cover image Silenced


Ann Claycomb. Titan, $16.95 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-80336-058-4

Claycomb (The Mermaid’s Daughter) draws on fairy tales of misused and abused women in this weighty but shaky contemporary fantasy. After the unnamed CEO of a large, unspecific company successively rapes his employees Abony, Ranjani, Maia, and Jo, he puts a fairy tale curse on each woman that prevents her from reporting his crime. But he’s not counting on the women, who work in different departments, meeting and collaborating to break their curses and bring him down. Abony, cursed with an expensive shoe addiction, and Ranjani, cursed never to walk through the same door twice, come together first. When Maia and Jo join them, the women realize there’s a pattern to the CEO’s behavior and that he’s likely already chosen his next victim. As they desperately work to stop him from raping another woman by investigating the source of his magic, Claycomb intersperses the plot with messages from fictional Discord server “Fairy Tales Forever” that provide context for the stories the novel draws from. At times the narrative feels heavy-handed, while at others the fantastical elements feel inappropriately silly for the heavy subject matter, but the heroines and their strong connection carry the day. Fans of feminist fairy tales will find plenty to enjoy. (May)