Book review: The Murders of Molly Southbourne

The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a weird story that effortlessly embraces its weirdness.

Molly Southbourne is an only child raised and homeschooled on the family farm under the guise of having hemophilia. What Molly really has is much stranger and deadlier than that. Every time she bleeds she produces a clone of herself that eventually turns murderous and tries to kill her.

The novella is largely framed around the mystery of why this happens while chronicling Molly’s training by her parents on how to avoid making clones and combat them if needed.

Molly becomes very efficient in combating them.

Fed by insatiable curiosity, but lacking the social skills acquired from being out in the world, Molly turns into a clinically efficient young woman, one who knows exactly what she wants, speaks to others with a daring frankness, and pursues her goals with relentless precision. She is admirable, if not entirely likable.

The story does address this, but it feels a bit too late to resonate much. It is there, though. It’s perhaps a case where a longer work would have expanded more on the theme of Molly not really connecting with anyone due to her bizarre upbringing and the freakish requirements for survival she endures.

And while the story is violent and gruesome, and devoid of sentimentality, there is a certain droll quality to the proceedings as Molly literally stacks up the bodies of her bloodthirsty clones.

The ending is neat, but I am unsure how I feel about it. The ride getting there is, well, fun isn’t quite the word I’d use, but it definitely entertained, with prose that moves as crisply and briskly as Molly with her clone-crushing hands.

Recommended, if only because of how all-in author Tade Thompson commits to the premise.

(Note: I did not realize this is apparently the first book of a series–it stands on its own as a quick read, though.)

View all my reviews

Leave a Comment