If you know the term ‘grindhouse’ – often associated with a style of film – then think of this as grindhouse fiction.
Oubliette is a floating prison colony. It is not just that the worst prisoners are sent there – and they are – but due to massive poverty, parents will sometimes send their children to Oubliette to have one less child to be responsible for. The prison colony is run by gangs of tough, brutal prisoners. There is currently a very tenuous truce among the gangs so that when a shipment of the meager food and supplies arrives the gangs get their cut without fighting. Oubliette is an all-female colony enclosed in a glass-like dome. (Male prisoners and cast-off family members are sent to a military complex.)
One of the gangs on Oubliette is the Daughters of Forgotten Light, led by Lena “Horror” Horowitz. They ride around Oubliette on their motorcycles in some semblance of order, intimidating loners and lesser gangs. Occasionally they’ll lose a member in a fight, but there’s always new blood being sent to the colony.
In the latest shipment, however, there are two surprises for the gangs. A drone. And a baby.
A Senator has sent the drone, hoping to get enough video evidence of the lawlessness – the violence and the cannibalism – occurring, that she will get approval to destroy the colony and everyone in it. Her problem … the baby now on Oubliette may be hers.
Despite the dark themes and the grindhouse sense of storytelling, this was a fast and light read. It’s not a huge cast of characters with a lot of subplot going on. It’s straightforward, and rough, with just enough plot to take you from page to page.
I find it quite interesting that author Sean Grigsby writes a novel of almost entirely female characters. While I am enjoying his “Smoke Eaters” series, the one issue I have with the books I’ve read there, are: misogyny and male pubescent fantasy toward the female characters. I don’t feel a whole lot better about the characters here. Even realizing that these gang members are tough killers, I didn’t always feel like their dialog was natural. It sometimes felt he was trying too hard to sound female, but he didn’t. And honestly, I’m not sure what the point was to have this group be all female.
This was a fun read, though not necessarily a memorable one. It was a fun way to pass some time. If you like this kind of slaughterhouse fiction, consider this for your next beach read.
Looking for a good book? Daughters of Forgotten Light by Sean Grigsby is the literary equivalent to a grindhouse film – skimpy on plot, heavy on the tough-taking, tough-acting women, with plenty of violence.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Daughters of Forgotten Light
author: Sean Grigsby
publisher: Angry Robot
paperback, 352 pages