Monday, September 29, 2014

Review: Pretty Little Dead Girls

Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and WhimsyAuthor: Mercedes M. Yardley
Series: Standalone
Released: September 27th 2014
Publisher: Ragnarok
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: Amazon

"Run, Star Girl."
BRYONY ADAMS IS DESTINED TO BE MURDERED, but fortunately Fate has terrible marksmanship. In order to survive, she must run as far and as fast as she can. After arriving in Seattle, Bryony befriends a tortured musician, a market fish-thrower, and a starry-eyed hero who is secretly a serial killer bent on fulfilling Bryony’s dark destiny.
Mercedes M. Yardley’s Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Novel of Murder and Whimsy is a dark, lovely fairy tale with lyrical language and a high body count. It features a cover by Hugo Award Winner GALEN DARA.
Please excuse all the fangirling that is about to ensue. If you knew what I know – how brilliant and utterly gorgeous Mercedes M. Yardley’s new novel is – you would not only forgive me, but you would undoubtedly join me in singing her praise. Before all else, it needs to be said that Pretty Little Dead Girls is a thought-provoking book that allows us many different readings. It can be read superficially and still be described as exceptional, but one could also spend months on allegorical interpretations, trying to find non-literal meanings and likely only partially succeeding.

In her strange, memorable but unassuming way, Yardley manages to raise some very important philosophical and existential issues. Her protagonist, Bryony, has always known that she would one day be murdered, and so did everyone around her. It is a simple fact of life, nothing to fuss about, and everyone who looks into her eyes even once knows that she will end up as someone’s victim. As Bryony waits for her destiny to be fulfilled, people around her keep dying instead. You see, fate tries and aims, and often misses by a narrow margin. So Bryony’s friends die, and she stays alive, at least for the time being.

Narrative-wise, Pretty Little Dead Girls is innovative and very postmodern. Yardley uses metafictive devices to constantly draw attention to the narrative itself. She keeps opening a direct communication between the book (or rather the omniscient narrator) and the readers by asking them to participate with their opinions. Third person omniscient point of view is also a somewhat unusual choice for contemporary literature, but for Yardley, it works extremely well. The effect of this simple choice on the story is tremendous and I dare say brilliant. It speaks volumes about Mercedes M. Yardley and all the things we can expect from her in the future.

Pretty Little Dead Girl is deeply, yet quietly romantic. There is love for Bryony, but like everything else, it comes without much fuss and it remains constant and reliable throughout. It is, I think, the most beautiful thing about this novel – the matter-of-fact approach to everything - life, love and death alike.

This is a weird, whimsical tale perfect for weird, whimsical people; artists and dreamers, creative thinkers and free spirits. Paradoxically, Yardley’s style is oddly formal and playful at the same time, which reflects the overall mood of the story perfectly. If you only take one risk this year, a single read you’re unsure of, choose this one. Even if it’s not your type of story, you’ll be able to appreciate the beauty and the quality of Yardley’s writing.

I, however, revel in this type of thing, and I so rarely get a chance to read something so perfect for me. My heart is full, my mind is blown, and every book I try to read just pales in comparison.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

Pretty Little Dead Girls is available NOW on Amazon for $3.99. Mercedes will be here later this week with a guest post for Something Wicked Strikes! Make sure to stop by. :)


  1. It's the first time I hear about the book but I'm happy to see you had such a great time with it. It sounds so beautifully well done! I'm quite curious, plus it's a great cover!

  2. Deeply and quietly romantic sounds great!

  3. Wow. This is one gorgeous review Maja! I can feel how much you loved this book and how it affected you, and nothing is better than coming across a book like that:) It sounds like a stunning story (and oh my God that cover!), and I can't thank you enough for putting it on my radar!

  4. That quote you posted yesterday was enough motivation for me to read this book. And to see you give it a full 5-star rating is just icing on the cake!

  5. Wow Maja, fantastic review and you definitely have me wanting to pick this up and try it for myself now!
    I had no idea you were such a fan of the authors.

  6. Umm wow! That cover is so gorgeous but your review is even more gorgeous, Maja. You make me want to pick this book up just to see the brilliance. I like the sound of the writing and the matter-of-fact narrative.
    Lovely review, Maja!

  7. The cover of the book is fantastic and the summary is extremely intriguing and your review has made me want to make sure I buy this one and read it for sure during my vacation next month!
    Fantastic review, Maja!

  8. I don't mind you fangirling at all! In fact, it's contagious and makes me want to seek this book out now. The story and cover both sound like a terrific read at this time of year.

  9. You know I am right there with you when it comes to gorgeous writng and quirky stories. I haven't heard of this one and now I am headed off to look it up.

  10. Woah, a full five stars? It's been awhile since I gave those ratings--and since you did too, Maja! So glad you loved this one and I can't believe I haven't heard of it prior to your review. Either way, I need to get my hands on this at once so I'll be hunting myself a copy very soon. Beautiful review, dear!

  11. That cover is absolutely beautiful!
    I've never heard of this before, but it sounds amazing. I love that it covers philosophical issues without being blatant. I love books that have meaning in them and make you question things, I think it adds to the experience of reading.
    Great review. I'll definitely be checking this one out!

  12. I so want to read it, there is something so strange about the book

  13. Um... YES! Darn girl! This review has me all but running to buy it. I can sort of tell you enjoyed it a bit. ;) I am putting this one on the top of my wishlist!

  14. This sounds so up my alley, I can't believe I hadn't heard about it before your review! Very intrigued about the depths of this one.

  15. I love any fangirling review, especially when it is as beautifully written as this one! This sounds like such an amazing read! I consider myself a free spirit, and definitely gravitate to weird, whimsical tales like this. I am so glad I read your review, otherwise I'm certain I never would have even heard of this book, and now I'm going to get a copy. Thanks for introducing me to Bryony's story!

  16. It's been a while since I've read a Third person omniscient story -- an unusual choice for an unusual sounding story! Even though I don't know if this is a story for me, it sounds like it's definitely worth a go, especially since it brought out that much gushing out ofyou!

  17. Okay, I haven't heard of this one but it sounds very unusual. Normally, I wouldn't give books like this a try but your five star rating and fangirling, Maja, has convinced me. I'll add this one to my wishlist ASAP.

  18. You make this book to sound perfect!

    It's good that it came out yesterday (according to GR), that means that I'll be able to read it soon. Thanks for sharing, otherwise I don't know if I would have found about it. And that cover is also absolutely mesmerising!

  19. I think the US is ahead of other countries in their treatment if women but still there is a difference in "rules" or standards that should apply to both genders.

    I think I'd be ticked by Olivia's treatment by her father, but I'm happy to hear she puts these men in their place. Wonderful review, Maja! :)

    1. And because I'm using my phone I've accidentally commented on the wrong post! This is supposed to be for Cat Winter's book! Agh! Stupid phone! Sorry.

  20. First, the cover blew me away. Second, I was intrigued by the blurb and now your review and am counting the days until the books comes into my hands. Wonderful review, as always :)

  21. Oh, I'm so happy you enjoyed it! Thank you for sharing the magic of her story with me, and for such a beautiful, beautiful review! You made my heart sing.


  22. I had never heard of this book before I saw you reading it on GR. I was immediately drawn to the cover and I love whimsical books. I need to check this out!

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