Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue Ousley — ARC Review

Constellations of Scars by Melissa Eskue OusleySummary:

Not all gifts are a blessing. Some are a curse.
When Amelia turned 12, she began growing pearls. Every month, a crop of beautiful pearls bursts from the skin on her back. Her mother, Denise, believes her daughter is blessed, and sells the pearls to put food on the table. Amelia sees her condition as a curse. As the pearls form, her body aches and her skin grows feverish. The harvest of pearls brings temporary relief from the pain, but leaves her back marred by scars. Denise hides Amelia away from the world, worried that Amelia’s gift will be discovered and she will be abducted for the wealth she can provide. Now a young woman, Amelia realizes she has become her mother’s captive, and plans her escape. When she runs away from home, she finds a new family in a troupe of performers at a museum of human oddities. She soon discovers the world is much more dangerous than her mother feared.

Review: 3 Stars

This book is definitely unlike most books that I read, but the blurb sounded so interesting that I decided to pick it up. I originally thought that it might be a fantasy, but it’s set in the real world and while the pearl aspect is abnormal it isn’t a fantasy novel. The premise for the book was so intriguing that I picked it up the second that I got a review copy. Constellations of Scars was a really quick read that I finished in less than a day. I found myself captivated by the story and I found it hard to tear myself away because I needed to know what happened next.

Constellations of Scars had a fascinating premise and plot. I really enjoyed following Amelia’s story as she ran away from her abusive mother and tried to make a life for herself. The plot was full of twists and turns and I never knew what was going to happen next. The pacing was pretty fast and there were very few dull moments. It was a really interesting story with themes of abuse, independence and humanity. I feel like the plot was excellent and compelling, which really helped make up for some of the book’s flaws.

While the story itself was really good, the writing was not. I felt like the entire book lacked emotion. It’s told in first person from Amelia’s point of view as if she is telling us events that happened n the past. At times it felt like reading someone’s diary as mundane day to day events were explained. The author told us things rather than showing them through her writing which kept me from really connecting to the story and the characters. While the characters had interesting back stories the character development was really weak. The themes of abuse and independence could have made this a much more emotional read, but instead it felt a bit clinical. I also felt like the ending was a bit out there. I don’t want to give spoilers, but it just felt like the book suddenly went in a very different direction and while it was kind of cool, it just didn’t fit the story.

Constellations of Scars is a really intriguing story with poor writing and character development. But the premise of the book and its plot were so well done that I didn’t want to set it down. While this book didn’t have me emotionally invested I still really enjoyed reading it. If you’re looking for a unique book that you can finish pretty quickly then I would recommend Constellations of Scars even though the writing wasn’t great.

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