I decided to go with a recent read that had a hold of me for five hours until I was finished with it. This young adult fiction novel is pretty unconventional and, at least for me, a thrill to read because of the supernatural mixing with sex, action, and characters seeking an end to loneliness.
The magic and monsters of the small town to which the main character moves is not explained how or why it exists–it just exists. This expectation of belief from the author extends to an over-the-top casualness with sex: no in-depth explanations or emotions of the whys–it just is. It’s just sex. For me, this was pretty shocking. I thought back to my days as a teen and don’t recall such a relaxed view of the topic; but as someone who has worked recently in public school, it isn’t hard for me to pinpoint those young readers who wouldn’t be shocked whatsoever.
There are a lot of scenes with violence and gore, and sometimes they’re downright disgusting. I’m not usually one for this type of read, but incorporated into everything else it worked and it kept the roller-coaster going.
Moving past the violence, for me the most disturbing attribute of the characters was the daughter’s obsession with her mother. It is one thing for a small town to be enamored with one of its beautiful natives, but it is awkward (and almost incestuous at times) for a daughter to be so infatuated, which is topped off with their interactions as more of sisters or friends instead of child to mother.
The most serious plot complaint that I have is with one of the ending scenes (and in a way, the conclusion.) I am not going to spoil it, but my gripe is against what happens with the small swan and with the town matron.
Perhaps I liked it because it was more on my “adult” level, but not quite really… or perhaps I liked it because it was certainly not the romanticized viewpoint of both sex and the supernatural which I myself held as a teenager… or maybe I liked it because it was so different and exciting than anything I’ve read in a long time. Whatever the case, if I could, I’d like to read it again with eyes anew.