Tag Archives: Margo Lanagan

Tender Morsels

Author: Margo Lanagantender morsels

My rating: 3.5 of 5

WARNING: Mature Audience/Contains rape & incest

Ever since her mother’s death, Liga has lived in abuse and isolation, first from her father and later from the young men in her village. In a moment of desperation, Liga decides to end her own life and that of her baby daughter–only to have a most mysterious being interfere and offer her another way out: an exchange of her life in the real world for a safe life in her own personal “heaven.” And so, for many years, Liga and her two daughters live safely in peace . . . but the real world won’t be kept out forever, nor will strong-willed girls be kept in.

If you’ve read anything by Margo Lanagan, you won’t be surprised when I say that Tender Morsels was dark and unsettling. I think if you leave a book of hers undisturbed, you’ve read it wrong. Tender Morsels takes several story elements from the classic fairy tale, “Snow White and Rose Red,” and transforms them into a dark but hopeful tale. It wrestles with the harms women can and do receive from men–and with bringing that fact into balance with the wonderful, healthy relationships that are also possible. It deals with the concept of escapism and the fact that life is meant to be lived fully–the hurts, yes, but also the glorious joys and loves that it can bring. I think Lanagan’s handling of these concepts was well done; meaningful, conflicted, and thought-provoking to be sure. I also appreciated that she dealt with some very difficult topics without cheapening them by making them erotic or overly detailed, while still maintaining the painful emotional impact of them. Honestly, I probably should rate this book a 5 of 5, but it just didn’t work that well for me in some regards. I can’t even say why exactly . . . the plot was too loose and all over the place, perhaps? I’m not sure who the actual protagonist even is? I can’t even say how I really feel about the ending? Whatever the case, Tender Morsels was an excellently written story, just not one of my personal favorites.

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Black Juice

Author: Margo Lanagan

This book is deep and dark and dangerous. It’s the sort of book that pulls you under, and when you finally surface, you’re not the same person as when you started. Really, that’s my strongest impression upon finishing this intense short-story collection. Black Juice collects a double handful of unusual, imaginative stories that display different facets of the darkness within us all, but also of the hope, steadfastness, and just plain stubbornness that keeps us going through the darkness. The ideas presented in this collection are troubling but moving, and the creative, sometimes disturbing tales Lanagan uses to express them are really quite excellently done. Read Black Juice. If you’re brave enough.

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Zombies vs. Unicorns

zombies vs unicornsTeam Zombie Editor: Justine Larbalestier/Team Unicorn Editor: Holly Black

My rating: 3.5 of 5

One of the great, longstanding arguments of this century is which is better: zombies or unicorns? Okay, maybe not, but it’s a longstanding debate between authors Justine Larbalestier and Holly Black. To help their readers decide once and for all, they’ve assembled an outstanding group of young adult fantasy/science fiction writers to tell the stories of these creatures.

This is quite a broad collection–the stories range from killer unicorns that eat people to zombie romances, and everything in between. It’s fascinating to see how many different ideas people have for what is, supposedly, the same creature. Overall, Zombies vs. Unicorns is an intriguing and enjoyable collection of stories, although it’s definitely geared to a modern young-adult audience and, as such, contains more sex, drugs, etc. that I really care for personally. Still, if you’re interested in knowing for sure which fantastic creature is better, Zombies vs. Unicorns would certainly be the recommended way to decide.

Team Zombie Authors: Libba Bray, Alayda Dawn Johnson, Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson, Scott Westerfeld, Carrie Ryan/Team Unicorn Authors: Kathleen Duey, Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Margo Lanagan, Naomi Novik, Diana Peterfreund

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