I’m still working on reading every book on my Kindle, it’s just slowed down a lot thanks to all that pesky school.
Bleeding Violet was next on my list, and it easily passed my “20% test”1 – I was almost halfway through the book in my first sitting, and only noticed when my roommate got back and asked why I was still awake.
Of course, I woke up the next morning, having gone to sleep right after putting the book down, frightened by some strange2 nightmares. The book is creepy, for a few different reasons. First off, it’s set in a town where things like ‘milkworms’ (they eat calcium, starting with milk and ending with ripping the bones out of your body), giant flying leech things (I don’t think the official name of these was ever said, or if it was I’ve forgotten), and ‘breeders’ (every ‘the bug laid its eggs in me’ horror story ever, crossed with hints of a vampire from Twilight). The first monster we get a good look at is a blob of color that lives in the windows of the high school3 and sucks the color out of people, leaving them as glass statues. So that all creates a nice scare factor in the book.
The part that’s really creepy, though, is the workings of the protagonist’s mind. She’s got a suite of medication for a suite of conditions, currently taking lithium to try to manage manic-depressive disorder, if I’m remembering properly. And by ‘taking’ I mean ‘only taking when someone bothers her about it.’ Her first conversation is with the hallucinated ghost of her father, and the suicidal urges she has are dealt with by the direct intervention of a wooden carving of a swan. She’s been institutionalized in the past, and a little ways into the first chapter you realize she’s covered in blood from (possibly) bludgeoning her aunt (and legal guardian) to death.
The story is told from her perspective, so we get to occupy her mind throughout, and it’s strange. Everything makes perfect sense to her, and you can almost follow along… until you realize exactly how strange a situation she’s in, what exactly she’s doing. Best example I can come up with? Trying to earn her mother’s love by offering to burn down her childhood home. It makes perfect sense at the time… right up until your brain goes, wait, what?
The creepiness, though, makes the book interesting, and it fits nicely with a space filled with unanswered questions. What is the Mayor? Why do people still live in a town filled with horrible monsters? What in god’s name is going on around here?
Of course, those aren’t the interesting questions, but I’m trying to avoid giving away too many spoilers. Go read the book, it’s fascinatingly dark.
- I decided, arbitrarily, that if a book hasn’t captured my interest by the time I’m 20% of the way through it, it isn’t worth my time to read the rest of it. Those books that I give up on I don’t write a review of, so you may not have heard of this before. ↩
- And most nonsensical ↩
- The main character being, of course, a high school student. ↩