TPG’s Tasters: The Night Butterflies, by Sara Litchfield
Remember this feature? No? Didn’t think so 😛
Aaaaanyway…today’s taster comes thanks to a certain Sara Letourneau, who recently reviewed The Night Butterflies over on her blog. I liked the sound of the book a lot from Sara’s review, and decided immediately to check it out – which I guess just goes to show how useful reviews can be.
As ever, my impression of the book began with the cover…
Does that just scream “self-published” to you? No? Didn’t think so. But the thing is, this is self-published – and the fact that it’s not readily apparent is a very good sign as far as I’m concerned. This is a really striking, professional-looking cover, and I really want to see what’s contained within.
And speaking of which…
It is always dark. Warmer than it should be. The sun is a dull glower of reproach, only sometimes visible through the fallout. A once-majestic university town is crumbled, ashen and divided. The Men have made their home the Facility, where they develop the medication to combat the radiation that would otherwise kill those left alive.
Another day at school for Teacher. Another morning of bullying and torment from a batch of doll-like triplets more violent and unbalanced by the day. They are the nightmare product of Project Eden, the operation devised by Leader for the survival of the community, seeded in the Mothers without their consent.
Teacher has hope. She has a secret. When it is uncovered by Jimmy-1, a triplet who might be different, what will it mean for his future and hers?
Not just another dystopian novel. New author Sara Litchfield explores what it means to be a child, a mother, and a monster in a chilling world devoid of comfort.
Well, that’s a depressing setup, ain’t it?
I should probably say at this point that I know next to nothing about dystopian fiction. But with that being said: this really does sound different from anything I’ve read before. Just what is Teacher’s secret, I’m wondering? And how will she get by in such a bleak setting? Will Project Eden be brought down by her secret? Will it not? How will it all go?
So…yeah. Even without reading a word of the story, I’m on board with this. Which brings me to…
The first few pages
At this point, I’d more-or-less decided that I would be buying this; as such, I checked the free sample more out of interest than anything else. Immediately, I was greeted by the following:
I remember when they burned the babies. I remember it when I least want to – when I close my eyes at night and open them again at dawn. I smell the acrid smoke. I hear their Mothers’ screams. The memory is etched in my mind as harshly as the mushroom on the television screen in my bunker the day the world died.
Did I mention that this book sounded depressing? I take that back. It sounds REALLY depressing.
But seriously: what an opening! As I read this, I felt myself being pulled right the way into the story. I wanted to keep reading then. I wanted to find out more.
More, in this case, turned out to be one of Teacher’s lessons, in which she is continuously abused by the children in her “class”. Said children, it soon turns out, are less than ordinary:
A book zipped towards me from the side of the classroom…Ten more books struck me down the length of my body. My eyes watered. The children had thrown them widely. All those books shouldn’t have hit their mark that hard.
Finally, Teacher is forced to call for backup and watches the children be escorted out…
Jimmy-1 raised his hand as they filed out the door.
“Just go home,” I said. “Just go home and do something to make you feel.”
At this point, I’d seen enough. Absolutely everything in the first four pages is brilliant – depressing as heck, yes, but brilliant. The description is solid, the main character is sympathetic and interesting, the tone of the story feels fresh…there really doesn’t seem to be anything not to like about this. Unless you prefer stories to start happy, of course, but hey.
Did I buy it?
Yep. I most certainly did.
Got any books you’d like to see featured here? Feel free to contact me, either by email or using the comments down below.
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