The Children of the Mist by Jenny Brigalow (ARC Review)

Release date: October 2013

Publisher: Escape Publishing

Number of pages: Unknown

My rating: 1/5

Please note that I did not finish this book. My review and rating are for the first 26% of this ONLY.

Note: this review contains a lot of swearing and anger. If you are the author, a friend of the author, or are sensitive to swearing, please proceed with caution.

This is the second worst book I have ever read in my entire life (after Save the Pearls). Not only do the characterisation, plot, and writing fail, this book also went on to make me upset. Really upset.

It has the most offensive line I have ever read.

But let’s start with the usual stuff, anyway.

The Children of the Mist is a bullshit book about a girl called Morven (no, that is not a typo) who is a vampire. She has a werewolf friend called Zest (again, not a typo), who is a werewolf.

Yeah, vampires and werewolves. We have we heard of that before?

I didn’t get far enough into the book to get to the real plot, but at 26% into it, one expects something interesting to happen.

But I digress.

The main character, Morven was horrible. She is a poorly portrayed skater girl. The author probably intended to make her a typical skater girl (slightly rebellious and tough), but she failed. Morven came off as irritating, judgemental, and stupid.

“With decisive strokes Morven struck out the second line of the formula… She picked up the blue canvas strap and headed for the door, her bag swishing behind her. As the door swung softly closed she could hear the hoots and catcalls that signified a successful mission.”

Yep. That is her badassery. She does an incorrect math equation on the board and then just walks out. What the hell? What is she even trying to achieve? Walking out because the teacher asked you a question does not mean that someone is badass or cool, it just makes you look like an annoying idiot.

“It wasn’t that she disliked either girl, just that they were so incredibly dull, wittering on about bands, boys and bras”

Great, yet another attempt to make a female character interesting and different.

She also mentions boobs around 6 times in the first 10% of the book.

“Skating was the real thing. She wouldn’t even swap it for a D-cup.”

“Drew attention away from her boobless state.”

“Her chest, which despite her advanced age of nearly sixteen remained stubbornly flat.”

Oh, god, we get it! No one gives a shit about your boobs, Morven.

Zest is the typical weird best friend. He skates and hangs out with Morven. Of course, he’s also in love with her.

“Zest ruthlessly crushed his lust down. Sadly, he’d had lots of practise.”

Bwahahaha!

Zest was pretty bland, and he seems to be one of the few people who know that Morven is a vampire.

Oh, and guess what? Morven and Zest have great hobbies, too:

“Usually they’d utilise their time playing chicken on the railway tracks.”

What the fuck do these people do with their lives? This is obviously another attempt to make both characters look bad-ass, but it just comes off as idiotic. There’s a fine line between taking risks and asking for a train to come by and kill you.

There’s also the typical “girly girls” that are hated upon.

“Waves of hostility wafted from their pores like toxic waste.”

Ew. Great simile there.

None of the characters felt real. Morven and Zest don’t feel like teenagers. Or children. Or adults. I don’t know; I can’t put my finger on it, but they both felt off.

I’m horrible at judging writing quality. I’m not really a great writer, so I can only pick out really good writing, and really bad writing.

Looking at the quotes above, you might be able to tell that the writing in this book falls into the latter.

The writing in this book is absolutely awful. Sometimes I have no idea what the characters are even saying. I’m sixteen and I don’t live under a rock; I should be able to understand this stuff!

“Maybe she could beg some cash from her mum for some new Connie’s; her present pair was cactus.”

You… what?

“She began to count how many steps each girl took before she jumped. It seemed a bad omen that all but one took uneven steps. Two totalled 13. Not good.”

What? What the hell is she even doing?

“The best number had to be even. Odd numbers were bad luck. The very best numbers were double evens, like 66. The number 30 could not even be considered because it had a three. However, it was a better result than a seven. Seven was bad mojo… sixteen. Good result.”

What the hell is this? This is fucking ridiculous.

You know what? As frustrating and awful as this book was, I really would have continued it. I would have slugged all the way to the end just to see what happened. There are two quotes I find incredibly offensive in this book.

“It didn’t help when Missy returned to remind Morven what a real girl should look like: toasted skin the colour of honey, a very creditable C-cup, and eyes the picture-postcard blue.”
You have got to be kidding me. I am none of those things. So, apparently I don’t look like a real girl. Let’s also look deeper into this quote. Skin the colour of honey and blue eyes are European traits. I’m Chinese, and I cannot have blue eyes. Does this mean that Asians and people with darker skin aren’t real girls?

You know what being a real girl is? Having a vagina. That’s all.

But it was the last quote that broke me. It made me so fucking angry. Even a day after reading it, I’m getting really, really angry just writing this. This quote made me put this book down. It made me decide never to read anything by the same author ever again.

Brace yourself…

“Was there something wrong with her? Did she have some sort of rare disease or, worse, some syndrome that they’d not told her? Was she going to grow a penis or turn into a dribbling idiot? Were her genetic parents locked up in a lunatic asylum?”

“dribbling idiot?”
FUCKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!! (sorry, I really couldn’t hold it back any longer)

That is the most offensive line I have ever read (including everything in Save the Pearls). This broke me. Mental illnesses are something that is very important to me. I feel that the mentally ill are surrounded by inaccurate negative stereotypes (and this was no exception!).
Well, time for me to get super serious and sciency.

Presuming that she means a mental syndrome (mental syndromes and other syndromes are very different, and by the phrase “dribbling idiot”, we can assume that the author is talking about mental syndromes), that is so incredibly offensive. Just because someone has a syndrome does not mean that they are an idiot.

In fact, some people with Asperger’s syndrome are incredibly smart. In fact, I’m sure that a sufferer of Asperger’s syndrome would be livid if they ever read this.
People with mental syndromes are far from dribbling idiots. Every single person suffering from a mental syndrome is far more than a dribbling idiot. People struggle with these types of things. Calling them “dribbling idiots” is plain cruel.

The fact that she used the term “syndrome” instead of “mental syndrome” is silly. I have all the symptoms of Hypermobility syndrome (being abnormally flexible) and Precordial Catch syndrome (non-fatal sudden chest pain near the heart) (I likely suffer from both, but they’re not actually diagnosed). So, the author is technically calling me a “dribbling idiot”. What? Having a syndrome to do with connective tissues and chest pain isn’t even close to being a “dribbling idiot”. If she was going to be completely offensive, she could have at least used a proper term.

Every single person suffering from a mental syndrome is more than a “dribbling idiot”. Those people can go on to live exceptional lives. They have personalities and hobbies.

It’s also just plain disappointing that these lines weren’t edited out. A good editor should be able to spot stuff like this.
I’m never reading anything by this author ever again. This is just plain unacceptable.

I have one final thing to say about this book:

Fuck this shit.

An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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