July 17, 2020

#BookReview: Mayhem by Estelle Laure






Synopsis: A YA feminist mash up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.

It's 1987 and unfortunately it's not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy's constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem's own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren't like everyone else. But when May's stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem's questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.

From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.

This title will be released on July 14, 2020. 

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Rating: ★★★
My Review: Mayhem has a lot going for it. Magic, Vampires, and some very strong female characters that deal with a lot of dark themes.  I will say that I struggled to get through the first part of this story. It was very slow and at times I felt confused.  It felt like the story was really a journal entry before it really got going and that made me feel like the entire thing was out of place and well kind of weird.   


I have to say that this was closer to The Lost Boys vs. The Craft. I think that the only real similarities to The Craft was the fact that it had magic and women. Other than that it was almost a copy of The Lost Boys in parts.  

I think the author did a wonderful job with covering the darker themes of this story.  And I think readers who like darker themes will enjoy this one.  I do wished that the magical use would have been explained more. And that it wouldn't have been so close to The Lost Boys. It was far too similar in spots and I think that really took away from what I was looking for in a retelling.  

Overall, I think readers who like horror, dark themes, and powerful women will enjoy this one. 


Go into this one knowing: Rape, Domestic Abuse, Suicide


Review

“A vivid tale that deftly explores pain and empowerment. A compelling, unrelenting work of magical realism that will enthrall fans of nuanced feminist revenge fantasies.” – School Library Journal

"Laure has crafted the genre-busting, 80s romp-of-a-read we need right now. A sweeping generational story, Mayhem comes with all the trappings I’ve come to expect from Laure’s writing―flawed characters, gorgeous prose, rich settings―only this time, infused with a dose of gothic fairytale. Mayhem is full of magic."- David Arnold, New York Times bestselling author of The Strange Fascination of Noah Hypnotik and Mosquitoland

"With Mayhem, Estelle Laure offers a beguiling, lyrical, beach-gothic page-turner. I loved every twist and turn of this story about the darkness that lurks beneath paradise. Mayhem is her best book yet." - Jeff Zentner, acclaimed author of The Serpent King and Goodbye Days

About the Author

ESTELLE LAURE, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.









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