Author: Estelle Laure
Genre: Fantasy, contemporary, young adult
Publisher: Wednesday Books, St Martin’s Press
Trigger warnings: rape, violence, drugs, physical/psychological abuse, murder, suicide
Pages: 304 pages
Publication Date: 14th July 2020
My Rating: 3/5
It’s my stop on the blog tour for Mayhem by Estelle Laure. I’ve added trigger warnings at the start of my review, pleaser make sure that you check these before reading the synopsis and my review.
A huge thank you to Wednesday Books for gifting me an eARC to review and for allowing me to take part in this blog tour.
A YA feminist mash-up inspired by The Lost Boys and The Craft.
It’s 1987 and unfortunately, it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else. But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good. But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
This is the well-written, harrowing tale of Mayhem and her journey to discover the truth about her mother with a little bit of magic thrown in for good measure.
The cover and blurb drew me in, despite having heard of The Lost Boys or The Craft. I won’t be comparing the book to either of these as have never seen/read them. I love fantasy and this sounded right up my street!
The book is set in 1987 and you’re thrown straight into Mayhem’s life and the chaos she is surrounded by with her monstrous step-father. If the author did not say the book was set in 1987, I probably wouldn’t remember that it was. It could have benefitted from some more references to the time period because it could have easily been written in the present day.
The plot had plenty of potential and definitely was a slow-paced read. The first half of the book kept me intrigued and desperate to find out what was going to happen. Unfortunately, it felt a little rushed at the end and that the key parts of the plot were covered in the last 25% of the book.
I felt as though this stopped the characters from getting the full development they deserved and it didn’t make me feel as emotionally invested in the characters as I would have done otherwise. Mayhem and Kidd were the only characters I felt I could empathise with. Mayhem was a realistic character and I empathised with her throughout, though I wish her character was given more development and a chance to grow.
The author did a brilliant job of showing the impact abuse has upon a child. Mayhem’s inner conflict and turmoil felt painfully real and raw. It was handled well and I truly felt sorry for her. This is not an easy lighthearted read but it definitely is an emotional one.
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3eCgE32
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mayhem-estelle-laure/1132911667