Category: Book Review


The Murder Farm Review

Genre: Mystery/Crime

Goodreads Synopsis:

A whole family has been murdered with a pickaxe. They were old Danner the farmer, an overbearing patriarch, his put-upon devoutly religious wife, and their daughter Barbara Spangler, whose husband Vincenz left her after fathering her daughter, Marianne. Also murdered was the Danners’ new maidservant, Marie, who was regarded as slightly simple. Despite the brutal nature of the killings and the small village where it has taken place, the police have no leads. Officially the crime is unsolved. And then a former resident returns home The Murder Farm is an unconventional detective story. The author interweaves testament from the villagers, an oblique view of the murderer, occasional third-person narrative pieces and passages of pious devotion. The narrator leaves the village unaware of the truth, only the reader is able to reach the shattering conclusion.

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Murder Farm (also known as Tannöd) by Andrea Maria Schenkel has such an interesting way of telling a story. Various villagers recall to the narrator the events leading up to the family’s murder. While the villagers never find out what happened to the Danners, the reader is able to see who murdered the family and the motivation behind the act.

I’ve never read a book that told the story this way, but it works well. Having the story told through so many perspectives creates a different experience for this mystery. With most of the characters only receiving one chapter, it makes the reading go quickly. You don’t have to worry about any dull spots because you know the next chapter will be with another character. Unfortunately that also means that if you like a character, you know your time with them is limited.

However, I really like that every character is unique and seems like a real person. Each one has a distinct voice which sets them apart from everyone else. Each of the characters interact with the family in different ways and due to that you get to see how the family is viewed by the town and learn a little more about them. During the third-person passages, the reader sees the family and how they live prior to their deaths. Unfortunately, since you don’t get to spend much time with them, you don’t get very attached. It’s not as powerful as it could be when they die. If those passages had been longer or more frequent, I really think the story would have benefited significantly from it.

While I like short novels, this book seems a bit too short. It’s easy to fly through the chapters because they are only a few pages long, but the story doesn’t benefit from it. There is plenty of room for more detail, and I would have liked to have more time with each character and especially the family. The characters could have been more complex if the chapters were a bit longer. At the end when you find out who the murderer is, it seems rather crammed in. There’s too much going on and not enough pages to give it the detail that it deserves.

The Murder Farm is unique and enjoyable. It’s a mystery that keeps you guessing and turning the page. While we don’t get to know the characters that well, I feel they all have distinct voices and are interesting enough to keep the story going. The story is told in a very uncommon way, but it works for the plot. If you’re looking for a short mystery, you should definitely give this book a chance.

My Rating: ★★★½

The Fever Review

Genre: Young Adult

*I received the book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The Fever by Megan Abbott is a mystery novel about an unknown illness that strikes a community. Young girls are getting sick and no one is sure what is causing the sickness in these teens or why it only seems to be affecting girls.

The story is told through three points of view of the Nash family: Tom (father), Eli (son), and Deenie (daughter). Everything in the community seems fine until Deenie’s best friend has a seizure in class. Since the cause of the seizure is unexplained, rumors begin to spread about a dangerous outbreak that is spreading through the school and community. As people begin to panic, secrets are revealed that finally give answers to this mysterious illness.

While the synopsis for this story sounded really intriguing and made me want to know what caused this outbreak, I found myself very disappointed with The Fever. The characters were boring, and they did and thought some annoying/odd things. Deenie is incredibly impulsive. When she is told repeatedly not to see her friend in the hospital, she, of course, must find a way into the hospital. I understand worrying about a friend, but Deenie is constantly trying to see her friend, even after Deenie sees her once. Tom and Eli are sometimes unintentionally creepy with the way they think about Deenie and her friends. Tom will think about Deenie’s friend in a bathing suit and blush or Eli will be worried about how sexual Deenie is becoming. It wasn’t meant to be disturbing, but it came across that way.

There seemed to be more teen drama than there was a mystery aspect. It was mostly teens talking about others and spreading rumors than finding out why the girls were getting sick. It seemed that all of the action happened during the beginning with Deenie’s friend having the seizure and the rumors spreading about an illness only affecting teen girls. The middle of the book was boring and seemed to drag while leading you on a wild goose chase. However, I didn’t mind the red herrings throughout the story. I thought they were pretty good distractions, but once the actual cause of the outbreak was revealed, it made me want at least one of the red herrings to be true instead.

