Title: Constellations of Scars
Author: Melissa Eskue Ousley
Published: June 2021
Genres: Adult, Dark Fantasy, Fantasy
Rating: 3 stars
Cover: Don’t like it
“An indelible story of loving yourself in a world of dreadful realities.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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.
Happy book birthday to Melissa Eskue Ousley’s book, Constellation of Scars. Thank you to Ousley, Midnight Tide Publishing, and Xpresso Tours for a free eARC in exchange for an honest review. Let me tell you: what a unique storyline!
Amelia found out when she was 12-years-old that she was much different than the other kids her age. She was essentially a human oyster. Her mom quickly withdrew her from school and sheltered her at home for her own protection. She warned Amelia of the dangers of letting anyone else know about her gift. As Amelia grows up, never being allowed to leave the house, she realizes that her mom’s motivations seem to stem more from control than from protection, so she starts planning her getaway. Her grand plans are off to a bumpy start when she reaches the city and is immediately turned around and mugged. However, fortune seems to smile on her when she meets a young man who’s willing to buy her pearls–even offering her a job in a quaint beach town at his father’s museum of oddities. Amelia gets swept up into a new-found family and thoroughly is enjoying the life she’s built for herself. Unfortunately, she learns too late that not everyone is trust worthy.
A truly unique story about finding yourself and where you fit in, and about the people we choose as family. I really enjoyed watching Amelia grow into herself as she discovers she’s surrounded by a team of people like her. I was hoping for more romance with a particular character whom Ousley was building a lot of sexual tension with, but was a little disappointed that it didn’t play out how I wanted it to. However, Ousley is definitely skilled at bringing the plot to unexpected places.
This book definitely has a thriller aspect and I didn’t expect it to the extent it played out, even though Ousley is a little in your face with foreshadowing. The ending was rushed, and I felt like there were so many loose ends. I also was a little confused how Amelia doesn’t seem to show any kind of trauma from any of the emotion abuse, etc, she encounters in her life.
Melissa Eskue Ousley is an award-winning author living on the Oregon coast with her family, a neurotic dog, two charming cats, and a piranha. Her suspense novel, Pitcher Plant, is set in Seaside, and won a 2018 Independent Publisher Book Award. Her young adult novel, Sunset Empire, debuted in a bestselling boxed set. Her short stories have been included in Rain Magazine, The North Coast Squid, and various anthologies. When she’s not writing, she can be found volunteering for her local wildlife center, caring for injured owls and hawks.
3x print copies of Constellations of Scars (US only)
5x ebook copies of Constellations of Scars (INT)
a Rafflecopter giveaway