5 Reasons to Read Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco

Kenyan Library - Rough Animals by Rae DelBIANCO


Out on June 5th, 2018 by Arcade Publishing


I was sent the book by the author for an honest review thank you, Rae, 

Its been 5 years since their father’s death and twins ( Wyatt and Lucy) have been trying to manage their isolated ranch in Box Elder County, Utah. From what little they’ve learned from their father its been incredibly hard to keep up with the finances and their dwindling relationship. Until one day a young sharp shooting girl kills some of their cattle forcing Wyatt to abandon their land and go after her. The journey will breakdown Wyatt’s character, revealing aspects of his past that still haunt him and challenge his beliefs.

What a Ride! This was an incredible debut that pulled me in and engulfed me in vast landscapes, introduced me to complex characters in a plot that had such high stakes that I didn’t want to put it down.

Why you should read it 

1. Beautiful Emotional Prose

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There is no doubt that this is well written and the structure doesn’t feel forced but flows effortlessly. It was a bit hard to get into the rhythm at the beginning of the story but once I did I couldn’t stop reading. The interesting bit is that the author manages to portray violence in a very beautiful and vivid way making the reader appreciate the gruesome horrors of real life ( if that makes any sense)

a snippet of the writing

“The smell in the field was digestive now of half-fermented cud and of the raw things that had never seen daylight nor air before. He threw the ax into the final gut and did not flinch when it splashed. The part was done. Laid the ax aside.”

Hauntingly Beautiful. So don’t expect a super fast book, you need to savor it.


2. Sibling Relationship

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It was absolutely refreshing to see the focus shift from the typical romance to a strong bond between twins, the way they grew up from the flashbacks to the codependence after their father’s death really made me care about them. It raised questions about how one can lose their identity in a close twin bond and how hard it is to separate themselves not just physically but emotionally.


3. Amazing Scenery Description

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This was probably my favorite part of the whole book, I am not very good at visualizing stories in my head and when an author manages to describe the setting so elegantly that it becomes almost cinematic, it really makes me fall in love with the book even more. From the crunch of the sand under cowboy boots to the sheer horrors of slaughtering cattle painting amazing images whilst I was reading.

For Example:
All went quiet. The stars’ light collided at the edge of their auras, veining the sky like a sheet of shattered glass as the first of the earth recoiled from it and turned, pausing until it would bash up against the atmosphere to create the constellations once more after the coming day.

I have reread that section countless times. The downside to being descriptive is that it will be slow sometimes but even in those slow moments you get to feel the surrounding and live in the book.


4. For Fans of Cormac McCarthy, Truman Capote & Sebastian Barry

Kenyan Library _ Rough Animals by Rae
Why I say this is because their elements of the story that reminded me of McCarthy‘s Isolation in a vast landscape from The Road or Truman Capotes In Cold Blood dark brooding writing with deep dialogue & Barry’s Day’s Without End beautiful violent action scenes and with these elements I am so inspired to pick up more rural American Western like East of Eden by John Steinbeck.

5. Exploration of Dark Themes


” He killed on this land like a duty, and perhaps it was the land itself that did the killing, growing all of them only to eat, swallowing without chewing, and eating their house in bites of sinking peat and snatches of mold.”

This is the slow type of dark, you don’t realize you’re being slowly consumed until your so deep in the book that you can’t get out. I felt claustrophobic and the gruesome violence, the internal & external conflict that was happening to the characters really opened up some really dark topics. From Death, grief, depression, loss of innocence, playing god and so much more. Trigger warning this book isn’t one that will bring humor but one that showcases beauty even in the darkest of days.

Hope you enjoyed the review

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Thank you so much for visiting.

Kenyan library

The Willoughby Book Club

4 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Read Rough Animals by Rae DelBianco

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