*Spoilers*

I really wanted the lake to be the cause of the outbreak. I was hoping for aliens or some kind of disease from the algae or water, but of course, it had to be some boy obsessed teen poisoning her friend. Some friend. Even the HPV vaccine would have been an interesting cause for the illness. I mean that would have scared me enough. The idea that a vaccine could be the reason for girls having seizure, throwing up, and becoming unconscious is pretty terrifying to me.

Also, why are people swimming in that lake? From the description, it sounded absolutely horrible and gross. Don’t swim in a slimy lake, people!

*End Spoilers*

The ending was unsatisfying. While it was unexpected, it almost seemed as though it came from nowhere. I just kept reading, thinking it was some sort of joke, but it wasn’t. I felt there could have been some great commentary on health or vaccines or something. There isn’t much closure for the characters or the reader. After the community finds out what made the girls sick, the reason just disappears, and everyone goes about their day. It wasn’t the ending I was hoping for or expecting.

The Fever wasn’t a great mystery. Even though the red herrings were plausible and made sense, the true reason for the outbreak seemed silly. The characters were dull and at times had some inappropriate thoughts about other characters. Overall, it was an okay book, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

My Rating: ★★

The Thief Review

Genre: Young Adult

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner is a fantasy novel about a thief named Gen. The story begins with Gen in the king’s prison where he has been locked up for bragging about stealing from the king. As Gen tries to figure out how he will escape, the king’s scholar, the magus, has other plans for him.

The magus believes he knows where an ancient treasure is located. Since Gen claims he can steal anything, the magus enlists him as the thief who will steal the treasure. Gen’s intentions are unclear, but he agrees to help the magus. As they travel, they tell tales of old gods and goddesses to lighten the mood of their dangerous journey.

For a fantasy novel, The Thief is a quick read. It’s surprising how much description was in this 280 page book. Even though it’s relatively short, it doesn’t lack in the fantasy department. The world is effectively built and explained to the reader. The characters are developed and fit into the world well. While the story can be slow at times, it’s mostly fast-paced with lots of events taking place.

There’s good characterization within the novel, especially Gen. He’s a character that’s hard to figure out at first. Gen is quite arrogant, but for me, he’s able to embrace his obnoxiousness enough to make him likable. It’s shocking to find out what his true intentions are. I never guessed what he actually wanted from the whole journey until it was revealed at the end. The character development is done well and made me enjoy the secondary characters more. As they travel, each person reveals more about himself, making each of them seem more real. I liked the banter between Gen and the magus because it provided some entertaining conversations. While Gen is cocky, the magus is able to counter him every time he attempts to brag.

The Thief is a fast and fun read. There are some slow moments, but the story is never hindered by these parts. The characters are well-developed and play important roles that add to the novel. The story’s climax is unexpected but rewarding. I would recommend this as a good introductory book to the fantasy genre. I’ve read that the second book, The Queen of Attolia, is even better, so I’m excited to read about more adventures in this world.

My Rating: ★★★★

Genre: Young Adult

*I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Casting Shadows Everywhere by L. T. Vargus is a thriller about a 15 year old boy named Jake. He has low self-esteem and considers himself weak and pathetic. He can’t bring himself to ask his dream girl Beth out on a date, and he is bullied at school. To change his life, he seeks out help from his cousin Nick, a professional burglar.

Nick takes Jake under his wing in an effort to help him become more confident. Unfortunately, Nick’s way of doing that is to break into people’s homes and steal valuables. Besides breaking into homes, Nick teaches Jake about his belief system that nothing is right or wrong. In the beginning, Nick’s ideas aid Jake in overcoming his “weakness” and allow him to stand up to his bullies. However, as time passes, Jake begins to get more aggressive, and he realizes that Nick has done more than just rob people.

This novel really surprised me. It’s written like journal entries without dates. The main character Jake is writing about his experiences with his cousin Nick and his friend Beth while including sections about his dreams and lessons from his psychology class. The writing style is interesting and fits with the tone of the story. Since it’s in Jake’s point of view, the writing can be crude at times, and there is some strong language, but it adds to the realness of the story and makes it believable.

All of the characters are well-developed and have unique personalities. Jake has a hard time standing up for himself and has a lot of self-doubt. He knows that Nick isn’t the best role model, but Nick is the closest thing Jake has to a father figure. He enjoys learning about psychology and relates everything back to his every day life. Nick, on the other hand, has a dark philosophy that he lives by and teaches Jake. Nick doesn’t believe in right and wrong. He only believes in events that have no meaning. Burglary doesn’t bother him, and once the twist is introduced, the reader finds out that robbing people isn’t the only thing Nick is okay with doing. Another important character is Beth. She has her own problems that she has to deal with in the story. She’s a smart girl with a lot of helpful advice for Jake about being able to change yourself for the better.

While there are some slow points, the novel is pretty fast-paced and full of twists. The twists in this story are some of my favorites of the year. They’re not predictable and are a nice addition to the plot. They fit in with the overall story and make sense for where the novel was headed. I’m sure all of the twists will shock a lot of readers. I know I was pretty shocked while reading. The ending is a nice wrap up and fits the tone of the story.

Casting Shadows Everywhere is not an every day young adult novel. While there are some crude moments and strong language, there are some meaningful themes throughout that make the reader think. The characters are unique additions to the story, and the twists keep the reader guessing at every turn. I would recommend this to anyone that enjoys surprises and interesting characters within their stories.

My Rating:  ★★★★

We Are the Goldens Review

Genre: Young Adult

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt is a contemporary novel about two sisters named Nell and Layla. The sisters have had a close bond that only grew stronger once their parents divorced. There seems to be nothing that can come between them until Nell finds out a secret about Layla that could destroy everything.

Nell adores her older sister. She and Layla have always been one unit, both relying on the other, but Layla begins changing. Nell discovers that Layla is in a relationship with one of the teachers, and she tries to support Layla’s decision, but she is torn between her sister’s happiness and her own feelings that the relationship is wrong. Nell must decide what she will choose to do before it’s too late.

The writing style is different in We Are the Goldens. It’s in first person, but Nell speaks directly to the reader as if she is talking to her sister Layla. She will state things like “do you remember the time we did this” or “mom and dad were mad at us about that” (not direct quotes from novel). I’m not used to the narrator speaking directly to me as if I was one of the characters, but it worked well for the story. It adds a unique voice to the narration and makes the reader feel more connected to Nell.

Nell looks up to Layla and wants to be more like her in every way. While I understand that Nell admires Layla, Nell did seem a bit “obsessed” with her sister at times. Although I didn’t fully understand Nell’s “obsession” with Layla, I did appreciate their relationship. It would be nice to have a bond with someone from birth and to have him/her be there for you during tough times. Though Layla was quite annoying at times, the way the characters were portrayed made them realistic, and I could believe that this family existed. When the secret is revealed, Nell only wants what is best for her sister.

There is a focus on character interaction that helps make the plot engaging. It’s easy to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. I enjoy that the secret was already explained, so there is more time spent on figuring out what Nell should do next. The characterization is nice throughout the novel, and it’s interesting to learn more about each character. The ending is left open-ended for the reader to decide what truly happens next. Even though I wanted a little more closure, I liked how it ended.

We Are the Goldens focuses on a bond between two sisters. It’s a fast-paced story that makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens to Nell and Layla. The characters are believable and make for a really interactive and enjoyable story. The writing style is different than other young adult novels, but it added to the plot. It’s a well-rounded story that I would recommend. We Are the Goldens is still available on Netgalley, if anyone wants to read it before the publication date May 27th, 2014.

My Rating: ★★★★

Red Bang Review

Genre: Fiction

*I received a free copy of this book from the author for an honest review.

Red Bang by Brandt Monroe is about a man named Adam Murphy. He’s a Hollywood screenwriter who doesn’t quite know what to do for his career. Jess, his wife, used to be a Los Angeles publicist until she lost her job. In need of money, Adam decides he will take a chance on a new opportunity offered by a billion-dollar company called The Company. Adam ends up getting the job, but it’s not exactly what he was led to believe.

The Company portrays itself as a sort of work playground filled with benefits; however, Adam finds out that there’s little room to breathe from all the meetings he must attend to all the urgent e-mails he gets every few minutes. Plus, The Company wants Adam to be innovative while keeping up with his every day tasks. He must either learn the customs of The Company on his own or fail miserably. To succeed he must deal with competing employees and create an alliance with a distant Company founder before he is fired. While he is facing this difficulty at work, Adam has to also help Jess through her growing depression from the gloomy weather and from feeling unaccomplished.

