Posted 20 hours ago

Juniper & Thorn: A Novel

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A lot of negative reviews seem to feel that the book jam-packs in way too much graphic, upsetting content for a book of its size. It tackles and gives words to topics that may be hard to read for some, but everyone, from abuse survivors, to SA survivors, to ED survivors, deserve to have stories written for them and deserve to see themselves within fiction.

Marlinchen is a witch, youngest of three daughters to a cursed wizard, living out her days in a city transforming from magic to industry.I’m not seeing very many stories at all with women who are embracing their femininity and who are also strong women. reid’s lyrical prose helps the book establish its place as a gothic fantasy novel and kept me intrigued the entire time i was reading.

Content warnings: gore / body horror, child sexual abuse, physical and psychological family abuse, bulimia and graphic depictions of vomiting, animal death, cannibalism, self-harm and suicidal ideation, antisemitism and xenophobia.We see her completely unable to comprehend that someone might find her attractive, let alone someone she think is as ludicrously beautiful as Sevas, the book's ballet star love interest.

Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate her tyrannical, xenophobic father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. They’re important, as we live in a world where these things unfortunately happen and we shouldn’t have our heads in the sand. Characters who go through similar experiences are supposed to Get Good With A Sword™ and slay dragons and topple evil and dismantle authoritarian governments. Marlinchen begins to notice the cracks in the stories she's been told upon meeting Sevas, the ballet's ingenue. The darkness in the story is so unrelenting and particularly some of the descriptions of it so lingering, so closely described, that there are, at times, moments where you feel that we've stepped out of simply exploring the emotional impact of fairytale happenings, and instead are maybe just here for the darkness for its own sake.I know she's supposed to be naive and not knowing much about the world, but that was just too much for me to believe she could be that clueless. In time with the story, lore and fairytales play an important part in the main narrative, intersecting the vein of Marlinchen’s character development and the understanding of her own situation. There was definitely something about it that drew me in all the way until the end - it has grit and atmosphere and personality in spades. She wanted to bring a character who was impacted and fragilized by her trauma, and I completely understand and agree with her in that subject.

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