Reviews

(REVIEW) LYSSA STRATA by Martti Nelson @MaladyMartti – Available on Radish @radish_fiction

Hello awesome readers. I have a review for you today for a book that I really, really enjoyed. Librarian Lyssa Strata is fed up with the laws in her town that date back to the witch trials and treat women and people of color with the same oppression as seen in 1625. She’s going to do something about it if she can just claim the position they want to give to yet another old white man. She’s tired of being nice and she’ll fight dirty if she has to, it’s not like the opposition is going to hold back.

TLDR: This book is amazing and you should get the Radish app so that you can read it right now.

Now, onto my review which contains quotes from the book:

5 stars

LYSSA STRATA

LYSSA STRATA by Martti Nelson_CoverAuthor: Martti Nelson
Category: Women’s Fiction, Comedy, Diverse, Contemporary Chick Lit, Romance
Suitable for: Adults, Older teens+
Pages: 266
Format read for review: Mobi copy provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own.
My Rating: 5 Stars

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Just because some of the people involved don’t like the subject, does not mean the talk is not worth continuing. In fact, it means the opposite. Silence is deadly. Keep talking, ladies.”

This book was an absolute gem in a land of turds. I read it very slowly because I was savoring every word and I would highly recommend it to anyone who finds the premise interesting or wants to feel some woman power! This book does an excellent job of pointing out gender inequalities while also giving you a story full of hope and humor. Men should read it as well so you guys can have a better understanding of what us ladies go through. It’s definitely a book that makes you think and can start a conversation. You can read it with the free Radish app in the app store, then search LYSSA STRATA.

“My mom is so outspoken, and she embarrassed me sometimes growing up. But why? She’s not unreasonable or rude, doesn’t raise her voice or shout, she just values herself.”

The oppressed women of the small town of Athena Massachusetts decide to fight to get rid of antiquated racist and sexist laws, and their plan of attack, well it involves a sex strike. How does this go over? Protests and destruction (not everyone likes change), lots of open dialogue, and eventual progress. 

“I’m here because I want those old laws scrapped. When my book club meets, we’re legally a coven. And it’s illegal for women to have cats; my little Pookie is considered my familiar according to law, and can be burned at the stake!”

This book certainly reflects the world around us. Not everyone is treated fairly even when it comes to the law, so much for “justice is blind.” I thought this book offered catharsis and certainly helped to give me a feeling of hope that we can be victorious and the world can be made a better place. More people want equality than inequality. Right…right? This book does help reinforce that hope while also showing a reality where people are just awful and fighting against oppression is so much harder than it should have to be. 

“Misty squared herself and leapt once more into the breach. “Babe, try to imagine that the whole world is run by women. Every leader in your town your whole life, your dad’s life, his dad’s life. All women. Imagine that, back in the day, your dad wasn’t allowed to have a credit card, or get a mortgage without a woman’s permission. Imagine if…a vasectomy was illegal for him, so he was obligated to support kid after kid after kid. Imagine if old women grabbed your junk when you walked down the street, and nobody gave a shit, saying ‘Girls will be girls. It’s a compliment!’”

The story was so much fun. The way it is told and the events that unfold were incredibly funny and I laughed my way through this whole book. The crazy laws that Martti Nelson came up with were shockingly hilarious and wildly specific. I think you’ll love to hate them as much as I did. It is very well written and well edited, I loved each line whether witty or wise and I constantly found myself highlighting entire paragraphs and even pages. My favorite part was when the exhausted and thoroughly fed up protagonist-team decides to become the witches the law accuses them of being. They break the “women curfew” to go out and cause some destruction, having a blast and giving the reader joy in the process. The story went on an adventure I didn’t expect and had quite the twists with an exciting ending that I didn’t see coming. There were themes of friendship and women supporting women (no matter where they land on the political spectrum). 

“What was it like to do whatever you wanted? And at night? Without worrying about carrying your keys pointed out, or pepper spray, or if what you were wearing gave the “wrong idea.” Before tonight, Lyssa had never just…wandered around in the wee hours before. She didn’t know any woman who had.”

The cast is diverse and full of unique, lovable heroes and even laughable villains. The love interest supported the main character well and their romance was only a small detail in a larger more important story, but it was still sweet all the same and I cheered constantly for them.  One of the main characters is bisexual and there are interracial couples and mixed families, which was nice and made me feel represented. There is an African American and Asian American coupling, that’s basically my husband and I, how often do I get to see that? The characters come from all sorts of ethnic backgrounds and fall in a variety of places on the spectrums of gender and sexuality. Despite the setting being in a small town, I think the show of diversity is realistic and important. I’ve seen other authors use this as a cop-out for a mainly hetero white cast and that’s never understandable. The main character is full of self-doubt but strong at the same time. She’s smart and well-read, awkward but at times eloquent. She’s a great role model for ladies everywhere to stand up for what’s right and themselves. I loved the way she talked to people on the opposite side of her politics. It was the way politics should be done, hearing what the person on the other side needs, and why they feel the way they do, to find some common ground for the betterment of all. The description of Lyssa’s mousey voice cracks me up and I did my best to imagine it every time she spoke, especially when she was being particularly fierce.    

““Okay, sexy Ben, come here with that water.” She took a deep breath, relieved to know she hadn’t called him “sexy” out loud. “Sexy? You ladies are gonna turn my head,” Ben said.”

Parent’s Guide (Content Warnings, Potential Spoilers Ahead):

Talk of sex and sexual innuendo, no actual sex scenes. Threats and abusive language. Wrongful imprisonment in a stockade which gives the character a PTSD nightmare from the pain and torture of it. Violence and throwing objects.        

reviewed by O sm

I recently interviewed this author, if you would like to read that, you can find it here: Interview with Martti Nelson.

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