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Wild boy Tarin is determined not to be captured by the men who live in the decaying Before Times buildings on the other side of Tarin’s woodland home, but he’s just as determined to protect the younger boys in the woods.No one remembers being a child or knows where all the women have gone or how society crumbled, but for as long as they can remember, boys have lived in the woods and are hunted by the men each Fall. Some boys believe in a mysterious Lady who protects them, while others think the men are magic. Tarin knows better – he’s met a man, and escaped by stabbing him.Hunted through the woods as he tries to protect the weaker Cory, Tarin is trapped and claimed by the very man he knifed. All Tarin wants is to stay in the woods and not have to get ‘civilized, ‘ but he’s carried off into a different world of rules and discipline. Will he be able to survive now that he is Out of the Woods?
And the award for the worst book I read so far this year goes to.. Out of the Woods.
It did exceptionally well in the majority of reporting areas, winning multiple category awards for its overall goosebumps-inducing impact and prompting-its-reader-to-consider-harakiri presentation. Additionally, it received a special mention for its thinly veiled pedophilia content. Something that led judge Katinka to remark; “that it is undeniably courageous how this book lustfully taps into a subject, that is widely deemed inappropriate and distasteful”.
No, wait… I’m going to start with the good news. This author has written a precious little gem of a book called ‘What Worse Place Can I Beg in Your Love?’. It’s only 38 pages short, but manages to be intriguing and weird in the best possible way. It’s about a human male who strands on a strange planet and ends up being kept as a pet by a creature with shark traits. It’s quirky and – thanks to the present tense first person narrative – a pretty intense page-turner. Worth checking out!
So this awesome ‘shark captor story’ made me hungry for more from this author, which led me to Out of the Woods. I’m afraid this is also where the good news ends. The blurb mostly tells it like it is, but personally, I prefer my own summary: this book is about little, chubby children who are dumped in the woods of some dystopian world by some unknown presence. Not bothered by any memories from before their time in the woods, the little boys frolic around in the woods semi-naked, collecting food and jerking off, until after only a few summers they are ‘harvested’ by brutal dudes who want to use and abuse the little savages.
If minors feel like sexing I’m, like, have fun! Heck, only a week ago I raved about a Teen Wolf fanfic in which Scott’s dad shows a 16 year old Stiles ‘how it’s done’ (which is the age of consent in many countries including mine BTW). Howeverrr, the obnoxious and overall unpleasant MC of this book, Tarin, and the other boys are either simple-minded or very, very young. His supposed age – Tarin is said to be 19 – must be a joke, possibly added as an afterthought to avoid being called out on…what I’m actually calling this book out on now, ha!
Sigh, so this was a bit of a nauseating read for me. The kids in Out of the Woods don’t understand most of what’s happening to them – they are innocents when it comes to everything, including sex – yet they are trained to suck dick and become whores for the adult men. They behave like wild animals held in confinement and are denied any possibility to develop themselves. If they try running away from the ‘masters’ they are assigned to, they are punished in ways that defy all logic (think: castration and cutting off big toes) and have a heavy religious component (that reminds me even more of choirboys being molested by priests). The men carry them around easily, and the boys are hardly capable of expressing themselves sufficiently, which results in the following;
Tarin ventured: “Men are complicated”.
“Big word for a little boy,” rumbled Helem.
“Eat fish!” said Tarin proudly and then bit his tongue. It wasn’t a secret, but he didn’t like telling them anything. They already knew too many boy secrets. (…) “Scat!” wailed Tarin. “Don’t want beak-face!”
THIS is actually how the MC talks the entire time, and damn, does it get old fast! Add to that the fact that his thought process is that of a healthy 10 year old (add to that, too, an endless stream of the exclamations ‘scat!’ and ‘the Lady!’ this and ‘the Lady!’ that (some sort of goddess)) and maybe I’m forgiven for DNF’ing at 50%? :/
Of course, I tried looking past the overall ick factor, and enjoy this weird dystopian world for what it is. Then there’s the mystery element of discovering what exactly is the deal with these boys being dropped in the woods and these men living without women. But it seemed all so painfully simplistic and lacking to me. Like the author created this world solely out of convenience; to carry out a kinky storyline of boys being abducted and violated by men, without anyone asking questions. Since I DNF’ed, I asked a few friends what happens further along in the story, and apparently there will be answers in book 2. In the end, this book, too, will definitely be a case of different strokes for different people. So please check out other reviews when in doubt. My humble advice though? Go for the short and wonderfully crazy ‘What Worse Place Can I Beg in Your Love?’ by this author first and take it from there.