Flesh Failure

Flesh Failure - Sèphera Girón

(I got a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

An enjoyable take on the theme of animating the dead, woven with bits of historical events such as the Ripper's murders. Agatha wakes up buried in the woods, and has to claw her way out of the earth. Only helped by brief flashes of memory, she goes on her own quest to find out what happened to her, why she recalls herself as different-looking, and who created her.

I'm going to confess to a total lack of impartiality here: I love stories on the theme of reanimated humans, creatures who start out as "monstrous" and have to find their way in the world, for all the questions they raise about our own humanity. This short novel may not have been perfect, but it still made me think about that no matter what. In spite of Agatha's smell and scars, there were people who natueally came to help, fed her, gave her clothes, let her sleep in their home. They weren't perfect people either, they had their flaws, they may end up rejecting her after a while, but the fact remains: there's still goodness in human beings.

The novel deals with a certain kind of symbolism, too. Seven days for Agatha's "rebirth". Electricity as a conductor for life, but also as a means of destruction, just like fire can keep you warm, yet burn you to a crisp if you get too close. Though not exceptional, such symbols still remained interesting.

A few things didn't sit too well with me. First, some editing blips (a character's name is known before she's properly introduced) and redundant mistakes ("then" instead of "than") that became annoying after a while, and were likely not typos. There were also a couple of happenings that I can't make up my mind about, because they're a bit too close to Shelley's story. The encounter with the blind man was one of those. I honestly don't know if I liked this or not, if it was typical retelling homage or closer to a copy of the original scene. Then there was Agatha's behaviour: I thought she could have questioned it more, especially when it came to her cravings for blood and how she responded to them. (If looking at Shelley's story—and there's no way a reader can't see the parallels here, they're totally on purpose—the "monster" started quite innocent, his gradual descent due to his trials. Agatha, on the other hand, seemed to start as a monster already, and maybe she was a little too inhuman, so there wasn't that much character progress to have. That'd be my major complaint, and why I'm not rating it higher.)

The ending felt too abrupt, as if the story suddenly had to be wrapped up right now. However, it fits with what happens in the last paragraphs, so even though I would've liked to read more, writing it that way was actually logical.

Readers who aren't so keen as I am about this kind of story may not find it more than "OK", but in my case, it still struck a chord, and after the first slow pages, I got into it fairly easily.