ODD & TRUE is the story — and history — of two sisters, Odette and Trudchen Grey, set in the year 1909. After a two-year disappearance, Odette (Od) turns up on the night of Trudchen’s (Tru) fifteenth birthday knocking on her window urging Tru to leave with her. As much as Tru missed her sister, she cannot simply leave her aunt’s house. Having had polio as a child, her leg is almost entirely paralyzed, and she needs a metal brace to walk short, painful distances and a wheelchair for anything longer. Not to mention the outrageous reason Od wants Tru to come with her: Od is still claiming that her childhood tales of their family being monster hunters are true and that they must journey across the country and slay these creatures for the well-being of others.
Tru reluctantly agrees because she can’t stand the thought of just being a burden to her aunt or losing her beloved sister again. As they journey from rural Oregon to Philadelphia to find the Leeds Devil, fragile little Trudchen and troubled Odette must face challenges they never thought possible. Told in chapters alternating between Tru’s present and Od’s past, this is a story of heartbreak, growing up and fighting the monsters and demons in life that you won’t want to miss.
“Winters’ atmospheric prose paired with her well-researched dark moments in history will leave you with a chill down your spine, making ODD & TRUE the perfect slow-burn read for autumn and winter.”
I’ve been a big fan of Cat Winters for quite some time now, so when I first heard about ODD & TRUE I was both excited and nervous. Sure, a book about sisters slaying monsters sounds awesome, but it seemed a bit outside of what the other novels I’ve read by her have been. After finishing the novel, I can say that: It wasn’t what I thought it’d be; it wasn’t quite like her other novels; and it was beautiful.
Despite being so different from her other works, one thing remained consistent: ODD & TRUE is a beautifully, carefully crafted piece of art. I’ve yet to read a Cat Winters novel that I haven’t been able to take something away from. Reading ODD & TRUE felt like I was filling in an empty space, especially with the final chapter. It was nothing short of a masterpiece.
The Grey sisters are wonderful characters who readers won’t be able to resist adopting as their very own sisters. Winters never shies away from writing strong women, but in ODD & TRUE, I think we may be meeting her strongest heroines yet. Whether it be breaking a jaw using only a bag or finding the courage to move forward, the Grey sisters proved time and time again that they are strong, resilient, and not to be messed with — and I loved it.
Another thing I found myself loving was how extremely well done the paranormal elements of the story were. Cat Winters is no stranger when it comes to adding the paranormal to her stories, but I still remained weary as writing paranormal into a real-world setting can be quite hard to pull off, and, when done incorrectly, can ruin an otherwise amazing story. ODD & TRUE did not fall victim to this pitfall. Winters blends the paranormal mystic with reality in such a way that I never found myself questioning the validity of the events. They felt just as real and believable as everything else. Cat Winters puts a subtle, childlike veil over reality and it is bewitching.
As much as I thoroughly enjoyed ODD & TRUE, there are a few elements that could be hit or miss for some readers. ODD & TRUE is not a super action-packed slasher. In fact, there’s not too much action until about 65% of the way through the story. It is very character based and backstory heavy. So, if you are someone who values an action filled plot over getting invested with characters, this may not be the perfect book for you. Another slight problem I had with ODD & TRUE was the alternating chapters. You go back and forth between what is currently happening in the story from Tru’s perspective and what Od’s life has been leading up to the sisters reunion. I am a huge fan of books that have multiple perspectives, but I found myself not loving this one as much. I was invested in Od’s chapters far more than Tru’s. Because I was enjoying Od’s chapters so much, it made reading through Tru’s chapters feel painfully slow because I was just so eager to get back to Od’s history. Where Winters placed the breaks in chapters were obviously done to build suspense for both sides, but for me it backfired a bit.
Now despite how slow it felt at times, I was never bored. For me that’s one of the most important things when reading. The ultimate purpose of a fiction book is to entertain, and that is precisely what ODD & TRUE does. I highly recommend this book if you are someone who loves well rounded characters that you can get emotionally invested in or are someone who loves fairytales and believes that there’s still a bit of magic in the world even after everyone tells you there’s not.
Winters’ atmospheric prose paired with her well-researched dark moments in history will leave you with a chill down your spine, making ODD & TRUE the perfect slow-burn read for autumn and winter.