The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan

How did I get the book?
Magic Box Book

Genre: Fantasy

Synopsis: On remote Rollrock Island, men go to sea to make their livings–and to catch their wives.

The witch Misskaella knows the way of drawing a girl from the heart of a seal, of luring the beauty out of the beast. And for a price a man may buy himself a lovely sea-wife. He may have and hold and keep her. And he will tell himself that he is her master. But from his first look into those wide, questioning, liquid eyes, he will be just as transformed as she. He will be equally ensnared. And the witch will have her true payment.

200words (or less) review: The Brides of Rollrock Island is one of those stories that needs to be read more than once to really appreciate it. With the exception of one character each chapter is narrated by someone new and the book follows three generations.

Margo Lanagan writing is stunning, it’s very visual and atmospheric. Picturing Rollrock Island or the individual narrators throughout this tale is easy, yet The Brides of Rollrock Island is not a quick read. Because of the in-depth storytelling and all those intricate details that are woven together you have to focus on each chapter closely.

As well as the writing the story of Rollrock Island challenges you. The sea-wives Misskaella brings forth for the men of Rollrock are beautiful, docile and everything they could desire. Yet if their seal-skin isn’t hidden they will return to the sea. Just as there are different characters narrating throughout so there are countless ways of looking at this story. Endless layers for the reader to explore, think about and most likely never to decide on.

The Brides of Rollrock Island is a very complex and deeply fascinating fantasy story that will stay with you long after the last page is read.

Recommend it?

Absolutely

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