This novel is filled with references. The references consist of modern technology, pop culture, entertainment, and so on. Some pass unnoticed, while others are hilarious and memorable. It’s easy to relate to the main character through the use of these references because he seems more realistic and it makes him a unique character. Even if the reader doesn’t understand every reference, it doesn’t take away from the book. There is enough explained about each reference to make the reader understand why it was used and even provide some new information. While the story is well-written, I do wish there were shorter chapters and not only months with short breaks every now and then. Sometimes I found myself wanting a break but the end of the chapter was still many pages away.

The characters are the highlight of this story. My favorites being the protagonist and his family. Adam is witty and sarcastic, and I found myself enjoying his personality. I love his comebacks and responses to other people, especially with Jess. Adam and Jess go well together. They seem like a fun family, and their humor bounces off of each other perfectly. Plus, their daughter Kate is adorable. I even enjoyed Adam’s competition with his nemesis, Romy.  It was interesting to see the contrast between Jess and Romy. Both are motivated women who want to do something great, but Romy has the tendency to squash people beneath her while Jess works with others to solve problems. It was nice to see determined women taking charge while showing a difference in how they obtain power. They didn’t have the same methods, and I liked that a woman could be in charge without stepping on others (Jess). All of the characters are believable because they are not perfect. They slip up and make mistakes. It makes them feel human, and it’s even more realistic since The Company is based on actual American companies.

While The Company is a fascinating place, I would not want to work there. However, it provided a great location for the story. I loved that American companies were poked fun at for their customs with new employees and for the “fired” ones as well. The novel brought forth the main problems in them and created this insane work environment that I’m sure a lot of people would fail in. A lot of the products being developed by The Company are similar to things we have in the real world but that doesn’t take away from creative aspect of the story in any way.

Red Bang is an enjoyable read. It has relatable characters and takes place in a realistic world. I enjoyed watching Adam develop through the story. While the story is based off of real life companies and products, it refrains from being predictable and has a satisfying ending. If you’re looking for an interesting story with lots of real-world references, you should definitely check out Red Bang. You won’t be disappointed!

My Rating: ★★★★

The Broken Review

Genre: Romance/Thriller

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

The Broken by Shelley Coriell is about a woman named Kate Johnson and a man named Agent Hayden Reed. The story follows these two as their lives become intertwined by a similar foe, a serial killer named the Broadcast Butcher. Kate has spent three years trying to get away from this killer, and Hayden has done months of research, trying to stop the killer before he/she strikes again.

Kate was the first victim of the Broadcast Butcher and she managed to survive but not without being scarred physically and mentally. After the attack, she lives her life on the run to ensure her safety. Hayden, on the other hand, wants to find the Butcher, and in order to get closer to the killer, he must find Kate. Kate is the only survivor, and she has leads that will help with the investigation. Hayden has to earn Kate’s trust and must learn her dark secrets to finally stop the killings.

This novel was interesting, and I did like it for the most part, but there were some problems. There were a lot of red herrings, and once the reader found out who the killer is, it seemed kind of random. When the killer revealed himself/herself, it was a bit of an info dump. The killer wasn’t exciting, and I was kind of disappointed with who it ended up being. I actually forgot about this particular character until the end. There were also moments in the book that I felt weren’t plausible and really didn’t make much sense. Some examples: Sergeant Lottie King is an older heavy-set woman who wears three inch heels while working in the field, Kate being with Hayden while he investigates the case, and Smokey Joe being with Kate while she is in danger of being killed by the Butcher. It doesn’t seem like Lottie would be able to get much work done, and it seemed kind of silly. It didn’t seem safe to have Kate or Smokey around Hayden while he was investigating the case. The butcher wanted Kate, and it seemed to put her and others in unnecessary danger. I know Hayden doesn’t play by the rules but having them around didn’t seem like the best idea.

However, I did enjoy the characters. I loved their different personalities, and it was nice to see memorable secondary characters. Smokey Joe was one of my favorites. He was spirited and at times, very useful. Smokey held his own, and his fighting spirit was something to be admired. Kate’s fighting spirit was great as well. Even though she was on the run and feared the killer would try to find her, she still managed to go on with her life. She didn’t want the past to represent her, and she was pretty independent. Hayden desperately seeks justice and order. It was interesting to see Kate break his shell and make him rethink his obsession with control. The romance between Kate and Hayden was alright. I did like how their relationship started, but the confession was kind of odd to me and seemed out of place.

