This is the first of the companion novels to Pushing the Limits, it focuses on Beth - Noah's friend and housemate and introduces Ryan, a baseball starThis is the first of the companion novels to Pushing the Limits, it focuses on Beth - Noah's friend and housemate and introduces Ryan, a baseball star in the making.
I have to admit, when I read about the dare element of this book I was really worried. I generally find that books with secrets like this leave me so stressed out as I read, and so I end up not really enjoying the book. I was so pleased to find that this part of the plot didn't play out as I'd expected it to, and so I could just enjoy the reading experience.
The majority of this book is set at a different school, in a different town, to Pushing the Limits so there's a whole new lot of characters to get to know. Beth makes numerous trips back home though, giving us time to catch up with Echo and Noah, and with Isaiah.
This isn't a perfect book, but the writing is so good that I was completely swept away by the reading experience and can happily overlook things that might have been gripes in a weaker book. I'm completely in love with this series, I think it's the closest a series of books have got to making me feel the way watching Friday Night Lights did....more
I need to start this review by saying that I absolutely loved this book, I made myself read it slowly (something I find pretty hard to do) just so theI need to start this review by saying that I absolutely loved this book, I made myself read it slowly (something I find pretty hard to do) just so the experience would last longer. I know that we’re only a few weeks into January but I know this book is going to be a contender for a place on my Top Ten Reads of 2013 – I loved it that much. This should be an easy review to write in that case yes? No. I think this might be the trickiest review I’ve written in a long time, possibly ever. The very things that made me adore this book are the very things I don’t want to write about – I believe the experience of reading this book and the way the story unfolds need to be protected.
I loved the circus setting for the book, it’s described so well – as you’re reading you feel as though you’re actually sitting watching all the acts or walking through the carnival after the show. The writing is wonderfully descriptive, one of the reasons I forced myself to read more slowly and really soak it all in.
The book moves between Gene’s story and Micah’s story, the move between narratives never jars, and I found I was really interested in both stories so was always eager to read more of them both. There is a strong social structure in the world that provides the setting for the book, I found this really interesting particularly as Gene and Micah are at opposite ends of it.
The circus setting also makes for some really interesting characters, I found the whole structure of the company of performers and backstage members fascinating. I really enjoyed the interactions between Micah and his mentors – aerialists Arik and Aenea. In Gene’s story I enjoyed the time she spent with her brother and his friends, the bantery nature of her friendship with them was so well created.
The world that the book is set reminded me quite a bit of Victorian England, though it has magical elements that leave me finding it really hard to put a genre label onto the book. The mentions of the Vestige throughout the book, objects that have magical properties add a real sense of atmosphere to the book.
As soon as I finished reading this book I started talking to people about it, telling them about how I’d really loved it and that they just needed to read it. I think I’ll be doing this for a good few months to come which is good as it will help me pass the time whilst I’m waiting for the next book in the series!...more
A brilliant ending to Joe's story, I read most of this with my heart in my mouth! I loved getting to revisit Joe and so many of the characters, particA brilliant ending to Joe's story, I read most of this with my heart in my mouth! I loved getting to revisit Joe and so many of the characters, particularly getting to spend more time with Archie. ...more
I had no real preconceived ideas about this book when I sat down to read it. The blurb was intriguing, but I couldn’t quite imagine how the story wasI had no real preconceived ideas about this book when I sat down to read it. The blurb was intriguing, but I couldn’t quite imagine how the story was going to work. I always like it when this happens, mainly because when the book is good – and this one really is – then it’s a real treat to see the story unfold.
The book tells Cat’s story, it begins when she is a little girl and follows her through into adulthood. It also tells the story of Finn, a one-of-a-kind android who is brought into the family home to act as tutor to Cat. Over the years they grow and learn, and their stories become increasingly difficult to separate.
This book is one of those that is going to be impossible to categorise, it is most definitely a science fiction story, but whilst this thread runs through the book its importance ebbs and wanes – at times I found myself suddenly remembering the sci fi element because the love story of the book had almost entirely taken over my brain. The story is one of love and friendship, but it’s also one of philosophical wonderings and moral questions.
