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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M. Yardley review

Official Author Website
Read Fantasy Book Critic's review of Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu 

Order Pretty Little Dead Girls over HERE (USA) & HERE (UK)

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFORMATION: Mercedes M. Yardley is a whimsical dark fantasist who wears stilettos, red lipstick, and poisonous flowers in her hair. She recently won the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red. Mercedes lives and creates in Las Vegas with her family and menagerie of battle-scarred, rescued animal familiars.

FORMAT/INFO: Pretty Little Dead Girls is 260 pages long. The book was originally published in 2016 by Crystal Lake Publishing. Cover design by Galen Dara.

OVERVIEW: I loved this book so don’t expect me to be objective. I want everyone to read it. Pretty Little Dead Girls is gutting and dark, but there are lightness and beauty to it, especially in the prose.

“Bryony Adams was the type of girl who got murdered. This was always so, and it was apparent from the way that men looked at her as she adjusted her knee socks to the way that women shook their heads in pity when she rode by on her bicycle.” 

Everyone who knows Bryony knows, the moment they meet her, she’ll end up murdered. Doomed at birth, she remains bright, loving, and friendly. She lightens the lives of people around her, making them better, even if for a while. She comforts those who mourn, in advance, her unavoidable death. Her natural charm and openness allow her to make friends with everyone, including a charming serial-killer destined to fulfill her dark destiny.

I loved observing Bryony navigate her doomed life. We’re all born to die, but it doesn’t mean we should wring our hands and despair. There’s so much to experience and enjoy. Despite living on a borrowed time, Bryony makes every moment worthwhile.

Yardley’s captivating writing style conveys emotions (love, happiness, fear and pain) with ease and impact. Her lyrical style awed me. I don’t know another author able to create such a dark and disturbing atmosphere in such a charming style. Like in this passage where the killer runs after his victim:

"He was sprinting, because he did not need to make it to the edge of town: he only needed to make it to the girl. His feet hit the ground like pistons, cold and mechanical, and he held the knife tightly in his grip, blade down. Oh, oh, how tragically this shall unfold."

Her style resonates with me. I praise her not only for imaginative wordsmithing but also for excellence in handling a third-person omniscient narrative voice. Not only is the narrator omniscient, but they also break the fourth wall throughout and… it works! The narrator engages readers, questions their assumptions, and plays with their emotions. And it works every single time. Incredible. And gut-wrenching.

A killer is just a tool of sinister fate and personified Desert for which Bryony's demise is the only acceptable outcome. Whenever her friends rescue her or interfere with her fate, the desert gets angry. But nor for long, because

"The desert had a trick up its sleeve, oh yes it did. For it may be thwarted at the moment, but it will not be thwarted for long, and even now there was a rumbling deep underground that made the desert cease feeling sorry for itself. In fact, it began to smile, a harsh smile, a terrible smile, and anybody who witnessed it certainly would have been frozen in horror, pierced by the chill one feels when they drop something fragile, something that was given to them by somebody very dear who is now dead, and now they have nothing with which to remember them, and shall never be able to recall their features exactly ever again."

Yardley described Pretty Little Dead Girls as a novel of murder and whimsy, a perfect description. It's a horror that doesn't revel in gore. It's a romance that twists the genre. It doesn't shy away from brutal truths of our existence but even when it tugs at your heartstrings it leaves you with a sense of wonder.  Despite darker elements, it left me with a sense of hope and wonder at the end. This book gets a well-deserved place on my all-time favorites list.


Shaban said...

I cant help but be both intrigued and amused by the authors description. Poisonous flowers on her hair, does not get edgier than that.

Mercedes said...

This review makes my heart sing. Thank you so much for taking the time!


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