Tuesday, November 12, 2013

YAck Attack: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

Published: September 11, 2012 

Knopf Books for Young Readers

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From Goodreads: On remote Rollrock Island, men make their living--and fetch their wives--from the sea.

The Witch Misskaella knows how to find the girl at the heart of a seal. She'll coax a beauty from the beast for any man, for a price. And what man wouldn't want a sea-wife, to and to hold, and to keep by his side forever?

But though he may tell himself that he is the master, one look in his new bride's eyes will transform him just as much as it changes her. Both will be ensnared--and the witch will look on, laughing.

Laura: Are we reading Brides? I'm reading Brides. I'm not very far in, maybe fifty pages, and already I'm thinking "WILL YOU SHUT UP AND TELL YOUR STORY." The writing is reminding me a lot of Chime by Franny Billingsley, where the author was all "LOOK AT ALL THE PRETTY SING-SONGY WORDS I CAN STRING TOGETHER. TO HELL WITH MY STORY. SEE MY WORDS. ROOOOOARRR!"

Sya: Ooh, I liked Chime. I am aware that I am one of the few. I must start this book.

Janice: I adored Chime! Gasppp, you diss Chime?! *puts hand to chest*.

Sya: Chime was utterly magical and wondrous.

Laura:I wanted to like Chime so much more than I did but I kept getting distracted by the overwhelming urge to REACH THROUGH THE BOOK AND SHAKE BILLINGSLEY AND GO "SHUT THE FUCK UP AND TELL ME A STORY." I'm getting a similar feeling with Brides. You can put a bunch of words together, go you. They still aren't WORDS.

Donna: Brides is rather word heavy in an overwhelming sense. I just finished the first Mallet's story, the one that goes to the island to sell his house, and I think that's the best one so far because it isn't as bogged down as the rest but the writing is overwhelming and not in a good way. The hyphenated words are bothering me too.

Heidi: I'm one of the crazies who loves this kind of writing (loved Chime too). Lanagan really works for me, but especially in Brides. I feel like she does short fiction really well, and that Brides was in a way just a collection of short stories that happened to form one larger story. I felt like the language was lyrical but melancholic in a way that really fit the setting and story. To me, Brides was more about place and time than it was about specific events.

Laura:I'm making myself read this book. I don't look forward to picking it up. It's making me want to do OTHER THINGS. I don't want to read this book anymore, SO I'M NOT.

Sya:I feel the same. The words are pretty but I'm not connecting with the stories in any meaningful way. It makes me sad because I loved Tender Morsels and the premise of Brides is intriguing.

Donna:The actual premise of BRIDES as promised to me in the blurb doesn't start until around page 100. That irked me.

Heidi:Oooh, Sya, I find it interesting that you loved Tender Morsels but can't get into this. I still...don't know how I feel about that one. It may take years to process.

Heidi: Also I like that in one comment Laura was forcing herself to read this book, and then quit it by the time she hit enter. That's commitment!

Sya:I'm still processing Tender Morsels a year after I read it - I think it's one of the best things I've read but this one just isn't working for me.

Donna: This poor seal of a book hasn't been yacked much. IT NEEDS MORE YACK. And less words. Way less words.

Sya:I didn't finish it. I am a bad YAcker. I just couldn't - it was full of pretty words but lacked...heart? Maybe.

Laura:And can anyone that actually read it, find a role for KING RICHARD ARMITAGE?

Nicole: He can play every role. We have CGI. *has not read*

Donna:Great. Nicole put a bunch of seals with RA faces in my head bopping around. Thanks a lot.

Heidi:Yeah...there aren't really any RA worthy men in this book. Most of them are pretty terrible.

Laura:SO.......IT'S A FAIL THEN? Motion to consider this book a fail on the basis that it has no role for our sovereign, KING RICHARD ARMITAGE.

Sya: Motion passed. The end. Amen.


  1. We did spectacularly badly with this one. I love us.

  2. Yeah... I didn't read this. But I contributed... by talking about a completely different book.