Sometimes books happen upon you by accident. Sometimes you hate them. Sometimes you love them. Sometimes you’re indifferent.
And sometimes you just feel everything.
Sort of confused. You love it, but you hate it. You get it, though you wish you didn’t. You identify with the dark parts of the characters, or at least understand them, and that makes you question yourself and all you thought you knew about specific things. Sometimes those specific things are morals and rooting for a bad guy who embodies things you (in real life) would detest (like the hero in a book by CJ Roberts that I’ll review next time).
And sometimes the draw is more subtle. More vast. Like…how grief alters people. How we harm ourselves by blocking out those that could bring joy to our lives because we fear loss. How we devalue ourselves and forget our true worth. How things can be lost to us, precious things like relationships that could’ve been something MORE had we only seen them for what they were. How love really can light the dark.
Mud Vein is such a book.
I wasn’t planning on reviewing this book. It wasn’t on my handy little spreadsheet of books for this site. But it found me and I had to share.
This is how it happened.
It was late. (Late for me is 10pm.) I had tossed and turned for at least thirty minutes before I gave up on sleep and did what 99% of the population does when they have insomnia: I grabbed my phone and started stalking Facebook like a boss.
Amid the numerous posts about Easter and pictures of people’s kids hunting eggs in their pastel bests, was Tarryn Fisher’s post about her latest book. It included the body of an email from a fan discussing Mud Vein. I really don’t know why I stopped and read that post. I was pretty numb at that point and just scrolling, absorbing very little other than images. But I stopped and read. The fan accused the story of giving her heart palpitations, insomnia, chest pain, and throat constriction. So of course I went straight to B&N and hit BUY.
I verify the accusations.
And add nausea to the list.
I don’t even know how to write this review, to be honest. It probably isn’t wise for me to be typing this right now since it’s been less than ten hours since I finished the book. It isn’t often that books make me cry. Seriously. Or resonate deep, to the point of a physical response. But I truly believe Tarryn Fisher has found her niche. She knows how to deliver internal conflict in the face of brutal external circumstances, all while perching you perfectly on the edge of your seat. That is to be commended. Plus, she gave me tears. A rarity. My chest ached. My stomach hurt. I had to look away from the iPad screen. And by the end, I’d wiped my eyes several times, and I sat on my couch, throat tightening, swallowing back all the sorrow I felt for Senna and Isaac.
NOTE WHAT I JUST SAID: Sorrow.
This isn’t a typical romance. I don’t think that spoils anything. Don’t go into it expecting anything but an emotional, suspenseful ride with a little mystery. Don’t expect any of the safe parameters you’ve come to know in most contemporary romance. It’s not erotica, though a few people I know said they thought it was due to the cover. I can tell you this: The cover and title make perfect sense, you just have to read to find out why.
SO! Now that you’re prepared, I can give you some details.
If you read my last post (if you didn’t, you totally should) you know I love quotes. And I have a few to share:
You’ve been silent your whole life. You were silent when we met, silent when you suffered. Silent when life kept hitting you. I was like that too, a little. But not like you. You are a stillness. And I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut it off. Your silence, Senna, I hear it so loudly. – Issac
Tell me a truth, Senna.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Then tell me a lie.”
“I don’t love you.”
“The truth is for the mind,” he says. “Lies are for the heart. So let’s just keep lying.”
Isaac is touch, and he is sound. He is smell and he is sight. I tried to make him a single sense like I did with everyone else, but he is all of them. He overpowers my senses and that is exactly why I ran from him. I was afraid of feeling brightly—afraid I would become used to the color and sounds and smells, and they would be taken from me. I was a self-fulfilling prophecy; destroying before I could be destroyed. I wrote about women like that, I didn’t realize I was one. – Senna
From a writer/editor standpoint: There are a few bobbles (just a few). Misspellings. Things that should’ve been caught by an editor. I edit all the time and if I can look over the little issues, so can you. This book is self-pubbed and has already hit the NYT Bestseller List.
I will admit, this book won’t be for everyone. Some may have to be in a special place to read the kind of darkness found in those pages. BUT…Fisher balances the dark with the light. That’s what makes Senna and Isaac who they are. Real people have flaws and wounds and struggles and pain and problems. Many times we read to escape, not to stare down reality and watch it engulf helpless characters. Sometimes truth like that is hard to read because it IS so real.
But it’s worth it. Promise.
From my bookshelf to yours,
blurb from goodreads:
When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.