at home with her mother, to the “City of Lost Souls”. This is where the story gets a little crooked. There we meet so many new and weird characters. We are also introduced to seemingly random vigilantes from the dome who are either there to kill or save Bale, I am still not sure.

The boss of the city is a man who runs machines that keep limbs alive long enough for their shadows to be sipped on a daily basis, for a price. In the city all three of our characters find what they are looking for and a lot of trouble.



I did say living things right? The shadows don’t have to do anything but be attached to a living thing. The characters talk about sipping from animals but this made me wonder about trees and plants, and even grass since it too can cast shadow and live or die. Maybe I am reading too much into this fictional story. Rules are rules though, so if an author breaks them I do expect some sort of explanation.

I enjoyed parts of this story. I didn’t like the lack of descriptive details setting the scenes for me. We get vague information, like the rind of a grapefruit is bitter, but that was not enough for me to really see this story. There was also banter between characters that did nothing but annoy me. Like the vigilante girls, one of whom tells stories but is as dumb as a rock. While the other girl is just so mean to this stupid girl.

Looking back now, I see this novel was just not something I should have read. I had so many issues with it, but it had a cool concept and I had to give it points for originality. It is almost like the author just wanted to tell the story and let the reader figure out the details for themselves. This takes guts, I think. I got through this whole book because, behind all my complaints, there was a kind of cool story. I wouldn’t say this was a waste of time either, because there is definitely an audience for this style of writing. It just wasn’t for me.

My Rating


Review: SIP by Brian Allen CarSip by Brian Allen Carr
Published by Soho Press on August 29th 2017
Pages: 304
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Science Fiction, Action & Adventure, Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic
eARC provided by Soho Press

AmazonAudibleBook Depository

"It started with a single child, and quickly spread: you could get high by drinking your own shadow. At night, lights were destroyed so that addicts could sip shadow in the pure light of the moon. Gangs of shadow addicts chased down children on playgrounds, rounded up old ladies from retirement homes. Cities were destroyed and governments fell. If your shadow was consumed by addicts, you were forced to sip shadows yourself, or go mad. Now it is 150 years later, and what's left of the world is divided between the highly regimented life of those inside dome-cities that are protected from natural light, and those forced to the dangerous, hardscrabble life in the wilds outside. In rural Texas, Mira hunts shadow from animals for her bedridden, sleepless mother. Her shadow-addicted friend Murk hobbles across the blasted landscape on his wooden leg, molding himself on the image of Jim Morrison he saw on an ancient Doors record. Bale, a former Domer thrown in to exile, joins with them, and together they search for a possible mythological cure to the shadow sickness--but they must do so, it is said, before the return of Halley's Comet, which is only days away"--

About Brian Allen Carr

Brian Allen Carr lives in Indiana. His first novel, Sip, is coming from SOHO in 2017. He is the winner of a Wonderland Book Award and the Texas Observer Story Prize.

I received this product free of charge in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links. This review is in compliance with the FTC guidelines.

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By | 2017-10-12T07:23:57+00:00 Thursday, October 12, 2017|2 stars, Adventure, Apocolyptic, reviews, Science Fiction|10 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
    October 12, 2017 at 9:35 am - Reply

    I enjoy lyrical writing but not if it confuses the story itself! I’m not sure this book would really grab me anyway but with all the questions and confusions I definitely will give it a pass. I think I would be wondering about the trees and plants too and would just wind up getting annoyed.
    Check Out Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library’s most recent post- Cold as Ice – Cozy Mystery ReviewMy Profile

  2. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight October 12, 2017 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    I want to read this one because it just sounds so unique and interesting. Sorry to hear you had some issues though :-/ I can def understand wanting to know why this MC was able to hide her shadow since that seems important. And I find it odd that she’s friends with a shadow-sipper when her mother’s shadow was stolen by one? But maybe by living things they just meant animals/people, not plants?

    • Karen Blue
      October 15, 2017 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      This was a really interesting story. I would love to read your thoughts on this one. Thanks for checking out my review!

  3. Geybie's Book Blog October 14, 2017 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    I tried to read a fantasy book a few weeks ago but didn’t finish. It was SO hard. It might’ve been because I’ve been used to contemporary stories where the worlds are easy to imagine. I’m trying an easy one first next time. Anyway, awesome review. This sounds SO unique to me too. I get your issues though. Consistency is very important.

    • Karen Blue
      October 15, 2017 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      It seems like I read a lot of fantasy. I hope you find something in that genre you can enjoy. Thanks for checking out my review.

  4. Evelina October 15, 2017 at 7:28 am - Reply

    Yeah, Murk? SUCH a weird character. It was alright for me up to that point where they go in the city and Murk goes off with that old prostitute. THAT was just weird.
    I feel like this book was meant to draw a landscape, a picture, more than tell a story.
    I agree with you about the animals’ shadows. I felt like not a lot of it made sense, cause there were some holes, like the one you mention. Or like, where is the limit of taking too much and only a little?
    Yep, the concept and the cover were awesome. But that’s about it. Other than that, it felt like some undecided first-or-second-time NaNo participant, not an actual edited book. If you know what I mean. I actually did like the style of writing! But I just don’t get what the author was trying to say. Lack of plot? Of the moral behind it? xD hah. Something like that.
    Check Out Evelina’s most recent post- Sunday post #28My Profile

    • Karen Blue
      October 15, 2017 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      I think that book trailer really sums up this book. It is really surreal and if you are into that then this book will work for you. I need a bit more concrete details in my reading, so this wasn’t really for me. Thanks for checking out my review!

      • Evelina October 16, 2017 at 1:52 pm - Reply

        I actually AM into the surreal! But it didn’t work for me anyway 😀
        Check Out Evelina’s most recent post- 5 Reasons To Read A Book By A Real SpacemanMy Profile

        • Karen Blue
          October 17, 2017 at 7:47 am - Reply

          Maybe those who like a graphic novel feel will enjoy this book. I think the delivery could have been a little clearer. I am usually into the surreal as well, but this just wasn’t for me either.

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