Becky Spratford's Reviews > Tinfoil Butterfly

Tinfoil Butterfly by Rachel Eve Moulton
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it was amazing

Three Words That Describe This Book: disturbing, character centered, beautiful writing about evil

This is the best horror debut I read all year, and I read a lot of horror first novels.

The setup is in the book description. And this book is brutal. The setting is brutal, the characters are extremely flawed and unreliable and the things that happen are also brutal. But the story, will break you, and yet also make you appreciate humanity.

It is a lyrically written look into evil but with Lovecraftian elements that somehow put a magnifying glass in front of evil and make you hope that there are plenty of good people out there.

The story focuses on Emma and it bounces back and forth between her story in the present and then a retelling of her past. The more we learn about Emma, the less we like her as a person, which made for an awesomely uneasy reading experience because I still sympathized with her in the moment and wanted to keep reading to see what would happen to her. You are rooting for her even though you are not sure if you should.

Earl is a transgender boy who Emma encounters, along with his step father and possibly his mother although not in her human form. Earl is a great character. Earl is the manifestation of the child Emma will never have [we learn this in the past timeline plot]. Earl has extraordinary insight and gifts, much more so than an average child. Earl was like Emma's spiritual guide.

Most of the "present" storyline takes place in the ghost town where Earl "lives." I am putting that in quotes because I have a theory about the characters in the town and the town itself but stating it would give a lot away. Let me say though that depending on how you interpret Emma's interactions, adventures, and the people she meets from when she leave Lowell on the side of the road until she ends up on the last page is up to you. I am on the supernatural, Lovecraftian-equse side of the argument, but others read it very literally, and those readers seem overwhelmed by the brutality and abuse.

I found it hard to read and yet beautiful at the same time. I know it is not for everyone, but I found it extraordinary.

Readalikes: Moulton writes like Paul Tremblay in that her story will break you, but you are glad you read it. They are intense and realistic. In fact, you can read both authors as writing 100% realistic psychological suspense thrillers OR you can find a supernatural explanation and both are correct. The reader has to decide.

The lyrical writing with some body horror aspects and the young woman narrator also reminded me of my favorite horror debut novel last year-- THE RUST MAIDENS by Kiste. More on that book here:

In that post I mentioned both Damien Angelica Walters and Kristi DeMeester who are also good readalikes here too.

I also think this novel shares a lot with FEVER DREAM by Samanta Schweblin. In fact, now that it popped in my head, I cannot stop comparing the 2. My review of FEVER DREAM:
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Reading Progress

October 10, 2019 – Started Reading
October 10, 2019 – Shelved
November 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

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