I kind of hated this four-star book. It has a subtle kind of horror to it that leads the reader to accept as normal some pretty terrifying circumstances and reactions. It takes some chops to pull it off as well as Birch does here. I'd say more, but I really don't like hitting the 'spoilers' button.I'm wondering, too, about the rating process. I don't put much effort into writing proper reviews; even books I do love I tend only to write about an element or two that miss the mark. But beyond considering whether or not the book was a joy to read, I do try to judge the story on how well the author accomplishes her goals (or what I imagine those goals might be.) Rarely, I take authors to task in my own little way for having unworthy goals. I think I'm knocking a star off for Jamrach's Menagerie for being a bit obscure of intent. Or maybe it's a half a star for leaving me wondering about the purpose for this story, another third of a star for having a very long d??nouement, and a last sixth of a star for occasionally leaving me all grossed-out. (Whoah, that was math!)Lastly, it seems weird to me that I feel compelled to attribute four stars to a book that I can't actually recommend to anyone. So, hey, don't read this really fine book that I hated.