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Read advance reader review of Creatures by Crissy Van Meter, page 2 of 4

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by Crissy Van Meter

Creatures by Crissy Van Meter X
Creatures by Crissy Van Meter
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  • Published in USA  Jan 2020
    256 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Page 2 of 4
There are currently 23 member reviews
for Creatures
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  • Suzette P. (Chicago, IL)
    A Good Yarn to Sink Into - Ignore the Shoals
    The cover of the ARC is absolutely beautiful, the title intriguing, and the blurb on the back made me want to "plunge" in. (Get it? It's a pun on the heavy-handed ocean metaphors in which the author "swims".) I really wanted to love this book - the premise about a child raised by less than ideal parents seemed to me to be the fictional and island version of "The Glass Castle", which I thought was amazing. This book is beautifully written for the most part. However, some of the imagery is silly and unrealistic and it took me out of the story. (Two teenage girls sat outside in a hot tub all summer during hailstorms until they bled? Really?) I felt that the writer sometimes sacrificed logic for the sole sake of beautiful writing and ocean and island imagery. There are also annoying bullet-pointed asides randomly sprinkled throughout: "Whales evolved because they had to", for example. The symbolism and metaphors are oppressive at times. This writer has real talent and the story itself is interesting once you "navigate" around all of the "deep" and too obviously-made links to oceans and sea creatures and islands and get past what appear on first glance to be lyrically written sentences but on second turn out to make no sense ("he's sorry for hiding so long in the light and the dark"; "she was firm around her rib cage, which protects her middle things", etc). Overall, despite my criticisms, the story is good and the writing at times very lyrical. The writer is talented. I liked the ocean/island setting; I just felt that perhaps some judicious editing and tamping down of the too-obvious metaphors would make a good book great. Overall, I recommend "Creatures" with the caveat that the reader should "sail" past the nonsensical bits so as not to get "scuttled" before finishing.
  • Vicki R. (York, PA)
    Very good read!
    "Creatures" by Crissy Van Meter is a beautiful story of a woman who must overcome her unconventional upbringing to find happiness. Evie is raised by an addictive but loving father. Her mother occasionally visits but never for long. When Evie marries Liam, a fisherman who is gone for long periods of time can she learn to love and forgive? I enjoyed this book though it was at times somewhat depressing. It is not a romance novel although it is about love and relationships. The story jumps forward and backward in time which I found to enhance the development of the characters although this may be a distraction for some. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading!
  • Barbara O. (Red Bank, NJ)
    Creatures in Depth
    The deeper I got into the book, the more I liked "Creatures" and it's deeply flawed characters. It's a powerful story about love. Not the romantic kind, not the kind with a fairy tale ending but the messy kind. Loving someone despite their flaws, their inability to parent and inability to communicate. Loving when it's hard. I really enjoyed this book and the author's style of slowly revealing Evie's story, her love for the creatures in the sea and her love for her island home. I loved the inhabitants of Winter Island.
  • Rose N. (Saginaw, MI)
    On Winter Island, off the coast of southern California, Evie carries on a love-hate relationship with her hard-drinking but caring father. "Raised like a boy,...with mostly no mother", Evie helps sell Winter Wonderland, the potent pot raised on the island by her father, to the tourists who come from the mainland to enjoy the island atmosphere. This enterprise seems to be their main source of income. Island life is richly portrayed through the lives of the 'creatures'...those who live on the island, those who visit the island, and the beings that live around them in the ocean. There are beautiful descriptions of ocean and island life, but there is also loneliness and sadness in Evie's lack of any true family experience.
  • Tracy B. (Pittsboro, NC)
    The Creatures win
    I am sorry to say that I enjoyed the information about the Whales more than the story. Evie's story of a unsettled life with disappearing and reappearing mother, a father drug dealer & addict made me wonder how she became a caring adult. It did make sense that she married Liam whose job on a ship took him away for months at a time. The limited population on the island was very well portrayed. I saw Evie surrounded by risk takers yet wanting to be the one in control, her role as a child.
    As usual the hopping back and forth from adult to child, within the same page, was annoying yet made me pay attention. Possibly that is why the ending was a surprise. Duh I should have seen that all along.
  • Diane W. (Lake Villa, IL)
    As others have stated, from the brief description of the book, I did think it would be somewhat more humorous under the surface. The characters are certainly unique, flawed, yet human---and pertinent to the overall development and temperament of Evie. I did find the book hard to put down...once I got through the first two chapters. Overall, well-written---but I did find it a bit confusing and disjointed in places and had to go back and reread portions to follow the flow of the story. But, I'm glad I read it through to the end!
  • Beverly J. (Hoover, AL)
    A Mournful Tale
    Van Meter's debut is a mournful novel on Evie's attempt to be self-truthful about her childhood through teen years into adulthood.

    The format is both a strength and weakness of this story, The main sections of the book is names for the three days leading up to Evie's wedding, if her fiancé returns from being at sea, and the subchapters for each of these days contain in a nonlinear manner events in Evie's personal and working life. The strength is this format showcases the lyrical language and the interconnection of the unpredictability and love of Evie's personal relationships and the natural environmental her home Winter Island – when it is good it is very good and when it is bad it is horrific. The weakness is because of the nonlinear narrative events caused a spoiler or two a little too early and enforced for me the lack of character growth.

    This tale deconstructs how human tell stories and decided on which version of events are remembered. As the pull of tides on the island are an essential force I will remember this story for the pull of family bonds and of an island on a soul.

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