Odd & True
By Cat Winters
Summary: 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.
Source: I purchased a signed hardcover
I am a fan of Cat Winters and have enjoyed her other books. I love that even with a darker sort of premise, it’s usually always about the problems of society and the way it treats women. I like how the author tends to blend fantasy and history in an enjoyable way, while also having a lesson or message of some sort.
Odd and True was a story of two sisters.
It’s difficult to review the book because I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped, but I also “get” the point and I liked the underlying themes.
Still, I think that the problem with Cat Winters novels are that they are marketed in a way that conveys a setting or plot that really isn’t there. Even though they all somewhat deal with the dark and scary thing they are supposed to, they never fully “go there” with the plot points talked about in the synopsis and instead deal with everyday things like women struggling to gain a foothold in their society or learning to overcome, With this book and nearly all of her others, had I been more prepared for the actual plot, I would’ve appreciated it much more. I love the symbolism, but as someone who fully enjoys the supernatural, it’s kind of a let down when the scary thing is just a metaphor for another actual scary thing in society. (This is nearly always how I feel about Cat Winters books, but I still would’ve rated it higher had I enjoyed the book more.)
While Cat Winters books are always kind of different and can disappoint me if I’m not prepared, I have to admit that Odd and True was simply boring and that was the number one reason I didn’t throw out a 4 star rating for the cleverness of the symbolism.
It took awhile for the plot to pick up and the historical setting didn’t provide a very clear picture like her other novels did. I felt immersed in the history in her other novels, whereas in Odd and True, it was more difficult to hammer down a setting or get a real feel for the world. Aside from the character having polio, it could’ve been set really at any time. It also bothered me that the plot took so long to move forward, which I associated with the fact that the characters weren’t really in a city and were more secluded, but when the plot finally picked up, suddenly it was no big deal to just galavant all over the country. Having taken a cross country trip myself recently, I just find it hard to believe that moving from one coast to the other, even on a train, would be quite so nonchalant for the characters to do, especially for Tru. Honestly, if they were going to end up searching for the Leeds Devil in Pennsylvania, the entire novel could’ve been more believable/relatable had the family maybe lived on a farm in Pennsylvania and their mother was from a neighboring state instead of having characters hop from CA to OR to the east coast and back like it was no big deal.
If you want to read a book about sisterhood and family and understanding the past, Odd and True was good, but if you’re looking for a story about monsters and monster fighting, this isn’t the book for you.