Image of cover of Trapdoor

Review : Trapdoor, Vixen Phillips

The pages of Trapdoor are drenched in sadness, a sadness that hit me and didn’t let me go, not even after I closed the book. Within this sadness there are glimpses of hope, a hope I knew wouldn’t come true, at least not my version, but one I held onto, due to my romantic inclinations. It is the glimpses of hope that makes the sadness so powerful, attaching itself to me like a leech, draining my blood, consuming me as I felt the pain of Pegasus and Raven’s battles. Raven and Pegasus narrate alternative chapters; I enjoyed this approach, this dual insight into their shared experiences. Raven has a child with Pegasus’ sister, but is in love with Pegasus, Pegasus is also infatuated with Raven.

Trapdoor begins in a bar in Melbourne – a bar that I felt was very real; I could easily picture it as being a bar in Australia; it reminded me of my travels in Australia. It could be argued a bar is a bar, but I think each country infuses their drinking spaces with an atmosphere and Vixen conjures that atmosphere in the pages of Trapdoor. From the bar the reader is taken on a journey that resembles a dream like quality, there is something surreal about Raven and Pegasus’ time together. I think this in part comes from their love for each other, which both protects and destroys them. To me it is a young love, love that consumes, that never ends, which tears you from yourself as you try to become them. And as young love does it survives until smacks into reality, and often a reality not owned by the lovers or at least one of them, but by others. Their reality packs a few more punches than your average, as Vix deals with rape, prostitution, child abuse, self harm, suicide and relationships. Their love is beyond convincing and this is where the hope lies, yet I know it is a false and foolish hope. Their love also rescues and protects Raven’s son, Damien. Raven and Pegasus meanwhile also struggle with their love, it consumes them and as such each fears it won’t be returned and will leave them alone. They cope with this self doubt, especially Raven, by self destructive behaviour. Raven drinks heavily and smokes to forget, he also self harms. Raven is aware of the damage of these behaviours, but is also unable to leave them behind, they have held him together and without trust in his self and the love he shares with Pegasus, he is unable to replace them with something more secure.

Vix mentioned to me that Trapdoor is written for teenagers and whilst it is suitable for adults too, for we are all still growing, I can see the potential impact it could have on a teenager, the ability to relate and not feel so alone. As mentioned Trapdoor is infused with sadness and I wouldn’t have it any other way, it is in this sadness, and the emotional attachment it brought out of me, that has so much to tell us about being alive. To feel alive we have to trust ourselves and our perspectives, not the voices of others. Only each of us can decide what life is for us and I believe Trapdoor will help readers along the path of beautiful independence. For in all the sadness, there is that hope and maybe that hope was never for Raven and Pegasus, but for me.

To read more about Trapdoor and to buy visit Trapdoor at Lost Violet Press.

Read my interview with Vix, I am still in a daze from reading it, it follows on beautifully from the interviews with Dan.

Posted: 20 April 2019

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