The Broken was an entertaining read. The characters were likable and provided some great moments in the novel. There were some problems I had with the plot, but I did end up liking the overall story. The killer was not the best or most memorable, but the plot was enjoyable. I would recommend this book. I will most likely be picking up the second book The Buried because it tells Hatch’s story. The synopsis sounds really interesting, and I’ll get it when it’s released later this year.

My Rating: ★★★

Ready Player One Review

Genre: Science Fiction

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline is a science fiction novel that takes place in 2044. In this futuristic world, the real world is falling apart, and most people would much rather spend their time logged into the OASIS. The OASIS is a virtual utopia that lets the player be who he/she wants to be and do what he/she wants to do. When the creator James Halliday reveals that he has left easter eggs in the OASIS with promises of power and riches to anyone who can figure them out, most of the world joins in to win this fortune.

Like most of humanity, the protagonist Wade Watts has spent a large portion of his life trying to figure out the first easter egg. Years have been spent trying to solve Halliday’s riddles that are based around 80’s references. One day, Wade discovers a clue to the first puzzle, and his name ends up on the scoreboard. With the world watching, Wade must hurry if he hopes to beat thousands of other competitors who have joined the hunt. The race for fame and fortune has officially begun.

Ready Player One is filled with 80’s references. They consist of television shows, video games, movies, and so on. There is so much nostalgia, and it’s a lot of fun to understand the references. The details of some video games and movies are entertaining, and it’s interesting to actually feel like the reader is inside the video game or movie. While the references are great, there are moments where they seem to be thrown in just for a nostalgic effect. Some don’t really have a purpose other than to make the reader feel a certain way.

Besides the references, the world is quite unique and engrossing. There is so much to learn about the OASIS, and I enjoyed that whenever a question popped up in my head, it was answered within the next few paragraphs.The world is not entirely realistic, but it has a certain charm about it that makes it entertaining. The story is also engaging. Near the beginning, there does seem to be a lot of information given to the reader, and it would have been nice for it to be spread out more. However, after the first few chapters, the story picks up and takes the reader on an adventure. There are a few moments where the plot drags for a while, but it’s pretty quick to pick up the pace again.

For the most part, it wasn’t predictable, and a few surprises here and there occur that have a nice touch. I did like the villain, and I felt he was an actual threat to the protagonist. The ending is to be expected, but overall, it was satisfying. It was enjoyable and intense. I believe I squealed at one point because I was getting excited for the final confrontation.

Ready Player One is an enjoyable read. There are plenty of 80’s references to satisfy anyone’s need for nostalgia. While there are a few issues, the novel is entertaining and keeps the reader wanting to find out what happens next. The finale is intense and should be quite fulfilling for most readers. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is looking for a unique story.

My Rating: ★★★★

Endless Review

Genre: Young Adult

*I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Endless by Amanda Gray is a fantasy novel with some science fiction elements. The story is about a girl named Jenny who is not like most teenagers. She is able to see the past lives of people around her, and this ability has a dramatic impact on her life.

Jenny befriends Ben, the new boy in town. They end up discovering an old music box that shows the two are more connected than they thought. After a mysterious figure appears in Jenny’s paintings, she meets a boy named Nikolai and soon discovers there is a connection between Nikolai and the figure in her paintings. Nikolai claims to be a love from a past life, and Jenny must deal with the fact that he has traveled through time to be with her. However, the Order, an organization who keeps people in their correct time periods, wants to send Nikolai back to his time. With help from Ben, Jenny and Nikolai must fight against the Order or be separated for eternity.

Even though Endless has short chapters and should have been a quick read, I found myself struggling to get through this book. It took a while before anything really happened in the story, and I found myself putting it down and not having an urge to pick it back up. This may have been due to all the story elements. There are quite a few of them. The story contains pasts lives, romance, psychic abilities, time travel, and the Romanov family. While this makes an interesting premise, each element is easily lost within the others. There isn’t a great deal of focus on any of the elements, and they are not explained well. I wanted more details about Jenny’s “gift,” how the time travel worked and more information about the Order. I know they are the bad guys, but they seem to have some merit and only want to keep the time periods in order.

