Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review: Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher

Title: Mud Vein
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Publication date: April 5th 2014
Source: Purchased from Amazon
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat…and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free.
(Image and summary taken from Goodreads.)


This is the first time I have ever written a review after immediately finishing a book without being pressured to or trying to meet a deadline. I just knew that I needed to write a review because if I didn't, I would lose the truth of what I was writing, I wouldn't remember all the things I felt and experience when I read Mud Vein so here I am, post-cake break, typing up this review wondering how I really felt about this book. Right now, I am just a mess of emotions and I don't even understand why. But hopefully I'll get to understanding those feelings by the end of this review.

Whenever people would ask me what my favorite book is, I would always hesitant to answer them because I knew that they'd want to read it, trusting my judgement and all that so I did my best to steer clear of answering those types of questions; and I also knew that my favorite book is a novel that isn't easy to swallow. But I am going to be honest with you and confess that my favorite book (ever) is The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith, it's disturbing, gory and just plain wrong but I loved it and that was it. After reading that book, I've never found anything else that could compare to its greatness, everything else was pale in comparison and finally, finally after years and years of searching, I've found a novel I loved more than enough to be called a favorite, right beside The Marbury Lens and that was obviously Mud Vein.

As soon as I saw the cover and premise of Mud Vein, I immediately knew that I needed to read it. Not because Colleen Hoover recommended it (that may have been a small part) but because reading the synopsis combined with the powerful looking cover (albeit the cheesy tag line, but I will get to that later) drew me in. I know it might seem weird for me to say this but the essence of the book just called to me, and I answered. I spent my months anxiously awaiting its release and when Mud Vein finally came out, I immediately got it, I honestly don't know why it took me this long to read it though. Maybe the time just wasn't right and I needed to read/finish on the start of the month because reading Mud Vein pretty much made my whole May and the rest of the year. Seriously.

I am not going to go into detail as to what particularly happens in the book because I'm sure that Tarryn Fisher had a reason for not revealing too much in the synopsis but I will give you a brief rundown: Senna Richards is a well-renowned author who finds herself in a cabin during winter with foods and electricity that will last her months but there's another thing she didn't expect to find, Isaac Asterholder, a man from her past that plays a bigger role in the whole game than they ever knew. So the two have to brave through the harsh winter with what they have and figure out how the they can get out of there or will they die stuck in the cabin? *cue suspenseful music*

Senna was a difficult but also simple character to understand. She was a walking paradox, a contradiction with itself. Her voice throughout the story reflected who she was as a person and I was completely floored at how Tarryn Fisher was able to smoothly and perfectly pull of that kind of prose: poetic but simple, lyrical but raw and what amazed me the most what that the dialogue and Senna's inner musings never got boring. There wasn't too much talking or too much pondering, just enough to keep you wanting to read on and on and on. When I was reading Mud Vein, I had to take breaks in between because I was always left physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted. I would find myself taking naps but would immediately start reading as soon as I recharged because there's an aura that surrounds the book that requires your full attention and energy to read. You need to be able to keep up with the writing, the scenes, and everything in between. And the weird thing is when I would wake up, I remember hearing a voice repeating the lines from the book, they were tattooed, carved, and etched into my mind. Mud Vein literally entered every pore in my body and found refuge in my soul until there was no longer a Louisse but only Senna, Isaac and the cabin.

As you go on the pseudo-journey Senna and Isaac did, you will find yourself anticipating everything that happens next. The pacing that Tarryn Fisher did was really great, she didn't put all the exciting bits together but evenly distributed them so that you won't actually see them coming and when you finally encounter them, you'll be reduced to mush and you'll need to compose and pick yourself back up before you can continue on. Mud Vein isn't some sort of guessing game that you'll need to figure out who locked them in there in the first place because that takes a backseat when you, yourself, are trying to figure out what is happening in the first place. (My mom did guess and told me that she thought that Senna was the one behind all of it... Maybe, ma.)

Tarryn Fisher amazed me with the way she put everything together, the way she connected the little bits to the bigger ones so that even the smallest detail made the biggest difference. I found myself looking back to all the things that Senna (and I) missed and found myself going "Ahhh, why didn't I see that before?" (Even the book cover has a significance! So cool.)  Maybe it was the haze of panic or the sense of hopelessness of the character that made us miss those things but once Senna started to really pay attention, her focus was staggering. I cannot even explain how amazed I was by the way she connected everything, how even though she was just lying down on the bed one minute and then rushing to find Isaac and share her theory the next. Senna is an insanely brilliant character that will only continue to impress you as the book goes on. Most people would find it difficult to like her or understand her but right from the very beginning, I was already in love with her. Seriously.

