I realised the other day I rarely read ghost stories. My ideas of ghost stories are limited toThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour.
I realised the other day I rarely read ghost stories. My ideas of ghost stories are limited to the urban legends you hear as a child, or teen, and what’s available in horror movies. All-in-all I have a basic idea of ghost stories being horribly funny, disturbingly thrilling, or just all ’round traumatising. When I couple the idea of ghost stories with young adult fiction, I begin to imagine instances of love triangles, out of control hormones and powers, and plenty of angst.
I can’t help it. I’ve read too much atypical young adult fiction. Even if The Wraith had turned out to be all of the above, I would have appreciated it for the change of concept and powers. Thankfully it didn’t turn out to be all of the above and I rather enjoyed the concept for what it was and not just for a change of pace.
There were some awkwardly written scenes in the beginning. When Ophelia discovered her invisibility and her roommates were speaking about her and her whereabouts, the dialogue was on the over-descriptive side. There was also the scene of having Ophelia’s sexuality confirmed for the reader. Personally I found it jarring and could have gone without the statement from Ophelia’s best mate Todd, but then again I am in a same-sex relationship so… maybe my thoughts are expected. Fortunately the story found its rhythm at just the right time and the awkward scenes abated.
I greatly appreciated how Ophelia came to terms with her deathly state. It wasn’t a clean and simple process, like so many other ‘sudden state of change’ a protagonist can go through in young adult fiction. Instead she struggled, she began to accept, but then she’d question it. It was a roller coaster for her, but not over the top and to the point of cliché.
Early on I had an inkling as to whom Ophelia’s murderer was, but the red herring was well placed and made me question my initial conclusion. In the end the discovery of the crime was played out really well and I think the crime itself added to the atmosphere of the story. The atmosphere came across as sorrowful for me and so many aspects of the protagonist’s journey, as well as her interactions with other characters, only made the story more so.
Of course I have to comment on the character’s sexuality. It’s refreshing when you can read a story with a LGBT character and not have them stereotyped in any way, or overly celebrated. I have read stories where there’s a humiliating mix of stereotype and self-congratulations for including something other than expected. My impression was Ophelia is attracted to women and big deal that she is. She’s a person (in a matter of speaking), she has feelings for someone else, and her sexuality only impacts the story in the ways it should. This is both a relief to me and a pleasant surprise.
I enjoyed the love story. At first it came across as too fast for me, maybe with the ability to be tipped into the insta-love realm, but I think there was a lovely interplay of innocence and maturity with Ophelia and Lenora. The love story didn’t overtake the main plot and I love that they met in a kickboxing class. I love how there was no instances of lacking self-esteem being cured by a love interest. Sure the relationship of Lenora and Ophelia advanced the story and influenced the characters, but it was only one element of the entire picture.
I think The Wraith could have been longer, but I’m happy for where it ended and how it ended. I’m thoroughly looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel and want to discover how Ophelia’s state of being evolves....more
I have two devices, a Kindle and Sony eReader, for reading. I had originally planned to read IncThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour
I have two devices, a Kindle and Sony eReader, for reading. I had originally planned to read Incendiary Girls after a novel waiting on my eReader. Except, I had a trip into the city and forgot my eReader. Instead I brought my Kindle along and realised far too late that it was the wrong device.
So what to do? My city trip involved lounging around waiting on the grounds of Sydney Uni. Incendiary Girls is a collection of short stories. I decided I could always switch back to the original proposed read in-between some of the stories and then continue on with Incendiary Girls at a later date.
Well, didn’t my plans fall through? I read almost half of Incendiary Girls within the space of time I was waiting and probably would have finished it the same day if I hadn’t of had a full schedule. I found myself wanting to keep picking it up when I was forced to put it down. I find myself wanting to pick it up now and I’ve finished reading it.
I’m sure I’ve stated time and time again, on BA, that I love short stories. They’re a break from full length novels and a great way to sample an author’s work when you haven’t read it before. Incendiary Girls is a great collection of darkly humorous, thought-provoking, and ultimately bittersweet stories.
