Let me break down my thought process on this book from the very first time I noticed it on goodreads because somewhere alonI am crazy minority lady :(
Let me break down my thought process on this book from the very first time I noticed it on goodreads because somewhere along the way something went really really wrong. Just a quick scroll down the GR page and I can see all my friends' ratings of five or four stars... but the attraction is lost on me.
1) The description appears on goodreads. We are promised science fiction and space and "a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain". A setting in space, a story of survival and a couple of horny teenagers? Sounds like it could be a wild ride. I don't know about you but I love space stories and the vast arena of possibility which they open. I've enjoyed everything from Revis's Across the Universe series to Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey. Because anything could happen. There's an extra layer of possibility to the fantasy that makes you wonder if it could be true because there are so many unexplored corners where our science fiction tales could very well be fact.
2) The cover reveal. Uh oh. And there it is. Not that I don't like the cover, I love myself some glitter and pretty dresses as much as the next magpie, but you can probably guess why my hopes started to crumble. I remember the first hardback edition of Shatter Me. Do you?
I'm dystopian, I swear! I'm big, I'm bad and... shit, I think I broke a nail. I remember how I told myself it would be fine. I mean, the description was promising hardcore dystopian fiction! It wouldn't lie to me, would it? Weeellll... I wrote a review about that.
3) The reviews start rolling in. It seems as though I was very wrong to judge this book by its cover. Reviews from some of my most trusty friends appeared and they LOVED this book. Is it even possible? Could I be completely wrong? I mean, Beth Revis's Across the Universe was all pink and twinkly and romance-like and I enjoyed that book. I must read it to find out!
4) I think I read the wrong book. I think we all know those moments when we've heard so many great things about a book and we pick up said book only to discover that the magic hasn't touched us. But I was really disappointed with These Broken Stars and should have listened to my instincts when I saw the pretty cover.
Most of the actual space action in this book happens in the first couple of chapters. After the two main characters - Lilac and Tarver - crash land on a planet, it becomes a long-winded trek through a jungle-like setting. I was disappointed to say goodbye to the sky and stars so soon but would have easily forgiven the book if I'd enjoyed the survival part of the story which followed. But, honestly, I found it painfully slow and boring. And all orchestrated around the romance.
This book is predominantly a romance. Description aside, survival/space parts aside, this book is about getting Lilac and Tarver together. Which may be exactly what you want. If you like your romance heavy and your action on the side, then pick this up. But it's not really my thing. And I got a distinct sense that everything in this book was built around the romantic aspect. Each scene felt deliberate in a way that would put the characters in such a situation that Tarver would have to save Lilac or they would have to remove their clothing or sleep huddled together. The action never felt real, it felt like a series of flirtations between the two teens. Finding new clothes is an excuse for Tarver to admire Lilac's body. A chilly night is an excuse for Tarver to sleep with his erection pressed against her ass.
But I think the most disappointing thing of all is the sheer lack of world-building. The setting of this novel is enormous and holds huge and fabulous opportunity - we're in a whole new part of the universe! And yet, there is almost zero world-building. I feel like I know nothing about the society that Lilac and Tarver come from. I appreciate that this is going to be a trilogy but, hell, give me something!
I think it's fair to say that These Broken Stars wasn't the book for me. Maybe I'll learn to follow my initial instincts about those jazzy covers in future....more
Maybe not quite as good as the first one but still really funny, light and enjoyable. I've found myself a new addiction in this series and I can't seeMaybe not quite as good as the first one but still really funny, light and enjoyable. I've found myself a new addiction in this series and I can't seem to stop even though I have hundreds of other books to read :D...more
You know, I love a well-written, well-constructed, complex urban fantasy world as much as anyone. I love beautiful writing, jam-packed plots and wildYou know, I love a well-written, well-constructed, complex urban fantasy world as much as anyone. I love beautiful writing, jam-packed plots and wild twists that I never would have seen coming. But sometimes, just sometimes, I have a real need for something lighthearted, nonsensical, silly and sexy. Like the Bridget Jones version of urban fantasy. Paranormal "chick lit" one might say.
