Reviewing the Pages: The Bottle Stopper

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“Too much trouble, and you’ll end up just like your crazy mother.”

Maeve was six when they took her mother away, and left her in the care of her Uncle Lou: a drunk, a misogynist, a fraud.

For eleven years she’s lived with him in Falside’s slums, deep in the silt of the Falwere River. She bottles his miracle medicine, stocks his apothecary shop, and endures his savage temper.

But as his violence escalates, and his lies come undone, she devises a plan to escape him forever. Even if it means people have to die.

In a world where society has shunned technology because they were afraid of being watched by the government, the government has retaliated…against the women. There are a lot of things in this book that are left hanging for subsequent books, and while I really enjoy that aspect of storytelling in series, I felt cheated on some explanations. Granted, there are a lot of plots that do get wrapped up nicely, and make me feel good about the solutions.

This book doesn’t make any bones about how the society sees women in this world; as a commodity that is meant to serve men. Angeline gets a lot of credit for hitting some heavy stuff, and not abashing back from it. There were times that I got my hopes up for a character, only to have it smashed down upon the rocks below.

If you are a fan of dystopian novels, and want something different to check out, then I recommend this read to you.

Now, I usually like to not give away some key plot points if I can help it, unless I need to rant about it.  And this is one of those times.  Yes, I know this is a series, and one part of the plot is whether or not Maeve is just like her mother; a psychic.  And for a majority of this book, the answer is a firm no.  But, at the very end, when the mob is getting ready to lynch her uncle for her handiwork, there came a moment where I thought…maybe.  Maybe she is.  But, that’s all we get.  There’s no other hints at the end to suggest that she is psychic.  But whatever she is, she must be important for this group of ladies and Denver to come hunt her down and save her.  I’m actually wondering if I should go ahead and get the second book, just to see what will happen.

But, let’s talk about this book instead of daydreaming about the next one.  This book does do a lot with the darker theme of women being subservient.  In this case, it’s in the form of prostitution down at the very bottom.  Granted, according to the government’s rules; women aren’t really allowed to much of anything.  But, there is this resistance.  That we get a brief hint about halfway through, and isn’t given too much depth until the very end.  Sure, we get scenes of the resistance doing research, and finding something that leads them to getting Maeve out at the very end, but still, I just want to know more.

It seems like I’m ranting about cliffhanger plots, and it’s true.  The reader in me wants to devour the rest of the tales in this world and become satisfied.  Angeline does a wonderful job of drawing the reader in, getting them attached to Maeve, and then kicking us out in the desert and saying “wait here for the next one”.  As I stated above, if you’re looking for a dystopian tale with a slightly different look, then by all means check it out.  You won’t be disappointed.

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