Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 305
Received: Received from publisher through NetGalley

Release Date: September 11, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.

My Review:

This book showed itself to be an interesting idea right from the beginning. The idea that Lanagan takes her story from selkie legend, which in itself is interesting. Originally I went into this, thinking it was a new twist on mermaids, but came out with a completely different story. I loved the idea of how there is this isolated island that consist of men and their women that come from seals. Lanagan's writing is beautiful and very descriptive of the process of making a sea-wife, which is what kept me interested in the story. Though I was confused at times where I was in the story.

In the beginning of the book I found myself having trouble connecting with the story. It may have just been the time I was reading, I wasn't really looking for this type of book, but I will say I am glad that I kept up with the book. The way Lanagan wrote the story may have been confusing for me but it was definitely intriguing.

The narration is the main thing that confused me throughout the book. Lanagan writes from many different perspectives in this story, from characters that are there at the start of everything to those who leave the island and come back. It is told over many years, each of the characters being from a different generation. In the end Lanagan does connect each narrator with the other. I just felt that at times you are not able to connect with the characters because you only spend one chapter (though at times it is a long chapter) with each one.

I really enjoyed the one constant throughout the book, Misskaella. She was the creepy witch all on her own that everyone is scared of yet at the same time every man needs her. Her story was the one I found to be the most confusing and yet also the most interesting of all the stories.

I definitely enjoyed the uniqueness of this novel, but just found myself a little too confused throughout a lot of it. It was a great story that I can see many people enjoying. I feel like I just read it at the wrong time and couldn't get into everything about it.

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