Contented Reader

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MarcyKate Connolly

HarperCollins, 2015

Kymera is a chimera – hence the name.  She was assembled by her father from parts.  Some parts of her are parts of his real, human daughter, dead at the hands of a terrible, evil wizard.  But there are other parts.  Huge wings, for flying through the forest.  Claws, for tearing the flesh of enemies.  A sharp, poisonous tail, for stunning people into a deep sleep.  Bolts, holding parts together.  Kymera can’t go among people, because people are afraid of monsters.  But if she is good, and obeys her father’s loving instructions, and doesn’t ask too many questions or deviate from the rules, she can help him to rescue other girls from the terrible wizard.

You might not be surprised to learn that not everything is as it seems, and that Kymera is a child who will learn a great deal, some of it quite upsetting, in her journey from childhood to young-womanhood.  Growing up is like that, isn’t it?  You think you know who you are and how you fit into the world, and it all seems simple and clear, and it seems like there won’t ever be anything more to know.  But then you learn something that makes you ask questions, and getting answers to them lead to more questions, and before you know it, you find that nothing is at all what you thought it was.  And you realize that you have grown up, through the process.

This is that kind of book, the kind of book in which Kymera grows up.  There was a lot of the book that I thought was dark and disturbing.  Just two chapters in, I told my wife, “This is a really good book, but you shouldn’t read it.  Something bad happens to a bunny.”  My wife really doesn’t like it when bad things happen to animals in books.  I respect that.  Everyone has their things.

A few more chapters in, I said, “Yeah… you definitely shouldn’t read this book.  It’s really messed up.”  And I kept reading it, and finished it two days later, because everything that happened lead to something else happening, and I needed to keep reading to find out what.

I don’t think I can write about much past the beginning.  The sick girls in their quarantine prison, the secrets of the wizard’s power, the dragon, the two kings, the castle by the sea, it all needs to appear to you at the right time in the story.

I read a review on Goodreads from someone who hated this book because she expects plot twists to be surprising, and she saw the major twist of this plot coming from very early in the book.  I saw it coming, too, and you probably will, too, before you’ve made it halfway through the novel. But that didn’t make me hate the book.  I don’t think the point was that the author wanted to surprise me, the reader.  I thought the point was that the author and I were watching poor Kymera, and that we have figured out what she doesn’t yet know, and we watch her, hoping that she will be able to handle that inevitable twist when it comes.  Twists don’t have to surprise the reader to work well in a book.

I am very, very happy to see that there’s a sequel, Ravenous, coming out in 2016.  It’s already on my to-read list.


Written by Contented Reader

July 1, 2015 at 10:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized


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