The Rust Maidens by Gwendolyn Kiste
Book Review by Emily Reed
“You can’t stop the girls from becoming what they became.“
The Rust Maidens is my third Gwendolyn Kiste book this year, and she crushed it again. I love everything I’ve read by her, and it is going to be a must-read for fans when it’s released in November.
Gwendolyn writes in a way that makes me feel understood, and I can’t say that about very many people. There are so many authors I love & enjoy, but she’s one of the few who can really make me reflect on my own life with her stories. I think that The Rust Maidens captures youthful ennui and female friendships so well, and so many memories were brought up while I was reading this. On top of enjoying these aspects, it’s also set against a grim backdrop with an unsettling storyline, and I loved everything about it. Cleveland plays a large role in the story, and this book reminded me of the things I liked about studying American fiction.
If you’ve read Gwendolyn Kiste’s And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, The Rust Maidens sort of felt like an expansion of her story The Tower Princesses. It has similar themes, but it goes much deeper than the short story was able to.
I found the characters in this book to be likeable, and Phoebe was a relatable main character. She’s honest, bold, flawed, and truly fights for what she thinks is right. She values friendship, and she’s truly human in this book – she does both good and bad things and I would definitely read another book about her if one ever comes to be.
I think there will be a lot of things in this book for women to relate to, and set with an ominous backdrop, which makes it even better. I’m not going to go into everything for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but I felt comforted by the fact that some of my personal worries about life were addressed in this book. I’m pretty sure I also said this about And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, but in all honesty, this book made me feel a little less alone. It’s just nice to know that, somewhere, people understand you & also enjoy creepy things.
I can’t wait to see what else Gwendolyn Kiste comes up with. I highly recommend picking up The Rust Maidens as soon as possible! This is one of my favorite books of the year.