On several different occasions I found my heart aching with sadness for the characters, but then was rewarded with moments of revelations when characters found a kernel of hope and understanding. Incendiary Girls is a commentary on life and human nature delivered via way of quirky bundles that don’t come across as either cliched or preposterous. The mother being reincarnated as a horse, so as seen by her daughter, for example was something I found completely acceptable and especially in the face of the protagonists recent discovery.
Unusual? Yes. Jarring? Definitely not. Every story was written with smoothness and depth. Each character was fleshed out thoroughly and every conclusion suited each situation. I found it difficult to switch off after finishing Incendiary Girls. I couldn’t stop pondering each of the character’s experiences and what could possibly have happened to them next.
I’m glad Incendiary Girls was a novel I accidentally read ahead of my schedule and was able to read the majority of it while lounging around on a lawn. The stories within gave me food for thought, kept me engaged, and inspired me to write. This short story collection is one that will be going on my re-reading shelf....more
Every time I read a hard sci-fi, which is not often mind you, based in space I expect an alienThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour.
Every time I read a hard sci-fi, which is not often mind you, based in space I expect an alien to come out at some point. When I first came across The Martian, knowing it was definitely set in space (going by name and cover), I immediately thought space-based story with possible alien sighting. Then I looked further into the story and realised it had nothing to do with aliens.
This was the decision maker for me. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good sci-fi with aliens, but how often do you come across one where the protagonist is some poor guy who got stuck in space? I know I’ve never read a space-based sci-fi without at least one alien.
The Martian follows the story of Mark Watney who is stranded on Mars. No one can get to him any time soon, he can’t get anywhere, and there’s no radio contact available. Poor Mark. Naturally, in the back of my mind, there’s the question of whether it will be a boring read. What exactly can Watney get up to, to make a reader want to keep reading?
I surprisingly, to me at least, found the story fascinating and engaging. There’s a whole lot of things Mark Watney can do while stranded on Mars and it came across as very authentic with the amount of detail in relation to his activities. The story is in journal format, at first, and then switches between Watney’s journal, events on Earth and at NASA, events on Hermes (the mission ship), and correspondence between everyone involved.
During Watney’s journal he goes into detail about the whys and the hows, which might sound boring, but it’s infused with the character’s great sense of humour. Mark Watney is now one of my favourite protagonists. He has been added to the list. I found myself laughing, at home and in public, and I’m a hard one to get laughing. I’m not talking about those quiet little laughs you try to keep to yourself either. I’m talking about outbursts that get people to abruptly stare at you in a quizzical sense.
As much as I loved it, sometimes the detail did go over my head. There were times when it was more than my brain could comprehend and other times when I wasn’t in the mood to read it. I still read it though. I wanted to enjoy the protagonist’s humour. I thought the ending was on the preachy side, but that just may have been me. There’s a large focus on the science of the science fiction, but it’s understandable when you realise this marooned character needs to focus on something. His focus, what drives him forward and shuts out denial, affected me to the point where the ending felt jarring to me.
I’m not disappointed in the ending though. Personally I could have gone without the extra reflection, but the rest was great. The whole story was great. I found myself riveted no matter what and by the end of it, even though the situation would be horrendous, I found a small part of myself wishing it had actually taken place. It would be awesome to know a man like Mark Watney is out there after surviving temporary Martian status....more
I’ve read my fair share of young adult fiction over the years, as an adult, and ha**spoiler alert** This review was first published to Bookish Ardour.
I’ve read my fair share of young adult fiction over the years, as an adult, and have to say I love it when I come across an atypical young adult story. Stories can be dressed up with quirky characters and plenty of fanfare, but the basic premise is usually there. Once you read enough you can’t miss it, so when you get to read something with more than quirky characters and fanfare, it’s a treat.
It has been some time since I read Altered and I dove straight into Shattered without re-reading Altered. Unfortunately my memory is not as fantastic as it used to be and my memories of Altered are on the vague side, but after a few chapters I was able to remember the characters and the horrible predicament they had found themselves in.
Judging from memory, I believe the nature Vs. nurture theory I was so in love with Altered is not as present in Shattered, but this is balanced out with a more in-depth view of the characters and the mysteries behind the school itself. I’m left wondering who to root for. It’s not that I don’t want the main characters, the students, to get out and be free from experiments, but I can also understand the ideals expressed by the authority figures.
