This is the first time I try my hand at mini-reviews because I’m usually very rambly. BUt both of these are too short for me to ramble about so without further ado, let’s do this.
I received both eArcs from the publishers through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review
Title: Walking on Knives
Author: Maya Chhabra
Publisher : Less than three Press
Genre : Adult | Fantasy
Page Count: 42
Synopsis : The little mermaid has no idea that as she makes her way on land, she’s being watched over by the sister of the very witch with whom she made her bargain. She has no idea that the witch’s sister is falling in love with her.
When the prince decides to marry another woman, the little mermaid’s secret helper offers her a chance to live. But the price may be too high…. (From Goodreads)
CW: Rape, dubious consent
So. I think this is my first one starred book in a long time, I just… didn’t find anything redeemable about it. Every aspect was lacking. The plot, the world, the characters. I couldn’t find anything to hold on to and the only reason I finished it is how short it is. Don’t get me wrong, the premise is interesting and it even starts off promising but it falls flat pretty early on.
The writing is very flowery, too flowery, in my opinion, combined with all the rest, it just makes the story unnecessarily heavy and hard to read. For how short it is, I shouldn’t have been exhausted by reading it, but I really was tired when I finished it. Some word combinations and metaphors didn’t make sense so it was all around not the kind of writing I enjoy. The story had me very excited at first, that’s why I requested the book, “a dark little mermaid retelling where the mermaid falls for a witch instead of the prince”? YES PLEASE. But no.
The plot was confusing and all over the place, what made it even hard to grasp and focus on is how many POVs there were, and for something so short, it doesn’t work, especially since the voices aren’t distinct, they all read the same so it takes a couple paragraphs to know who is narrating. Also, the romance??? What was that? The witch loved her when I can count the times they interacted on one hand and the only meaningful conversation out of those is when she confessed her feelings. And the mermaid herself was pinning over the prince one moment and running off with the witch the next. None of it is developped enough to be believable.
Also, can we talk about the opening scene? That angered me like no other. It’s a rape scene that’s not handled well. First of all, if that’s what’s called “dubious consent” in the blurb, I disagree, it’s non-consensual, it’s rape and very graphic at that. The little mermaid is raped by the sea witch (the love interest’s sister) as part of the bargain and we never know any details about said bargain. What I can call dubious consent though, is a scene towards the end where both parties don’t really wanna have sex but do it anyway. All in all. This is a huge no from me.
Author: Yrsa Darley-Ward
Publisher :Penguin Books (UK)
Genre : Young Adult | Poetry
Page Count: 136
Synopsis : Raw and stark, the poems in Yrsa Daley-Ward’s breakthrough collection strip down her reflections on the heart, life, the inner self, coming of age, faith and loss to their essence. They resonate to the core of experience. (From Netgalley)
CW: Rape, sexual assault, racism, homophobia
I was quite excited when I was approved for this because I had been hearing a lot of great things about it from blogger friends who had read and loved it but as much as I enjoyed some of the poems, I was overall disappointed.
This is a powerful collection, the themes are hard and raw and some of the poems hit me so hard, they left me gasping for air. But I found that the short ones are the ones who had the most effect, the really long ones -over one page- made me lose interest once they dragged and I ended up skimming many of them because I lost focus, which I think is more a “me” problem since I don’t think other people had that problem.
And that wasn’t helped by the line breaks, some ended on weak words, some disturbed the flow of the poem and some just didn’t make sense to me. I feel like a lot of these poems I would’ve like a lot better if the breaks were better situated. I know that because all the poems I loved had good line breaks, on powerful words that just strike a cord in me. They made me emotional, they made me think and reflect on a lot of things. Some I even could relate to which is always a nice plus.
So overall, this is a collection I would recommend because it deals with important issues and I believe that there’s a poem for everyone in there.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read Walking on Knives or Bone? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.