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tslombWhat: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

Who: HarperCollins Publishers Australia

When: June 22nd 2015

How: A copy of this novel was provided by Harper Collins Australia for review.

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, and her ability to trust.

And when Minnow rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now the Kevinian Prophet has been murdered and the camp set aflame and it’s clear Minnow knows something. But she’s not talking. As she adjusts to a life behind bars in juvenile detention, Minnow struggles to make sense of all she has been taught to believe, particularly as she dwells on the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of; if she is willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

Powerful and compelling. this remarkable and brave debut novel reveals the terrible dangers of blind faith. And the importance of having faith in yourself.

3cats2I didn’t love it. There, I said. There, you know. I didn’t love The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly. Why? Three reasons.

The first is that Minnow was extremely hard to connect to. And connection doesn’t always mean knowing the feelings of what a person has been through, or what their life has involved. I didn’t need to have been in a horrible cult and had my hands cut off to feel a connection to Minnow. But even so, I didn’t.

She was so very … disconnected. She recited her story, and what was happening to her in a very stilted kind of way, that elicited little no emotion from me. Which is kind of a big feat because I am an emotional reader. And the fact that I really didn’t feel anything for Minnow left me more than a little disappointed.

The second is her attitude change. It was extremely unpredicted and seemed to come out of nowhere. Specifically, I am talking about her attitude towards her boy, Jude. In the beginning of the novel, she talks about the pain of losing him, and how much she loves him. I mean, she wears a tattered shirt for days (or even perhaps weeks) without taking it off because it belonged to him.

And then suddenly she’s indifferent towards him, and I did not see any discernible reason as to why. Feelings don’t just randomly change, so I would have liked to have some more explanation or exploration of why Minnow’s feelings towards Jude changed so suddenly and drastically.

The third and final reason is the ending. God, how I despise open endings, and this was about as open as they come. I felt a little gypped, if I am completely honest. I had read several hundred pages of this girl’s journey, only to have no idea how it turned out after all.

Okay scrap the numbered reasons, because there are more than three things that annoyed me.

Another was the fact that when Minnow was introduced to her cellmate, the guard was pretty much: she’s a bitch and she hates everyone. And then suddenly Minnow and Angel (the cellmate) are best friends, and Angel is protective of Minnow, and does super nice things for her. I was side eyeing the shit outta that relationship the entire time I read the book.

Minnow was raised amongst hellish violence. I mean she had her hands cut off for crying out loud. And then the minute she escapes from the cult – which is presumably because she doesn’t want that life – she nearly kills a boy by bashing him to the point of death. Uhm. Okay. So you’re against the violence, and it has scarred you both physically and emotionally, and the first thing – literally the FIRST THING – you do is nearly kill a boy because he looks like the lies your prophet told you? What the actual hell? That makes no sense whatsoever.

I did like, however, the fact that I have never seen a story like this before. The author’s writing style was also really easy to engage with, and read for a long time without needing a break. I thought that the gory parts were written exceptionally well, and I was even cringing at some of the descriptions.

I can definitely understand why a lot for people have loved this book, but I just couldn’t fall for it in the same way.

(Also, why the hell are there hands on the cover? If that is supposed to be the prophet’s book … Minnow never held it when she had hands, so this cover makes no sense at all.)

© 2014, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

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Posted on: June 27, 2015 • By: Chiara

10 Responses to Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes

  1. AWWW it’s a shame you didn’t like this one :( I didn’t even notice any of those problems because i was enjoying myself so much! I always thought the cover kind of showed that while Minnow has her hands she’s kind of bound to her life, but having them cut off was the start of her freedom? I’m not sure where I was going with that…

    • Chiara says:

      Haha, that’s what most people are saying about the problems I had with it XD

      Hmm… I do like what you said about the cover! I’d love to ask the designer what they were thinking, to be honest!

  2. Kyla F. says:

    Ohhh man, too bad you didn’t like this. Hope you find a better read! :)

  3. Ok, yeah, the cover doesn’t make a lot of sense…but it’s just SO VERY PRETTY!!
    And I’m so sad you didn’t love it, though. This is one of my favourite books.

    • Chiara says:

      I love it heaps, but the sense of it is beyond me XD

      Awh, no! I did really like it, but just didn’t fall for it like others did, unfortunately!

  4. I can understand all the reasons you didn’t love Minnow Bly. Those were things I thought about a bit at times as well, but I was too absorbed in other aspects of the story to think about it too long which may be why I enjoyed it more overall.

    Hope you enjoyed your next read(s) a little more :)

    • Chiara says:

      I’m glad you liked it more than I did! I was super absorbed when I was reading it, but after I had some time to think about it, I didn’t really love it as much as I thought I had, haha.

      I haven’t been having GREAT reads lately, which makes me sad :(

  5. Ah, I have been hanging out for your review on this book Chiara so I can see where you’re coming from. I think the beauty behind the book and the disconnection of the reader to the character is intentional. She’s an unreliable narrator because of her past trauma, which is understandable. She felt wary of Angel the whole time, but obviously Angel stuck up for her a few times and gained her trust. The cover, I think it’s because it’s called “The Sacred Lies”. Another nod to the unreliable narrator and the lies.

    • Chiara says:

      I don’t mind if it was intentional, but it really didn’t make me warm to the book, sadly. :/

      And I like your interpretation of the cover! It makes sense that way.

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