Book Reviews

Mother’s Little Angels

A thousand winters after the apocalypse. Women rule the world. Another useless man has failed to put a child in Chief Jaboo's belly. In a rage she sends her best Hunter and Weaver to the slave markets, under orders to swap him for a more fertile seeder. Sulon the Hunter decides to try the faulty merchandise along the way. But the fun is short lived. Dark clouds of war are gathering. Can the village survive an attack by the radical sisterhood? Or does their salvation lie in the hands of yet another useless man?

Some novellas introduce readers to a wondrous world, creating a story with wonderful character arcs and resonant themes, offering a message of hope to its readers. Defying Gravity, by Davi Mai, is one such book (if you’d care to read that review, simply click this link). Other novellas do away with such themes and messages, telling a story with a high concept, although its focus is squarely on its humour. Mother’s Little Angels falls into this latter category. I have two more of Mai’s novellas waiting to be read (I’ll have those reviews for you next week), and it will be interesting to see what tone and balance they strike.

Mother’s Little Angels takes place in the far future, approximately one thousand years after the apocalypse. Society—one that bears a resemblance to our past—is ruled by women, while men fall into two categories. “De-balled” slaves who assist the women with their duties, and “balled” sex slaves tasked with impregnating their mistresses. The post-apocalyptic future means little to the story, it tells a tale that works just as well as an alternate history as it does as a glimpse of the future. Mostly, however, the setting facilitates Mai’s humour, where he presents a transgressive story.

If the references to balled and de-balled men doesn’t give it away, Mother’s Little Angels lacks subtlety. This works in the book’s favour, providing politically incorrect humour that readers not easily offended will laugh along with. This book is full of graphic depictions of sex, but is written in a way that any notion of eroticism soon fades away as it leans into the novella’s transgressive stylings, finding the absurdity in the situation. Menstruation is also at the forefront of this story, which is natural, as it’s a story about attempted impregnation. The language throughout the novella is crude as Mai drops curse words throughout the book, including that dreaded ‘C’ word on a number of occasions.

There’s no denying that Mother’s Little Angels will offend many readers who go into it oblivious to its subject matter and how it handles it. Not only does it lack subtlety, it takes great delight in its material and pushing the boundaries of taste. It’s a testament to the author’s writing that the subject matter manages to entertain the reader, with not once trading in sexism or feeling misogynistic. The female-led society acts as a great parallel to our own society that while—in western society, at least—women aren’t enslaved as a matter of course, often reduces women to their sexuality. While the book doesn’t provide a great deal of commentary on this matter, nor does it add anything to the conversation, it’s hard to read the book without noticing the parallel.

The vast majority of the book’s characters are female, as it predominantly tells their story. They are all strong characters, and at no point does the book reduce them to their gender. They all act within the bounds of their society, but instead of it feeling like it’s judging woman—both in general, and in this post-apocalyptic society—the characters feel like a natural fit for a society with different beliefs, presumably, to the reader’s own. All the characters play to the intrinsic humour within the book and are entertaining to follow. Mai has written interesting dialogue for them that highlights this is a different society to what we know, while providing many laughs. As entertaining as they are, however, there is no true depth to any of them.

Given Mother’s Little Angels’ estimated length of only 65 pages on your eReader, and the number of characters it features, this lack of depth is not unexpected. It’s a short read that can be quickly finished, and its plot isn’t taxing on the reader. The plot in Mother’s Little Angels is a simple affair, where a pair of these Amazon-inspired women are tasked with finding a new breeder for their chief, Jaboo. Set among the backdrop of the Sisterhood, who believe all men should be killed, they purchase the breeder, Darved. From here, the story moves quickly and entertainingly. There aren’t many twists and turns, and the story leans into the humour, building to its punchline more than its climax (no pun intended, given the book’s material).

The author’s prose is easy to follow, ensuring readers have a pleasant experience reading it. In various areas of Mother’s Little Angels, the prose lingers, providing explicit detail of its more transgressive areas. Throughout the remainder of the book, the prose takes a lighter touch, providing enough information to follow along, while offering space for lots of dialogue. It is all written with an acerbic wit with its tongue planted firmly in cheek.

Mother’s Little Angels is not for everybody. Its transgressive humour and language is certain to offend a number of readers, so proceed with caution. If you are game, the humour works, and doesn’t feel exploitative. There is no real depth to its characters, and its story is light. Given the book’s length, it’s understandable, especially considering these elements are in service to its humour.

Favourite Passage

The party made both an intimidating and confusing sight. Two tall Hunters, hair tied close to their heads, straps of hide holding their breasts tight against their ribs for running. Mosh with longbow and arrow quiver on her back, Sulon with her handaxe bound to her hip and the gleaming tribe’s knife always in one hand. Between them, the smaller, and even darker, Nido. Her black skin smooth from head to toe, only a single rabbit hide around her hips. She kept her spear at the ready, in the throwing position even now, as if wild boars were in the habit of jumping out in front of Hunters.

And then Darved, the whiteskin. A balled manslave. A skinny wretch of a creature, shivering in ill-fitting skins. He struggled with the terrain, because he paid more attention to the view than where he was stepping. His head wound had healed at least and a beard sprouted from his chin and cheeks. Of all his aches and pains, today his feet gave him the most trouble.

Mother’s Little Angels, Chapter Five: “Bless me, Mother, for I have Hunted”

Mother’s Little Angels was purchased for the purpose of an honest review.

Mother’s Little Angels is available in eBook from book retailers (including—but not limited to—Amazon).

You can follow Davi Mai online, via:

Note: I do not post scores on reviews on this website, but do post them on my Amazon and Goodreads reviews:

Interested in purchasing Mother’s Little Angels?

Please find a link below; please note I do not collect any proceeds from the sale.

Mother’s Little Angels

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