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The Rust Maidens  By  cover art

The Rust Maidens

By: Gwendolyn Kiste
Narrated by: Melanie Carey
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Publisher's summary

Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street. 

It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh. 

As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why - except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart. 

Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens - and her own unwitting role in the transformations - before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.

©2018 Gwendolyn Kiste (P)2019 Journalstone

What listeners say about The Rust Maidens

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  • Overall
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Don't believe the hype

The Rust Maidens is a one-trick pony: it deals with decay in many forms and varieties.
However, characters are unlikable and one-dimensional, and the plot is flimsy at best.
By the mid-point, it just drones on and on.

For all the praise I've read of Kiste's writing, I was expecting more. It's not badly written, although in some parts it's not well-written by any stretch, but this was more of a second draft than a polished novel. Her style isn't captivating or lyrical. It's mostly plain except for the moments where she tries too hard, and those moments are peppered throughout the book.

There's a solid premise and theme here, but zero story or any compelling characters to make you want to unravel what tangled up story there is.

Carey's narration is very good, considering what she had to work with.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful book of secrets and monsters

Gwendolyn Kiste is one hell of a writer, and THE RUST MAIDENS is one hell of a book. Utterly original, full of heart and heartbreak, I've enjoyed this book three times since its release (twice in print, once with this audiobook), and I'm positive I'll be adding this recording to my re-listen rotation.

Highly recommended!

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Amazing body horror married with urban rot!

Such a touching story. Phoebe ( protagonist) so wants to help and so wants to join the Rust Maidens. A wonderful portrait of the effects of urban decay on a neighborhood, a family, and an individual.

The narrator captured the voices of all the characters. Highly recommend.

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A touching tale

A story about decay and what comes after. This one will stick with you for some time.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

sincere and melancholy

This is a well conceived story, that has thoughtful and insightful emotional struggle in its protagonist. Good for a different perspective on dealing with grief. though not a character I could relate to.

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