I'd seen Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels around before. I mean, it looked interesting. It was a Printz honor book. I figured I would get to it eventually. Well, one of my co-workers absolutely loves it and kept recommending it to me. So, I figured I would push it up. Then when I mentioned it to someone else the only description I got was: "You know the original cover had a girl and a bear embracing on the front, right?"
I went into this one a little wary.
I have left it pretty much the same way.
This was one of those books that had a multistrand story. Many of the good ones do. They all connect in places and come together like they should. The issue with Tender Morsels is that there were just some strands that I liked so much more than others. Some of the stories just tended to move so much faster and the comparison just made the others feel like they were dragging on and on.
I loved the "bears" crossing over into real bears. It just played off so well and felt so much like a fairy tale. A really twisted fairy tale in places. It was great that the men kept their real personalities and that each one had a different sort of experience with it, especially since being a "bear" is such an honor. I thought that part of the plot was well done and well thought out.
I really didn't like Dought. I mean, you're not really supposed to but I couldn't even feel sympathy for Annie losing him because he was so awful. And my intense dislike for him made me dread seeing his name on the page.
I really couldn't stand Branza and Liga. They're, what I call, wounded bunny characters. They are very 'woe is me!' I feel Liga has every right to be but I always like the characters who rally back and she never really does. Admittedly, life goes wrong for her repeatedly and in awful ways, but I wanted to see some spine from her and I never did. Branza is so much like her, so babyish and every wrong in the world has been done to her and I just couldn't stand her. I really liked Davit and I hated that he went for Branza. She was just so...bland.
Urdda I loved. She was feisty and fierce and the sort of character who actually moved the plot along. She had facets that Branza never shows. She is curious, guilty, strong willed, but vulnerable. She's well rounded. She was a great character and I really liked her ending and that though she was the one who was the most grounded in reality she ended up being the most otherworldly. And her revenge on the men who raped her mother was brilliant, however unconsciously done.
It was also cool getting to see Annie with Urdda because it made Annie fun. It made her a more interesting character.
It was really interesting to read a book where I legitimately had no idea where it was going. I would think it was getting close to the end and then would realize I had 100 pages left. I think I felt like each part of the story just took too long. A decent amount happened in 435 pages but I spent a lot of that time waiting for something else to happen. Waiting for these two intersecting worlds to crash together.
This one was just a struggle for me to get through. It had an interesting plot but it just felt too long. There was just too much somehow. I felt like it should have been shorter, more condensed. But other than that I didn't feel much of anything. It didn't excite me, I didn't despise it. It just was.
Overall, I give Tender Morsels a rating of: Epic.
Next I'm going to read the Superman: Earth One graphic novel. I've heard it's a good starting place.