Back when I took Latin and Greek, I first heard the sotry of Odysseus, heard the mention of Homer, and I became enamored with the stories of tragic heroes, incredible journeys, the war on Troy, mythology and gods, and everything else these stories had to offer. Telemachus and Homer is a retelling of the ancient stories. Telemachus is Odysseus’ son, and when the latter comes home after twenty years, Telemachus must decide if he’ll keep on wasting his life, doing nothing more but wait around for his father to guide him, or if he’ll start to control his own life. Homer is a young woman – which is a clever twist – who proves an useful ally for Telemachus. Although blind, she has knowledge of all kinds of things, and the two of them must go on a quest to save Ithaca.
The premise is clever, and surprisingly, it works. The story and plot are engaging, and although some things are familiar (names, characters and settings) the story itself is original. Both main characters had their own strength and weakness. Homer feels undervalued, as does Telemachus. Both of them are searching for something more, a way to prove themselves to others, and to themselves.
While the plot and characters were great, some small details brought the book down from a five to a four star rating. The frequent use of adverbs, frequent use of the passive tense, and telling the reader how the characters feel instead of showing their emotions. These were minor details though, and I did enjoy the book, and would recommend it to other YA fantasy fans....more
Nanovision is an intriguing, engaging YA novel mixing science fiction and fantasy. The book starts out with sixteen-year-old Daniel Raye coming home from school at the final day of the year, ready for the summer holidays. Unfortunately nothing goes as planned. Some hit men are after his dad, and when they notice Daniel, they start beating him up too, and leave him for dead.
Daniel wakes up in the hospital, blind, and with no memory of what happened. He’s put in the witness protection program by the FBI and moves to California to live with an aunt he’s never met, Ethyl. She runs a bio-tech firm called NanoBytes, and does everything she can to cure Daniel’s blindness. She feels sorry for the boy and grows very fond of him. One of her experiments works, using DNA from animals and insects. The experiment works a little too well even, because Daniel gets x-ray vision. And when the mob is on his heels again, his new ability may save his life.
The book starts with a bang, and it keeps a fast pace until the end. The story is imaginative, the characters are engaging. I particularly liked Daniel, and Ethyl, and their relationship. The book managed to surprise me a few times with twists I didn’t see coming.
The only thing I’d have to mention is the editing. I didn’t notice any glaring errors, but we do get the usual pitfalls: showing instead of telling, not using ‘said’ but rather a plethora of other words, like ‘apologized’, ‘acknowledged’, ‘observed’, and so on. It was a little distracting, but still, I enjoyed the story, and the author obviously has a talent for storytelling....more
Milan is a young supermodel with a disability. She lives in the Upper East Side, she falls in love, and on the surface, her life seems perfect. But she struggles with inner turmoil, not in the least about her hearing disability. Broken is a novel that does it title justice and that presents an intriguing, engaging, fresh story of young love.
Milan isn’t your typical supermodel though. She’s witty, quirky, has a sense of humor and is overall, a nice person – none of the entitlement you sometimes see with models in movies. I also liked how Milan isn’t alone in her struggler, but is instead supported by a large group of friends.
An interesting, quirky YA novel, and a fast read, but enjoyable....more
Henge is hands down the most original YA novel I’ve read all year. It’s one of my favorite books I’ve read all year, if not the absolute favorite. While the writing wasn’t spectacular (the writing was all right but not amazing), the characters were fantastic and the world building blew me away. In terms of world building, this book ranks right up there with Harry Potter.
It’s actually similar in some ways (and totally differnet in others). Our protagonist, Morgan, is a fire user who has the ability to command fire at will. Her dad is opposed against magic because of what happened to her mother, but either way Morgan decides to participate in a contest to get selected in Arthur’s Round, a group of elite young magic user. One of them will be chosen as Maven – and it’s always been Morgan’s dream to become the Maven. Even more so, she once had a vision about it.