If there is a villain in this piece then I have no idea who it could be anymore except perhaps mental illness and the disasters brought about by extraordinary talents.
I did have issue with a few expressions and beginnings of scenes. I’m very in-tune with noticing how characters are introduced and I can appreciate the mystery created and detail shared when a character is introduced via their looks and physique, but as long as it is the once. It shouldn’t be needed again, scenes should be begun with introducing the scene rather than the character. I felt the characters were overly introduced after the initial introduction.
I also didn’t understand the need for swimming across the lake when it’s cold, but then I got to thinking. I considered maybe they were so desperate to get away from the school they were willing to risk hypothermia and death. If you were attached to a shock box, threatened with starvation, kept from socialising openly with your friends, and lived with the knowledge of basement level rooms with medical equipment, what would you do? I might not swim across a cold lake, I can’t swim that far, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I did something as equally dangerous and foolhardy.
Apart from my issues and my confusion over some of the actions of the characters, I just want to know what is going to happen next. I want to know now. I want to know what the point of the school is and why these kids are special. Mostly I really just want to know if Charlie is going to be ok. I believe she is my favourite. Ann and Joseph’s arguing was tiring, but I think Ann has grown on me as well as Toni. Without spoiling it I have to share two words… the ending! Aah! I need to know everything....more
When it comes to reading, on occasion, my mind will let the story completely consume me. With tThis review was originally published to Bookish Ardour.
When it comes to reading, on occasion, my mind will let the story completely consume me. With the right story I am compelled to move faster, walk faster, drink faster, or in some cases I will completely stop eating in order for my brain to have a meltdown. When I have a reaction to stories like this, I believe my brain is trying to push my body faster to cope with the speed of which I’m absorbing the story.
I read the majority of All for Owen at the gym (I read when I’m on the treadmill or bike) of all places. Each time I forgot I was at the gym and found myself walking faster in order to keep up with my reading speed. I would end these gym sessions bewildered, bemused, and with a bleary-eyed stare, as my brain attempted to deal with the abrupt pull back into reality.
All for Owen grabbed my attention slowly, but hooked its claws into me by the quarter mark. I found my desire for fitness becoming secondary to why I wanted to go to the gym. I wanted to workout so I could read more and faster!
The concept of the story was absorbing and unexpected. I’ve read my fair share of dystopian stories and after reading the synopsis you have an expectation of what the story will contain. There should always be a spanner thrown into the works of your expectations though. Some stories will lack the spanner, unfortunately, but I don’t believe All for Owen is one of them.
History coming back to bite a civilisation in the arse is a commonality in dystopian stories, but I loved the way it was done in this case. The use of history and fear slowly unravelled to create tantalising ideas of what could come next.
Come the end of the story, I found myself rooting for characters, taken aback by surprises, being aghast at events befalling the characters, and having them etched clearly in my mind. The character reactions to events and to each other were very realistic and I found it very easy to imagine teens responding to such a world filled with such fear, hopelessness, and manipulation.
All for Owen doesn’t have a jarring cliffhanger, the one to make you want to respond by jumping up in agitation, which is preferable to me. Instead, the culmination of all the events in the story itself, coupled with the characters, got under my skin. This is what makes me want to continue with the story; the character growth, the care with which they’ve been created, and the world-building, rather than the story ending at a pivotal moment, is what feeds my curiosity.
I believe All for Owen is readable by teens and adults alike. While it is evident to me the story is geared towards an age demographic, nothing is dumbed down. The story may be easy to absorb, but it’s deeper meanings wrapped up in fast-paced entertainment....more
If you’re a reader like me you’ll begin reading a book without high expectations. It doesn’t matteThis review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
If you’re a reader like me you’ll begin reading a book without high expectations. It doesn’t matter if you’ve read the author’s work before, or if you’ve been anticipating the current title’s release. You’ve read enough to know not to judge a book by the author’s previous work, or your previous reading history.
