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Body of Scars by Laura Walter, #106 review

Publication date: 16 March 2021

An exploration of fate and female agency in a world very similar to our own–except that the markings on women’s bodies reveal the future. A piercing indictment of rape culture, a read about what happens when women are objectified and stripped of choice–and what happens when they fight back.

Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage to adulthood. Like every girl, she was born with a set of childhood markings–the freckles, moles, and birthmarks on her body that foretell her future and that of those around her–and with puberty will come a new set of predictions that will solidify her fate. The possibilities are tantalizing enough to outweigh the worry that the future she dreams of won’t be the one she’s fated to have and the fear of her “changeling period” the time when women are nearly irresistible to men and the risk of abduction is rife.

Celeste’s beloved brother, Miles, is equally anticipating her transition to adulthood. As a skilled interpreter of the future, a field that typically excludes men, Miles considers Celeste his practice ground–and the only clue to what his own future will bring. But when Celeste changes, she learns a devastating secret about Miles’s fate: a secret that could destroy her family, a secret she will do anything to keep. Yet Celeste isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and when the lies of brother and sister collide, it leads to a tragedy that will irrevocably change Celeste’s fate, set her on a path to fight against the inherent misogyny of fortune-telling, and urge her to create a future that is truly her own.

Debut novelist Laura Walter tells the story of what many young girls and women have gone through for centuries and are still dealing with in this fresh, never seen before interpretation of rape culture, issues of girlhood, womanhood and toxic masculinity.

You’ve heard various stories of sexual assault, you might have faced some yourself (I’m so sorry), it is the same thing over and over again. Women suffer, Men scot-free. Here’s a riveting collection of the stories we’ve heard and experienced before all packed in one novel. Body of Stars is set in a dystopian world parallel to our own.

Celeste Morton has been tumultuously waiting to Change from a girl to a woman. Overnight, girls will Change from the body of a child to the body of a woman. They are called Changlings. Every girl is born with a set of childhood markings on their bodies – a map of freckles, birthmarks, moles to tell the future of the girl and her family. “Mapping the Future: An Interpretive Guide to Women and Girls” is a book issued by their government, it catalogues the different interpretations, but they are not always clear or complete. A new Changeling posses the power of irresistible charm and allure, they glow and practically dazzle in a crowd of girls. This is week-long period known as the Changeling Period where girls are at risk of Being Taken – kidnapped by sex traffickers which includes abduction and rape. If a Changeling is Taken, it is deemed as their fault and the act doesn’t constitute a criminal offence, so the perpetrator goes unpunished and roam free without any taint on their soul. The Changeling, however, is subjected to shame and dishonour, her entire life ahead of her is ruin. her future in tatters. It is a very dark version of our world, yet it is an actual reality for some third world countries. In this dystopian novel, puberty comes a new set of dangers and new markings on a Changeling’s body that will change the Childhood prediction of the Changling and her family.

Laura Walter has spun an elaborate world where misogyny and sexism reign supreme. It is a coming-of-age story of Celeste who took the unfairness of society into the fire of her belly and spit out her iron will to raise an awareness of the corrupted programming of society’s inequality to girls.

To quote Lou’s review on goodreads said in words hard to beat, “Through a deeply dystopian lens, we are shown a complex, multidimensional world not so different from our own and asked through quiet reflection to see its faults. It’s powerful, heartbreaking and does not shy away from addressing unsettling topics at the heart of egalitarian debate. The prose is lyrical and perhaps on the verge of becoming purple but manages to captivate throughout. This is a bewitching, thought-provoking allegory of our world and the aspects we should seek to change about it.”

Warnings: Rape culture, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression, Toxic masculinity, Uncomfortable and Disgusting topics.

Thank you to @times.reads for sending me a review copy. You can get the book from Times Reads stockist

By elysianbooksish

The Bookish Faerie who loves to read and write, and bake too

3 replies on “Body of Scars by Laura Walter, #106 review”

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