Morgan wins second prize after a boy named Merlin, but because she has no official magic license, she isn’t allowed to participate in Arthur’s Round. However, for some reason she’s allowed in anyway and despite her Dad’s protests, she goes. Along with other magic users – fire, water and wind, and a healer, Guinevere who she becomes friends with, Morgan trains to become the most powerful magician she can be in order to become the next Maven. But the past has a way of catching up with her, and although powerful, the boy who beat her at the contest, Merlin, is very powerful as well. Is he a friend or a foe? When her life becomes endangered, Morgan will have to figure out who she can trust.
I’ve been in love with the Camelot legend for decades (well, a decade at least) so to see it in a contemporary, original context makes my heart race. And all the familiar characters drop by yet they’re totally original at the same time. Morgan is an easy to like protagonist. She’s been shaped by her past, always watching her back, always weary. At the same time she’s independent, intuitive, strong and this definitely isn’t a girl who needs a boy to make her feel special. She’s quite capable of holding her own.
I’m dying to read the sequel to this book. It’s a rare gem, and I would recommend it to everyone who likes the Arthurian legend, Camelot, and just YA fantasy in general....more
Cross Roads brings a whole new meaning to the word fast-paced. This book left me breathless. Shawna is anything but your typical teenager, and this makes her instantly an intriguing, engaging character. She’s an orphan, forced to raise herself on the streets of New York. Luckily she has a best friend who has her back. While different, Shawna’s life is quite uneventful, until one night changes all of it. She becomes the target of Doma, a demonic race that appears human. Shawna barely escapes, but in order to stay alive she has to ally herself with the Acolytes, a secret organizations with as main purpose to fight Doma.
Shawna starts training to become a member of this group, which means moving to a small town and leaving behind her previous life. But her training is cut short when the Doma find out about her whereabouts.
I’m a huge fan of Decker. He had a great personality – always lingering slightly on the edge, dark and mysterious. I loved Mr. Gibbs too, Decker’s personal assistant.
The world-building is appropriate, with just enough background information to make it realistic and intriguing. The characters are three-dimensional, and it’s especially easy to connect with Shawna. The writing is good, and overall, the story just flows from the very first page, keeping the reader engaged....more
In School of Deaths, thirteen-year-old Suzie has been having some trouble as of late: she lost a lot of wait, and starts to look like a skeleton. When it turns out this transformation is due to her becoming a Grim Reaper, she’s less than pleased. She will go to the College of Deaths for a year, where she will learn everything there is to know about being a Death, and bringing souls to the Hereafter. She has one year to prepare for a test that’ll decide her destiny, a test almost everyone fails. On top of that, she happens to be the only girl in an all-male college, in fact the only female Death in centuries, making her a target for just about everyone.
This series is off to a promising start. Suzie is an entertaining, realistic character, who grows a lot as the book progresses, and finds her inner strength. She got a rough deal, but she manages to stay strong, no matter what. The world-building is vivid and original, and kind of reminded me of a darker version of Harry Potter. The plot is unique though, setting it apart from other books, and providing a solid start for a brand new series.
Recommended to everyone who likes young adult fantasy. I’m looking forward to the sequel....more
In The Age of Amy: Channel ’63, 16-year-old Amy’s world is turned upside down when a new theme park attractoin allows visitors to talk to people living in the eighties, in 1963 to be exact. Amy loves the new invention, and sees it as an excellent way to escape the troubles of her own time. Except then she falls in love with a teenage boy from the sixties. But thanks to the restriction on what they can talk about (anything that may predict the future gets bleeped out), Amy has trouble telling her crush all her feelings. Luckily, she acquires a magic clicker than can get by the restrictions, but that also gives her hte power to change history…And with president Kennedy about to be assassinated, Amy comes up with a plot to save the president, even though it might have disastrous consequences for her new friend.
In a book that screams originality and creativity, author Bruce Edwards brings us the newest installment in “The Age of Amy” series, and my favorite so far. Amy is really starting to grow as a character – intelligent, witty and resourceful, she grows more interesting with each book. Her world grows increasingly complex too, yet it still holds that whimsical, playful touch.
