Genre: Gothic Horror
This was…a lot of somethings.
I’m going to just throw a bunch of trigger warnings on it now.
Trigger warnings: self mutilation, suicide, blood.
This is Gothic Victorian Horror with lots and lots of self mutilation. If you are in any way uncomfortable with that, please do not read any further. Thank you.
This is the story of Iselut Wince. A 20 something year old in the Victorian times whose father seeks to find a proper suitor for her.
Just a couple of issues.
She’s 28 so nun age in those times, her father despises her to the point he can’t even look at her, and Iselut’s dead mother lives inside her body.
Right inside the scar tissue of her neck and Iselut communicates with her quite frequently.
Such a happy home. A normal little family.
So you see, because of Iseleut’s mother living inside of her and her talking to and then fighting quite a bit this tends to cause issues…People talk and talk leads to rumors and who would want a woman who believes she’s inhabited by a dead corpse married into their family?
Desperate to get his crazed daughter out if his house, Mr. Wince has one last resort. He introduces Iselut to a man with silver skin. It is then that Iselut begins to experience something other than obedience for the voice in her head and learns about herself and her own family’s dark past.
Obviously, this book is dark. Very, very dark. The main character is literally cutting into her neck every other chapter and it pains me to write that and it pains me to read it. There is a reason why she does it but it does not make it any less unpleasant.
I honestly found the emotional treatment of her so much worse. It hurt to see it happen to her. She did absolutely nothing wrong. Yes, she was odd. Yes, she talked to herself but did she deserve this foul treatment. Not at all. I felt that deeply because I’m at this point in my depression where I feel so on the edge that anything could tip me over so at huge moments in the book I had to take deep breaths and walk away.
This all played out like a dark fairy tale and read very much like the Brothers Grimm. I’m still sick so I’m not even going to try to go deep diving for some profound meaning or vision but I’m sure there are many! What I got from it mainly was:
Be kind to others.
Be kind as life is way too harsh and too short already.
You never know what anybody has gone through so why make it that much harder.
There were some confusing bits in the book. The disjointed voices especially between Iselut and her mother. The pacing was a bit slow in the beginning as well. But overall I enjoyed this read. I wish we got to know more about the other characters besides Iselut and her repulsive father. I really enjoyed the cover. It’s cool! Look at those big Clock Tower esque scissors!
This was dark through and through and there was no light but sometimes that’s just how life is. Dark and unforgiving. Grim, a reminder that we don’t always have to listen to that little voice inside of us. Or maybe sometimes we could strain to hear a little bit better.
Thank you very much to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC. All opinions are my own.
Expected publication: April 14th 2020 by Henry Holt & Company