🌿 R E V I E W – Tender is the Flesh 🌱

I definitely always try to keep an open mind when it comes to reading books outside my usual genre. Especially ones that have been suggested to me by others. But, sometimes, a book just doesn’t do anything for me. And sometimes it disgusts me. Thankfully, I don’t often read books that disturb me greatly. This, however, was one of them. TW: rape, murder, graphic descriptions, animal abuse.

Set in a dystopian future where animals have all been killed or died based on a disease that could infect humans, in order to still be able to eat meat, humans have started eating humans. While that premise wasn’t gross enough, the author goes into startling detail about the slaughterhouse process, and what each part of the body is used for, tastes like, and how to get the best “cuts”. The “head”, as these humans are called, are bred specifically for slaughter. Obviously, this is supposed to bring to mind our current processes with meat and slaughterhouses, and as someone who is an occasional meat eater, it was enough for me to not want to eat it at all. Our main character, Marcos Tejo, runs a slaughterhouse, and has a very key job of ensuring everything is running smoothly, and they’re being supplied the very best product. Initially, the reader is given the impression that Marcos is more human than the others – he does his job to make ends meet, he doesn’t eat meat, and he shows sympathetic tendencies towards the product. However, by the end, he’s just the same as the rest of them.

The only character I can say I liked in this book was known only as “the female”, mainly because she’s entirely innocent, yet learns to adapt to the life she’s given. She ends up having a terrible resolution at the hands of the main character, and I was sad with how it ended.

There are so many people who enjoyed this book, and I can understand why! If you can get past the gory subject matter and have a stronger stomach than me, the plot outside of the cannibalism is very intriguing, and the main character does have some development (and eventual downfall, in my eyes) that does create an interesting read. I just couldn’t get over the idea of eating people (🤢) the whole time, and it really spoiled the rest of the story for me.

I can give the author creativity points, because she has a very vivid, disturbing imagination, but there were aspects about the book that seemed unnecessary. The details with the slaughter process, the scenes of animal abuse, the way the humans are treated, and the resolution truly disturbed me. I would not recommend this book, and seriously would suggest a strong stomach if you’re going to read it. I really try not to rate books so poorly, but with this one, I can barely give it a rating at all.

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