OK, you might have noticed that I like dark, dystopian stories. There’s just something about the dark, grittiness of it all. One of my favorite stories in that genre is The Handmaid’s Tale. Spoiler, it’s also one of the scariest stories I’ve ever read, hands down. So, when I read the blurb for Felicity’s Her Dark Protector, I was really fucking excited. It sounded really awesome. And I was not wrong. And it does give me the same kind of feel that Handmaid does. It’s not that Felicity copied it or anything, but it’s the same vibe, and I think that’s great.
So, we are in near future England. In September, 2024, something called the Edict was passed. The Edict basically turned all the female citizens of the UK into non-citizens. And even more, it basically turned them into property. Women lost all their credentials, jobs, everything. Women have been pulled away from their families, husbands, children. Some women have even been killed. It’s not good. Not good at all. Many, many women have ended up in Fortorus, which means for the brave. But what it really should mean is hell. Because that is what it is. This is the story of Caroline, who is one of the women who was taken to Fortorus.
Caroline was a novelist before E-day. Now she’s just one of the women who live in Gamma block of Forotorus. They are supervised by a man named Mitchell, who is just disgusting. He calls them whores and treats them terribly. The women sleep on filthy mattresses, don’t have enough clothing, don’t have enough food, aren’t able to shower, aren’t warm enough, have to stand outside daily in all kinds of weather, and get physically disciplined. And oh, the women also have to deal with whatever Mitchell wants to do to them, and it ain’t pretty. All in all, the women aren’t really living, they are existing, and just barely at that.
Fern, who is another woman in Gamma, has become Caroline’s friend. One morning, Mitchell decides that Fern is the victim of the day. He drags her away to his office. Then later, when the women are all standing in parade outside, waiting for the Commander General to show up, not that he ever does, Fern gets dragged outside, and then put up on the whipping pole, where she gets whipped 6 times. This isn’t, you know, a consensual kind of whipping. It’s a “I hate you and am going to do everything I can to hurt and damage you” kind of whipping. And that’s what happened. Then they leave her hanging there. Eventually, she gets brought back into the building where they live, but Fern has to spend the rest of the day working, with wide open wounds on her back. After dark, Caroline volunteers to go to another building, all the way across the compound, to hopefully get some first aid cream that can help Fern. The worry is that she’ll get caught, and that will be epically bad.
And of course, you can guess what happens. Because it would probably be a really short book if Caroline doesn’t get caught out of bounds. She does, and things happen.
Caroline is such a fascinating character, and I think that she is a very realistic one. She is very much fighting with herself over what she thinks she should do, what she can do, and what she will do. I think that’s a position we would all be in, and we can’t say what we would do in her situation. I mean, there’s just no way to predict what anyone is going to do at any point. I would like to say that I would smash the shit out of Mitchell when he came to take Fern if I were Caroline, but, you know, I can’t say I would, especially since I would be so outmanned, outgunned, and outplanned, boom. (Sorry, I’ve watched Hamilton like 3 times this week.) But, as much as Caroline wants to protect her friends and get her own back, self-preservation is a thing to. It’s your brain’s instinct to protect yourself, which means you actually have to fight against your own instincts in order to put yourself at risk. And, in Caroline’s place, fighting Mitchell would end up doing nothing, really, because Fern would still get dragged away and hurt, and may even have gotten hurt worse. And Caroline would’ve gotten hurt, just as badly.
So, is Caroline doing the right thing by standing by and taking care of Fern when she gets back, or should she be fighting, or what? What even is the right thing here? This is what makes the story for me, that struggle that takes place within Caroline. Don’t get me wrong, all the external struggle that happens is great, and there’s some seriously sexy stuff that happens, but it’s all that internal struggle that Caroline has that really drives it for me. And honestly? I don’t think that is an answer as to what the right thing to do is. I sure as hell don’t know one.
I’m really looking forward to the next one. I have so many questions that I want answers to.
Nothing below the pic today. Go check this one out! Happy reading!