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Formats
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 979-8647520166 B08FP3WGJJ
  • 265 pages
  • $10.38
Helen Moore
Author
Bolting the Furies

Adult; Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror; (Market)

Pairing post-apocalyptic survival fiction with intense action in this book about powerful female fighters, this sexy adult fantasy with dark humor presents a world where the standards and virtues associated with traditional roles are upended. "Bolting the Furies" is a thrilling, suspenseful dystopian novel and a young woman’s coming-of-age story set in a dangerous world, whose protagonist is a reluctant warrior forced to fight for survival and purpose in a quest to find her way home again, freeing herself and her loved ones from an Amazonian society whose values she despises. As the society forms opposing sides in a war for domination, each woman must come to terms with who she is and what she values.
Reviews
Moore, known mostly for children’s books on poetry, transports readers to an alternate version of Earth’s recent past in this fantastic horror novel that combines Lord of the Flies and a gender-swapped Handmaid’s Tale with a supernatural twist. In 1972, 19-year-old college student Senga was a feminist activist. In 1986, she’s a scavenger trying to survive in a wilderness-covered Brooklyn after an unspecified apocalypse. She uneasily shares the fast-growing forest with 30 fellow former activists, the Maenads, who hunt men, rape them in hopes of getting pregnant, and then kill and eat them. To end these vicious rites, Senga must team up with her adopted daughter, Pink, who has never seen a man; her high school friend Buffy, a farmer and stoner; and two unexpected outsiders.

A couple of plot twists feel slightly contrived, and some readers might find the book’s ambiguity frustrating, especially regarding the event that led the survivors to their current situation. This mystery is as intriguing as it is challenging, however, and the book’s conclusion leaves open the possibility of a sequel that could contain more answers. Fluid, self-aware prose and sharp characterization keep the reader entranced. The Maenads can seem like caricatures, but when men are introduced, their shortcomings are depicted with equal wryness, and descriptions of their “flat bellies, and heavily muscled glutes, and thighs that led down to wiry calves” subtly parody the male gaze. Every character is both strong and deeply flawed.

Though the novel’s themes resonate with earlier works of feminist science fiction, Moore’s work is unusual in that it critiques misandry as well as misogyny and depicts a world without men as a horror, not a utopia. She deploys vivid descriptions of violence only when absolutely necessary to drive that horror home while implicitly critiquing books that relish violence against women. Dark but with a glimmer of hope, this gripping work earns its place on the shelf of any post-apocalyptic fiction fan.

Takeaway: This bloody post-apocalyptic thriller critiques gender ideology extremes and will fascinate any connoisseur of feminist science fiction.

Great for fans of Elizabeth Hand’s “The Bacchae,” Naomi Alderman, Margaret Atwood.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A-

Formats
Paperback Details
  • 08/2020
  • 979-8647520166 B08FP3WGJJ
  • 265 pages
  • $10.38

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