Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed

Years ago, ten men colonized an island off the coats of a crumbling nation. There they built a society based on ancestor worship, controlled breeding, and the rationing of knowledge and history. Generations later, the community continues to follow their vision, and only the wanderers- chosen male descendants of the original ten- are allowed to leave the island. The daughters of these men have a strictly ordained future. At the first sign of puberty, they face their summer of fruition, a ritualistic season that catapults them from adolescence to matrimony. When their children have children, and they are no longer useful, they take their final draft and die. But in the summer, children reign supreme. With adults indoors and the pubescent in fruition, the young run wild, fighting over food and shelter, free of their fathers' hands and their mothers' despair. And it is at the end of one such summer that little Caitlin Jacob sees something so strange, so horrifying, that she must share it with the others- prompting born rebel Janey Solomon to step forward and seek the truth. At seventeen years old, Janey is slowly starving herself to death to avoid womanhood. Trying urgently to unravel the mysteries of the island and what lies beyond, she leads the girls in an uprising that may be their salvation, or their undoing.- From the cover

This book is very dystopian. The girl children happily live in a dark and brooding world, almost unaware of their future. Their future changes when Janey steps forward. This book is hard to read. The farther into the beginning you read, the more the bleakness of the dystopian world settles in. Then, like Janey, you see a light. The shimmer of possibility brings hope. The book was really well written and the characters were all amazing, especially for children. The girls were stubborn, smart, adaptive and amazing. While this book may seem anti-feminist on the surface, I felt a strong tug of feminism just below the current. I enjoyed this book, even though it was out of my normal book reading.

Thank you to the publisher for a review copy.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Library of Light and Shadow by MJ Rose

Delphine Duplessi finds herself in New York after fleeing Paris to escape her one true love. There she tries to rebuild her life, painting shadow portraits. These paintings reveal the sitter's deepest secrets. When tragedy erupts because of her art, Delphine is forced back to Paris and her old life. Her twin and lifeline, Sebastian, persuades her to take up her art once more to discover a secret hidden book. While doing so, Delphine must look into her own shadows to find herself and heal from tragedies past.

This book, a continuation of The Daughters of La Lune, series is magickal. Delphine, while not as sympathetic as her sister Opaline, is wonderful. I enjoyed her independence, but it was a co-dependent independence. I love how MJ Rose weaves in previous stories, without it being overpowering. This story is really amazing and I can't recommend it enough. I loved it enough to purchase the first one in the series, The Witch of Painted Sorrows. I am also hoping that Jadine, the last sister, gets a story. Or even the great grandmother.