Kill the monsters when they’re found.
No matter who they used to be.
The girl with secret feathers in her skin and strange bones jutting out beneath her clothes is resigned to her fate. Her deformities mark her a monster and the stories say monsters must die.
When her family finds out and turns on her, a village boy saves her and leads her on a frantic escape. The girl believes her death has merely been delayed—until he mentions a cure.
With the world against them and the monstrous change progressing, they must cross water, forest, and field to chase the rumor that fuels their desperate hope. But is hope enough to keep them going?
I received this novella to judge for the SFINCS semi-finals. Opinion is my own, and does not represent that made by the team. Again, I am part of team JamReads, and I am just posting my review here to boost the author! I did also happen to purchase this in paperback, as I prefer to read physical, and I like the cover quite a lot.
I want to start with what stuck out to me. My main point of contention is that one of the two mains is referred to as ‘girl’ for the entire opening. The boy even saying that they were going to pull a ‘little girl’ out of her house. But then you find out that she’s actually about 19, older than the boy, so it was just confusing wording and stuck out to me as jarring.
With that being said, throughout the story they remain girl and boy. I thought it was a nice decision, because as monsters, their life is basically forfeited the moment they’re found out. Therefore, their true selves, their chances, their mistakes and hopes, cease to be. Their families even do away with them.
The opening of this was incredible. Fast, mysterious, dangerous, daring. There’s a need to escape and the reader can feel it immediately. Such a quick hook into the reader. I was a little surprised at the lack of chapters, but it doesn’t really take anything away. For me, the opening with its sort of mutilation and animal horror, was the perfect blend of horror and fantasy notes.
I believe this was a well done examination on the loss of hope, and what happens when those that have lost it see a spark of it returning. It is quite bleak, but there are glimpses of warmth and happiness that carry the reader through. By the end you really do end up feeling so much for the two of them and what they’ve gone through.