The writing is engaging, the characters are complex and fun, and overall, the story is very enjoyable. Recommended to anyone who enjoys YA....more
Journal of a South African Zombie Apocalypse tells the story of one family who tries to survive in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. It’s set in South Africa – I’ve never been there, so I enjoyed the setting, background, and the stories about the countries’ history. The main character is sixteen-year-old Kon, who lives with his brother and father. They leave their Pretoria home to travel to a new home, to safety, away from the zombies. They meet several other travellers along the way, among them Kat and Dirk, two fellow survivors also trying to reach Robben Island, a reputed safe haven.
Instead of going totally over the top with gore and blood, the book focuses on a handful of characters, on their emotions, their development, how they chance throughout the book, and grow. It focuses on the human side of the zombie apocalypse instead of trying to be spectacular.
That’s not to stay it’s not quite spectacular in its own right. The book is quite amazing, a solid mix of character development and plot. The writing is solid too, and overall, a very enjoyable experience, recommended to fans of The Walking Dead and other zombie series....more
Vanished from Dust is an interesting, suspenseful YA paranormal mystery novel with a few surprising twists. I was eager to read it from the moment I read the synopsis, and needless to say, I wasn’t dissapointed.
Eric, our protagonist, sees things that can’t be real. The other people in town think he’s insane though, and they try to stay as far away from him as possible. All, except Kyle, the new kid in town, who wants to befriend Eric, and who convinces his new friend they must get to the bottom of this mystery and find out the truth about Dust, about the hundreds of town people who disappeared in mysterious circumstances over sixty years ago, and about how it’s connected to the phantoms Eric sees now.
Their search for the truth has them trapped in a disturbed, deserted version of Dust, where nothing is what it seems, and danger lurks around every corner. This version of Dust is slightly reminiscent of Silent Hill, and brought back all the memories I had from playing that game. The author manages to paint a vivid, scary setting and describes it in such detail the reader can easily imagine what’s happening.
I had goose bumps several times while reading, not because I was afraid, but because I did feel a thrill. The book starts out a little slow, which isn’t a bad thing though, it gives the reader time to connect with the characters. But once the first few chapters are done, the pace picks up significantly and races on until the end. A great book, recommended to mystery fans and young adults....more
This book was pretty amazing. I LOVE Robin Hood. It’s always been one of my favorite stories, and I loved this fresh take on it, with Scarlet posing as a boy in Robin Hood’s gang of thieves, and slowly falling for Robin. Robin was amazing too. This is one of the best romances I’ve read in a while. Great story!...more
Story is eye-opening and thought-provoking. It’s not a book I’d normally pick up, but it’s an intriguing read all the same, and inspired by true events. At times, the realism was almost too much. The book was harsh, the torture sickening. The writing and characterization could’ve been a bit better though. It took a while to get into it though....more
Project Firebird is that one of a kind novel that mixes it all: a reluctant, unexpected hero, a group of friends, a bad guy who isn’t predictable at all, and the impending apocalypse, of course.
Leo Lloyd-Jones isn’t exactly what you’d call a ‘good kid’. He steals cars (although he refuses to call it stealing) to get into illegal street races with his friends, playing tag with cars. But when he stumbles upon a boy and girl who look suspiciously like his brother Brandon and his girlfriend in the middle of the night, and they’re in trouble, Leo goes out of his way to help him – only to find out they’re not Brandon and his girlfriend at all. But while his parents hope that he’ll get some sort of punishment when they call the police to tell them he’s been stealing cars again, the couple actually steps in to help, and before he very well realizes it, Leo is branded as some kind of hero.
He gets a letter inviting him to a two-week trip, and offering him the chance to get a Firebird medal. But once he arrives there,he finds himself surrounded by kids who all did something important. Like Paige, who practically raised her little sister Skye when her Mom couldn’t take care of her. Or like Rhys, who went to the Northpole with his Dad, and was forced to come back alone, to survive all on his own. The list goes on and on, and Leo feels a little like an outsider, but thankfully Rhys helps him fit in.
But when the kids get their medals, a horrible secret is revealed. A deep space comet is on its way to earth, and when it collided, it could very well destroy everything. The kids have been brought there for a reason – they must hide in an underground shelter and wait out the impending apocalypse. They must survive, no matter what it takes. They can’t contact their families though, can’t even say goodbye, and only get the vague promise that their famlies will be taken to underground shelters all over the world.
