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The Bottle Stopper (The Paper Duchess) Paperback – December 2, 2015
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Maeve was six when they took her mother away, and left her in the care of her Uncle Lou: a drunk, a misogynist, a fraud.
For eleven years she's lived with him in Falside's slums, deep in the silt of the Falwere River. She bottles his miracle medicine, stocks his apothecary shop, and endures his savage temper.
But as his violence escalates, and his lies come undone, she devises a plan to escape him forever. Even if it means people have to die.
A dark and gripping thriller set in a future dystopia. If you like stories of oppressive governments, genetic selection, mass murder, and the fight for freedom, if you look for unlikely heroes and always root for the underdog, you’ll love The Bottle Stopper.
“Angeline Trevena, with her ever fertile imagination, creates dystopian visions of the future that are both innovative and chilling.”Tony Benson, author of An Accident of Birth
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About the Author
- Publisher : Bogus Caller Press; 1st edition (December 2, 2015)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 212 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0993486401
- ISBN-13 : 978-0993486401
- Item Weight : 8.3 ounces
- Dimensions : 5 x 0.53 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #10,726,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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It is a dystopia, and a particularly brutal and bleak one at that. A little too much so for my taste but still a good story. The plot revolves mostly around one character. A seventeen year old girl living under the care of an uncle since years ago her mother was arrested and taken away and has been unheard-of ever since. The girl is abused by her uncle and the brutal society overs her no hope so she devises a sociopathic scheme to get rid of him. (She seems to get away with it too, so the ending is morally suspect at best).
The world is an interesting one, though not as well developed as I'd've preferred. It shows signs of being much more planned out but the author has saved most of the details for later books. From this book we know mostly just that it is a SciFi future Earth where civilization has devolved slightly. Most modern things still exist but are more rare and not as well understood. Society has also devolved since for some reason female births have dropped considerably (there are hints that this may have been intentionally done). As a result women are scarce and are treated as a rare commodity. That is, as possessions (slaves), mostly, although with a few small differences. Whole the fiercely authoritarian government and harsh economy works seem to make it a brutal climate for all citizens, the focus here is heavily stilted toward women's issues. The subjugation and abuse of women is a central theme and takes precedence over all other worldbuilding concerns. I'm not sure whether that makes this a feminist book or merely myopic.
Overall it's a fairly gripping story in a rather drab world. worth reading, but with room for improvement.
It had a more of a European story arc in that it dove right into the action, meandered about a bit, and ended. A story was told, but it was a piece of a greater whole. There is no happy ending or tying up of all loose ends. Part of that could be because it is the beginning of a series. It was a quick read and entertaining enough that I grabbed the next in the series.
I had a little trouble with the main premise of the book regarding women though. There is suppose to be a significant shortage of women based on an uneven birthrate, making women precious, and they end up being treated like property. Yet, women are very common in the book and constantly brutally abused in every manner possible. This is partially explained by the birthrate not being as uneven in the slums where most of the action takes place. The levels of freedoms and constraints placed on them was a bit confusing to me. Perhaps it will be developed further in later books.
Topley’s family gives Maeve a vision of another life that she, too, can have once she turns 18 leaves Uncle Lou. But when Topley suddenly falls ill and her desperate mother resorts to some of Uncle Lou’s medicine, Maeve’s dream of a better life changes to one of revenge.
Maeve’s world of Falside is grim and bleak where women are restricted and controlled and viewed as property. The birth of female children has, unaccountably, become a rare occurrence, and leaving Falside is viewed as treasonous and punishable by death. But there is a glimmer of revolution here and there such as in “The Paper Duchess,” an old bookstore off the beaten path, where Denver, Kerise, and Tale try to discover what happened to Maeve’s mother.
“The Bottle Stopper” is a dark and well-developed beginning to “The Paper Duchess” series. It is recommended for readers that enjoy dystopian tales and those with similarities to Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Top reviews from other countries
Full of incredibly well thought-out plot, characters that make you want to punch, hug, or gather in the bar and to drink with them, based in a world, that makes you almost smell what it's like to be there, this book is just simply flowing with allsorts of creativity, and ideas that make it a real page-turner.
If you like dystopian books, that stand up for womens rights, and an unlikely hero, then you will absolutely love this book.
Maeve herself is a darkly curious character, constructed with a hint of apathy that somehow doesn't make her unpalatable. She's raw, angry, full of simmering-beneath-the-surface tension that's barely held in check by her conscience. Even though I felt her friendship with Topley could have been better explored, you could feel her desperation to be liked.
The world setting is one of a grim future-dystopia that's refreshingly old European in style. You can't fail to make the Handmaid's Tale connection - it's a society based on the necessity of protecting women to maximise an unusually low birth rate. Women of high social status are tagged and forced into marriages, the birth of a child (particularly female) is publicly celebrated, women are forbidden from things ranging from wearing trousers, buying "treats" or having same-sex relationships. However Falside is not deeply religious (not if the monks are anything to go by), the lower classes are free to do as they please procreation-wise, and what's happening beyond the city walls... Well, no one's sure. There are some holes in the logic here and there but it's an interesting world which will hopefully be expanded upon later in the series and answer some questions. The writing is solid throughout, and never strays too far into the nastier aspect of the world.
A disquieting read, but one well worth a go if you like your teenage dystopian rebel to be more brain and less adrenaline (and/or hormone) fueled brawn. While it might not be perfect, I'm so curious to know what will become of Maeve and the resistance that I've already got hold of the rest of the series.
Maeve is intriguing with a definite dark side, her origins and possible genetic make-up a mystery.
The world is cruel, strict and steeped in poverty, though only part of it has been explored as yet. There is a curious mix of technology and Victorian England, which, I assume, is a result of some catastrophe.
Reasonably well written, if a little jerky and confusing at times…losing the flow. I was intrigued, however, and will probably read more when funds allow.
Thought-provoking for sure.
A dystopian future zooms its focus onto one girl who's turning 18; Maeve. She's physically abused by her uncle, leaving her black and blue and desperately seeking a way out of the slums.
Women are scarce, and yet become a controlled commodity. Times are bleak indeed. But there is yet hope.
There is somehow a touch of Chaucer in here. Don't even ask me how. Just a vibe I get. Maybe it's the monk? Or the storytelling?
This is a brilliant start to a series. No qualms in recommending it at all.
Great character and world building.
There are quite a large number of characters in this book, but they are all needed, serve a purpose and are well developed. This is a well written dystopian thriller, and although fictional, does make you wonder how much control governments will have over people in the future. I am pleased to see that this is the first in a series, as I'd like to know what happens next to Maeve and the Paper Duchess.
A chilling vision of a possible future. I enjoyed this so much I've also purchased Cutting the Bloodline by the same author.