Hello all, Rachael here! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Mayhem by Estelle Laure! I’m so excited to provide you with a short summary of the book, an author bio, a letter that Estelle Laure wrote concerning some of the tougher content in the book, and my thoughts on the book. Mayhem releases July 14, 2020, and can be bought at bookstores worldwide.
Estelle Laure, the author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back believes in love, magic, and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theatre Arts and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and she lives in Taos, New Mexico, with her family. Her work is translated widely around the world.
It’s 1987 and unfortunately it’s not all Madonna and cherry lip balm. Mayhem Brayburn has always known there was something off about her and her mother, Roxy. Maybe it has to do with Roxy’s constant physical pain, or maybe with Mayhem’s own irresistible pull to water. Either way, she knows they aren’t like everyone else.
But when May’s stepfather finally goes too far, Roxy and Mayhem flee to Santa Maria, California, the coastal beach town that holds the answers to all of Mayhem’s questions about who her mother is, her estranged family, and the mysteries of her own self. There she meets the kids who live with her aunt, and it opens the door to the magic that runs through the female lineage in her family, the very magic Mayhem is next in line to inherit and which will change her life for good.
But when she gets wrapped up in the search for the man who has been kidnapping girls from the beach, her life takes another dangerous turn and she is forced to face the price of vigilante justice and to ask herself whether revenge is worth the cost.
From the acclaimed author of This Raging Light and But Then I Came Back, Estelle Laure offers a riveting and complex story with magical elements about a family of women contending with what appears to be an irreversible destiny, taking control and saying when enough is enough.
Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Mayhem was an interesting book. I really liked the idea of magic being passed down through family members. None of my previous reads have ever utilized water as a conduit for receiving powers. There are probably some books out there, but I just haven’t read them, yet! To access the magic, the Brayburn family had to drink water from a cave. Other people could even drink the water, but it affected them differently. I would have liked a deeper explanation about how the water gave the Brayburn family their powers as well as what specific powers they received from drinking the water, but those were minor issues.
The only reason that I gave the novel 3.5 stars was because it felt like the pacing was off. I wanted more action towards the middle of the story rather than having it all packed near the end. That being said, I still enjoyed the novel and might even reread it to see if I can pick up on some of the foreshadowing. The concept was really fascinating (even though I’ve never seen The Lost Boys or The Craft!) and was executed well. As mentioned in my Goodreads review (my Goodreads link can be found on our Contact Us page), I liked Kidd and Jason more than Mayhem. Kidd was definitely a typical ten-year old in the way that she acted sassy about everything and thought she knew best. Jason was a sweet character who I just adored. He was protective of his siblings and especially, Mayhem. Mayhem, on the other hand, reminded me too much of myself when I was thirteen. She liked to defy her mother’s wishes and fought with her constantly, which I also did when I was younger.
Mayhem by Estelle Laure is out tomorrow, July 14, 2020! If you’d like to purchase a copy, you can do so by visiting Wednesday Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or any other favorite book store. Estelle Laure wrote a letter to the readers, which will be included in the finished copy, addressing some of the tougher content of the novel. If you’d like to read the letter, I have included it below.
Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life
was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run. I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although
girls were more passively portrayed in movies like The
Lost Boys back then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.
I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.
Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.
Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate,
I see you and you are not alone.
Estelle LaureWritten by Estelle Laure
As always, we like to share books that are similar to our featured read. My recommendations are below:
1. Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power. Burn Our Bodies Down features a story where the main character goes back to her hometown, which is what Roxy and Mayhem do at the beginning of the novel to get away from Lyle.
2. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman (adult). Practical Magic is similar to Mayhem because both stories feature magic being passed down through the family.
3. A Secret History of Witches by Louisa Morgan (adult). Like Practical Magic and Mayhem, A Secret History of Witches features a fantasy story about magic being passed down through a family.
If you’ve read Mayhem, what did you think of it? Do you have Mayhem on your TBR? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Disclaimer: The author bio, summary, and author letter were provided by St. Martin’s Press and were not written by me.