I got incredibly invested in the characters in the book, I cared a huge amount about what was going to happen to Cat and to Finn, even when I started to question what was right and wrong I was rooting for them most of all. At one point when the story seemed to be moving away from what I wanted I could hardly bear to turn the page in case something happened that I didn’t want to see, but at the same time I had to read on to make sure everything was okay.
This is the sort of book that I know I will be returning to in years to come, and I’m sure that as my life experiences shape me so my reaction to this book could change, but however this may happen I know that I will still love it and still love Cat and Finn....more
I was really keen to read this book as soon as I read the blurb. My long term plan post finishing my degree is to work in a library where I get to worI was really keen to read this book as soon as I read the blurb. My long term plan post finishing my degree is to work in a library where I get to work with teenagers, I thought this would be a really useful addition to my personal library.
The first thing I must say about this book is how very accessible it is. It is aimed at teenagers and the adults around them, the book is written in a way that both groups will find interesting and helpful but never feel talked down to or overloaded with information. Relevant scientific research is included wherever it is relevant, this again is discussed in a great manner, there’s no need to have a scientific background to be able to understand it.
The book covers six key areas; Emotions, Sleep, Risk-taking, Gender differences, Mental health issues and Brain development in older teens. Each section includes a case study, a description of what’s going on in the teenage brain, some theories of why the teenage brain might work the way it does, some useful facts and hints to help teenagers and parents survive this stage, and a quiz or activity to do. I really liked this structure, I’m sure different readers will particularly like different sections but by presenting the information in a range of ways there will definitely be something for everybody.
I’m obviously no longer a teenager myself, nor a parent of a teenager, but I found it fascinating to be able to think back to my own teenage years and my experiences (and those of some classmates) and finally understand why some people acted the way that they did.
I think this is a really valuable book, since reading it I’ve recommended it to a number of friends who work with teenagers. I know I’ll be referring back to it for years to come....more
I have enjoyed every one of Zoë Marriott’s books that I’ve read, and when I heard her new project was The Name of the Blade an urban fantasy trilogy II have enjoyed every one of Zoë Marriott’s books that I’ve read, and when I heard her new project was The Name of the Blade an urban fantasy trilogy I was really excited by the prospect. The early reviews for the book were brilliant, so I sat down to read it with pretty high expectations.
I fell in love with this book within the first couple of dozen pages. The characters grabbed my attention, and I was instantly drawn into their world – I did not want to put this book down for anything!
Mio, the leading lady, is a wonderful character. I loved how well rounded she is, whilst she’s strong and capable, smart and quick, she’s also real – she’s flawed, she makes some really stupid decisions, and she’s imbued with the singlemindedness that can come with being a teenager. I really, really love her – it’s so nice reading a character who feels completely genuine, and one that you think you’d be quite happy to spend time around!
There are a number of key supporting characters, I felt like I got to know them all well – they weren’t purely there for Mio’s benefit. I could happily have read many more stories of her times with her grandfather in particular, this was such a lovely relationship. I also loved the friendship she had with Jack, and how this evolved once Shinobu, the warrior boy, and Hikaru, representative of the London Kitsune, joined the mix. The dialogue between this group is just my kind of thing, the banter is balanced well with the sense of everyone having their role to play.
This is the first book of a trilogy, and as such has to establish the world, who the key players are and what’s at stake. I found this to be done really well, whilst there’s plenty of information to get across it never feels expositiony, there’s plenty of action and plot progress with some fantastic fight sequences. The air of mystery and creeping sense of peril grows throughout the book, keeping you turning the pages as fast as you can read them.
I loved the way Japanese mythology is woven into the plot, and how cultures are woven together. I found there were many things in the book I’d never come across before, and they were so interesting to read about. I ended up making a note of a few of them to read more about once I’d finished the book.
This is such a great opening to what I think is going to be a brilliant trilogy. I don’t tend to read a lot of urban fantasy, but when I do I always love it. This book is definitely right up there with some of my favourites. I can’t wait for the other books (even though I know I must)!...more
This is one of the debuts I was really excited about for 2013, when I first heard about the concept I knew it was something I would probably really enThis is one of the debuts I was really excited about for 2013, when I first heard about the concept I knew it was something I would probably really enjoy. Within the first few pages I knew I’d been right – I sat down to read just a few pages and the next thing I knew the afternoon was gone and I’d reached the last page.
