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Mandafofanda Reads Lots

The world isn't just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no?

And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?
Doesn't that make life a story?

- Yann Martel, Life of Pi

The Tied Man

The Tied Man - Tabitha McGowan I wish I loved this book more than I ended up doing, because it turned out to be a lot more than I expected. With richly drawn characters, a slow-building friendship and a truly horrifying situation that didn't simply feel like a shock factor, there's a lot more to this book than its cover and blurb make it seem. Lilith and Finn are two of my favourite protagonists, with her confidence and fierceness, and his sense of humour and enduring will to survive. This book has every emotion tinged with heartbreak, because with every laugh or smile or awww-moment, there's that sadness from the situation these characters are in, and their utter helplessness to change anything.

So what do I wish was done better? First of all, the richly-drawn characters I mentioned above are strictly the "good guys", the ones you're rooting for. The "villains" of the story (Blaine, Coyle, all the other "guests") are simply drawn as EVIL. And McGowan doesn't hold back on the amount of horrific and sadistic characteristics to endow on these characters, but I wish that we could've seen a bit more complexity to them. Secondly, there were a few throwaway lines here and there throughout Finn and Lilith's narrations where they speak as though reflecting back from some time in the future. It wasn't something like every couple paragraphs or chapters or so. It was like three or four sentences in the entire book. And each time it felt odd and awkward since the rest of the time you feel strictly in the present. Finally, I feel that the ending was a bit too neat and happy to fit with the grittiness of the rest of the book. I'm not saying that they deserved their HEA, because, by god, they do, but I felt that a bittersweet or won-with-losses or just something to show the lasting consequences from what they went through would fit better with the overall tone of the book.