Review: Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Stardust cares not for the agony of demons.

When I first read the synopsis for Sawkill Girls I was under the impression that it would be of the There’s Something Dangerous About the Boredom of Teenage Girls variety, now this was definitely me reading my own interests into it, and quickly after starting it I found that it was actually a horror novel. I have never been the biggest fan of horror novels, but I am a fool for anything with lesbians it in as well as dysfunctional relationships between teenage girls.

It’s hard for me to summarize the novel without spoiling it so here is the official synopsis from Goodreads:

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

As someone who never reads or likes horror novels, I did find this one absolutely amazing. Something about the way the story was written and the way the characters interacted with each other really did it for me.

It is even hard for me to sit here and comfortably day that it is a horror novel, as it still doesn’t seem completely like on to me. The novel is a story about girls, magnificent girls, who love and hate each other.

The lore surrounding the monster in the novel also intrigued me immensely, I loved the idea of a monster that preyed on girls, it’s hostess found for it. I can’t talk much about the lore without spoiling it, but just know that it’s very well crafted, and you can really feel all the magic in every single page.

Theirs was not a world that was often kind to women. And if Deirdre had decided to sell her soul for a bit of comfort, an illusion of safety, power she had long been denied?

I will always really love female characters who seem to be cruel and overall horrible on the outside, but who are actually using this as a defence mechanism for all the trauma they’ve gone through. Therefore it’ll be easy for anyone who has held one conversation with me to know that Val was my favourite of the girls.

That is no to say that I disliked the others, i didn’t. I really loved all three girls and I found myself caring for all of them by the end of the novel. The characters in the story seems to be written in a way where you feel for each and every one of them. Even the minor characters we hardly know, you feel yourself feeling bad for and you’re unsure why but you just do. And that to me signals amazing craftmanship when it comes to writing characters.

The added level of having main lgbt characters really added a lot to the story for me. The characters’ sexuality was not their main concerns, and this is not a coming out story, but yet the conflicts they had with their sexualities were showcased in a way that I, a lesbian, felt represented.

You are a small girl.

And you are a small girl.

And you are a small girl.

You are mighty.

You are one, and one, and one.

You are fragile.

You can move mountains.

You are breakable.

You will never break.

Overall I found this book great. I loved the characters, I loved the plot, and I loved the atmosphere. It is not what i often think about when i think about horror novels, but it still managed to be one.



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