First Grave on the Right is a girls' night in watching your all time favourite romcom whilst eating ice cream. In your pajamas. It's pure, cookie dough-flavoured fun. It won't change your life. It won't introduce you to a new way of thinking. But, if you're anything like me, it might just hijack your mind and take it to happy land for a while. Here's what this book has: a sarcastic, witty and hilarious heroine; a sexy, mysterious guy; a murder mystery; and humour bursting from every page.
Oh, what the hell, why use words when I can say it with gifs. And seeing as I'm currently re-watching Buffy and it seems appropriate, I'm going to say it with Buffy gifs.
And a touch of:
And a whole lot of:
And a bit more:
(Note to readers: you might want to turn your google filters on before searching "sexy gifs". Unless, of course, you don't.)
I liked First Grave on the Right so much that I bought the rest of the series all at once (something I just don't normally do). I can see this being the kind of series that I'll need a regular fix of because it's delightfully addictive. I'm now getting started on Second Grave on the Left and I can't wait to see more of Charley's sarcasm, Reyes' sexiness, and the general demonic craziness going on.
2.5 Goodreads members have differing opinions on what kind of rating is the hardest to write a review for. Some say it's the ones they didn't like - p 2.5 Goodreads members have differing opinions on what kind of rating is the hardest to write a review for. Some say it's the ones they didn't like - perhaps trying to keep a balance between their own subjective dislikes and the overall general standard of the book; some say it's the all time favourites - how can you put that kind of book love into words? For others, myself included, it's those annoying books that sit right in the middle. Those books that are okay. Fine. Overwhelmingly average. When they're neither bad nor good, what do I say? For me, The Falconer is one of those books. I feel like I've read this book about fifty times before (okay, five or six but shh...) and I feel like I've written this very same review that many times as well.
If you're new to fantasy, if you're new to faeries in fantasy, there's no real reason for you not to like this novel set in an alternative Edinburgh in the year 1844. It's a little tame for my liking, occasionally almost edging towards the middle grade end of the age range, but I'm sure newcomers to the genre will find it more entertaining. But all I can see are the same recycled features: a female warrior protagonist who's out for vengeance, an awkwardly forced romance, another love triangle, and a cliffhanger worthy of Moning's Fever series. In fact, this book feels like an amalgamation of several I've read before. It's like Shadow and Bone without the Darkling, Throne of Glass without the entertainment (or a fabulous sequel to make the first worth sitting through), and Darkfever without, like, everything I love about that series.
The writing is fairly good, though. With some more original material, I think I could find myself returning to see what the author writes in the future. I've just exhausted myself on this story line. But anyway. Here's what's happening in The Falconer: Lady Aileana Kameron is the daughter of the Marquess of Douglas in Scotland. She was blissfully enjoying upper class life and social events until a faery murdered her mother and she became a hunter. In secret, she slays faery after faery, hoping to one day come face to face with the faery who murdered her mother and quench the need for revenge that is burning inside her. On top of that, drama ensues when her father returns and demands she choose a husband. Other possible suitors aside, Aileana is torn between her fae ally - Kiaran - and her old crush - Gavin - who has recently returned to Edinburgh.
I will say that I'm glad the author included nasty, evil faeries. While there is obviously some faery romanticization with Kiaran, the faeries in this novel tend to be the vicious, blood-thirsty kind (perfect, in my opinion). But I think there is a lot of untapped potential in this story and a bit of tweaking could have made it a more original and engaging tale. For one thing, it actually took me a while to realise that this is supposed to be a steampunk novel, those elements of it were so subtle that I didn't even notice them at first. I'm really enthusiastic about the new steampunk genre because it combines so many different things that I love, but I find myself being frequently disappointed by the lack of it in books that promise so much. Don't be afraid to go all out, I say! I want machines! I want old times! I want that magical blend of science fiction and historical! ...please?
Afterthought: I compared this book to many others and I remember noting to myself several times that it seemed loosely similar to the Fever series. But Khanh did a fantastic (and shocking) breakdown of the similarities between this and Faefever in her review. Wow. Enough said....more
I keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I thiI keep promising to write a full review for this but never get around to it. Basically, I read Persepolis for my Gendered Communities course and I think it's one of those rare reads that actually gets better when you study it for the historical, cultural and political context. There are depressingly few Middle Eastern women whose books are read on a large scale so the insight which Persepolis offers into this part of Iran's history is very important. It offers a perspective we don't get to see too often....more
I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I I am conducting what I'm shelving as a "New Adult (NA) Experiment". I'm going to work my way through some of the popular New Adult books and see if I can weed out the crap and hopefully find some surprising gems. Here's hoping!
It's been a while, my friends. I had to take a break for the sake of my sanity. I decided to return to the NA experiment with Slammed because I'd heard it was less offensive than Hoover's later novel - Hopeless - and also because I've had luck with a NA student/teacher romance in the past (Unteachable). Alas, I was wrong to be so optimistic. I suppose that Slammed is less offensive when compared to the creepy pro-stalker ideas being thrown around in Hopeless but it certainly makes up for it by being an example of terrible writing. Where Hopeless offered entertainment and sexual tension that made it obvious where its popularity came from, I am honestly confused by all the positive reactions to Slammed.
I do think if I'd read this book first I might have at least appreciated the improvement in quality of the author's writing by the time she wrote Hopeless. In this, Hoover's writing is a couple steps below average and looks even less impressive when compared to the fantastic teacher/student romance in Unteachable (and it's beautiful writing). The author struggles with the build-up of the relationship between Layken and Will, forgetting about sexual tension and/or chemistry and jumping too quickly from their meeting to some extremely cheesy moments. The drama is constant but handled roughly - making scenes that should be heart-breaking feel emotionally manipulative and causing me to roll my eyes rather than to burst into tears.
Both characters, as well as the book in general, lack any emotional maturity. Layken frequently behaves like a bratty little kid, slamming doors and calling Will names. I really had no patience for her childish antics. Though, Will wasn't much better. He would constantly lead Layken on and then blame it on a moment of weakness. More than once.
It was cringy and stupid because the reader is well aware that it wasn't a moment of weakness and that he actually wants to be with Layken but he's being an immature idiot and not to mention a complete fucking tease. Just sayin'.
Aside from the writing being awful, the real problem in this for me was the failure to convince me that there was any real barrier to Layken and Will's relationship. Perhaps it was because their ages were too close to give me any sense of the forbidden or because Will wasn't exactly a "real" teacher, but nothing about it got my heart pounding like Raeder's Unteachable. It seemed more like there was no problem except the one the two of them created in their little melodramatic minds. Angst for the sake of angst. But I wasn't buying it. I think it's fair to say that me and Ms Hoover finally part ways for good....more
Wow. What a surprise this graphic novel was! The Crow is gritty, sad and completely unforgettable. The story is about a Detroit police officer - Joe SWow. What a surprise this graphic novel was! The Crow is gritty, sad and completely unforgettable. The story is about a Detroit police officer - Joe Salk - that, like many others, becomes obsessed with his job and one case in particular. The rest of his life and his sanity begin to unravel with every moment he dedicates to finding the man who raped and murdered a young girl. There's a possibly paranormal twist to this mystery that leaves us guessing whether Joe is visited by the ghost of the dead girl or whether he has become so far gone that he imagines her talking to him and encouraging him on his search for the culprit.
It's a brutal and hard-hitting read that quickly introduces the reader to a complex protagonist they can love and continues to develop his character throughout. A very pleasant surprise....more
This was a somewhat disappointing graphic novel from Joe Hill that relied too much on empty shock tactics and gory images. It's a quick read and compeThis was a somewhat disappointing graphic novel from Joe Hill that relied too much on empty shock tactics and gory images. It's a quick read and compelling enough that readers will likely find themselves finishing it in one sitting, but the story lacks any real substance. The element of the story that had the most potential, in my opinion, was the exploration of the protagonist's state of mind after she was responsible for horrific acts in Abu Ghraib. It could have been a far more fascinating read if the psychological aspect had been better examined. Unfortunately, though, this story felt like one torture scene after another.
Once the original shock and horror wore off, there was nothing left to interest me....more
This is a cute story about the elaborate lies which children tell their parents in order to avoid getting into trouble. In this case, the young boy inThis is a cute story about the elaborate lies which children tell their parents in order to avoid getting into trouble. In this case, the young boy in the story is telling his mother about the gorilla that came calling while he was waiting for a pizza delivery. The gorilla made a mess, caused havoc and sprinted away just before the boy's mother could come downstairs. And that's not even the worst of it!
This was a fun read that will resonate with young kids and parents alike but the story was nowhere near as good as some other picture books I've read lately. One example being the wonderful and hilarious Lion vs. Rabbit....more
This little picture book really has come at a perfect time. There's been a lot of people throwing around the term "bullying" lately when what they rea
This little picture book really has come at a perfect time. There's been a lot of people throwing around the term "bullying" lately when what they really mean is - as karen noted - "consumer reporting". Lion vs. Rabbit is about real bullying, not someone merely expressing a negative opinion or factually reporting the behaviour of others. Lion targets weaker animals than himself, sticks notes on their backs, steals their lunch monkey and all of this is because he enjoys using his power to upset and humiliate other animals.
Many brave animals try to take on Lion and defeat him in various challenges, hoping to put an end to the bullying. A bear, a moose and a tiger are all defeated by Lion's strength and agility. Then, along comes Rabbit. Rabbit is a cute, adorable little thing that can surely pose no threat to Lion, right? Wrong! In every challenge, Rabbit emerges victorious. And, after every challenge, Lion comes up with excuse after excuse as to why he was defeated and demands more challenges. But Rabbit, it seems, is invincible!
How can this tiny bunny rabbit defeat Lion? How is it possible? Well, that's something I'll let you find out for yourself. All I can say is: I LOVED it....more
"Wouldn't we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?"
Why, hello there, awesome book. You managed to take me straight out of this whole Goodr"Wouldn't we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?"
Why, hello there, awesome book. You managed to take me straight out of this whole Goodreads censorship/deleting reviews fiasco and plant me right inside another time and place; many brave books have tried and failed this past week to do what you have done. So, thank you.
Dangerous Girls is in danger. It's in danger of being underread. It's in danger of being given a quick once over and then dismissed as something vapid, senseless and probably crap. It isn't, my friends. It's damn good. Dangerous Girls is one of those multi-layered books that does several different things at once and still manages to do each one equally well. Haas does what, in my opinion, all good mystery writers should do: she doesn't hang everything precariously-balanced on her reveals. The ending is fantastic but it doesn't matter because the book is also about so many other things. It is a satisfying story from start to finish that took me through so many different emotions.
So, what is this book? It's a mature YA mystery. I use "YA" with some hesitation here because it's full of all the kinda stuff that will make some parents clutch their rosary beads - sex, alcohol abuse, drug use... oh yeah, and there's that whole murder thing too. It's about a teen summer vacation gone wrong. Anna, her best friend - Elise, her boyfriend - Tate, as well as others, all go to party hard, get laid and have fun. Then, one day, Elise is discovered stabbed to death in her bed and Anna and Tate are the prime suspects. From there, we are taken on a journey through a murder trial that seems to paint Anna in a worse light with every piece of "evidence" provided. The story of the present is also broken up with flashbacks into how Anna and Elise became friends.
This is a dark story that takes you through the many nasty corners of teen girl friendships but it also shows the other side, the importance of friends to one another and the complicated psychology behind it all. Elise is such a wonderfully complex character. I think most people know an Elise. That reckless, volatile person who is always the life of the party, so confident, often overtly sexual and looking for a new adventure at every turn. But underneath there's something a bit different, a sadness or an anger or loneliness, that hides beneath the mask they've created.
My knowledge of the law and judicial system is limited to one year at AS that I hated, so I'm far from an expert on what is realistic or not. But I've always been fascinated by the portrayal of court trials as a kind of show or circus where everyone plays their parts. Where it isn't about guilty/not guilty, but about the performance you put on and how convincingly you deliver the script. Like in the musical, Chicago. Anna's trial resembles a circus and it horrifies me at the way each little piece of a person's life can be taken out of context and manipulated to mean whatever the prosecutor chooses. Scary.
I honestly loved everything about this wild little gem and I'm now going to recommend it to everyone I know. That means YOU too. ...more
I don't know what I was expecting from Gated. My first bet was on zombies but, if not that, my second guess was Mormons. Turns out I was wrong! This I don't know what I was expecting from Gated. My first bet was on zombies but, if not that, my second guess was Mormons. Turns out I was wrong! This is a book that starts mild and entertaining. It paints you a picture of the protagonist - Lyla - and introduces the reader to her life which, though strange, seems peaceful and pleasant. But then, like a hidden monster crouching beneath the surface, the dark creepiness starts to be unveiled to us. The community where Lyla lives might not be the sanctuary she's always believed. And the man who leads them might be hiding secrets Lyla never imagined.
Gated completely took me by surprise; from the plot to the characters to the way I felt myself getting more and more hooked as the story went on. This is one of those times when I really appreciate a creepy realistic thriller instead of something more supernatural. There's something deeply chilling about the knowledge that - not only could this happen - but it actually does in many places around the world. I've always been a bit fascinated by cults and their many forms. What does it take to convince people to give up their lives and join you in believing something that, more often than not, is completely bizarre? It amazes me even further the way these small communities tend to reject national law in favour of placing all power in the hands of their own dictator. It amazes me that some people actually have the charm and influence to make this happen.
It's weird to think that these aren't all crazy people or those who've been born into this life and know nothing else. Cults also recruit people who have your standard, 9-to-5, average lives and make them believe something other than what they've always known. It's scary. I don't know about you, but it makes me question my own susceptibility. As much as I'd like to say a very firm "no", is it possible that I could get caught up in something like this? I mean, judging by the half-empty tub of Ben&Jerry's in my freezer, I wouldn't say I'm about to win any willpower awards. Who knows? The psychology of cult behaviour is both fascinating and terrifying.
Back to the book. As I touched upon before, the pace of the novel seems to slowly increase as you move along. One minute I thought I was safe and then suddenly I'd gotten to the climax of the novel and my pulse was pounding. It's a book that will make you angry, then sad, then scared for Lyla, then angry again. More than anyone in this book, I felt such a huge sense of outrage towards Lyla's parents. They let her down, put her in danger and stood by while she was physically abused. I don't know if this is really a spoiler but I'll tag it just in case: (view spoiler)[I was still really angry at the end. I wanted them to be punished for the terrible way they'd treated their daughter. Lyla forgave them for everything way too easily, IMO. (hide spoiler)]
Possibly the thing I like most about this book is the way the author isn't afraid to go there. Not many YA authors are brave enough to put their characters through several levels of hell. I don't like situations in books (or movies, tv, etc.) where the tension is sapped out of the moment by the knowledge that the writer(s) will never dare kill the good guys or just, you know, go there. I don't even know why the Vampire Diaries writers insist on having those scenes where Damon nearly dies with dramatic music in the background. No one actually believes they're going to kill off Ian Somerhalder's character - they'd lose at least half their viewers! Okay, I will stop digressing.
There is one thing I take issue with in this book. And it's Cody. I didn't mind the touch of romance between him and Lyla because it was kept on the sidelines but I would question her decision to trust him in the first place. Lyla has never trusted anyone from the outside because she believes they're damned and evil and yet, despite this, she trusts Cody. Why? I'll tell you: because he is SO HOT. It didn't bug me in this anywhere near as much as it did in Hopeless, but I keep seeing this whole thing where girls trust male strangers/people they've been specifically warned about because of their pretty faces. It's kind of a dangerous message, even if Lyla was right to trust him. But the positives outweigh the negatives by a lot.
I really enjoyed this book and I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more by Ms Parker. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
It's official: I prefer Kelley Armstrong so so much more when she's writing for adults. I appreciate that this book won't actually be released for anoIt's official: I prefer Kelley Armstrong so so much more when she's writing for adults. I appreciate that this book won't actually be released for another six months and I wouldn't usually post a review so far in advance, but Sea of Shadows was so meh that I doubt I'll be able to remember anything I want to say if I wait any longer.
Compared to other paranormal/urban fantasy authors, Armstrong's pacing is generally on the slow side. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I thought it worked wonderfully in Bitten, Stolen and her latest adult book - Omens. But the success of Armstrong's slower pacing varies. Sometimes it builds up a slow picture of the characters and world in such a way that you're desperate to find out more. Sometimes it dangles a temptation for more in front of your face and guarantees you'll pace frustratedly until the sequel comes out. But sometimes it can also mean that nothing seems to happen for the majority of the book. It's been a while since I read it but I recall having such an experience with The Calling. That book ended with me feeling like I'd read a few hundred pages of filler.
While my experience with The Calling could be attributed to middle book syndrome, my experience with this latest series-starter cannot. At least the first two thirds of Sea of Shadows feels like the characters have no purpose or direction. Much of this portion of the novel is spent wandering around being lost and having love/hate flirtations with the book's two love interests (one for each girl, not a love triangle). And while there was, for me, a very distinct turning point after these first two thirds, it was still mostly due to an increase in the novel's grittiness and a couple of well-placed, shockingly-violent scenes. Not to mention it was all just too little too late.
I'm not one to get too picky over what we're calling our genres but I feel the need to point out that it seems something of a stretch to call this book "high fantasy". Or, if you insist on calling it that, then it must alternatively be admitted that there is very little managed in the way of world-building here. Some brief mentions of forbidden magic and a royal family aren't enough - and they certainly aren't original in a genre made up of forbidden magic and royal families. The history and culture of this world is barely touched upon; a fact which probably means Armstrong is saving it for future installments, but actually just made me feel like I'd read an extremely long prologue to what could be a good book.
I realise that I've been skirting around a plot summary but, to be honest, I don't quite know what to tell you. Moria and Ashyn are twin sisters and also the Keeper and the Seeker. This means it's their job to calm the souls of the damned in the Forest of the Dead. All sounds cool, right? Well... reading the GR description after reading the book makes me realise that it was telling the truth all along but I just couldn't see the reality:
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor.
Basically, in simple terms, the plot is a journey from one place to another. In my opinion? It's a dull trek, punctuated by banter that foreshadows the inevitable romances. To make matters worse, Ashlyn's character was far more boring than Moria's, which added an extra layer of tediousness to her POV. Whereas I liked Moria most of the time but couldn't stand her sexy hunk - Gavril. I like complex characters who make mistakes and don't always do the right thing, but am I really supposed to find him attractive when he takes pleasure in insulting and humiliating Moria? I guess this is one for the teens who love the broody and volatile men who get a kick out of putting women down.
I guess you probably worked it out already but, just in case, I was disappointed with this book. I strongly recommend you pick up Omens instead if you're looking for a new KA read. For me, Sea of Shadows failed on every level... characters, world-building, plot... even that twist at the end had absolutely no effect on me. I think that's why I haven't given this one star - I really don't feel that passionately about it....more
Let me ask you: do you rate logically after weighing up all the literary pros and cons of a book and assessing itSometimes a great idea is not enough.
Let me ask you: do you rate logically after weighing up all the literary pros and cons of a book and assessing its creativity and originality? Or do you rate emotionally based on your own personal reaction to a book? You see, I find it difficult to do anything but the latter. And I do appreciate that this book has a lot to offer. It's crept rather quietly onto the goodreads scene out of nowhere and is already making waves on Kirkus and in the early GR reviews. I can see why. The idea is genius and, as I became more aware of what the author was doing, I found myself pleading with the book at every turn to become a new favourite. Sadly, though, I think this is a fantastic idea that fails on the execution. Only time will tell if I'm in the minority.
The real question is: how many points do you earn for originality? Especially when enjoyment was scarce? I found this story to be incredibly dry in its telling, lacking any depth of emotion to keep me invested in the journey of the characters. I like my characters. They are possibly the most important thing for me in a novel and my interest quickly dies if I don't care about them. And this book more than most relies on the reader's desire to find out what is going on. The ambiguity of the novel should be a driving force, pushing you onwards on your quest for answers, and yet it was a barrier for me that prevented me forming a connection to any of the characters. Or perhaps it was a lack of character connection that made me uninterested in finding out the answers... who knows? Chicken or the egg.
But the idea. WOAH, the idea. This book does something I love. It questions the nature of reality, mental illness and the supernatural. It makes you unsure of what is real and unsure of who is alive and who is dead. Is Madeline a ghost? Or a product of Elanor's imagination? And, in the end, what's the difference? It suggests the possibility that mental illness could actually be a blurring of worlds - is "crazy" merely what happens when people straddle the line between this world and the next? Ellie's story is nothing if not creative. It all starts when Ellie, her parents and her cat are in a car accident. They were moving to a smaller town for a fresh start after Ellie suffered from depression and eventually attempted suicide. The car accident is just the start of this bizarre story that leads us to question pretty much everything that happens afterwards, including the arrival of Madeline and whether or not she even exists.
The In-Between will appeal to readers who appreciate it when authors do something different. This book explores several interesting concepts and raises numerous questions. But I think it lacks a spark. A spark that interests me in the characters and the story. I feel it is not so much a novel as it is a genius concept and I'm not sure that "different" can always be called "good". Though I finished feeling it was necessary to compliment the author's originality, I never once experienced excitement at what the next page might hold. ...more
I honestly think that Marcus Sedgwick is one of the most underrated writers that I've ever read. His books often leave me feeling mesmerised long aft I honestly think that Marcus Sedgwick is one of the most underrated writers that I've ever read. His books often leave me feeling mesmerised long after I've left the final page behind. He doesn't care about trends or pleasing people. He delivers unique stories and interesting narratives - each of which is nothing like the last. He writes in different genres and isn't afraid to cross the lines of them and make you wonder exactly what you've let yourself in for. I have a lot of admiration for him. From the beautifully written historical fiction of Revolver, to the strange but compelling fantasy of Midwinterblood, he has always seemed to deliver. Which, I think, makes She Is Not Invisible doubly disappointing.
This book tries. You can see it trying from page one. Maybe, you might say, it tries too hard. I was initially delighted by the introduction of a blind teen protagonist - not something I am too familiar with - and the engaging opening that presents us with a bizarre mystery. In this story, Laureth Peak's father is a famous writer who appears to have gone missing. He is supposed to be doing research in Europe but all is apparently not what it seems when someone contacts Laureth informing her that her father's notebook has been found in New York. Afraid for her father's safety and perhaps even his sanity, Laureth runs away with her brother on a mission to locate their missing parent after the other one seems unconcerned. Even inexperienced readers will find themselves mentally working through the possibilities of what could have happened - good news is, you're all probably wrong.
But there's bad news too. Or there was for me. Firstly, there's a lack of believability in everything that happens in this novel. I can suspend disbelief quite a lot, I really can. But not only does Laureth manage to fool numerous airport staff into letting a blind sixteen-year-old girl leave the country with her kid brother, she also manages to sufficiently distract the security at the New York airport enough that they simply wave her through. That's right. The security staff at an airport were like "oh well, we're a bit distracted with this other thing over here so go on through". The book was already losing me by this point.
The problems I had with the believability were a real shame. More so in this than other books because I really appreciated the author trying to realistically portray the way a blind person perceives the world. Through Laureth, I had the opportunity to think about things I don't normally consider and understand a bit more about the difficulties facing people with little to no eyesight. It made for some sad and terrifying scenes in the book. But it still failed in the end, if you ask me. The book became a joke with every ridiculous turn it took and this detracted from what had started as something really special.
Though perhaps the thing I disliked most were the attempts to make this book deeply philosophical. This is what I mean when I said it tried too hard. Unlike the other novels I've read by this author, the book set out to convey a message, not to tell a story. And it didn't work. The slow build-up was manageable only because it seemed to promise a wow factor somewhere down the line... it was anticlimactic, to say the least. The main story is split up with pages of Laureth's father's notebook which talks about coincidence, patterns of the universe, Einstein (amongst other scientists) and the general meaning of it all. It asked big questions but seemed to end with a shrug of its metaphorical shoulders that left me feeling like I'd just wasted the last couple of hours. Very disappointing....more