Personally I love to reign in my expectations so when I come across something awesome, the end-result-buzz leaves me cuckoo for hours (I tend to move on quickly). I’ve read Terra Whiteman’s The Antithesis series and loved it though, so trying to reign in expectations for her newest release has been difficult. It is even more difficult when you know there’s going to be tough female characters who can kick butt and you have a thing about armed women walking around in cool worn-out outfits (I’m a sucker for the Resident Evil movies). The cover cemented that image in my head, but knowing Meridian is a dystopian science-fiction based story made my imagination swoon with the possibilities.
My mind is still swooning with the possibilities after finishing the story. Meridian is a great mix of plot and character development. Neither aspect dominates, both work nicely together to further the story and fuel the imagination. What more could you want in a story? For starters you could ask for complex, with equal amounts of negative and positive traits, loveable characters. You could ask for easy to imagine cool gadgets, weapons, and technology even though the story is not in our time. You could ask for enough action scenes to get your blood pumping and to carry the momentum while there’s enough downtime to get to know the characters and give your pulse rate a break. You could probably also ask for adequate amounts of moral and religious conflicts without it becoming a heavy read.
I love these ingredients in stories, especially when the social and political aspects are so thwart with arrogance and control. It’s a great way to mess with characters, giving them opportunity for struggle under their developed hard edges, while giving readers an extra reason to root for whomever they choose. I’m rooting for all the characters myself and I’m not sure why. It might just be because I want positive outcomes, but it could also be how the characters are presented. Terra Whiteman has an excellent way of writing characters to make them robust, their morals are never black and white, and I can’t help wanting to adore all of them. I especially love Mercy and Corvis, but I also loved the characters in the prologue and that’s just the prologue!
I can’t pinpoint anything I disliked about Meridian. Obviously I loved the story and the characters, but it also reminded me of great games I’ve played, awesome movies I’ve watched, and yet it didn’t give the impression of copying any other story. Maybe deep down I really want this story to become a game too so I can play it and have more time with the characters… Instead I’ll settle with re-reading Meridian while I patiently wait for the sequel....more
I love epistolary style novels. I think the style gives the reader a more in-depth view of the chaThis review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
I love epistolary style novels. I think the style gives the reader a more in-depth view of the character and creates an intimate atmosphere you don’t usually get in a third person narrative. Arabelle’s Shadows is told in epistolary format with the character logging her experiences of present time cut with flashbacks of her past.
I was taken with Arabelle straight away and I believe it is due to the format of writing. The character speaks to you and, much like a real diary, shares her fears, woes, and jubilations in a way only a real life conversation can. When you’re editing and pay attention to how people speak you begin to notice just how many words people use. We all do it. Some of us ramble on far more and take what feels like an eternity to others to get to the point. Others get straight to the heart of the matter with clipped sentences. Most of us are somewhere in-between, speaking with a healthy dose of ramble and short and sweet sentences.
Arabelle’s Shadows is in-between and at first it’s appealing, having the ability to grab you with the emotion and struggle the story contains, but after a while I found her manner of speaking too drawn out for reading. Epistolary can be a great format to tell a story with but, as with any narrative, it can be hard to focus when the characters tend to speak in a common real life way.
I believe this to be one reason why it took me longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows than it would have taken to read other novels. I needed a break from the style of writing, but when I would pick the story up again I found myself wanting to keep reading. There’s a clash of a need to have a break and a need to keep going. Fortunately the need to keep reading won out.
I’m not unfamiliar with battling depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. Naturally when I first heard about Arabelle’s Shadows I was intrigued and was currently seeking help for my own issues. Between then and now I have made progress and turned my negativity into positive thinking. The course of my life affects how I view this story. I don’t think I would have been able to read it six months ago. Now I can look back I don’t think it would have been healthy for me to do so, but I haven’t forgotten how it felt to be overtaken by your negative side. I believe this to be the other reason for why I took longer to read Arabelle’s Shadows.
