Friday, April 19, 2013

"There is something about talking in the night, with the shreds of sleep around your ears, with the silences between one remark and another, the town dark and dreaming beyond your own walls. It draws the truth out of you, straight from its little dark pool down there, where usually you guard it so careful, and wave your hands over it and hum and haw to protect people's feelings, to protect your own ."

Tender Morsels – Margo Lanagan
436 pages
Genre: Fantasy; Re-imagined Fairytales

Summary: Tender Morsels takes place in two distinct worlds: the real world; and Heaven, the world Liga imagines for herself. Heaven is a wonderful place where nothing bad ever happens, and Liga and her daughters lead a peaceful existence, until the real world forces its way into their perfect paradise. Will the trio finally be forced to confront reality head-on?

Review: If I could sum up Tender Morsels in one word, it would probably be “crazy,” as this is one of the most bizarre books I’ve ever read. In fact, there were many instances when I had to put the book down, just to ruminate a bit on the content while muttering to myself about the insanity within its pages.

Did I enjoy Tender Morsels? Honestly, I’m still not sure, and I had a really hard time assigning a rating. I thought it was beautifully written and it was easy to get into the characters’ vernacular as I became more absorbed in the story, but the subject matter therein was definitely cringe worthy. If you’re going into this book expecting a light read, put it back and walk away because it’s incredibly gloomy; however, if you like re-tellings that are on the darker side, you’ve found what you’re looking for.

The distinct worlds Lanagan imagined were extremely complex, unique, and detailed, and it was easy for me to picture them in my mind. I especially enjoyed the scenes in Heaven, although I read them with a sense of foreboding as it seemed that something awful would happen to wreck their unspoiled paradise. When compared to the real world, it was easy to see why Liga would choose to live in Heaven instead of facing the harsh realities of life, especially when her past is taken into account.

The characters in this book were numerous, and oftentimes, it was hard to keep them straight in my mind; however, all of the characters were flawed and their actions seemed realistic. I especially liked Liga’s daughters, Urdda and Branza. They had never faced the realities of the real world, and when they were confronted with them head-on, it was interesting to see how they reacted.

Additionally, Tender Morsels brings interesting philosophical and moral questions to the table that will leave the reader thinking about them for awhile. For example, is it better to be safe, or is it better to take chances and live your life to the fullest, even if things don’t always go your way?

This book is definitely not for everyone, but if you enjoy dark fairytales with moral and ethical dilemmas, unique world building, and strong, deeply flawed characters, you may enjoy Tender Morsels.

Rating: 3/5

Read-alikeThe Book of Lost Things - John Connolly