Wilder Girls is the debut novel of Rory Power, and man did she come out swinging! There’s a good chance that you’ve already heard about this book – I’ve been seeing nearly nonstop talk about it since about two months before the official release. And having read it, I can understand why.
Wilder Girls is an intense read. It blends science fiction with horror and thriller elements. The end result is something dark and emotional and absolutely fascinating. Honestly, there needs to be more books like this.
The novel is set on Raxter island. A unique location known for its strange crabs and flowers. But that was before. Now the all girls’ school on the island is in forced isolation. And the girls and staff are all getting sick. Or dying. Though perhaps sick isn’t the best word to describe what is happening to them…
Warnings: Wilder Girls is as beautiful as it is intense. And that means that there are plenty of warnings to go along with this novel. The biggest ones include graphic depictions of injuries, mutations, death, and gore. There are also some scenes with self harming, and others depicting forced medical experiments. There are also animal deaths and animals affected by the same mutations as the sometimes very young girls. Finally, there is a scene describing chemical gassing.
Wilder Girls is a totally unique and fascinating novel following a school full of girls and the mutations they undergo. It’s dark and chilling, showing us humanity and its worst, while something else yet lingers on the horizon. In all, it’s beautifully written and utterly compelling.
I knew I wanted to read this novel from the moment I saw the cover. It’s absolutely stunning. Having read it, I can now say that the novel itself lives up to the expectations made for it. And then some. Actually, I was quite surprised by the intensity and intricacy of this novel.
The world in Wilder Girls is a fascinating one – even if it is absolutely one I’d be content to never see in person. Rory Power did an excellent job of building up the anxiety of the situation, while also leaving us with some breadcrumbs of truth. It was the perfect balance.
The characters were strong, fierce, and just a little bit broken. In that sense they were so real it was almost too painful to bear. But it did bring the world around them to whole new levels. Which may be good or bad, depending on your viewpoint.
I adored the unexpected love story woven into this novel. I honestly had no idea it was there – I didn’t see anyone talking about those elements before I had started reading. It was a pleasant surprise and a needed light in otherwise dark and disturbing tale.
Honestly, I’m still having trouble getting over how powerful this novel was. I loved it, even while it chilled me to my core. Part of me desperately wants to read more like this, while the other part of me is happy to see this one stand out amongst the crowd.
One thing is for sure, I can’t wait to see what Rory Power writes next. I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant. On that note, fun fact! There’s another novel listed on her Goodreads profile, though it is currently untitled. Can’t wait for more revelations about that one!