howling libraries

Mud Vein – Tarryn Fisher

First of all, let me say thank you so much to Melanie for sending me a copy of this beautiful book and putting this author into my life. I am so grateful. ❤

Mud Vein is the story of a bestselling author who awakes on her 33rd birthday to find herself having been abducted and trapped in a secluded house, stocked with food, supplies, and the man who saved her years ago… but there’s no way out, and no explanation. Just snow, and silence.

It wasn’t like me, but everything had changed. And if he kept showing up for me, I could show up for him. Just this once.

→ Senna 
Senna is such an incredible and unique narrator. She is cold, stone cold – brutally so. She’s been hurt, and her defense is to shut people out – and we see that all the time in stories, but I’ve never seen anyone so committed to the cause as she is. Her choices are downright frustrating at times because they hurt so much to watch unfold, but I related so strongly to something inside of her. I have a horrible habit of disassociating and shutting people out, especially those who love me most, and overcoming that tendency is one of the most difficult challenges I ever have, or ever will, face. It’s something I still work on, and seeing it laid out on paper was so eye-opening, because some of the things she said… I felt like I was looking at myself from the outside, and that is such a bizarre place to be, really.

Love sticks, and it stays and it braves the bullshit.

→ Isaac 
What can I even say about Dr. Isaac Asterholder? He is so precious, and kind, and brave, and wonderful. His care is more than Senna thinks she deserves, but he is unwavering, determined to save her one more time. He is the perfect example of a loved one that is trying so desperately to climb the walls that she’s put up in defense, no matter how many times the grit peels the skin from his palms.

I should have stayed home. I should have done anything but jog that trail, on that morning, at that time.

→ trauma 
Senna undergoes so many brutal moments in her life, and the depiction given of her trauma is literal perfection. Her coping techniques are varied and sometimes unexpected, such as the need for white rooms and music without words, but they never feel as though they’re written in to simply serve as plot devices; from cover to cover, Senna feels like a real, authentic human being telling us her story.

→ final thoughts 
This book comes with a lot of trigger warnings. It’s a tough read, involving rape, cancer, self-harm, and mental health struggles. There is a scene in this book that broke me. I’ve never known firsthand what it is to watch the person you care most about hurt themselves. Tarryn manages to put that feeling – the agony and helplessness – into words on paper. This scene forced me to evaluate a darkness I try too hard to hide, and I swear, it changed something inside of me. It made me think, for the first time in my life, that maybe I can beat this thing. That it’s a thing worth beating.

I know this isn’t what you came to this review for, and I’m sorry for rambling, but I needed to emphasize how much this story touched me. How much I needed it. I adored this book, and I would recommend it to anyone, so long as you’re in the right head-space for how heavy the content is. I know this is a polarizing read, but I can’t fathom having not loved it. I know I’ll be reading more from Tarryn in the future… once my heart heals from this story, that is.

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