Morning Song by Susan Simone

Morning Song was my fat fiction pick for September, and it turned out to be a fun yet frustrating read. The novel is set in a fantasy/medieval sort of setting. Morna is a mystic in a small town with a crazy law: rape is legal if no man claims a woman or girl. *Thus, there is a lot of rape in this book. That’s a heads up for all readers.* Although she was gang raped at 13, Morna stays in this violent town to help heal women and girls who are also sexually assaulted. She heals others, too, which is why her friends drop a strange man named Arrick off at her door. He was accidentally shot with three arrows when Morna’s friend mistook this large man for a deer. They slowly fall in love, and when Arrick is evasive about why he has to hurry up and return to his own town, I easily guessed why he was hiding his identity.

Morning Song

Morning Song is a roller coaster of quality. The beginning was predictable and a little cheesy, but about 40% through I was hooked. I was reading more often and getting involved emotionally, especially since by all clues the book should have been done, but there was 60% to go. What else could possibly happen!? That was exciting. However, the editing is terrible— so terrible that I thought this was a self-published book released by an impatient, inexperienced author. The word “comma” replaced actual commas in some places. Commas never appeared to set off names or separate clauses. For example, “Morna ignored them going into healer mode.” This implies Morna ignored other people as they went into healer mode, but Morna is the one who went into healer mode as she ignored other people.

Actually, Susan Simone is published through J. Ellington Ashton Press, which has some really cool-sounding titles, like Crackhouse in the Desert, The ABC’s of Zombie Friendship, Slothantula, (a sloth/tarantula monster?), and Wendy Won’t Go (WTF, Wendy? Now I’m curious!). All very monster/Halloween, which is why I’m curious how they acquired Morning Song, which is more fantasy romance/sexy times. The press has potential, but needs a robust editor. There are several editors listed on the press’s site — who aren’t living up to their titles.

The world building in Morning Song was wonky, though had me interested. The story is set in the future. The machines are gone, so it all feels like a traditional fantasy of yore. Morna sings contemporary songs (which are inserted oddly) and give readers an idea of when recorded music was still a thing. But Simone is so invested in this knights/royalty setting that she forgets readers should be in the future, making me wonder why she chose a post-apocalyptic setting at all (other than to share some Adele and Soundgarden songs).

Despite the lacking setting and editorial errors, I did find myself engaged with Morna, Arrick, and several minor characters, including a dog. I wanted to reach the end of the book to make sure they got their happily ever after, especially with so much violence in their lives. Characters are shot with arrows, cut with knives, whacked with staffs, stitched up after births, burned — there’s so much excitement! They’re both strong partners, and Morna happens to be fat. Hooray! Morna is rarely (if ever, come to think of it. . .) saved by Arrick. And sex! Boy-howdy, the sex was fun and will likely make you squiggly.

I had a few concerns, such as how Morna was always described as being so light and graceful on her feet. Just let her be fat for reals, you know? Arrick also mentions how he didn’t realize he was into large women and should have ignored all those skinny ninny’s from his past. No need to insult other women for their bodies, dude. If Morna were skinny, would he have ignored her? Unlikely, so why say such things?

Basically, this is an uppie-downie book that I really liked reading.

Advertisements

24 comments

  1. I have to admit: the frequent occurrence of rape would be likely be enough to put me off. I’m glad you found yourself engaging with Monra, as caring about the main character matters. But, as interesting as parts of this sound (and I do give credit for innovation), I don’t think this one’s for me. And I know what you mean about editing. Not that I’m perfect (not even close!), but I do think it matters.

    • I just don’t get who would write in the word “comma” instead of putting one in. It’s very odd. I wasn’t aware that this book had so much rape in it based on the synopsis, and I don’t think that’s fair of the publisher. I’ve tried content warnings in the past and wrote a whole post about it, but I eventually realized what I want to be warned about isn’t what others want, meaning I can’t guess what warnings they want either. But rape is pretty universal. Rape should be right on the back of the book. I almost wonder if publishers will some day add trigger warnings to the back of the book. Like, big ones that people are less likely to disagree on, such as rape, murder, incest, and racism.

      • I’m actually surprised we haven’t reached this point already. The public gets so up in arms about such little things these days – and social media screams for books to be challenged and banned all the time. I’m almost certain we’ll see trigger warnings posted on books in our lifetimes.

