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A black book cover featuring the title Maul in white letters descending vertically and a bright red lipstick fully extended from its shiny, silver base

Tricia Sullivan's "Maul" tells two stories: one about a group of teenage girls who, at the beginning of the novel, are on their way to a charged encounter at the shopping 'maul'; another about a man named Meniscus who is a captive subject, part of a scientific study, in what appears to be a separate world where women control all the power. The narrative swaps between the two stories, strictly alternating every other chapter, and as often happens when I read very structured alternating narratives I ended up wishing one story would get out of the way because I preferred the other. The story of three girls (Sun the protagonist and her two friends) trying to make it out of their local maul alive was the story that left me whining when it dropped out to make way for Meniscus. Mostly, I was at a total loss for how to interpret the set of chapters that showed his world and would have taken five more gun battles in their place if I'd been offered them.

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