Leo struggles to come to terms with what’s happening, but he’s not the only one struggling. As he becomes friends with the other kids in the Nest, he learns more about himself than he thought possible. He learns what he’s capable of, and that turns out to be more than he ever expected.
The book features tons of secondary characters, but manages to give each of them a distinct personality. There’s Paige, always worrying about her sister, but who also has a heart of gold. Then there’s Summer, who wanted to win the Olympics and who wants nothing more than to escape, and so on. Leo shines as a main character, flawed but with his heart in the right place, and brave in the face of danger.
The ending was..shocking. I hadn’t expected it at all. Not giving out any spoilers though, but well, you’ll probably be surprised too.
Solid writing, and although the book is quite long (over 400 pages on my eReader), it doesn’t feel long. The pacing is fast, and the reader gets thrown into the action right away. An exceptional read, very enjoyable. ...more
The story is inspired by the Snow Queen, one of my all-time favorite fairytales. I liked the first book, “Spork” a lot, because it had tons of original elements and although paranormal, it gave a refreshing twist to the concept. The sequel was a bit more predictable, but the Nordic folk stories were very intriguing, like the frost giants. Katla’s new skills are a little over the top though, and with the whole new range of skills, it just seems like too much....more
This is a great mystery novel for young adults. The most interesting part was Drear House itself. It’s a labyrinth with secret tunnels and hideouts. The pace is quite fast, and the main character Thomas is the kind of protagonist kids can easily relate to. An intriguing, quick read....more
This isn’t exactly a retelling. None of the characters from the old fairytale keep their personalities – not even the story stays the same. I would’ve been able to live with all that, had it not been for how these new characters were completely and utterly immature, especially Izzie. Dialogue was cringe worthy, and overall, I had to force myself to continue reading....more
Deviation is a rare gem, the kind of book that you only find a few times a year, tops. Even though it’s indie-published, it has all the qualities of a mainstream novel: excellent writing, quality editing, and an enjoyabe, intriguing, fast-paced story.
The story starts out by introducing us to Cleo, a Sophisticate. She’s part of the Program, their “property” as they so eloquently call her in their email to her when she tries to hack into one of their programs to try and find out the identity of her real parents. Sophisticates are genetic alternations. They’re faster, stronger and smarter than ordinary human beings, but in exchange for these abilities, their lives belong to the government. They have no freedom and are raced in government-controlled facilities and trained to become either a Vanguard – who stand out because of their intelligence – and the Mandates, who are strong, and capable, and who work in the military and help destroy terrorists.
Cleo’s life has always been pretty straightforward: she’ll be a Vanguard. Not much choice in that. But then, she gets so upset at the email proclaiming her to be the government’s property that she somehow makes just about everything in her room explode: her computer, TV, you name it, it’s gone. Although her best friend Cassie tries to rationalize what’s going on, Cleo knows better: there’s something wrong with her. And when the Dean ships her off to St. Ignatius, an academy for the Mandates, her entire future has been erased and changed in the blink of an eye.
She now has to train for the military branch of the Program. Luckily she becomes fast friend with Sterling, an extremely fast runner, and Arabella, who has a new hairstyle just about any day. They’re two outcasts at the academy, but boy, are their fun to be around. They have an excellent sense of humor and are adorable secondary characters with their bickering back and forth.
Unfortuately Cleo also makes her share of enemies, in particular Quinnie, who seems to want to target Cleo at every move. And then there’s Ozzy, one of the most attractive guys Cleo has ever met, but at the same time he’s also annoying and even stalkerish, and Cleo has no idea why he goes out of his way to talk to her, except that her new friends warn her not to trust him.
I don’t want to give any more away, but trust me on this one: Deviation is awesome. The plot is amazing, and I absolutely loved it. Cleo and her friends are kick-ass awesome characters, in particular Ozzy (swoon). All secondary characters have their own personality traits and together they form an intriguing bunch. I definitely wouldn’t mind befriending them!
If you read one dystopian this year, then pick this one. I can throw superlatives at you until tomorrow morning but that still won’t explain how awesome this book is. I’m officially hooked. Next book in the series? Yes, please! ...more
To The Stars is an intriguing mix of dystopian and science-fiction with some engaging, entertaining characters to boot. We start off with a scene from Zara’s perspective, the female protagonist, while she watches the moment Earth heard about the impending apocalypse, back in 2012. Only sixty years left, and then the earth will perish.