        • I’m not thinking of little things that would get people upset, but big universal tragedies. Even in Greek tragedies and Shakespeare, people rape is depicted brutally, and in a way that destroys a person.

          • For sure. For example, The Hate U Give probably needs a Police Brutality trigger warning, even though that’s the whole point.

            But that doesn’t mean the internet won’t get up in arms about the lesser things. 😉 This is why we don’t give the internet actual power.

  2. I’m more or less with Margot on this one dash the rapes comma not to mentions the commas comma would be too much for me full stop Tragically comma I think the commas would annoy me more than the rapes dot dot dot smiley

    Glad you enjoyed it though!

    • When I bought the book, I didn’t know if would have so much sexual assault in it. This is basically the crux of the synopsis provided by the publisher: “In the middle of the night an injured stranger is brought to her door. He is more than he appears and soon has Morna spellbound. For the first time in her life a man has fallen in love with not only her voluptuous form, but her heart, mind, and strength that shines out like a beacon in their cold world. No matter the dangers that will unfold, Arrick plans to give Morna the life she deserves.”

    • You’re not alone on that one. It really pushed the boundary of what is believable. And the odd thing is the law only applied to this one town. Morna wouldn’t leave because she helped rape victims while constantly defending herself from attacks. The more my readers bring up how upsetting the rape culture of this fictional town is, the more I feel bad I enjoyed the latter half…

  3. I wonder how a writer can need that much editing. Though it occurs to me the author may have dictated the story and that’s how all the ‘commas’ got in. I understand the premise but in general if rapes or murders are described then I generally find that pornographic and unnecessary. And yes, hard to imagine being heavy and light on your feet, though I suppose some big athletes are.

    • I wondered if the writer maybe has a disability that means she needs to dictate the story. That’s one thing, but the fact that the press has a whole team of editors who didn’t edit is another.

      As for the violence in the story, the rapes are not typically described. More so, people come to Morna after they’ve been assaulted for medical treatment. Only one is described. That doesn’t necessarily soften it, though. I’m wondering if the author was trying to make a comment about rape culture. It exists in the U.S. , and it exists in the story in a black and white way. No one argues it exists.

  4. OMG this review made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. Whenever you say “Boy Howdy” I pay close attention.

    I admire the fact that you tough your way through some of these books, the lousy editing disgusts me (strong word, I know) and I typically DNF a book that is that rough, but thank god we have readers like you that are more empathetic than I am!

    • Typically, the only time I power through a poorly edited book is when I’m reading for my fat books challenge. When the big publishers think the market doesn’t want books about happy fat women, authors have to resort to self-publishing or using poorly funded presses. In other situations, I stop reading. It’s all about access to unpopular voices.

      And I love, love, love that you know things about me, like what “boy howdy” indicates 🤣

  5. Your GIFs remind me of a game I used to play with my college friends: Drunk or Baby? You tell a story and everyone else guesses if you did this act when you were drunk or a baby. It’s shockingly hilarious. XD

    Anyway. Book. I’m surprised rape is not mentioned in the synopsis considering it’s the whole reason Morna is in this town and sticking it out.This seems pretty important for the plot, doesn’t it? I imagine this might trigger a lot of people into not reading the book. That said comma I think poor punctuation might drive me to quit first. When you have editors on staff there is no excuse for poor editing. It’s literally their JOB. I hope you’re reaching out to the publishing company!

  6. “the editing is terrible— so terrible that I thought this was a self-published book released by an impatient, inexperienced author. The word “comma” replaced actual commas in some places. Commas never appeared to set off names or separate clauses. ”

    Yuck! No thank you. The fact that you stuck with this book despite the horrible formatting just shows how dedicated to fat fiction you are!

    “Slothantula” sounds like a monster Godzilla would battle lol

    Despite your issues, it sounds like this was a “guilty pleasure” type of book. It also sounds like there was mostly positive fat representation despite those two hiccups?

    • I think the representation was pretty fair, and I did get excited to see how it would turn out in the end. It suffered from not knowing if it was fantasy or post-apocalypse fiction. Thank you for your comment about my dedication. I’ve read terrible books, horrible books, wonderful books… There is no “meh” with fat fiction!

Insert 2 Cents Here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s