What rating would you give it?
3.75/4 of 5 Stars
What were your initial thoughts of the book?
What. The. Actual. Hell.
What were your thoughts AFTER you’d finished reading it?
. . . What. The Actual. Hell.
Stunning book! And what a concept, too! But seriously. All that praise aside… WHAT. THE. HELL.
This was one weird as fuck book. I liked it, but damn was it weird!
I’m not sure what I was supposed to get or learn from this tale, but it was definitely thought provoking. A true mix of disturbing imagery and brilliant concept and execution; I couldn’t put this book down!
From this point on, there will be spoilers. I can’t help that. This is obviously a book for discussion, which means spoilers. End of story.
I guess I should come out and say this review is more a “book discussion/book rant/I need to say something about everything weird and fucked up that went on in these pages,” so proceed at your own risk.
So we have the obvious topic of gender roles here: What it means to be a man. What a “woman” is. This is a world completely devoid of women, and yet… everything is peachy and hunky-dory? (Or is it really?)
What is this book saying? That without women the world is fine, and with them (or the re-creation of them, and the change they wrought) everything goes to hell?
Or maybe instead, it simply goes to point that women are the building blocks and foundations of society, of life itself, and without them… life just isn’t worth living. Or dying. Or even killing for, for that matter.
That life… isn’t even worth surviving for, in fact.
The Beauty was a strange tale, because there were micro stories within telling a tale of the one we, the readers, were following in different lights. Almost as though, this story could not be told simply as one, but as many, and it needed that division in order for it to work and be a completed whole.
Which is actually yet another theme sought after in the pages to this book. The necessity of divisions, the oneness that can be found when many work together for the betterment of the whole. The chaos that can also form in the schism.
The adults seem to think that storytelling, and its diversities, it’s endless faces and the lie that stories are, are (in actuality) lies retelling the truth of the past.
Huh. Well, no surprise there. I’m with Nate – our resident and ONLY storyteller – on this one. What nonsense. What utter, nonsense. What lies, that is.
Stories tell truths in ways people can understand and accept them. (Or in some cases can’t… or rather won’t understand or accept them, because the truth is dangerous. Lies are simple.) It is up to the storyteller to tell truths, and not the lies others want them to say instead. That is what holds all the difference.
Now we switch again to this concept: Of Man coming from Woman and then losing Woman, only to rediscover and Claim Woman by – in effect – becoming Woman was… mind-blowing. I can see how many people – Men, Women, and any other gender or sex besides – would find this book terrifying. Too many alarming concepts to take into consideration. Too strange are the changes and possibilities of this “Beauty-full” world.
I’ll admit, even I found some moments of this book repulsive, but not because of its content or even its concept… Only because of my own feelings towards childbirth gave me cause to shudder. I actually reveled in the knowledge that the Men who would treat their Women (haha! even that line, “their” Women) as though they are property, like nothing more than objects of comfort, sex, and status… should find themselves on the other side of things. Suddenly being the ones cared for, their work stripped from them, and impregnated. Used for their bodies and solely kept for the comfort they bring to the Beauties. To the new “Men” of this twisted world.
Furthermore, having a hoard of lonely, horny “suitors” hounding at their door, day in and day out, while they huddle inside, afraid, terrified to step even outside for fear of being assaulted, used for another’s satisfaction, their children killed or taken away from them. Their “rights” removed.
Doesn’t matter what gender or sex you are. It’s not cool, man. Not cool. And this book, this utterly engrossing wonderful book, talks about what happens when the tables turn.
I can only begin to express my deepest satisfaction seeing “Uncle Ted” literally thrown to the wolves (or should I say Beauties/The Unloved). I would take immense joy knowing that he was knocked up from the encounter, especially since I get this sneaking suspicion that Nate was ACTUALLY HIS son, and not William’s, and it would be such karmic justice for him to experience all that he so hypocritically condemned.
In fact, it would be even more gratifying if ALL the women he killed had come back as Beauties and done to him what he had done to them.
Hey, I know it sounds heartless or whatever, but I fully believe some people don’t “get it” until it happens to them or hits close to home. They just don’t see their actions as damning, disrespectful, or cruel. All they see is something that frightens or disgusts them; or conversely, is there only for their pleasure and use, and everything else is secondary or not even viable or applicable “given the circumstances.”
Indeed, some people never learn until the tables are turned.
And some never learn – even then.
But anyway! I’m done. My ranty thoughts are over. I’ve got it all out of my system (I think). XD I’m going to leave off by saying one thing: for better or for worse, this book is definitely thought-provoking. I would easily classify it as a horror/weird fiction novel, because… it just makes better sense then to say FICTION or FANTASY (cuz Lord knows, it ain’t either). So that’s what I’m going with.
Would you recommend this book?
Oh yeah. Hands down. Although it didn’t get the highest ratings I might give other books, I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for something really out of the box, thought-provoking, maybe even something to give you the willies at night, and leave you haunted by a future you’d hope never to come to light.
Reviewed by AMS (amomentsilence)
|Publisher: Unsung Stories
Publication Date: September 2014
Format: eBook, ARC
Genre: Horror, Weird Fiction, Gender
Study, Coming of Age, Speculative Fiction,
QUILTBAG / LGBTQUI, Mpreg, Mushroom
Reviewer: AMS (amomentsilence)
Source: Provided by NetGalley
Challenge: 2014 Good Reads Reading Challenge (100)