The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo LanaganPublication date: September 11, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
This book was provided to me by Knopf/Random House for review.
This. Book. Is. Gorgeous. Seriously, guys. I don't want to insult other YA books because it's not my intention, but The Brides of Rollrock Island is purely literary and extremely thematic. It can be a difficult read; I admit to struggling at times with the language and prose and having to reread passages again just to make sure I understood it. This isn't a book one speeds through because you'll want to take your time and experience everything.
Lanagan takes folklore of the selkies and writes a new legend with this book. I have never read anything like it. The story is told through the voices of a chosen few who live on Rollrock Island. Each and every one of the characters is so distinct and they all have faults; you'll find no Mary Sue inside. I love that sometimes while reading, I'd feel sympathetic for a character and then on the next page I'd do a one-eighty and think "nevermind, you're a jerk and I hate you and I don't feel sorry for you and you make horrible choices and did I mention you're a jerk?" And then later I'd do another one-eighty and think "I am so sorry I called you a jerk and I guess I can forgive you for what you did as long as you don't do it again and I hope you learned your lesson." There are some non-sympathetic characters in this, yo.
The difficulty of the language and the themes of the story could be a hindrance and go over some heads. I say could be, because it really all depends on the reader.
And a warning for those who care, there are quite a few sexual situations, but it's not the gratuitous kind and I, personally, feel it fits with the storytelling.