A YA fantasy novel chockful of feminist themes and strong female characters.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. This blog contains affiliate links. I make a small commission when you decide to buy books via the Amazon or Book Depository purchase links available in the book review's post.
My first encounter with Claire Legrand was when I read the book Furyborn. I absolutely loved it and I’m still eagerly anticipating the sequel. In the meantime, I found out that Legrand was releasing another novel and I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP! So here I am, having read it and I’m finally ready to share my thoughts:
Published September 2, 2018 by HarperCollins
Data from Goodreads
Summary (Goodreads): Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep. He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.
While I thought this story was interesting, it didn’t quite hold the spark for me that Furyborn did.
The Pros: What worked for me
- I really liked that it featured 3 strong female characters who were all very different. (Click to reveal spoiler) Marion was a girl who was consumed by grief and while she could be annoying at times, her behaviour and personality made sense with what was happening in her life. Zoey was spunky and asexual and the kind of character you always want to root for. My personal favourite character was Val. She may seem like the typical popular “bitchy” girl, but there is so much more to her and the story really allows you to connect with her.
The Cons: What I didn’t like
- In terms of maturity, this novel was a bit too childish even for a teen read. Both the style of the writing and the way in which characters would come to certain conclusions was just given to the reader and at times, I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes at the juvenile dialogue.
- There were quite a few themes that the author tried to explore in this story, (Click to reveal spoiler) such as sexuality and female independence. While each of the themes that the author chose were important, I felt that none of them were explored fully and it detracted from the story itself, leaving many vague plot points that the reader just had to deal with.
- Throughout the story, I was left with tons of questions that were just never answered. (Click to reveal spoiler) For instance, where did the monster that terrorized these girls come from? Why was the rock (is it a rock, is it the earth, is it the island?!) talking to these girls? And where did this random organization come from?! There were so many things that the reader was just supposed to accept and that really didn’t work for me. I need proper world-building and explanations for things or else I just can’t enjoy the story!
Overall, this story had a lot of potential and it had an interesting plot. However, the execution was just not where I wanted it to be. I’m still looking forward to reading more by this author because Furyborn was absolutely fantastic. But this book gets a 2/5 stars from me.
Happy reading ~