Personally I couldn’t help but feel empathy for Arabelle. I wanted her to succeed, but not in a monetary way, in an emotional and self-respective way. My heart ached for her when she was at her lowest and I felt a sense of joy when she had moments of peace and strength. I’m not sure if this is only because of my past history with mental illness and having toxic people in my life, but I would like to think Arabelle’s Shadows would get under the skin of those who have not struggled so in their lives....more
PostApoc is one of those books I finish and discover I’m struck dumb; I have little to no words to share. I blame this reaction on the ending. It’s so, so open-ended, which I love, but I need to know more. More, more, more!
It took me some time to be won over by PostApoc. For the majority of the story I was lost, not irreparably to the story itself, but I was disconnected from the content. Once upon a time I was a music buff, but now struggle to listen to music regularly, and I have experimented in the past, but not with the hard stuff. The main character, Ang, is surrounded by drugs and music. Her environment, her friends, those she clings to out of survival, her modes of survival, are all permeated with drugs and music. Her perspectives for everything, the way she sees herself, the way she sees others, the way she ponders her past and present, and the way she analyses the end of the world are all influenced by her intoxicated state. Ang may have a hangover every now and then, but she is never completely sober and she is never free from being influenced.
Being new to Liz Worth’s work, I’m not sure how much of the prose is her style and how much is Ang’s language. At some point in a story you come to learn there’s a divorce between the two, but there are times when you either can’t find it, or you aren’t sure they’re separate. PostApoc is one where I couldn’t quite distinguish the difference. I know the author has a background in poetry and it’s something else I have considered when it comes to understand the use of language and phrases.
While I can’t help considering the author’s writing background and the utilisation of language, I would prefer to consider the story and prose as a tool for the character to express herself. Basically, she’s messed up so her descriptions are going to confuse me. They confused me all right. They confused me for a good while. I found myself wondering if she was really facing the end of the world or if she was hallucinating. As the story progressed and things got weirder, the oddest thing happened; I had no idea what was going on with the world around her, but I began to understand Ang and the rest of the characters.
PostApoc isn’t like other standard post-apocalyptic tales. The majority of stories will show the time before the end and explain the whys. PostApoc on the other hand is a really small-world story, the perspective is Ang’s and she has no idea what is going on. Everything is falling apart and the story does not begin before the end. There’s rumours about other places, there’s snippets into the downfall of other cities, but the main focus is on Ang and her friends struggling for survival.
It’s actually a depressing story. Everything unravels and mutates so fast and disturbingly, it’s a wonder my brain could still grasp the concept of the story. By the end, I found my footing in the prose and, surprisingly to me, came to love it. I find myself wanting to read PostApoc again, but more than that, I want to know what came of Ang and the end of her world....more
This review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
There’s an almost-new, created in 2011, literature e-magazine out and I’ve just finished reading iThis review was originally posted on Bookish Ardour.
There’s an almost-new, created in 2011, literature e-magazine out and I’ve just finished reading issue #5. It’s titled The Rag and features an array of short stories, poetry, and art. These are three features I always enjoy experiencing together. There’s nothing like whiling away your day reading stories with different themes, at varying intensities, and broken up with interesting visual pieces.
Some of the stories in issue five are rather disturbing and I’m left all agog over the last instalment by Philip Zigman titled Olivia. The story is about a woman with a perfect nose, but it happens to be out of proportion to the rest of her body, or so she believes. This results in her going through a long haul with plastic surgery. I don’t like plastic surgery and I don’t like plastic surgery reality shows, but Zigman’s story is akin to something horrible (like reality shows) where you can’t look away.
The issue begins in much the same way with an unusual love story by Stefanie Demas. Love stories don’t suit my tastes, but the unusual ones are special. I will happily give them my full attention and Memento Mori was definitely the best opener to issue #5. I began reading this issue at a doctor’s surgery and almost dropped my eReader out of surprise when my name was called; I’d completely forgotten I was waiting for the doctor.
There’s stories about fighting Hebephilia, domestic abuse from an outsider’s perspective, an awesome poem by Misty Lynn Ellingburg, being sucked into the crime world, a interesting story about a diabetic with neuropathy by Rachel Kimbrough, and so much more that I don’t know what to mention next.