Now it’s almost sixty years later, and Zara finds herself on a planet that barely resembles Earth from half a century ago. When Earth needed a savior the most, a man stepped up to save them. He invented the Astrum Portas, ark ships that would supposedly save humanity.
The chapters switch between Zara’s perspective, and Noah’s perspective, Noah being the son of humanity’s savior. They come from totally different worlds, although ultimately they’re still stuck on the same world: the one that could perish any minute. As Noah and Zara grow closer together, and they discover secrets they could’ve never imagined, they realize they’ll have to fight to survive, and to bring a better future to human kind.
I liked Zara’s perspective the most of the two of them, because it was easiest to relate to her. She lives in a small one-bedroom house with her Mom, her grandmother having passed away recently, so she basically sleeps in the living room. As son of the High Chancellor, Noah is priviledged, but his Father demands a lot from him, too much even. He wants to craft Noah into a mirror image of himself. He struggles a lot with the responsibility and burdens he has to take on. Both characters are flawed in a good way, they certainly come across as realistic.
This book takes place right before the apocalyspe happens, so there’s a rush to it right from the start, that nagging feeling that soon enough, the proverbial bomb (in this case, armageddon) will explode. The clock is thicking right from the start, and until the very end. Highly suspenseful, and an engaging read. ...more
Original plot, but predictable every now and then. Maddie is a likeable protagonist, and the setting was unique and entertaining and historically correct, as far as I can say. The ending is a bit abrupt though, and slightly dissapointing....more
Steampunk is either hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely hit. Lena is a great character with an interestin personality. The world-building is solid and the writing is great. This is one of those books that’ll leave you thinking even after you finish reading....more
When I read the synopsis for Creed, I thought the book would be reminiscent of Silent Hill – a creepy town, mist crawling through the streets, and something wicked lingering deep inside the abandoned town. Unfortunately, Purity Springs, the town in question, is not tormented by anything supernatural as I hoped at first, but instead by regular, albeit slightly crazy, people. The town is overrun by a cult, led by charismatic leader Elijah Hawkins.
The book starts out promising with Dee, her boyfriend Luke, and his brother Mike on their way to a concert, traveling through the middle of nowhere when their car breaks down. They walk to the nearest village to get some gas and maybe some help, but the town is seemingly abandoned. With night setting in, they find cover in one of the abandoned homes – which is an exact replica of every house in the street, even inside. In a drawer, they find a strange book that puts them all on edge, but it isn’t until morning that they they find out what messed up situation they ended up in.
Connecting with the characters proved almost impossible. Even Dee, our main character, seems to have a chaotic personality that jumps from one conclusion to the next. The plot is so over the top it’s ridiculous. Dee is incapable of acting on her own, of fighting off any evil without being saved by someone else. She has no backbone, and is all too willing to comply even to things that sound insane. She goes on and on about why Luke is amazing, but we never get any reason why Dee would be amazing, or even interesting.
The ending is implausible as well, and leaves too many open questions. It almost sounds like the author wanted to make room for a sequel – I hope that’s not the case though. The material is already paper-thin, and I doubt that’ll get any better if the plot is stretched even thinner.
This book has great potential, but overall, fails to deliver. ...more
The moment I read the synopsis for Slide, I knew I had to read this book. Everyone belives Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep: when she passes out, she slides into someone else’s mind and experiences the world thorugh their eyes. That’s how she’s certain that her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself, but was murdered. Now it’s up to Vee to unmask the killer before he strikes again. There were quite a few twists and surprises, and the book definitely has a high creepy factor. ...more
Black Ice is one of the toughest books I’ve had to review. While I enjoyed the plot, and though parts of it were completely unpredictable and suspenseful, I absolutely loathed the characters, especially our MC, Britt. I kept on reading till the end because I just had to know how it finished, but still I couldn’t feel anything except disgust fo Britt. Although, I’m starting to wonder if maybe that’s how the author intended it. Let me explain.
