The Wonder and Horror of a Mother’s Love

Love them or hate them, mothers are an integral part of so many people’s lives. So much so that a day is set aside to honor them and that the theme of motherhood has been tackled in literature since time immemorial.

And from what I can see, this theme will continue to be tackled in future books to come

But because a lot of people have been called “Mother,” the meaning has been diluted IMO. Some are totally awesome mothers who would be their children’s first and number 1 fans and protect them from harm (biological child or not). While some are sadly only called mother because they managed to keep the baby alive in their wombs for nine months and managed to get it out.

Both types of mother’s (and everything else in between) have been portrayed in books, movies and TV shows.

But for now, I’ll focus on the books with:

1.) Moms as the main character

2.) Children in danger


3.) Moms actively doing something to keep them safe from harm

In the following books, the main focus (and conflict) rests on the mother and her child. So any romance happening will be put in the back burner. The relationship between mother and child can vary. Some may be estranged and some may be close. Or it could be a complicated mix of both

But whatever it may be, the following books exclusively feature the MAMA BEAR trope.

We often think of mothers as this nurturing, gentle figure. But as a lot of us would also know, the mother can also be this strict disciplinarian who won’t hesitate to punish when it is warranted.

The mothers in the following selection undoubtedly love their children. And it is their main goal to keep their children safe no matter what. But a mother’s love is a multi-faceted thing. As you will soon see, it leads the moms to do pretty amazing and awe-inspiring things. But at the same time, it can lead them to a path of carnage that inspire terror into people’s hearts.

So whenever you see another person and think about hurting him. Just remember that he has a mother. And she may be the most horrifying thing you’ve ever encountered…

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin

The novel begins with main character Essun finding out her husband killed their baby son and took their young daughter out of town. Why? In this world, people like Essun and her children (the Orogenes with power to quell and cause shakes and subtle/not-so-subtle change to the nearby climate) are reviled and killed by the ordinary Muggles (sorry for the blatant use of Harry Potter terminology).

NK Jemisin’s fantastic worldbuilding leads you to understand that the cause for this hatred can be both warranted and not. Orogenes who cannot control their powers are indeed a danger to others and themselves. But not all the bad talk about them are earned though. Some are simply propaganda to keep Orogenes (those who are discovered) either slaves to the current governmental body or living in the fringes or rather outside of civilization

But before you mistake this novel to be another X-men-ish story, let me just point out that this novel distinguishes itself by one thing.

Remember when I said that the novel begins with Essun finding out her husband committed infanticide and kidnapping? I forgot to mention that around the same time, signs have come about that signal the world is ending…again.

In this world, everyone is aware that the world is ending. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Only thing is, this novel blatantly tells its readers that this story is how the world is ending FOR THE LAST TIME. Whatever that means is up to your interpretation.

But honestly, guys, please check this book out. Essun’s goal is pretty straight forward. She wants to kill her murdering husband and get her daughter back. But with the end of the world at hand, she has her work cut out for her.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

The novel centers on Victoria McQueen who has a supernatural knack for finding things. Unfortunately, she ends up meeting Charles Manx (who thinks he’s saving children by killing their parents and taking the kids to “Christmasland”). The experience leaves Victoria with more issues than she had before. And with Charles Manx in a coma.

Years later, Charles Manx wakes up. And decides to take Vic’s son Bruce to “Christmasland”

I usually don’t read books in what I consider to be the Horror genre. But I was engrossed with this book despite disturbing images. I think what I liked most about this book is Victoria herself. She is in no way a perfect mother. She has messed up a lot. But I love that she manages to get herself together enough to save her son from Manx and Christmasland

Furious by TR Ragan

Faith McMann and her husband were left for dead while her children are taken. Faith survives the encounter and wants her kids back. She’s furious at what’s been done to her family. And finding out that her children have most likely been sold into slavery (yes slavery in modern day Sacramento) hasn’t lessened her fury.

She’s going to hit everyone who had anything to do with the kidnappings where it hurts. She’s going to find her children and get them back. Too bad those underworld bosses severely underestimate her.

I love this book because of Faith McMann’s evolution as normal mother and school teacher turned vigilante. She’s out there hitting the criminal underworld in search of her missing children. And I love that her family (her parents and siblings) and her newfound friends are supporting her on this.

Special Mention:

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

A retelling of the Bluebeard fairy tale with Bluebeard’s (current) wife as the main character. This is a short story so those who don’t care for door-stoppers might want to give it a try. You’ll soon find out why the main character’s mom is my favorite character.

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