Review: Odd & True by Cat Winters

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Published: 12 September 2017

Publisher: Amulet Books

Category: Historical/Young Adult/Fantasy

Trudchen grew up hearing Odette’s stories of their monster-slaying mother and a magician’s curse. But now that Tru’s older, she’s starting to wonder if her older sister’s tales were just comforting lies, especially because there’s nothing fantastic about her own life—permanently disabled and in constant pain from childhood polio.

In 1909, after a two-year absence, Od reappears with a suitcase supposedly full of weapons and a promise to rescue Tru from the monsters on their way to attack her. But it’s Od who seems haunted by something. And when the sisters’ search for their mother leads them to a face-off with the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish beast that’s wreaking havoc in the Mid-Atlantic states, Tru discovers the peculiar possibility that she and her sister—despite their dark pasts and ordinary appearances—might, indeed, have magic after all.

Rating: 4 Stars

Cat Winters has a way with words and in Odd & Tru she uses her skill to weave a story of loyalty, protection, and what the truth is depending upon the person telling the story.

The book is told in alternating chapters and time periods. The current day ones are told by Tru, the more reserved and younger of two sisters.

Tru was a brilliant character. While she started out a little dull, I think a lot of that had to do with her Aunt Vik trying to stuff as much “reality” and mundanity into her as possible as a methof protection against what Vik saw as familial madness. There was also the matter of Tru’s disability and chronic pain: her right leg is two inches shorter than the left, causing constant pain and rendering her paralyzed for many years before allowing for limited mobility. For a long time she saw herself as a cripple, a word here she used to describe herself, but a word she begins to move beyond with the encouragement of her sister Od.

The other point of view is told from the past in voice of the elder sister, Od.

Od was fascinating and mysterious, easily that cool aunt type character that I’d have looked forward to seeing as a child with her wild stories. She’s fearless and she doesn’t let anyone or anything, especially the expectations of society and her Aunt Vik, get in the way of following the path she sees as the right one. Her determined selfworth is matched only by the enormous amount of energy she puts into making sure Tru doesn’t languish away on a family in Oregon, similar to how their mother suffered for years on their father’s California estate.

Of the two, I preferred the stories in Od’s chapters, but I really liked seeing them come through in Tru’s current life, such as when she begs for the story of her birth, which we hear in the present only to later hear a tidbit which reveals the truth about where Od got the information to weave the tale.

For the longest time it’s difficult to say who is telling the truth and who is not lying, exactly, but perhaps coloring the truth rather more than one might expect in the every day. Are the monsters real as Od and the girls’ Uncle Magnus say? Or are there members of this German immigrant family that dabble in debauchery far too often and are on their own, as Aunt Vik vehemently states when Od shows up at the Oregon farm?

To reveal the answer would be to ruin the journey and the adventures that Od & Tru have. Suffice it to say that I think you may find yourself questioning more than one person before the end. The answers come slowly, but worth the experience of the slow burn read.

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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