Britt is everything you don’t expect a YA heroine to be. She’s highly dependent on the men in her life, previously her boyfriend (now ex) Calvin, who happened to be her best friend’s brother. We see flashbacks of their relationships every now and then, and while there’s no actual abuse, Calvin certainly doesn’t treat her very nicely. He cheats on her, he pretends she means nothing to him, and so on. Even though they broke up and it’s been months since she heard from him, all Britt can think about when she talks about her camping trip with her bet friend, is…you guessed it, Calvin. Even though he gives an entirely new meaning to the word ‘jackass’, she’s still infatuated with him and thinks of him as some freaking saint.
Then there’s her BFF, Korbie, who is even dumber than Britt, and even more dependent. Korbie flirts with every boy she sees – not even recognizing if one of them is potentially dangerous. She’s a whiny brat with zero survival skills or survival instinct. But heck, I would’ve been able to look past that if she was a supportive friend who had Britt’s back. Guess what? She’s not. She puts Britt down at every chance she gts, she didn’t even tell her that Calvin cheated on her, and so on. Friend? I think not.
Anyway, the two girls head up to a mountain for a camping trip, which they’re going to spend in a cabin belonging to Korbie’s parents. Calvin will be there too, to keep an eye out for them. But when the girls drive to the cabin, they get hit by an unexpected snow storm and their car breaks down. They stumble to the nearest cabin which is inhabited by two strange young men. They’re hot, so of course the girls immediately call dibs on each one, although by now the “these are bad people with bad intentions” vibe is so high any sane person would’ve run out of there screaming. But of course they have to wait until Shawn, one of these guys, decides to reveal his utter evilness by pointing a gun in their direction before they decide maybe trying to hook up with them wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Let’s jump forward in the story, to the moment where Britt and Mason (the buddy of gun man) are travelling down the mountain, and Britt…falls head over heels for him. Because one semi-abusive relationship wasn’t enough, now she’ll hang out with someone who threatened to kill her as well. Yeah….And then that entire romance/kidnapping/Stockholm Syndrome story is connected to a bunch of unexplained murders taking place on the mountain during the last few years, which was easily the most intriguing part of the book.
All in all…meh. I liked the plot, the whole kidnapping part, the murders, definitely had some suspense. But the characters were so awful I couldn’t enjoy reading about them. I want to smack some sense into Britt, and please for the love of all that is holy, I want her to stand up for herself for once. Make a decision on her own. Anything that shows she’s not entirely dependent on any man that crosses her way. ...more
The book is interesting, and once you get past the first few chapters (it starts out okay, but turns boring rather quickly), make it through half of the book, and all the heaps of world building, then the story picks up. Unfortunately it waits too long for that moment, so while it’s an okay read, it’s nothing special. The world building intrigued me though, so I may have to pick up the sequel....more
The book had an interesting premise, but fell flat. Calder turns out to be the same stalker-type we encounter in dozens of other YA books. There’s insta-love, Calder is stuck-up, too sure of himself, and overall, not a likeable character to read about....more
This story completely blew my mind. It’s amazing, from the concept, to the characterization, to how the plot developed, to the twists and turns that showed up every now and then. I loved this, and read it in one sitting, from start to finish....more
This is a survival story, and one of the first I ever read. I can’t say I enjoyed it very much though – it was all right, and the writing was decent, but that’s about it. Robie has to make some difficult choices, and her own survival is at stakes. I had trouble connecting to the main character so I didn’t feel much when she went through her ordeal....more
While Spellcaster didn’t rock my socks off, it was one of the more enjoyable YA paranormal romances I’ve read this year. The characters match, and even though their undying love is way too mushy for me, the book had some good aspects too, like an interesting story, humor and solid writing....more
Let me start out by saying The Lonely isn’t for everyone. Right from the start, it’s obvious some people will love it, and others will hate it. It’s either love or hate, and I’m definitely in the “love” category. Dark humor is the key element of this book. It is dark – I mean, it starts out with the main character Easter ending up pinned under a giant boulder with her legs crushed. She thinks she might die, but heck, bleeding to death is cool, in some way. Sh’s more bored than anything else. While she’s lying under the boulder, Easter starts reliving memories. They’re told like some kind of feverish dream or hallucination.
The truth is, even after reading the book, I’m not sure if I grasped all the pieces of this story. At its core, it’s a dark story – about a disturbed girl and her family. Her loving mother, who plays dead in the bathtub every Sunday night. Her Dad, who locks himself up in the basement. It’s impossible to figure out what is real and what isn’t. Main character Easter is the most unrelieable narrator I’ve ever come across – and I loved reading things from her POV.
The book is specked with dark humor, and sometimes I even laughed out loud, and felt ashamed right after, because I was laughing at the most terrible things.
The writing is superb. It has a dream-like quality, almost as if the writing itself is just another of Easter’s hallucinations.
If you want something different and aren’t afraid to read a book that will leave you wondering what the heck just happened, The Lonely is definitely for you. I loved it. It’s impossible to review it and tell you just how good it is without you checking it out for yourself, so I’ll just end by saying that when Ainslie Hogarth writes another novel, I’m buying it right away. ...more
If you check the Goodreads reviews for Of Monsters and Madness, then the reviewers either love or hate it, whereas the majority seems to hate it (giving 1-2 star ratings). If you go in expecting a story that stays true to Edgar Allan Poe, and his legacy, then you’ll be dissapointed. Poe is massacred here, up to some degree, and mashed and blended with Jekyll & Hyde – there’s friendly, charismatic, handsome Allan, and then there’s creepy, repulsive Edgar. So in other words, Poe meets Stevenson.
Even Annabel holds no real resemblance to the Annabel Lee from Poe’s poem, except for her name. If you expected a complicated mystery, then you’ll be dissapointed too. The mystery is quite simple, and some of the characters lack depth. The servants, for instance, are just fillers. Annabel’s Dad is your standard gothic mystery character – ill, and using that illness to explain all his flaws, a recluse who barely leaves the house. The house itself is reminiscent of gothic horror too – a sprawling mansion with dark corridors and secret passages.
But despite all that…I enjoyed it.
Annabel has an interesting perspective. Even though she appeared to have the personality of a doormat at first, it almost seemed to make sense, especially considering her upbringing and how she didn’t feel at home in this new city, and that was perfectly understandable. As the story progressed, so did Annabel’s personality. She began to shine in ways I hadn’t expected, taking charge of things herself. She stopped wanting to please everyone, and she even stood up for herself every now and then. Annabel herself is more of a mystery than the whole Poe-plot.
The writing is gripping and atmospheric, and made this book a fast read. I rushed through the pages, and every break seemed too long. The descriptions of the city were breath-taking, and the book breathes gothic horror.
I was impressed, and enjoyed this one. I hope there will be a sequel, because I think Annabel might have some surprises in store for us. ...more
Let’s start with the good. In Phobic, fifteen-year-old Piper Crenshaw lives in the strangest house imaginable. It was the place where her mother committed murder, the house repairs itself, sometimes rooms change of their own accords, and the lights flicker whenever Piper says something. When she opens up a forbidden door, that’s when trouble really starts.
The plot about the house, the history of the house, and the connection it has with Piper, is pretty much amazing. I loved everything about that. The mystery takes a while to take shape, and to be revealed, and the pacing on that was just right.
Unfortunately, the secondary plots were not of the same quality. The characters, except for Piper, all lack personality. They’re not developed well, and what little personality they have, switches as often as one would switch clothes. They’re not consistent. Even the bullying seems over the top – I understand she might be bullied because she lives in a strange house and her Mom murdered someone, but it just went too far here.
Piper, at first, acts like a human doormat. I was glad to see her gain some personality and guts toward the end of the novel. At least she didn’t let people walk over her like that anymore. She’s the only character showing development though, which wasn’t exactly great.
The writing was overall solid, but there were some strange expressions, and the editing wasn’t always stellar. The book was creepy enough though, and the house, and the house’s history were highly entertaining. If the secondary plots hadn’t been so over the top, I probably would’ve loved this one. Now I enjoyed it, but I can’t give it more than a three-star rating. Concept is original though, and anyone interested in YA horror should definitely take a look at this book. ...more