Book Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

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Young Adult > Fantasy

On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings—and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

Margo Lanagan weaves an extraordinary tale of desire, despair, and transformation. With devastatingly beautiful prose, she reveals characters capable of unspeakable cruelty, but also unspoken love.

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…what a strange, strange tale. o_O and yet the strangeness of it all did not lessen the richness of the story, bewitchingly written by an obviously talented author.

I had been ugly once; I must remember that, remember how to be ugly again now that I knew I was beautiful, remember how to be ordinary now that I’d seen the wonders inside me.

The Brides of Rollrock Island is told in several point of views of the inhabitants of Rollrock Island. How the sea witch directly or indirectly impacted their lives — their loves, it was disturbingly enchanting. It was hard to get into the story at first, but as soon as Misskaella’s life unfolds, it was harder to stop reading.

The similarities and contrasts on what people of Rollrock did for love and their families were astounding, yet no further from the truth if it were in real life. The desperation is always present, whether the witch is involved or not.

To say more will only lead to spoilers, but for those who are brave enough to chance upon a copy of The Brides of Rollrock Island, please pick it up and read it! It doesn’t matter that not everyone in Rollrock got their happy endings, but let’s just say that bad karma will always find those people who had it coming.

Such an enthralling story, strange and beautiful at the same time.

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THE BRIDES OF ROLLROCK ISLAND by Margo Lanagan

Ebook, 320 pages

Published September 11th 2012 by Knopf Books for Young Readers

4.5/5 stars

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

  1. I’ve not heard of this book before but it sounds both bizarre and charming at the same time. Great review – I’ll definitely check this one out.

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