Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Posted by Cobalt | Posted in , , | Posted on 9:42 AM

Rating: Four zombie bunnies and a ninja midget

So this book was full of crazy. Just, crazy everywhere. Not only do we have a protagonist who hears voices and hallucinates (all well and good), but she runs away to track down her mother who is arguably crazier than her and lives in a town that makes said Nutty Protagonist look plain-vanilla sane.

Did I mention the talking swan dolls and monsters in the windows and ghosts in the classrooms and the copious amounts of blood?

It makes for an interesting setup, since you're not quite sure how much of Hanna's experiences are a result of her own lack-of-pills reaction or the actual wackiness of Potero, Texas. But hey, why fight over the origins? There is plenty of crazy to go around. And as long as you go with it, you'll probably be fine. Or eaten. Whichever.

Hanna herself is a troubling character -- bipolar schizophrenic really doesn't begin to describe her. She has this terrifying capacity for both intense empathy and total disconnection that means you'll be feeling kind of sorry for her and then she'll go and bash someone's head in. Which leaves you as reader pretty conflicted most of the time, unless you decide to just go with it (see above).

But Hanna is nothing compared to her mother. Rosalee has this mythic status as Queen Badass in the Ultimate Town of Crazy, and she is not pleased to see her daughter. Hanna is determined to make her mother love her (also some disturbing implications here) and as Rosalee is completely lacking in a maternal instinct, has little self-control and possibly no conscience, this quickly gets messy.

And then Hanna goes to school.

There are monsters at school. And ghosts, and other weird stuff, and pretty much everyone is betting on Hanna getting mauled/devoured in the first week. This is high school angst with rabies, and you end up pretty grateful to have a crazy protagonist since anybody else would be lunch by now. But Hanna has wiles and guts and quickly settles on the speediest way to assimilate: snag the most popular boy in school, Wyatt. Who may actually be a bit of a monster himself.

This gets messy, too.

What I loved most about this book was actually the manic mixture of cultures; Hanna is biracial, speaks Finnish, cooks blood pancakes, and has absolutely no inhibitions about failing to fit in. Wyatt, lovely demon-hunter boy, takes this in stride and approaches Hanna on her own baffling terms, which is part of what makes their relationship interesting.

I was not particularly fond of the gore (there is gore galore), but the overall twisty, squishy fun (?) of this book made it worth a few showers of entrails. Not recommended for the queasy and not a tranquil read, but for those who'd like a bath of crazy: jump in!

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