Lotus and Thorn

Sara Wilson Etienne. Putnam, $17.99 (464p) ISBN 978-0-399-25669-1
In the savage desert of the planet Gabriel, society is divided between plague-ridden scavengers dying in droves and their Curador overlords, a select few living inside a hermetically sealed dome. Leica, an exiled orphan whose six-fingered mutation means she is considered to be “corrupted” by sin, stumbles upon the remains of a shuttle that could mean a way back to Earth. After plague kills her work crew, she seeks refuge in the Curadors’ dome, but in order to gain entry she is forced to become a concubine to a mysterious young Curador, Edison. In a twisted exploration of atonement and survival, Etienne (Harbinger) draws inspiration from a lesser-known Grimm’s fairy tale, “Fitcher’s Bird,” preserving that story’s bloody moments in scenes that include a throat slit in a mercy killing or the discovery of “little skeletons tucked into bed.” Genetic tests fuse animal and machine; Curadores regard women as incubators, pets, or property; allies sometimes prove to be monsters; and lust is one of many complicated emotions to be negotiated. The world of Gabriel is dismal but beautifully rendered by Etienne in stark, terrifying detail. Ages 14–up. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel & Goderich. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/25/2016
Release date: 06/01/2016
MP3 CD - 978-1-5159-5555-9
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