Tag Archives: rape

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

What can I say? I LOVED Tender Morsels. The name and the cover really caught my eye and happily, the story inside lived up to my expectations. Set in the late middle ages (by my closest approximation) TM follows several very different characters.2662169

The first quarter of the book talked about Liga–a fifteen year old girl being sexually abused by her father. Several children are conceived during this terrible abuse, but her father visits the local mud witch–Muddy Annie–for “remedies.” Except Liga–after drinking his disgusting “tea” a few times and suffering miscarriages–finally catches on. When she falls pregnant again, she decides to keep the baby. No matter what.

She hides her pregnancy for six months, and by the time he finds out it’s too late.

Luckily for Liga, fate intervenes and he is killed in an accident shortly thereafter. Life is looking up.

Except, in those times there was no way for a single girl to explain a baby. And there is no one left to protect her. After giving birth to her daughter Branza, Liga suffers a incident that makes what her father did to her pale in comparison. So she decides to kill herself and her baby to escape her terrible world.

But their world is not everything it seems, and there is magic afoot. We’re talking bears who are really men, dwarfs, inter-dimensional travel, natural magic, and witchcraft. The point of view jumps from character to character, and illustrates how Liga’s decision ripples outward to those she loves the most.

I could totally give away this whole book, but I won’t because I want you to read it. TM had a tendency to drag a little towards the middle, but it was never boring. Even the “boring” parts were interesting. I really liked all the characters and how they fit together. Lanagan really handled some touchy subjects very delicately, and in a way that shouldn’t be offensive to anyone.

I was a little confused by “Bear Day” and why the magic in the world seemed to jump around in spurts. I wish Lanagan had provided a little more backstory on that. The ending made me yell WHAT?? because it caught me so off guard and was not your typical fairy tale ending. But all in all, amazing prose.

It’s a book for all of us who’ve ever wanted to run away.

4 bear claws of 5

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Lost Voices by Sarah Porter

There’s something very seductive about being a mermaid. Unearthly beauty, half-human, half… other. The power to lure ships (and men) to their doom simply by singing to them. Not to mention, not having work, school, bills, or any of the other responsibilities that tend to make being a human so boring.  While Lost Voices by Sarah Porter was already on my reading list, my friend Kathryn and her blog Love Fearlessly inspired me to bump it up a few notches. Oh, and buy a mermaid tail. But, whatever! 

LV tells the story of Lucette, better known as “Luce.” She is an orphaned, abused girl that lives with her alcoholic uncle on a craggy island. After she finds a strange child’s corpse on the beach and her uncle goes too far one night, Luce falls off of a cliff–she thinks to her demise. Little does she know that abused, unwanted girls are often turned into mermaids who form barbaric tribes in the surrounding seas. When her transformation is complete and Luce realizes what she has become, she feels more at home with her fellow mermaids than she ever did on dry land. But will Luce ever be able to reconcile the fact that mermaids are murderers? That even she–who’s father’s boat mysteriously disappeared never to return–feels a fierce joy in her chest when she sings humans to their deaths? Not only does her astounding voice put her at odds with the tribe’s queen Catarina, the arrival of a new (very materialistic) mermaid changes the sense of peace she once felt with her new found friends.

Lost Voices was great.  Porter did an excellent job of describing underwater life and providing the reader with great visual details. You can almost smell the salt air and taste the slippery oysters on your tongue. (Ew…) I also loved that the whole mermaid experience was completely re-imagined, the same favor Maggie Stiefvater did for werewolves in her Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy. It’s always impressive when new authors can breathe life into old legends, and I give Porter mad props–especially since this was her first book. I liked that she had baby mermaids (called larvae) around the tribes, and made them into such heartbreaking, endearing characters since the other mermaids would never help or take care of them.

I did have trouble relating to how painfully shy and introverted Luce’s personality was. Half of her responses to negative stimuli made me freak out because I wanted her to fight. I’d like to think I would fight if I were in her… fins… I also did NOT like Catarina at all and rather than having sympathy for her mental breakdown I just found myself annoyed. I thought both her and Anais were both crazy bitches. But that was the point, I guess. Ugh. Anais… Just ugh.

All in all LV was a wonderful book and I look forward to reading more of Porter’s lyricism and prose. Mad props, girl, mad props. A new favorite has been born.

5 seashell bras of 5


The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

So kiddies, I finally knocked out the last of Alice Sebold’s books, The Almost Moon. First she brought us The Lovely Bones, then Lucky, and now this. I’m kind of sensing a theme here…

The Lovely Bones was about a little girl’s abduction/rape and then subsequent death–told from the perspective of her watching her family from heaven. Lucky was Sebold’s personal memoir about her own rape experience. And now, The Almost Moon was about a woman finally killed her deranged, elderly mother after hating (loving) her for years. Phew… Pretty intense.

I like Sebold for her daring. She’s willing to go where not a lot of authors are. She talks about the rape of a child, her own rape, and the killing of an intimate with a clear and honest voice. I like that a female author is not afraid of touching on such taboo topics. I enjoy being shocked.

That being said, The Almost Moon left me wanting. Big time. I LOVED The Lovely Bones when I read it several years ago because when Sebold is in her full swing there’s no stopping her. She has a way with language that can be quite poetic at times, and she notices the little things about the world that no one else would think to mention. However, in this particular novel, the plot moved rather slowly because all of the good action happened almost immediately. This is great to get the reader hooked, but you have to keep them coming back for more. It took me about a week to read this, which is a long time for me. The main character Helen was not very warm, and even though we lived inside her head within the pages of this book, I never felt as if I really got to know her–or understand her motives.

If you are willing to suffocate your insane mother, your own marbles need to be accounted for. I get it. But at the same time, rather than being interested in Helen’s (extremely freaking) dysfunctional family– I was repulsed by it. And every step she took farther down the rabbit hole of killing her mother (and disposing of the body) I just kept screaming NO NO NO at her in my head. Maybe it’s just because I’m a Criminology major, and I’ve grown up on a steady diet of Cold Case Files and 48 Hours and I’m biased about the whole thing–but damn, this woman was dumb! I know it wasn’t premeditated, but she pretty much incriminated herself in every way possible.

The book itself was hard to read because 95% of it took place alone in Helen’s head, without much dialogue to break things up a bit. There were tons of flashbacks setting up her reason for murder and the whole story jerked back and forth each time she switched gears. I wasn’t terribly impressed.

All in all, my recommendation is that you should reach past The Almost Moon to grab The Lovely Bones, any day of the week.

2 of 5 stars