Monday 16 July 2018

Stillwaters by Yvonne Anderson

Book Title: Stillwaters
Author: Yvonne Anderson
Genre: Science Fiction
My Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Source: E-book review copy provided by the author
Plot Summary: How did she rise from the shrouds of obscurity to become one of the world’s most influential figures? The enigmatic author J. S. Freeman breaks her long silence and tells the whole tale. In Stillwaters, the first of her three-part story, she brings us into the steamy, untamed land of her feral birth. When the City invaders capture her—they call it a rescue, but it sure doesn’t feel like it—her first life ends. She wants only to run free again on Freemansland, but circumstances take her ever farther from home, until one snowy day, her second life ends as well.
Come and see. The truth she tells is better than her fiction.
Thanks to the author, Yvonne Anderson, for providing me with a review copy of this book.

What did I think?

This is not the kind of book I'd usually pick up. I'm not a big fan of genre fiction written in the style of a memoir, but every now and then I like to read outside my comfort zone. It turned out to be a great experience.

The premise is simple: welcome to the autobiography of Jem Freeman, who is famous on a planet that is not Earth.

The book is told in the first person, and I really enjoyed Jem's voice. It's very distinct, natural and I enjoyed reading about her life.

Stillwaters opens with Jem's rather feral childhood and the neglect she endured at the hands of her family. Jem grew up in the countryside under terrible living conditions, and she mistrusts the City for a very long time, even though they saved her life. The only person sticking with her throughout her childhood and later years is her twin brother, and the two have an exceptionally strong bond.

Yvonne Anderson has a vast imagination and describes each scene with vivid details, creating memorable visuals. Jem is an interesting and well developed character and there's a lot of humour in the writing.

The story slows down a bit every now and then, and, especially in the first part, there are a few lulls where the pacing felt off. All in all, it takes a long time for the plot to really get going, and Jem's formative years make up the biggest part of this book.

It takes Jem a long time to let go of her dream of going back to Freemansland, and she feels confined by the City. Her prejudices are strong, and as the reader you're not sure whether to look at the City as a benevolent institution or an oppressive power. Over the next few years, Jem slowly adapts, changes her views and learns to become a part of the City.

At first, Jem holds onto her brother. He speaks for her, shields her, protects her, and one of the things I found fascinating was just how much Jem gets to grow until she's her own person in charge of her own destiny.

I recommend Stillwaters to anyone who likes reading about a world that isn't ours and enjoys memoir-style fiction.


  1. That's a really interesting approach to a story, to do a fictional memoir!