Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Mud Vein
Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
April 5, 2014
287 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller
(Contains: non-explicit rape & sexual reference, some strong language)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
When 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:

If there was one thing I knew to expect going into Mud Vein, it was to expect the unexpected. Truthfully, I didn't even read the summary before starting Mud Vein. I had no idea what it was about, and went in completely blind. Being familiar with Tarryn's Love Me With Lies series, I knew not to expect some romantic fluff piece, and knew Tarryn would push emotional boundaries and buttons, which she did.

*Outside of naming one other character, I tried to avoid major spoilers*

I have mixed feeling about Mud Vein. It was an engaging story certainly. Tarryn Fisher is a compelling writer, who writes complex characters and plots well to achieve the maximum emotional effect on her readers. I found myself constantly trying to figure out who did it and why. This is definitely a psychological mind-bender, as well as a mysterious thriller, and I found myself trying to figure out what the heck was going on and why much of the time. At the same time, I was trying to figure out what made Senna tick, and why she acted (or didn't act) the way she did with others. So my interest was kept to a certain degree, though there were slow parts.

However, I really struggled with Senna. Her lack of any effort whatsoever with Isaac was seriously annoying after a while. And her basic rebellion against dialogue and human conversation, and refusal to see herself, was rough. Even the catatonic fog she would go into on-and-off hampered the plot's progression. Her character was such an extreme, not including what trauma she went through, just simply her narcissistic, selfish, hermit, and even hurtful and unrepentant ways were difficult to take. I kept waiting for her to have some redemptive quality, and I could see what the author was trying to do, and I can understand why others have loved it, but even by the end I didn't care much for Senna. I felt bad for some of the circumstances that were forced on her, but she made many choices on her own.

I did like Isaac though. I really liked him. But there was so much more I would have loved to know about him, but once again was stifled by Senna. One spoilery thing kept Isaac from being ideal. So Isaac is not perfect. But he was a strong character and essential to maintaining interest in the story.

I must say I felt like I was reading about the ghosts of Olivia and Caleb at times. Although, I liked Senna even less than Olivia, which is hard to do. At least Olivia participated in life, said more than a few words. I did like Isaac, but even he disappointed me eventually. Senna and Isaac's relationship, if you can call it that, was odd. I actually enjoyed the build-up of it initially, but it gradually wore on me (actually, Senna wore on me). Similarities between these two couples can be drawn, but there are enough differences to see them as their own characters.

The reasoning behind the kidnapping was a big stretch for me. It fits into the plot of drawing out certain qualities in our characters, but I just couldn't believe this much effort would have been made. It just felt too far-fetched. There were certain other holes and things going on with the kidnapping that took away from the story for me. Overall, however, the mystery was strong.

Mud Vein is an engaging, psychological thriller (not a romance). While it is not my favorite read of Tarryn Fisher's (I loved her Love Me With Lies series), I still admire her writing abilities, and look forward to whatever novel/torture device she puts out next.


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