This was a really good story with characters you really want to unpack, but Magariel -- I'm sure for some reason -- left the characters a bit flat. I wanted to know so much more about this fractured family. The relationship between the two brothers is heartbreakingly real if you know what it's like to protect a sibling or be protected by one from familial abuse. The back-and-forth relationship with their absent mother is mystifying, alluring -- but remains a dropped thread by the end of the book. A bit more tightness in plot and character development would've made this a solid 4-star affair.
However, Magariel's writing is something to be enjoyed and savoured. It veers from conversational and observational to poetry, sometimes so seamlessly it leaves you astounded. I re-read certain parts to the point of tears, then moved on for "plot development" :) Sometimes I get so hung up on how a writer writes, that the story stops mattering.
But now let me tell you why I'm giving this 4 stars, despite its foibles. One, Magariel's writing. Two, I can complain about minor details all I want, but the fact is, I was in a mishap this week that's interfering with my usual activities, but I had to finish reading this book. My hands are sore and swollen, I can't hold the hardcover I got from the library, so I finished reading the eBook copy on my iMac. Praise good stories.
Read this book.