Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Me on A Darkly Beating Heart

Title: A Darkly Beating Heart
Author: Lindsay Smith
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Running Brook Press (Macmillan imprint)

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko's parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu's demons as well as her own.

A Darkly Beating Heart is rough and painful, a look at anger and betrayal, at the harm we do to ourselves and to others. At the things that push us, at the lives we leave behind. At the darkness that can stew and fester inside of ourselves.

Reiko is rage and fury in human form. Nothing matters anymore, nothing but being angry. Nothing but getting her revenge on those that hurt her. Especially if that means killing herself in a way that publicly hurts them. She can't create anymore, she feels nothing from her art, from her photographs and collages. It's not worth it. All she can do now if she wants to feel something in cut herself and look for a way to end it all.

Considering the author's note at the end, I got the feeling that she really wanted to be as accurate as possible when it came to showing modern day Japan and the time slip moments set in the 19th century. She wanted to be faithful to Japanese customs and culture, not just paste the setting over North American values. Not being Japanese or ever living in Japan, I can't speak on the accuracy, but in my own personal opinion the setting certainly wasn't North America. Reiko has American values because she's American. But the other characters? The Japanese characters? From my own perception of Japan, they seem accurate and realistic. But again, this is my opinion. Readers from Japan might feel differently in terms of the author's accuracy.

This is a very dark story with multiple references to self-harm, suicide, and causing harm to others, so this might not be the book for some readers. I certainly didn't expect them and was taken aback for a moment or two before continuing. This was certainly a look at anger and what it does, how it changes us. How destroying it is. And the time slip moments were interesting, the moments in historical Japan with Miyu, her father, and the incoming samurai. I would recommend this for those looking for a darker sort of book, one full of revenge, but to take care in case of being triggered when it comes to suicide and self-harm.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)

No comments:

Post a Comment