Mud Vein by Tarryn Fisher
Publish Date: March 8, 2014
Source: Book – Bought, Audiobook – Bought
Find it here: Goodreads / Amazon
When reclusive novelist Senna Richards wakes up on her thirty-third birthday, everything has changed. Caged behind an electrical fence, locked in a house in the middle of the snow, Senna is left to decode the clues to find out why she was taken. If she wants her freedom, she has to take a close look at her past. But, her past has a heartbeat… and her kidnapper is nowhere to be found. With her survival hanging by a thread, Senna soon realizes this is a game. A dangerous one. Only the truth can set her free. (Goodreads)
I’ve read Mud Vein twice now and I’m itching to read it again. My mind quotes these characters and this author often back to myself, which tells me it’s time to pick the book back up soon (I’m actually rereading another one of her books right now.) I’ve become quite the fan of this author based on this book and am pretty astounded at the high ratings that her books consistently bring in (I’ve read them all, I think, and they’re all dang good.) I digress.
Reading Mud Vein was more like an experience to me than just reading a book. I can’t pinpoint the exact reasons why. Maybe because the story resonated with me so deeply? Maybe because the story stuck so well? Maybe because I almost constantly want to read it again? I don’t know. What I do know is that main character Senna Richards appeals to me in all of the ways that she is: snappy and snarky, fierce and independent, quiet but also loud, introverted. There is no judgment for her here. We all have those darker places in us, I think, even though they may be tucked away in our small corners where it isn’t always noticeable. Senna wore these parts of herself like a badge of honor and perhaps this is a small part of why I’m so drawn to her story. Maybe I see some of myself in her darker places.
Mud Vein opens with Senna in a precarious position – she has been kidnapped on her birthday, she has been placed in a house in the middle of nowhere, and Isaac Asterholder is there with her. Who knows about her past with Isaac? Who even knows about that? Senna and Isaac have no idea why this has happened to them and no clue who may have done it. Senna is whip-smart, though, and she realizes right away that every little part of every little thing around her is a clue – everything she sees, everything, is part of a larger puzzle. She and Isaac spend days and weeks and months trying to figure out what the pieces add up to, what the completed puzzle will reveal. They also try to figure out how to escape.
Worth noting is that the kidnapper has left them food and other provisions like firewood and medical equipment. Eventually, though, things begin to run out. As Senna and Isaac become hungry, and as they become cold without firewood, stress causes tension, which makes a difficult situation more difficult. By this point, I was white-knuckled as I held my Kindle and pacing the floor as the audiobook narrator read to me. Even as I tried, I couldn’t figure things out, I couldn’t quite anticipate what would happen next. While I was holding my breath for the safe return of these two, I also felt like I was floating on the clouds that are Tarryn Fisher’s lovely phrases because she can certainly write beautiful words through tense, dark, heartbreaking times.
Reading this story both times has been A THING for me. I feel this story in my bones because it is a great one, first of all. Because of Senna’s life, because of the things that have shaped her and made her the way she is, because I want more for her. This is what Isaac wants for her too. It takes a while to find out exactly the nature of the relationship between Senna and Isaac: the entire picture is painted slowly, the information is released in bits and pieces here and there throughout the narrative. Alternating time structure between present and past, I suppose you could say. I like this because I think it encourages me to identify with and fall harder for both Senna and Isaac, and I can only imagine that the entire idea is for readers to love these characters as much as the author does. And my, my how it works because by the time I had figured out the complete story, I was so. emotionally. invested. But back to Senna, there is an interesting thing to something cool about reading parts of her past while also reading her present, because it is like watching two totally different women unfold in two different ways. I will say that I feel like the Senna at the end of the book is not the same as the Senna that begins the book – sure this indicates character development and all – but there is a far larger theme to this story than just character development. I’ll let you figure out what that is.
And Isaac? Yes, he is great. I love every single scene that includes him. And just like with Senna, reading his part in the story is like reading his character unfold in two ways, past-Isaac and present-Isaac. Two different men, a different Isaac at the end than at the beginning. This is how it feels for me. Overall, Isaac is a kind and nurturing person; he is the light to Senna’s dark, the quiet to her loud.
Great Setting: No spoilers!
Alternating Time Periods, Past vs Present
Some suspense and mystery
Romance: Not the main part of the plot. No spoilers!
Books by Tarryn Fisher: