“Eleanor Zarrin has been estranged from her wild family for years. When she flees boarding school after a horrifying incident, she goes to the only place she thinks is safe: the home she left behind. But when she gets there, she struggles to fit in with her monstrous relatives, who prowl the woods around the family estate and read fortunes in the guts of birds.
Eleanor finds herself desperately trying to hold the family together — in order to save them all, Eleanor must learn to embrace her family of monsters and tame the darkness inside her.“
1. Did you enjoy the MC Eleanor?
Sugar: Kind of? I didn’t technically dislike her, but I didn’t particularly like her either. Not in the way that makes characters special and memorable to me, anyway. She has admirable enough qualities I suppose, but nothing about her really had me rooting for her or invested in her at any point.
To me she sort of felt like a somewhat blank avatar for you to experience the story through.
Scream: Oh, you mean Mary Sue Wet Blanket? No. The way she just accepts that she is something different and really digs for zero answers except for when some minor hint is given by family, drove me insane. Even if I based my dislike on one reason it would be this; she is warned to not invite anyone into the family home and she immediately turns around and invites the whole damn town. Not the brightest crayon in the box.
2. How did you feel about her family?
Sugar: The family was interesting and frustrating all at once. They are such a bizarre mashup of a family, but there are moments peppered in throughout the book where they feel like a genuine family, flaws and all. I guess what frustrated me the most about them is that if they weren’t all so damn horrible at communicating with one another things could have been sooo much simpler. Then again, it does make sense to a family so isolated and consisting of outsiders to not be so great at communicating. *shrugs* They are wild at heart and it shows. The author mentions in their acknowledgements that The Addams family and the works of Edward Gorey served as influences and I can definitely see that. I just wish the characters had had more personality overall.
Scream: I have never contrived with the whole ‘family is blood’ notion. That you are required to love and deal with them because you are bound by genetics. If your family sucks, leave. Make your own family from people who love and appreciate you for who you are. I love werewolves and the only really fun werewolf here was Grandpa Miklos.
3. Would you enjoy being a werewolf or would you prefer another supernatural creature?
Sugar: Such a tricky question because I absolutely LOVE werewolves. Being one, though? I don’t think that’s the life for me. I like my werewolves uncontrollable and monstrous and I’d hate having to struggle with that type of instability in my life. I’d really prefer not having to worry about tearing apart and devouring my loved ones, thank you! 😉
That said, I think perhaps being some sort of witch or something would be useful. Having power but not having to eat people seems like a win-win in my book!
Scream: Well, it is a good thing you have decided to become a witch. Might I suggest that you learn how to harness the uncontrollable destruction of a werewolf so that you can control your BFF because she is going FULL BLOWN WEREWOLF DARLING! I will be your wolfy familiar. We’ll be unstoppable!
4. Did the big mystery pay off for you?
Sugar: I hate to say it, but not really? There were some interesting surprises, and I liked that what I generally assumed was going on usually turned out to be wrong, but everything felt so muddled to me. Even when you’d finally get some scrap of an answer, I feel like it just left you with even more questions.
Scream: I’m with Sugar on this. The big reveal was an original creature however, there is zero explanation behind it. If you are going to give me a new supernatural creature, I want history behind it. Not just, ‘this is the thing I am,’ and that’s that.
5. What did you take away from this book? Good or bad.
Sugar: I’m so glad we read this book as a Buddy Read because there are so many things to discuss and pick someone else’s brain about when it comes to this story and its characters. We devoured this book and I’d honestly be kind of bummed if I didn’t have anyone to pick over the bones of it with me.
Even if this book wasn’t my favorite, I do think it would make for a good book club choice for people because it is just begging to be discussed after reading.
Scream: Take the time to flesh out your creatures more. You have been given the chance to share your creation with the world, put some history and description into it. This book could have benefited from a better editor I think. Sorry editor.
BY OUR POWERS COMBINED….WE RATE THIS….3 STARS!
NEXT BUDDY READ: PET SEMATARY BY STEPHEN KING (JUNE 2021)