Zoe’s voice – it’s disarming, comedic, poetic and dark: I only went to the party because of [Grandpa’s] stroke ... and I couldn’t help but think of it...moreZoe’s voice – it’s disarming, comedic, poetic and dark: I only went to the party because of [Grandpa’s] stroke ... and I couldn’t help but think of it as a stroke of good luck. She compares dandelions to dead fairies and asks if a man on death row thinks about the galaxy. I was noting down good quotes to post on Twitter and found myself listing one every few pages. A paragraph will start like the ramblings of a regular 15 year old, then something hits you between the eyes: a caught moment, a beautiful idea.
Whimsical conversation – meeting Aaron – in fact most conversations with Aaron – is not what two people just meeting would ever say to each other. But that’s ok, because it’s good to read.
A romantic moment in a library – because that’s where the best romantic moments happen.
Dot’s diary – I have the edition with the bonus material at the end, but, while sweet, it didn’t add anything and felt like a gimmick.
Surprise – I didn’t see it coming about (view spoiler)[Max and Aaron being brothers, (hide spoiler)] but I did smugly predict (view spoiler)[it was Max who died, not Aaron. It seemed as if it would be too final, with nowhere to go, if Aaron had died. But then to show his feelings right at the end... I thought he would be angry at her and that she would embody his pain, but he was the same as her, wrapped up in guilt. (hide spoiler)]
In short – one of those books you might get told to the point of annoyance ‘you just have to read’, but it’s true. It deserves to be nestled on everyone’s bookshelf, and with the beautiful birds along the anti-spine of this edition, it will look mighty fine there too. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
The time for action is now – Sometimes you don’t want to read romance. Sometimes you want to read about a girl who does a thing. Danni survives the as...moreThe time for action is now – Sometimes you don’t want to read romance. Sometimes you want to read about a girl who does a thing. Danni survives the assassination of her aunt, explores an archaeological dig site in Greenland, escapes attack and goes on a journey around the world to solve the mystery of the rock her aunt gave her as she died. Not bad for a 14 year old.
Wet, wet, wet – Written by a marine scientist, Red Rock is set in a world where the ice caps have melted and entire cities are flooded. The atmosphere is tense and danger is always round the corner. Society is just about holding it together – if you stick to the safe areas. Some people have become desperate and scavenge the flooded cities: the not-so-affectionately called scavvers. You know that feeling when a character has to enter a dangerous place and you’re screaming noooooo? Yeah, there is plenty of that. But then Danni is braver than me.
The importance of friendship – Central to the book is the friendship between Danni and Gracie. The ending went in a direction I wasn’t expecting and raises questions about (view spoiler)[forgiveness and can a good action repair the damage caused by a bad action. (hide spoiler)]
Hats – Danni’s love affair with hats is ten times more passionate than her crush on Isaac.
Shiny rainbow holographic cover of magpie euphoria and ‘There’s something in the mist’ – I bet it’s a sexy boy.
Biker Nan – let’s take some time for the awesomeness of that to sink in. Biker Nan with her (view spoiler)[serial killer-style obsession room, who approaches her granddaughter with a memory-wiping gun saying this will only pinch. (hide spoiler)] What a legend.
Mistaken identity – there’s a great scene where Nell (view spoiler)[presumes it’s her dad who is the link with the fey, explains everything, realises her mistake and has to backtrack like crazy. (hide spoiler)] And she does appear crazy. It’s possible I particularly enjoyed this because I imagine her dad to look like Castiel from Supernatural, complete with trenchcoat (I think he could easily transfer from the angel department to the CID).
Young love – I really like that Nell throws up in front of Evan. I don’t know what that says about me.
Mean girls – I am not a fan of reading about bitchy ex-friends and Nell has two of them. At one point, Nell’s self-motivational speech to stay alive is so she can sit next to them at lunch and refuse to move, Rosa Parks style, standing up for un-populars everywhere. This might be what being 13 is like, but I let the mist fog over those characters.
Respect – there’s a moment when Nell grows up. She compares her mum, a normal police officer who gives crime prevention talks in schools and the parent who raised her and her sister, with her dad, the CID hot-shot who chases criminals and has never stopped to get to know or understand her. She steps outside herself and sees her parents as human beings, not just mum and dad. And that it’s her mum who deserves respect.
Elven with an ‘n’ – the author’s note about being influenced by travellers is interesting, especially when paired with questioning who really owns land (or even a dimension). The Elven make snap changes between being friendly to fierce. They are like us and yet not like us. Threaded throughout are fairy tales of lost girls and a white face in the window, haunting the story until Nell makes the connection between the two worlds.
A girl called Lettice – a little gem of a name, deep like an iceberg and explosive like a rocket. Why? Just cos.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Wise-cracking – it wasn’t a slow start, but it was like the twigs were being rubbed together and not catching fire. It took about a third of the book...moreWise-cracking – it wasn’t a slow start, but it was like the twigs were being rubbed together and not catching fire. It took about a third of the book for the magic to begin (not the actual magic, which begins around page 50 with a fireball blast). Then something sparked. The comebacks sizzled, the taunts reverberated and you could shave a yak with the razor-sharp wit. What can I say, I’m a glutton for snark.
Skulduggery’s complete disregard of safety for a 12 year old girl – he may be the good guy, but he’s got some dark reasons for fighting and happily lets Stephanie get caught up in the underworld of sorcery, which generally involves being in the path of something sharp or hungry.
Sisterhood – before it all goes down, Stephanie and Tanith bond over a giggling fit and act their age (well technically Tanith’s 93, but she moisturises).
Magic you wish existed
- Stephanie’s reflection – a copy of herself to go through the motions, but the longer you talk to it, the more you realise something isn’t right – to solve the pesky parent problem;
- the Echo Stone, which lets a dying person imprint their memories and personality into it, to comfort relatives or answer questions after their death;
- protecting the Book of Names with willpower, meaning anyone approaching it persuades themselves they never wanted it anyway and can’t pick it up.
The power of names – taking your-mum-using-your-full-name-and-reducing-you-to-a-quivering-wreck to a whole new level.(less)