All these tales are broken up with art by Meredith Robinson and it’s the type of art I love so even more reason to draw me along and have me reading this issue of The Rag. It’s not often I’m able to discover literary magazines where I have the time and interest to read on a regular basis. Either there’s only a small amount of stories to whet my appetite, or the magazine is far too long, but I found issue #5 to be just the right length and the themes to entertain my oddball tastes....more
The Mourning Hours was the second book I began reading at the gym, the first being All for Owen,This review was originally published to Bookish Ardour
The Mourning Hours was the second book I began reading at the gym, the first being All for Owen, and I hadn’t quite figured out if it was the gym propelling me to read it so fast, or the story. Half-way through the story I realised it wasn’t the gym compelling me to keep reading. I didn’t go to the gym for over a week and in that time would find myself wanting to put my life on hold to read The Mourning Hours. I found myself waiting at the doctor’s and not wanting to go into my appointment, I found myself semi-relieved when the bus drove past my stop, I found myself wanting to sacrifice my sleep all so I could keep reading.
The main character, Kirsten, has a very compelling voice and I found myself easily falling into the lives and routines of the Hammarstrom family. Fortunately the story, although told from the perspective of Kirsten when she is nine-years-old, wasn’t present tense. I think it wouldn’t have worked quite as well if it had been present tense. While there’s an obvious loss of connection of events and understanding of what’s going on, Kirsten comes across as too mature for a childish narration. Besides, as a reader you can put two-and-two together yourself. When I say obvious loss, it’s not plot holes and jumps between scenes, but the portrayal of a child recounting what she sees.
The story itself turned out to be quite sad. I was deeply affected by it, but didn’t realise how much so until I had finished. Each character is defined and realistically responsive, including third-characters. Their emotions and reactions are easily understood via Kirsten’s story telling and it was difficult not to feel a pang of sympathy for all of them.
Unfortunately I don’t know if I felt the appropriate amount of closure you expect with the ending of The Mourning Hours. I was surprised to a degree, and then was accepting when I thought back, but I wasn’t really sold for it to be the lynchpin for the end of the mystery. Then again, it didn’t take me long to realise the story itself isn’t about the disappearance and the how, but more about family and how it copes when the rug is pulled from under its feet....more
I’ve never really been interested in mermaids. Mermaid tales and myths haven’t been something to hoYou can find this review and more at Bookish Ardour
I’ve never really been interested in mermaids. Mermaid tales and myths haven’t been something to hold my attention for very long, but after reading The Undrowned Child and now Ciye Cho’s Florence, I’m starting to reconsider. I’m not only seeing mermaids in a whole different light, but I’m beginning to enjoy them. I’m not curious about where mermaids come from in general (dugongs, it’s just too easy), but I find my interest piqued when it comes to Cho’s mermaids, their origins, and their culture. I want more mermaids!
It’s probably easy to tell right now that I’m quite taken with Florence. I have lost sleep over this book. Much. Needed. Sleep. One night I woke up with a low blood sugar and, even though I find it hard to focus during them, low blood sugars aren’t a pleasant experience, and it was 3am, I found myself contemplating it as an opportunity. I decided no matter how my blood sugar was making me feel I would squeeze in a chapter. An hour later I went to bed. It can take as little as ten minutes to recover from a blood sugar and yet I was going back to sleep at 4am… what does that tell you?
From the first line until the last I was entertained. After a forced interval from reading, whether it was a break of an hour or a day off with other plans, I found myself instantly engaged whenever I came back to the story. The characters, on top of the imagery, made this effortless to do. The main character, Florence, is easy to relate to. She’s the outcast, but she doesn’t wear on one’s nerves. I think there is a fine line between a character being a relatable, likeable outcast and going to the point of being needy and frustrating. Florence is definitely not the latter. She has a very clear, strong voice and her interactions with the rest of the characters are fun, exciting, and sometimes thrilling to read. I think all the characters are very well rounded, fleshed out, and distinct.
I’m not completely surprised by how vivid and colourful the world of Niemala, the home of Cho’s mermaids, is thanks to having read Shiewo, but I was still thoroughly impressed with the imagery. If someone came along and created a movie adaptation of Florence, it would be something I would decide to watch without hesitation and not just for the story. I’m sure Cho’s world of Niemala would make for a beautiful visual display. The colourful descriptions; sometimes it makes it seem as though the world is being painted as you read. The descriptions aren’t overcomplicated and yet there’s a vibrancy and lushness added to the scenery. Niemala is a place I want to visit.
