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Book Review: Beating Heart Cadavers by Laura Giebfried

Book Review: Beating Heart Cadavers by Laura Giebfried

On today's episode of Book Review Wednesday, I have something a bit unusual. Or dare I say WAY OUT IN LEFT FIELD! It starts off like any other dystopian/fantasy/sci-fi novel, but it quickly makes itself stand out from any other story I've read. An interesting one, to say the least…

Beating Heart Cadavers

The Onerian government is in a race to find a solution for the Mare-folk, metal-hearted people who have been threatening their country for decades. To do so, they've created an agency known only as the Spӧken, whose members hunt down the Mare-folk to the best of their ability. But the Mare-folk look and act like everyone else, and distinguishing them from ordinary people proves harder than anyone could have imagined. beating-heart-cadavers-hardcover When the Spӧken task their new ambassador, Matthew Caine, with getting rid of the Mare-folk using any means necessary, he agrees to do so in exchange for his young son's freedom, whom the government has taken from him for reasons that remain undisclosed. But the further that Caine goes to aid the Spӧken and destroy the Mare-folk, the more he begins to wonder: how can he eradicate a group of people who are outwardly no different than anyone else? And more importantly: are we all different, or are we all the same?

My Review: 4 Stars

This is, as the blurb says, "a twisting, suspenseful story inundated with dark humor and depth". It takes a pretty unique look at prejudice and how it can cloud our perceptions and judgment. A deep story hidden beneath an interesting tale. I have to note a few weaknesses in the story, though: - The intro didn't have any hook. Heck, nothing really serious happened in the first ¼ of the book. It's only at the 50% mark that it starts to get interesting. - There's no real sense of place. You focus a lot on the characters, but there's minimal background details. In my mind, I saw the characters clearly, but they moved through mostly formless, featureless landscapes. - Everyone is searching for "IT" for the first 150 pages, but we don't find out what "IT" is until 1/3 of the way into the book. It's a good way to drive up mystique and interest in the beginning, but it annoyed me that it took so long to find out what was so important. - All the characters have the EXACT same habit: they all run their tongue across their teeth. Not sure how many people do that in real life, but I know not EVERYONE in this society does. The story was interesting, the concept absolutely unique, and overall (aside from these foibles), it was a book worth reading!

Here's a Taste:

“Have you ever drowned a cat, Jasper?” “What? No.” “It’s not easy – not like with squirrels or rabbits or dogs. They sense something in the water, like it’s a fire burning too close to their flesh, and they resist with every fiber of their being – flattening out entirely, limbs stretching and claws digging into whatever surface’s around, and they won’t let up for anything.” “I’ll ... remember that.” “They’ll attack you if you’re the one doing it,” Merdow continued, carrying on as though Jasper hadn't spoken, “so you have to take extra care, mind you – but it can still be done. They’re not immune to drowning, you know, despite how they resist it.” The doll-like man paused, letting Jasper fret for a moment before he went on. “Ladeline’s a bit like a cat, I’m afraid. And she’s going to cause trouble for you.” “Then you should have buried her in the yard with all your other pets,” he snapped. “Don’t get all upset, Jasper. I’m just trying to help you,” Merdow said. “You see, the problem is thinking that you can do it in a bathtub.” “Sorry?” “The cat, the water ...? When you do it in a bathtub, they claw up the sides and climb back up. If you want to do it properly, you’ve got to drop them into a pool with a dead weight.” “Right. I get it. I’ll tell her off.” “You can’t tell a cat off, Jasper. They’re too independent – too set in their ways. You can tell them not to catch mice and go toying with them until the poor things are tender enough to eat, but they will. And when they spit them back up onto your living room floor, it’s just a mess to deal with.” He lowered his eyes on the albino, his expression digging into the paler man's face. “Don’t be the mouse, Jasper. I don’t want to clean up after you.” “Right, well, I won’t. I just ...” “And don’t hesitate, either. You’re becoming more palatable – and I don’t even eat meat.”

About the Author:: Laura Giebfried was born in Bangor, Maine in June of 1992. She is the youngest child of Joseph and Rosemary Giebfried, a surgeon and a nurse, who moved to Maine from New York to raise their family. Giebfried earned her degree in Psychology and Technical Writing from the University of Maine in 2015.

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