The story is a really good thriller with cleverly created time-travel elements. I’m a big fan of time-travel stories, but they can make me feel a bit like my head’s spinning – particularly when you start to get into the area of paradoxes and the like. In Sorrowline the time-travel is handled really well, it all makes sense and the questions that arise during the book are answered and in a way that fits well with the plot.
The thriller aspect of the plot is also well developed, at times there is a real sense of peril for the main characters and I felt as I read like my heart was in my mouth! Despite the book having the time-travel element there is never the feeling that it must turn out alright because this the story is happening in the past, a couple of times I found myself wondering how the future might unravel if things went so very wrong.
The main three characters, Jack, Davy and Eloise are all brilliant, but I have to admit to having a favourite and that was Eloise. She’s such a great female character, what we know of her origin story is fascinating and her actions throughout the story made me love her.
I really loved this book, I’m very pleased that there is a teaser snippet included at the end for the next book in the series, Timesmith, I’m already looking forward to reading it even if there is a whole year to wait!...more
For the last twelve months or so everywhere I’ve looked I’ve seen people raving about Rainbow Rowell’s books. Well actually, I’ve seen as many peopleFor the last twelve months or so everywhere I’ve looked I’ve seen people raving about Rainbow Rowell’s books. Well actually, I’ve seen as many people raving about how awesome Rainbow herself is as I’ve seen discussion about her books. Either way I knew I needed to finally get on and read her books. Eleanor and Park seemed like the perfect place to start. Now I’ve read it and loved it I find myself wishing my reviewing skills were better, this book deserves a far better write up than I have any hope of producing.
Eleanor and Park is set in 1986, and is told jointly by the characters named in the title. The setting was an interesting one, I was a young child in the UK during 1986 but much of the nostalgia that the time period evoked worked well for me. Whether it would work quite so well for today’s teen I don’t know, but I always managed fine with books set many decades in the past so I reckon it probably will.
Both Eleanor and Park have significant challenges within their lives. Eleanor’s are more obvious, living in poverty with an abusive stepfather and a mother who doesn’t seem able to provide the comfort or support Eleanor so desperately wants and needs, transferring to a new school . Park on the other hand has to manage a father whose expectations seem unreachable, and his own desire to simply get on with life and remain beneath the radar. The dual narrative, third person structure of the book means we really get to see inside the two characters’ heads – we get to understand how they feel, what they want, what they’re struggling with. I felt that this meant I could connect more deeply with them as characters.
This is definitely a love story, though I haven’t read many like it before. It’s slow and tentative and awkward, like so many real life burgeoning teen romances. Neither Eleanor or Park fit into the quintessential romantic lead pigeon holes and the book is all the better for it. The uncertainty that underpins their relationship again draws the reader further into it, and I’m sure will be something that many readers find they can identify with. So many love stories play out more like the Hollywood romance and whilst these occur in real life they’re not the only sort of romance and I really appreciated the authenticity of relationship found within this book. The Hollywood take on this story would also result in some neat, saccharine sweet ending. What we get is so much better, an untidy ending of hope and progress.
I loved the role both comics and music played within this book. The mix tapes element of the book was something I particularly found I identified with, whilst personal CD players were a feature of my teenage years mix tapes were still somewhat important – I still have a box which contains a few that meant most to me for one reason or another. Their differing circumstances means there is something of an inequity in the relationship between Eleanor and Park, her life has meant that in many ways she hasn’t experienced many of the cultural things that Park has. Music however is something she knows even if what she knows is different to what Park knows. He might know the stuff that’s current but she knows the greats that have come before. She is able to teach him in the way he is able to teach her – this is the power of music and something that moved me greatly as I read.
This book is hard to describe neatly. It’s quiet and yet huge, its story is simple and yet multi-faceted. Fundamentally this is a book that will claw its way under your skin, dragging you into its characters’ lives, staying front and centre in your brain even once you’ve finished reading. I absolutely loved it and am already looking forward to revisiting it....more