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Monday, November 5, 2007

Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith

This was quite a unique book. As I was reading, I just kept thinking, "Wow, this is really dark." The three main characters are high school acquaintances Morgan, Ondine, and Nix. They have always felt they were different from others, and as the story begins, things are really starting to change in their lives. Nix has dropped out of school because he can't handle seeing rings of light around people who are about to die. Morgan sleep walks into the forest at night (still not exactly clear on what she does there). Ondine sees butterflies on her ceiling come to life. James "Moth" Motherwell is a little older than the three of them and a little shady, but he obviously has some supranatural mind-powers where he can, for instance, persuade the gas station attendant to sell Ondine and Morgan alcohol. **Some spoilers now follow** Eventually, Moth gets all three of them to attend this huge "concert" in the mountains where it becomes clear that Ondine, Nix, and Morgan are "changelings." They will eventually go through an "exidis" and leave their corporal human bodies to become simply conscious matter. They all resist this realization in various degrees, and there is added conflict in the story when another character, Bleek, is a "cutter" who intends to use them in various ways to extend his own life (which will mean that they are doomed to eternal conscious suffering rather than going through their exidis).

Some of the ways that this book is "dark" include the extensive use of "dust" (apparently a type of drug), Morgan's somewhat sadistic actions towards animals (including smushing a frog with her windshield wipers), and a final climactic scene in the dark underground tunnels where Bleek has tortured their friend Neve and impregnated her. I liked the book in that I was interested in the story and figuring out what was going to happen, and the characters were well developed. But it was unsatisfying in the end (Smith has said she intends to write sequels), and I was left very confused about a lot of what goes on with the changelings and why (perhaps this was intentional on the author's part to convey the confusion that the characters feel).

See Trisha's post about it here on The Ya Ya Yas blog A(long with some more of my comments).

50 comments:

Temperance said...

I work at a book store and saw this in the new releases. I started reading it last night, am just before half way. So far incredibly interesting.. it isnt really that dark yet so thanks for the warning, dont know if i can handle morgan squashing or skinning animals lol but so far, ive found that Smith has written a brilliant story.. will let u kno thoughs when im done!

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i was confused too.
actually a lot.
i didnt understand what they did what they did.
i didnt finish it for some reason.

Roxanne & Payton said...

I loved betwixt and i understood all of it. The ending was a little confusing but that is because tara bray smith probably wants to make people ask questions so when the sequal comes out they will like it that much more. I was confused at first but as i went into the book i found that most of my questions were answered... i hope you all like the book too.

I LOVE NIX!!'

Payton

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Take note that some Bingo houses don't allow food but some do, so it basically depends on the venue. Policies vary among different venues. For instance, some bingo halls allow reservation of cards, while others don't allow it. Some allow people to leave the venue in the middle of the game, others forbid it. But there are general policies observed in all bingo houses, such as disqualification of tampered bingo cards. There is no way you can get away with a tampered card because the walkers are adept at identifying authentic cards from tampered ones. You could be banned from a bingo establishment if proven liable of tampering a card. Hence, you should play honestly.

Interestingly, some venues offer special bingo games for kids although some halls don't allow players to have companions while playing. Suppose you bring kids with you, don't let them run around the venue and bother other gamers. They should behave well whilst you play and the game proceeds. Play quietly and don't recite the numbers you desperately want to come off because you'll be much of a disturbance if you do. Decorous playing is expectant of all players, even those who play roulette at casinos. Also, having a valid identification is important because you don't know you might win and need to present credentials.

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