This review is spoiler free.
“I see their faces.
All the mountain girls.
The ones that died.”
Published: 2019, by Hot Key Books.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Witches, Fiction, LGBT
Contains: Death, Murder, Violence, Blood/Gore, Sexual Content, Strong Language, Animal Cruelty, Abuse
‘Perfectly Preventable Deaths’ tells the story of fifteen-year-old twins, Madeline and Catlin, who move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town where for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains. As distance grows between the twins, Catlin falls into grave danger, and its up to Madeline to save her.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, having set it aside until the final moment this month when all my other priority reads have been done. The cover itself is so creative and gorgeous, and I was fearing disappoint. Nevertheless, I persevered through it, and was left feeling a little underwhelmed.
Madeline is so used to being in her sister’s shadow, always being second-best to her, but throughout this novel we begin to see her character flourish. Madeline is the only thing that held this novel together for me, adoring her character. At first, she’s the timid and shy one of the pair, always following after her sister, yet when she begins to discover herself, all of that changes.
Her sister, Catlin, however, was her opposite. I despised this character, finding her incredibly toxic and damaging from beginning to end. There is no development of her personality, hardly paying for her actions or learning anything from her mistakes. Her character scared me, and made for an incredibly difficult read.
The novel itself was a complex read, Sullivan’s use of language and structure quite difficult to understand at times. It was overly complex, quite unnecessary at times and I found it too confusing to gather information from the writing style. Everything felt too vague, there was hardly any explanation and the lyrical language just didn’t work for me. There were quite difficult themes involved in this novel, such as; abuse and animal cruelty, both of which was unexpected and without warning, making an already challenging read even more damaging. There was very little enjoyment to be had whilst reading.
Overall, I deeply wanted to like this book. The cover and title are beautiful, but reality was very far from the truth. Although, the protagonist was understanding and interesting, it was simply too challenging to enjoy.