It’s hard to make me forget I’m reading something someone has written. For the majority of Florence I found myself forgetting and I’m really quite grateful for that. When you lose that ability to forget and immerse most of the time, the stories that make you achieve that mix again hold a special place. Florence holds a special place for me and I’m so glad I didn’t let the idea of mermaids turn me away....more
I’m so sad! I’ve mentioned several times in the past how I’m so affected by the ending of**spoiler alert** Find this review and more at BookishArdour.
I’m so sad! I’ve mentioned several times in the past how I’m so affected by the ending of books and it makes me want to comment on the ending first rather than starting at the beginning. I find it so hard to go back to the start, whether the story is 1,000 pages, 300 pages, or 100 pages in length, it always feels like I’m doing an about turn. So I’m going to start from the end first and see where I go with it.
Darkness of Morning has one of those endings that elicit a ‘Noooooo!’ response from me. Both for the actual ending and for the simple fact of not being able to continue on with the story. I did find the ending somewhat predictable, but even though I knew what was coming I couldn’t believe it would actually happen. I know I sound cryptic right now so let me go into full spoiler mode for those who have read the story…
I could see the ending going one of two ways, either Dylan goes off with Alster or she realises her mistake and can come back to the good side, but I knew deep down it would make more sense for Dylan to go completely to the dark side. I knew it, I saw it coming, and I was still devastated. Oh Dylan! I’m so sad for you. It’s so sad!
It wasn’t until that moment of utter betrayal that I realised how much I had invested my emotions into their relationship. Up until that point I was on the meh side to it. I put this down to not being a big romantic, but my favourite fictional romances usually sneak up on me and I just can’t accept Dylan and Kara’s connection has been severed so. Nope, I can’t accept it. I refuse to right now and I’m opting to be optimistic about them coming back together. I know Dylan has some issues, but people have issues all the time. I have plenty! Come on girls, you can work through it.
Darkness of Morning is the second book I’ve read this year. Usually I am at that number within the first week, but it has been a difficult reading year so far and I found it hard to get back into the swing of things making the time it took to read this tale at the pace I would have preferred. I am, however, grateful for it. Where there was a ho-hum feeling towards reading for a while, Darkness of Morning has ignited that hunger to discover more stories. More and more and more!
I do feel as though some of my stop and start motion in reading was due to the writing itself. As I mentioned earlier how the ending was on the predictable side to me, I think that was because certain aspects were being told rather than shown; particularly when it came to the choppy changes between characters and sharing how they were feeling, more so during dialogue. I don’t have a problem with character’s feelings being told, not really, but I like stories where you can discern what they’re feeling and what they’re about by descriptions of their reactions and tones.
Regardless of that though I found myself loving and thoroughly enjoying Darkness Morning by the end. I really like the setting and appreciate how it’s not atypically fairy-like. There are still definitely those elements of fairy you come to expect, but I think because the world is not situated in some lush forest with hapless humans being led around as entertainment it gives the story more of a unique and darker feel in the type of fantasy it is.
What I love the most though is character. That’s what Darkness of Morning is for me, all about character. I love the characters so much and at the risk of sounding like I’m contradicting myself, I hate Alster. I hate him with a passion! That’s why I love him so much. He is such a great villain. I can just picture being a manipulative bastard because he is and making so many people fall under his sway makes me hate him, and enjoy him, even more.
I also found myself warming to Rinus. As pathetic as he is, he really is a pathetic and needy creature, I couldn’t help but notice some of his charm. It’s part of who he is and it comes through the telling of the story and his interactions with other characters. I would actually really like to follow far more of Rinus.
Now if only I could find out what happens with Kara and Dylan. I thought their relationship was quite realistic and, while it’s a fantasy and their relationship is influenced by these fantastical elements, I couldn’t help making connections to real life scenarios. It’s a realistic relationship with troubled youth wrapped up in fantasy and I think it’s done really well. I just… ah! I need to know what’s going to happen next…...more