I don't know if there was a point in the book wherein I was suspicious of Isaac but I really liked his character. You don't get Isaac and Senna's back story till the early-middle part of the book but when you do, things will definitely clear up. Even though there were moments where Isaac was stoic or cold, there was still a need for him to take care of Senna and that warm my heart despite the cold Alaskan setting. The chemistry between the two of them was tangible, real enough to touch but reality prevented them from being together. I can't explain how they were together but once you read their scenes, you'll see how perfectly they fit one another. Neither was perfect but as cheesy as it may sounds, their imperfections fit each other perfectly. (The number of times I have used "perfect" disturbs me...) I wish I had the words to tell you or even describe what I saw between the two of them but I don't, I really don't. I guess that's just another reason to read the book.

I could spend hours and hours and hours trying to elaborate on Tarryn Fisher's writing for this book and I still would not get it right. You need to actually read the book to understand how deep everything went. It's not the words she used to write them or how she structured the novel but the underlying message that they held. Some people may not understand what the words hold but those who do will see how much Mud Vein actually means and by the end of it all, you will find yourself in tears (like I did). Not because it ended with a sad note or a "piss the reader off" kind of ending but you will just be overwhelmed with everything that happened. Even though I am still in denial and I honestly don't think I can get over this book, I will say that you will understand why Tarryn Fisher wrote the book and ended it the way she did.

"Only the truth can set her free." Is the tag line of the book and while it may seem overused or kinda corny, it fits the book perfectly. That's pretty much the essence of the book in seven words, seriously. It's not a simple story (it's very complex, actually) but if you were to simplify it, you would use those words too. "The Truth" (yup, capitalized) is frequently mentioned in the book but even if it seems ambiguous, it is still a key aspect of the book. The question you will find yourself asking is if Senna will figure "The Truth" out fast enough to save Isaac and herself or not? Some people might find the answer a bit petty, I don't know but for me, it was insanely profound. When you have a character as different as Senna, the answer is something she never would have chosen to face head on, she would have preferred to overlook it and focus on another thing so when it happened, it had a great impact on her and definitely, me as well.

The concept of love in this book was also greatly tackled: familial love, love love and self-love (not that kind of self-love, you know what I mean). There were significant events that were centered around love and while it may be a simple emotion, Tarryn Fisher scrapped that and twisted it to turn love into something greater, deeper and more intense. There was a part where it was mentioned that finding the love of your life and your soulmate is different because one is a choice and the other isn't and that was so big for me, really. Reading that scene made me understand love more and how it's never going to be perfect but once you find that certain someone, good luck trying to fight fate.

Mud Vein wasn't just a book to me, it was a different perspective on life. It gives a different message per reader so I don't think I had the same experience as another person but if I did, then that other reader would understand what I went through. I honestly don't know why I am so affected by this book but I am. And I am not going to question that because sometimes, the things you don't understand are the ones that stay embedded in your mind and heart indefinitely. Mud Vein has wedged itself in between my ribs and a space in my heart and every time I would think of it, I am sure that all the emotions I felt when I first read it, will come rushing back and I'll be crying all over again. Mud Vein is a feeling, that's the best way to describe it. Once you've finished reading it, all you can do is lie back (or sit down) and let all the emotions and feelings in and just absorb everything and after a few minutes, you'll need to release them. Mud Vein isn't just a psychological thriller or a romance story, it's a horror, kinda satirical, and even a bit of a Non-Fiction. It has everything. It is everything.

Tarryn Fisher used a sledgehammer and broke me into a trillion tiny little jagged pieces and pulverized my heart, but she also managed to put me back together with every page reaching the end. I wasn't the same person I was before I read this book, its impact on me may not be reflected physically but it's deep inside me, only where I know it's there. Mud Vein is a book that injures but also heals, it creates pain but also soothes it. This book healed me in intangible ways. I honestly cannot recommend this book enough, it may not be for everyone but for those willing to take a risk and try to feel what I experienced, you definitely need to read this book. If I could visit every single person in this world's house and drop a copy of this book off on their table or beds, I would. That's how much I want everyone to read this. Thank you, Tarryn Fisher for writing this book and not taking it easy on us. For writing something so raw and gritty that it turned out so beautifully, I cannot express how much I loved this book. I cannot. This whole review doesn't even make a dent on my Mud Vein feelz, this is only a small part of it. If I could rip my heart off and give it to you, you would understand how much I feel for this book. It's my heart.

I cannot give this book an exact rating. I could give Mud Vein all the stars in the universe to rate it plus all the sand granules on every beach in the world but they still would not be enough.


  1. I love this review so much! You captured what I feel about this book so beautifully. This book is one of my all-time favorites. It always makes me happy when others see this book's power and beauty. <3

  2. I felt the emotions like you did. I kept finding myself wiping tears hours after finishing it. It drained me, but in a good way I think. I loved it.