Emma's Reviews > Winterkill

Winterkill by Kate A. Boorman
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really liked it
bookshelves: ya

This book has already drawn instant comparisons with M Night Shyamalan's highly-disparaged film The Village. However, I am one of those nuts who absolutely ADORES The Village despite critical consensus, so that was nothing but a selling point for me, and you know what? Winterkill absolutely lived up to the creepy beautiful gothic vibe that was the main thing I adored about The Village. But that alone wouldn't make it a good book, and this was a REALLY GOOD BOOK. It was scary and tense. It was original. It was wonderfully plotted and paced. It was really well-written. It was emotionally and moral complex. The characters were great, and so was the depiction of the setting--I live on the prairies, like the author, and she turned it into this vivid, unforgiving, beautiful-rendered landscape that was really arresting and compelling.

That said, I was all set to take issue with Boorman's treatment of the pioneer context. This where I'm coming from: Patricia C Wrede. Who came under a lot of fire for what she did with her Thirteenth Child series, an alternative history of the American West with magic and megafauna but no Native Americans, as they had all been wiped out by the aforementioned megafauna. From what I understand, she didn't want to write indigenous people as villains or simply an obstacle for the colonisers, as they're so often treated in western fiction, and that's totally understandable... but instead, she erased them completely. While Winterkill certainly did not go to such extremes--the pioneer settlement in which the novel is set is composed of mixed English, French, and Métis populations who have moved to this new frontier from the already-settled east, but there are no First Peoples left on the land, having presumably been slaughtered by the malmaci, who are the boogeyman of Winterkill--I couldn't help but worry that this book was pulling a Thirteenth Child all over again. The First Peoples were allowed with some narrative presence, but only as ghosts, as the Lost People, who haunt the heroine's dreams and leave behind artifacts and art, but are given no stake in the story. For about the first three-quarters of the book, I was really fretting over this! But then--

WELL. I'm not going to talk about it in any detail, but... suffice it to say that Boorman not only laid those fears to rest, but also turned the issue into something much more complicated and interesting. I'm very excited to see where the rest of the series goes, and I'm VERY excited to keep an eye on my new favourite Canadian author.
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Reading Progress

July 29, 2014 – Shelved
July 29, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
August 3, 2014 – Shelved as: ya
August 3, 2014 – Finished Reading

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Aprildawnxoxo I to also really liked the village ;)
Just to imagining living your life like that & actually believing it to be true. Very crazy.

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