Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

My Thoughts

One of the best books I’ve ever read.
Powerful. Introspective. Suspenseful. Gripping. Heartbreaking.
An emotional powerhouse perfectly crafted and brilliantly written.

6stars

Synopsis

MudVein coverWhen reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken.

If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.

 

 

My Review

“It’s your darkness that pulls me in. Your mud vein. But sometimes having a mud vein will kill you.”

I experienced this book, alone, in a quiet house on a rainy day, which I felt was ominously appropriate. A dark, cold day listening to the melodic spattering of rain as the words from this story battered my thoughts more forcefully. Gripped me. I was immediately taken. Held captive myself, by the raw power of this book. The trickling of information, clues, truths, secrets, all half-exposed, half-shrouded as the story unfurled. It’s difficult to convey what this story is about, but I think the best, most succinct word I can use is truth.

This is a story about truth.

The truth we seek to uncover. The truth beneath the pain. The truth we bury deep inside and are too blind to see. And finally, the truth we find … often times, too late.

“This is a game, and if I want to get out, I have to find the truth.”

Senna awakes to a real-life nightmare.  She finds herself imprisoned without chains, but locked up in a cabin encased by snow, trapped with a person from her past who ignites old feelings she meant to keep dormant.  Unclear clues taunt all around them. The game is ingeniously staged for them to figure out. There are many facets to this story, ribbons of the plot untwining gradually, and during this part of the book, I found myself caught up in the suspense of their situation. I found myself observing and deliberating, elements twisting and clicking into place. Waiting. Watching for the nuances of their environment, clues hidden in the subtext of words and hiding in plain sight.

“Who will live and who will die? It’s the worst form of torture a person can imagine — the wait to die.”

But the more I worked to decipher the mystery, the more I found myself intrigued by the enigma that is Senna.  I was lost in her, unraveling her complexities to better understand her essence. She defies normal, reveling in the anti-current of society. She’s a writer. An artist. She takes in the world through a different lens. She’s also one of the most tragic characters of which I’ve read. Pain has defined her. Abandonment has shaped her. She destroys before she can be destroyed. But the more I tried to untangle, the more I wondered whether perhaps I was trying to uncover something that already laid bare. To me, she was both exceedingly vulnerable and entirely shielded. She’s worked so hard to smother the sum of her painful experiences that she lives behind the haze of a thin veil, obscuring her emotions.  There’s only been one person who’s been able to lift the fog and see right through her.

“She can’t see the landscape anymore. It’s all painted in her grief.”

(Florence and The Machine, Landscape)

Dr. Isaac Asterholder. This is the man she finds in the cabin … the man from her past … the man she pushed away. He met Senna in a moment of chaos and vulnerability, in the raging aftermath of pain. He forced his way into her life, helping her in a way no one had before.

“Isaac was a stranger and he had seen more of my wounds than anyone else. Not because I chose him… He was just always there. That’s what scared me.”

We are transported back to a time where we can better understand Senna and Isaac and the charged dynamic between them. Isaac pushed through all the walls that Senna erected, but he never pushed too far, just far enough to make progress. He was her lifeline at a time her life seemed to permanently dim. Senna’s way of dealing with life was seeing what happened as an indisputable fact. Something she just had to deal with. She was broken. Disfigured by fate and circumstance. She didn’t relent to the pain, but she saw herself as permanently scarred. Isaac was selfless, fixated on healing those broken parts of her he could, bringing color, feeling and intensity to a life painted white, stark and cold. A person from Senna’s past said that she was a “daughter of winter” and I think if she personified winter, then Isaac was someone who thrived in the cold uncertainty of the season. He was a fixer who understood more about her wounds and her silence than anyone else. He carried her pain as his own.

“He kissed me with color, with drumbeat, and a surgeon’s precision. He kissed me with who he was, the sum of his life — and it was all encompassing. I wondered what I kissed him with since I was only broken parts.”

Nevertheless, peering into their past didn’t change reality. They were now two people with lives that had long diverged, suddenly so tangled again by a situation they never expected. Trying to survive a looming danger, an anonymous culprit, the pangs of hunger and the insanity of time, was enough to break open the floodgates, bringing a deluge of emotions that Senna had worked so hard to suppress.

“Being stuck on love was a real bitch to cure. Like cancer, I think. Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back.”

What happens in the cabin and the events that lead up to it are for you to experience. These characters are just brilliantly written, each on their own journey to find their truth. As a writer, Senna needed “simplicity to create complexity,” but I think that she was so lost in her own complexity that she couldn’t see the simple truth in front of her.  She was paralyzed by fear – of so many things – but also to feel so much and have it all be brutally taken away. Because Isaac was all feeling. He flooded her senses. And Senna was afraid to feel. Feeling meant being tethered to someone, beholden to something she couldn’t control.

“There is a string that connects us that is not visible to the eye… Maybe every person has more than one soul they are connected to, and all over the world there are these invisible strings…. Maybe the chances that you’ll find each and every one of your soulmates is slim. But sometimes you’re lucky enough to stumble across one. And you feel a tug. And it’s not so much a choice to love them through their flaws and through your differences, but rather you love them without even trying. You love their flaws.”

This is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Absolutely and undeniably brilliantly written. The syntax. The word choices. The layers and sub-layers of meaning make it impossible to not get mesmerized by the story.  To me, it felt like a multisensory experience. As if I were walking into a literary butterfly den, not knowing whether to get lost in the beauty of the colorful patterns, or entranced by the soft sounds fluttering in the distance, or be flooded by the smell of the environment around you. I felt my way through this book. I was captivated by all the elements coming together so perfectly. Powerfully. It honestly just blew me away. Is this a romance? No. It’s a novel that defies genre. It’s fiction, suspense, romance, mystery all woven together to create an unforgettable story about discovering the darkest, muddiest, well-buried truths within ourselves… the kind of truth that fills a life with meaning and ultimately sets you free.

“You’ve been silent your whole life. You were silent when we met, silent when you suffered. Silent when life kept hitting you… I tried to move you. It didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean you didn’t move me. I heard everything you didn’t say. I heard it so loudly that I couldn’t shut if off. Your silence, Senna, I hear it so loudly.”

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About Tarryn
Tarryn Fisher Author PicI am a real life villain, truly. I drink sick amounts of Starbucks. Most of the time my hair smells like coffee. I was born in South Africa, and lived there for most of my childhood. I moved to Seattle just for the rain. Rome is my favorite place in the world so far, Paris comes in at a close second. I read and write more than I sleep. When I was eleven, I wrote an entire novel about runaway orphans, using only purple ink. I am addicted to Florence and the Machine and will travel to see concerts. I love scary movies and giraffes. I spend way too much time on Facebook. Meet you there?…
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Comments

  1. mlynpeters says:

    Is this a stand alone or will there be a followup book??

  2. I can’t flippin wait to read this!!! Tarryn Fisher is pure genius!

    Great Review!

  3. VILMA!! This review is beautiful!! <3

  4. Cezanne says:

    I can not wait to read this! Great review Vilma.

  5. I just finished this today & what a great review! Perfectly stated.

  6. Love this review and could not agree more! I finished last night and have the biggest book hangover of my life. Not sure I will ever recover.

    Also love your use of quotes — so good and perfect!

  7. Wow that was a wonderful review! I just finished reading Mud Vein and my emotions and thoughts about it were all over the place. This review really helped me consolidate what I was feeling. As Eva wrote above, your use of quotes are perfect!!!!

    • rfehostadmin says:

      Thank you Sinny!!! I felt the same way. I couldn’t stop thinking about the book for the longest time after!

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