Rated Reads

The Brides of Rollrock Island

by Margo Lanagan

Rated: Mild

On Rollrock Island you will find a witch who can do an astonishing thing: she can magic a woman from out of the skin of a seal. Well, she CAN do that for you, for a price. And the men of Rollrock Island are prepared to pay that price — any price — for an enchanting woman from the waves. No one (but the witch) can imagine the implications of this turn of events.

I picked this up knowing nothing about it — I just thought the cover was beautiful — and I’m having a hard time deciding how I feel about this story. On the one hand, I know it is rather genius. Not only lyrically written but the idea itself, of a whole town under a kind of a spell of their own making, was beautifully executed. Somehow, though, it sort of bored me. Maybe it just took too long to tell? There were a few minutes that really captured me, but sometimes it felt like a lot of words to tell me not-that-much story.

I can’t say it’s not worth reading — I appreciated that through various islanders we delved into the minds and hearts of those who were affected by the sea-women. The ending left me feeling a little empty but not so annoyed that I wouldn’t try another by this author.

Rated: Mild for one moderate swear word, several scenes of nudity and discussions of nude women, and one mildly graphic sexual scene; best for ages 15 and up.

— Reviewed by Corinne Edwards

Corinne Edwards is always happiest when a book is in her hand. If her current read needs to be closed for a short time, either in her backpack while she leads her three rambunctious children on adventures, or on her nightstand while she sleeps, that's okay too. Her book thoughts and reviews land at her bookish blog, The Book Nest.

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  • The Brides of Rollrock Island
  • by Margo Lanagan
  • Rated: Mild
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: