Set in the distant future, Blood Red Road is narrated by the colourful Saba, a girl whose life changes one day when her brother is stolen by four menSet in the distant future, Blood Red Road is narrated by the colourful Saba, a girl whose life changes one day when her brother is stolen by four men in black robes. After they kill her father and disappear with her brother, Saba takes in hand her little sister and decides to cross the dustlands of their world to bring her brother back. Along the way, she encounters trouble, disaster, friendship and love.
This is a great read. Blood Red Road is a page turner and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel. This was a difficult one to begin with because Moira Young not only writes in present tense, but in first person narrative with no quotation marks to separate prose from dialogue. I think the unique style had a literary function – in Young’s world there is barely anything left of our technology and culture, including literature, and so Saba has no understanding of the written word. The book is written in an unbroken, spoken style that reflects that. I found it confusing at first, not entirely sure when Saba was speaking and when she was thinking. Eventually I caught onto the flow, but there were still moments throughout where I was caught out. Other than that I liked Young’s style. Her short, sharp sentences and slang language made for fast reading.
There is plenty of action in Blood Red Road, and although not overly original or fresh, the plot devices were fun and often exciting and allowed my favourite part of the novel to shine – Saba. Saba is a great heroine. She’s got defences as high as Fort Knox; she’s impatient, she’s surly, and yet she has heart; she’s brave, she’s fiercely loyal and she has the ability and willingness to change. Saba was Blood Red Road for me, and I’m looking forward to reading more about her, and in particular her developing relationship with Jack. The chemistry between these two characters was fantastic and it’s the thought of the unknown with regards to their future together that makes me want to pick up the next book.
I’ll get the one semi-negative thing I have to say out of the way. The cover. Although very pretty, it’s too pretty. Shatter Me is not a pretty story.I’ll get the one semi-negative thing I have to say out of the way. The cover. Although very pretty, it’s too pretty. Shatter Me is not a pretty story. It’s hard. It’s unapologetic. And it’s exceptional. I think a cover more in keeping with other current dystopians such as The Hunger Games and Divergent would have been more fitting. However… tis neither here nor there and does not take away from the fact that Shatter Me is a wonderful, must read.
The beauty of Shatter Me is all in the writing. Tahereh Mafi has magically combined a lyrical and unique style of writing with the fluidity of fast-paced prose. Her use of strikethroughs for the heroine and narrator, Juliette’s, subconscious thoughts is pure genius. It allowed me to get to know her better and like her and admire the strength she doesn’t even know she possesses. As for Mafi’s turn of phrase… wowzer… her writing is stunning - poetry wrapped up in a dystopian superhero novel. There is nothing clichéd about Shatter Me. It’s a mash up of differing ideas that somehow piece together into something beautiful and new. Juliette’s character development over the course of the novel is powerful stuff. The prose changes slightly as it eases from the quick, short unbroken sentences of someone who has spent the past year living entirely in her own head to more fleshed out, ‘normal’ sentences as she begins to acclimate to being around people again. Love interest, Adam, is delicious - a little suspect at first, but strong, loving and loyal. The way his character unravels Juliette’s is utterly mesmerizing… the scenes with them together are written in pure word candy. Exquisitely yummy. Other minor characters are all excellent, every single one well-developed and three dimensional, but it is the strange, twisted, calm, irrational, cruel, gentle, deranged, affectionate and monstrous paradox that is Warner that I found most compelling of all. I love a book with a million shades of grey and Shatter Me is definitely a vast spectrum of the whitest grey to the darkest. The plot itself was incredibly fast-paced, suspenseful, disturbing, raw and action-packed. A dystopian science-fiction adventure that is just about to take off!
Cannot wait for more of this world and its spellbinding writing.
Five Massive Massive Stars!
Favourite quotes from Shatter Me:
“I always wonder about raindrops. I always wonder about how they’re always falling down, tripping over their own feet, breaking their legs and forgetting their parachutes as they tumble right out of the sky toward an uncertain end. It’s like someone is emptying their pockets over the earth and doesn’t seem to care where the contents fall, doesn’t seem to care that the raindrops burst when they hit the ground, that they shatter when they fall to the floor, that people curse the days the drops dare to tap on their doors. I am a raindrop. My parents emptied their pockets of me and left me to evaporate on a concrete slab.”
“Juliette-“ His body presses closer and I realize I’m paying attention to nothing but the dandelions blowing wishes in my lungs.”
“Killing time isn’t as difficult as it sounds. I can shoot a hundred numbers through the chest and watch them bleed decimal points in the palm of my hand. I can rip the numbers off a clock and watch the hour hand tick tick tick its final tock just before I fall asleep. I can suffocate seconds just by holding my breath. I’ve been murdering minutes for hours and no one seems to mind.”
“His lips are spelling secrets and my ears are spilling ink, staining my skin with his stories.”
Macabre, raw, thrilling and suspenseful, Angelfall by Susan Ee is a truly exceptional and unique read. A dystopian supernatural novel and the first paMacabre, raw, thrilling and suspenseful, Angelfall by Susan Ee is a truly exceptional and unique read. A dystopian supernatural novel and the first part in a new series, Angelfall starts with a bang and ends with a hook. I was pulled in from the very start with Angelfall by not only the intriguing and action-packed opening sequences, but by Penryn - the narrator and heroine - and her no-nonsense attitude. A compelling mixture of hardass ruthlessness and loyal compassion, Penryn is definitely up there with some of my favourite kickass YA heroines. Together, Raffe and Penryn are a hypnotic team, driving us through a dark, violent and mysterious new landscape with pure depth and brilliant characterization. For all those who like romance with their YA Ee does hint at it with a passionate subtlety that makes me eager for more. I simply cannot wait for book two. There is nothing else like Angelfall on my bookshelf! Explosive stuff.
Under the Never Sky has to be one of my favourite dystopians. With an addictive and offbeat style akin to Margaret Atwood, Veronica Rossi pulled me whUnder the Never Sky has to be one of my favourite dystopians. With an addictive and offbeat style akin to Margaret Atwood, Veronica Rossi pulled me wholeheartedly into her futuristic, gritty, often creepy and strange world. Not only was I blown away by the truly unique premise of Under the Never Sky but by the complex world-building and how it was balanced by the beautiful simplicity of the prose. The icing on the cake is the strong character development. Both Aria and Perry are extremely likeable characters who grow and develop over the course of the story. Not only is each of their stories as compelling as the other’s but their story together is poignant, passionate and electric. I absolutely loved how Aria started off soft and vulnerable while Perry was hard and unapproachable and by the end of the book Perry had toughened Aria up and Aria had softened Perry. It was fantastic reading and the book just left me wanting more!