After being brutally violated, Liga Longfield was offered the protection by nature, and for years she and her daughters lived in blissful peace. But when dwarfs and bears threaten the existence of their peace, the daughters Branza and Urdda must come to terms that there is much they don’t know about their world– and their mother’s.
Personal Take: This book was beautifully written. The way it built up on the plot, it was just the right amount of information to get the story moving. The point of views shifted from third person to first person of multiple characters, and for a moment I was afraid I would lose track of them, but it was easy to follow and not confusing at all. The story lines easily connected with each other. What I loved most about this books (other than the language), is that it is not predictable at all. Even though I kept guessing, nothing was what I expected, and I loved how I was caught off guard.
Also, Lanagan had awesome control over the tone in her writing. It was appropriately funny, or sad, and even though the magical part of the story doesn’t come out much, when it does appear, it doesn’t seem so random as it natural.
There are some disturbing scenes, but it doesn’t take up much of the book. One thing I was a little disappointed about (and I’ll try explaining this without spoiling anything) is that at some point in the novel, the pacing was fast, as it should be, but once that particular storyline was done, the pacing went slow again to carefully wrap up the loose ends. Even though I realize how necessary it was to wrap up the story, it took me while to adjust to the rest of the story after the excitement. Still, there were a lot of other surprising twists towards the end that made up for the pace.
Overall, I enjoyed reading this books. Depth, wonderful but strange characters, a colourful world- it’s all there.
Audience: This is supposed to be a YA book, but I suggest older teens who enjoy different stories, or fairy tale retellings.
Other recommendations: While this is the first novel, Lanagan is well known for her short stories. I’ve already read Black Juice, which I really liked (but wished each story was longer!). Her second book of short stories is Red Spikes.