However, I enjoyed the scenes with the Romanov family, and I would have liked even more from that perspective. It was an interesting take on this family. I also really liked Jenny’s best friend Tiffany. She was down to earth, and she stuck up for her friend when Jenny was in trouble. Ben was another character I enjoyed. Although he was moody and distant at the beginning, he changed into a pretty likable person. He was there for Jenny when she needed him, and I really wanted Jenny to end up with him instead of Nikolai, which leads me to the romance of the story.

The romance was probably the weakest part of this story for me. I didn’t feel a connection between Jenny and Nikolai because it felt more like insta-love than anything else. I understand they were together in a past life, but in the present, Jenny just met this boy. Yet, she claims to already love him. She knows hardly anything about him, and even the reader doesn’t learn much about Nikolai. In the Romanov chapters, there is not a lot to show how Nikolai and Jenny’s past life, Maria, fell in love. It mainly showed their first meeting and then in the next chapter, they were already in love. I felt there was more of a development between Ben and Jenny. It’s a shame they couldn’t have been together but that might just be me.

I’m not entirely sure if Endless will have a sequel or not, but I will most likely not pick it up. I would be willing to read something else from this author because the book was well-written, and it had potential, but sadly, this story wasn’t for me. I didn’t enjoy the romance, and most of the story elements were lost. Overall, it was okay, but I probably wouldn’t recommend it. Others have enjoyed it though, so it’s always up to the reader.

My Rating: ★★

A Fair Maiden Review

Genre: Fiction

*May contain spoilers

A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates is an adult contemporary novel that focuses on a 16-year-old girl named Katya. Even though the protagonist is young, the story focuses on adult themes such as rape, an emotionally damaged person, and a rather disturbing relationship. The story deals with Katya’s psychological state and how far she is willing to go to feel loved.

Katya is working as a nanny for the rich Engelhardts in New Jersey. One day, she is walking the Engelhardt’s two children to the park when she stops to window shop. While she is stopped, she meets Mr. Kidder who is a much older gentleman. He becomes interested in Katya, which seems harmless, and Katya enjoys the attention she receives. Katya is drawn to Mr. Kidder’s lavish life, and she is a bit intrigued by his intentions. After spending some time together, Mr. Kidder requests that Katya pose for his new paintings. These requests make Katya think about what Mr. Kidder really wants from her and what he is willing to do to get his way.

I’ll start off by saying that A Fair Maiden is not for everyone. There are plenty of cringeworthy moments in this novel, and they can make the reader feel uncomfortable. I know I felt that way more than once while reading. By this, I mean the relationship between Mr. Kidder and Katya. The way he addresses her and speaks to her is rather creepy. It gets even worse as the story progresses. Although it’s creepy, their relationship makes a lot of sense based on Katya’s character.

Katya’s character is well-developed. She has grown up in an environment that neglected her. Katya’s mother would rather drink and gamble than deal with her daughter, her father left the family when she was young, and Roy, a “distant” cousin, treats Katya horribly. Katya has low self-esteem, and it makes her a perfect target for others to abuse her. Katya craves some sort of approval from others. She desperately wants a father figure in her life, and she wants to escape her fate of being poor forever. When Mr. Kidder starts showing her attention, she is hesitant, at first, but she jumps at the chance for someone to show an interest in her. Of course, he has his own motivations for this relationship but that is not made clear until near the end.

The ending is a bit surprising. I had a bunch of ideas about what Mr. Kidder really wanted, but I never guessed what actually happened. It adds a more disturbing layer to this story, and I’m not sure many readers will guess his true intentions. I ended up staring at the page after I finished this book, wondering what on earth I had just read.

*Spoilers*

One of the biggest issues I have with this story is how the rape is handled. I know the reason for these scenes is meant to show how vulnerable Katya is and how she believes the two individuals care for her. However, I didn’t enjoy that there were no consequences for the offenders. They were able to get what they wanted without anything bad happening, and Katya ends up believing everything is fine. At first, she wasn’t happy about the situation, but then she learns to accept it. That’s actually terrible for this young girl. I understand that it is to show how psychologically damaged she is, but I feel there are better ways to show this.

*End Spoilers*

A Fair Maiden is a sad and disturbing story about a relationship between Katya and Mr. Kidder, and it demonstrates how emotionally damaged a girl can be without a good role model in her life. While this story is well-written and Katya is well-developed, it’s not for everyone. The story can really stick with a reader and that might not always be a good thing. I do believe it’s worth reading, but it might not be as satisfying as most readers would like.

My Rating: ★★★