Like a caged beast born of caged beasts: Reviewing Tender is the Flesh by Agustina Bazterrica

Hello everyone! It is officially October and a chill is in the air. I wanted to kick off spooky season ASAP for you all, so you could settle down with something chilling to read. I am fully committing this year and want to watch a couple of horror movies I have been meaning to get around to for a bit now. I will include a massive trigger warning for this novel before I get into it. I suggest you do some research for yourself, if you so desire. Let’s kick off October with Tender is the Flesh.

Trigger Warning: Violence, Gore, Animal Abuse, Sexual Violence, Derogatory Language

A virus has swept the world, infecting every animal and killing all livestock. In order to prevent starvation, society decided that the only suitable replace for animal livestock would be human livestock. Marcos Tejo makes his living at a processing plant, which he had to take over after his father developed dementia. Marcos is wracked by the guilt caused by his job, still mourning the loss of his infant son, and trying to get his wife back. One day, he is gifted a live female specimen by one of his business partners. Contact with her would result in Marcos being sent to slaughter, but that doesn’t stop him from developing feelings for her. For the first time in a while, Marcos has a sense of hope and may be able to create a better world for the future.

I’d heard amazing reviews of this novel and now I can say that it lived up to expectations. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting going into this, but I was shocked and riveted by every page. Bazterrica creates a terrifying introspective narrative that makes you question what it means to be human. The imagery is as gruesome as it is powerful. It was hard to look away from the violence being depicted on the page. It was a truly provocative experience that I want to read again, but will wait as I still have other spooky reads to get into. This novel isn’t for the faint hearts or the weak stomachs, which is what makes it all the more of an unputdownable novel.

Power Has Its Price: Reviewing The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Hi everybody! I hope a lot of you are at least seeing some improvement in every day life. I’m from the US so I don’t have many positive things to say at this exact moment. It felt very serendipitous that the prequel to The Hunger Games be released now. I had almost forgotten it was coming out this year until I saw the display at the store where I work. Of course, I bought a copy immediately. In my opinion, The Hunger Games trilogy still holds up as I read it through adult eyes. Now, let’s relive our pre-teen/teen glory days as we talk about The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.

As the tenth annual Hunger Games approaches, a young Coriolanus Snow is desperate to restore his once great family name to glory. When he’s given the opportunity to be a mentor for the Hunger Games, he realizes the odds are stacked against him as he must face his better prepared classmates. His initial anger with being tasked to mentor the tribute from District 12 turns into an opportunity when he meets the enigmatic, charming, and spontaneous Lucy Gray Baird. With a new sense of hope, Coriolanus must make sure that Lucy Gray survives the dangers of the arena, while he tries to survive the dangers outside of the arena.

Like many fans of the original trilogy, I was nervous at the idea of a prequel coming out so many years later. I, however, quickly became swept up in the world of Panem once again. Coriolanus Snow is an interesting character study, given the impression we have of him from the original trilogy. The novel presents an interesting dilemma as it shows someone who is so close to the edge of compassion for the reader, but still manages to be unlikeable. He has an almost similar origin story to Katniss, but with a different approach to the systems that have been used to oppress a population. Some work against it from the outside, while others work for it from the inside. The world of Panem was still just as familiar, but Collins adds a level of uncertainty as the Hunger Games are still in its infancy in this novel. I found this to be a very compelling read with the same no-holds barred level of violence and brutal honesty from the trilogy. I would say that fans of The Hunger Games will find this an interesting addition that offers an even more complex look at the dystopia of Panem.