Writer: Laura Kat Young
Publisher: Titan Books
Publish Date: 27 September 2022 (US) & 13 September 2022 (UK)
Reviewed By: Dean Asquith
My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
When Lady Mae turns eighteen, she’ll inherit her mother’s job as the Butcher: dismembering Settlement Five’s guilty residents as payment for their petty crimes. An index finger taken for spreading salacious gossip, a foot for blasphemy, no one is exempt from punishment.
But when her mother refuses to harm a child, the Deputies come to the house for retribution. No one is above the law, and Lady Mae watches as they murder her mother.
Within twenty-four hours, now alone in the world, Lady Mae begins her new job. But a chance meeting years later puts her face to face with the Deputy that murdered her mother. Now Lady Mae must choose: will she flee, and start another life in the desolate mountains, forever running? Or will she seek vengeance for her mother’s death even if it kills her?
A devastating, alarming page-turner infused with melancholy, humanity – and society’s maddening acceptance in the face of horror.
The Butcher is a dystopian mystery wrapped in a cloak of family & oppression.
Laura Kat Young introduces us to a desolate town in a world of subjugation, where crime is punished in a very extreme way. In the form of atonements. This basically means that a court of ‘Deputies’ will judge your crime and punish with a number of atonements, this involves the removal of the appropriate number of body parts by ‘The Butcher’. Imagine a town where a majority of the inhabitants wander about their daily business with any number of missing limbs! Savage right?
The story follows Lady Mae the apprentice butcher and her journey from child to adulthood. We follow Lady Mae through all sorts of trials and tribulations as she aims to deal with her approaching future as the butcher of settlement 5. Along the way we meet Lady Mae’s mother and a boy called Arbuckle. Amongst these as the supporting cast of townsfolk and the ever present, ever intimidating Deputies.
Laura Kat Young does a stellar job of building a fantastic set of characters and an extremely unsettling environment in which the characters live. The story is full of twists and turns that will deeply unsettle and test the limits of Lady Mae to the extreme.
If you are looking for a new dystopian trip through a horrifically oppressed society then Laura Kat Young has just the book for you. An engrossing storyline coupled with deep, memorable characters ensure a thrilling adventure through the lives of the inhabitants of settlement 5.