I have been reading, and enjoying, Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. Here is the blurb:
"You are pure-hearted and lovely, and you have never done a moment's wrong. But you are a living creaure, born to make a real life, however it cracks your heart."
Liga raises her two daughters in the safe haven of an alternative reality, a personal heaven granted by magic as a refuge from her earthly suffering.
But the real world cannot be denied for ever and when the barrier between the two worlds begins to break down, Liga's fiery daughter, Urdda, steps across it...
This unforgettable novel is sure to shock and amaze. Constantly shifting from beauty to horror, darkness to light, Tender Morsels will take you to the very edge.
I really haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. I enjoy long reads if it's a good story and I thought this book was brilliant. Before I start gushing, I'd better start reviewing.
The characters in this book are well crafted. Although, it has to be said, there are a lot of characters. And at certain points I had to stop to remember who they were. I liked the style they were presented in though. You were clearly given a main character and other characters had their own section. At the start they all seem completely unrelated but I like the way their paths intertwined.
Liga is the main character. The story starts when she is a young girl. She knows nothing but work and pain. Her one chance of joy is taken away by her father. This is what starts Liga off on her journey. I don't want to give anything away but I'll tell you that Liga has two daughters, Urrda and Branza. Both daughters are unique and bring Liga joy. They live with Liga in a safe haven where no harm should be able to befall them.
Urrda is the loud one whilst Branza is the quiet one. The sisters are both very different but at the same time very close. Tender Morsels is a darker retelling of Snow White and Red Rose. Branza is Snow White whilst Urrda is Snow White. Urrda longs to explore the haven whilst Branza is content to stay at home or in the nearby forest with the animals (namely a bear and later a wolf). There are too many charaters for me to mention them all but they all fit together nicely.
This book kept me reading. The only reason I took a while to read it was because, a, it's long and b, I had to schedule it between homework and revision. But even so, I think I read it at quite a fast rate. I was sitting at school today thinking "I'm going to read Tender Morsels when I get home". As long as you follow what's going on, Tender Morsels is a book that keeps you reading.
The plot itself is ingenious. It is a very well thought out story, and having not heard Red Rose and Snow White before, I loved it. I think the reason I loved this book so much is because it was long. I could get in to the story for a lengthy amount of time. I also loved how extremely cleverly it was plotted (it was detailed for everything to fit together).
I will add a word of warning though. The book jacket says "this book is not suitable for younger readers". I think it depends on your level of maturity rather than your age. But I will warn you about some of the material it contains so you can decide for yourself: incest and gang rape. It's not too graphic and I prefer a book with realistic material, life isn't always fun or right, and the author gets this across.
The ending can be either sad or happy, depending on your own opinion. It seems free to interpretation. I personally think it's happy for some of the cahracters and sad for others. You'll have to read the book to make up your own mind.
Characters: 9/10 (a little too many complicated names but I got there in the end)
Hookability (ability to keep you reading): 10/10
Plot: 10/10 (Loved It)