‘There is no labyrinth as treacherous as that with neither paths nor walls.’
When seven-year-old Anna is placed in the company of a neighbor while
‘There is no labyrinth as treacherous as that with neither paths nor walls.’
When seven-year-old Anna is placed in the company of a neighbor while her father attends to some business, she never thought that would be the last she would see of him. The year is 1939 during the very beginning of World War II and the Germans are beginning their round up of scholars and Anna’s father is a professor at Jagiellonian University in Krakow. Unsure what to do, Anna turns to a mysterious stranger she names Swallow Man after he displays his proficiency with languages including the ability to speak to birds. Intrigued by this man, Anna begins to follow him and the two stay together, walking across Poland, for many years.
“A riverbank goes wherever the riverbank does. […] I’ll be the riverbank and you be the river.”
During this duo’s travels, the Swallow Man teaches Anna many lessons, cultivating her ability to survive with or without him. The two that bear repeating most: “To be found is to be gone forever,” and “One can’t be found as long as one keeps moving.” And keep hidden and moving they do. Within this short novel, years pass and it becomes more and more difficult to continue to survive in a world that has transformed around them, blanketing them in war. Throughout their time together, the Swallow Man persists in fascinating Anna with his perpetual crypticness and continues to keep the reader curious about the circumstances which brought him to this point.
‘It was very difficult for her to take her attention away from the thin man, even for a moment. Somewhere, tickling the back of her brain, she felt a certainty that if she wasn’t constantly watching this fellow, she would miss whole miracles, whole wonders – things that he let fall incidentally off himself as other men might shed dandruff.’
There was something supremely enchanting about this well-written story. It combined the heartrending historical aspects of The Book Thief with the magical realism of The Snow Child. Unfortunately, Savit built up a mesmerizing tale of survival only to lose steam and fizzle out at the end. The hazy inscrutability that is cast over this story leads to the magical feeling of mysteriousness but by the end I was expecting that haze to clear and it never did. (view spoiler)[There was one particular moment where the haze somewhat cleared and the magic dispelled: when Anna, in an attempt to obtain the medicine the Swallow Man required, agreed to remove her clothes for the pharmacist since she didn’t have any money. He didn’t physically assault her but just the act of being naked for the first time in front of a stranger was a horrifying experience for Anna and a horrible experience to have to read about. It left a terrible taste in my mouth about the whole thing and felt like a poorly placed piece attempting to shock the reader when the story has been nothing but demure up until that point. (hide spoiler)]
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
A bit too verbose for my liking. The purple prose simply got too much in the way of me actually following/enjoying the story. I usually give booksDNF
A bit too verbose for my liking. The purple prose simply got too much in the way of me actually following/enjoying the story. I usually give books a bit more of a chance to interest me but the entire first chapter was far too dull.
'But then there was Sasha's voice, whining like a porno. High and curdled.'
'I responded to her symbols, to the style of her hair and clothes and the smell of her perfume, like this was data that mattered, signs that reflected something of her inner self. I took her beauty personally.'
'I unwrapped two cloudy sticks from their silver jackets.
Yeah, she's referring to gum... in their silver jackets. For fucks sake. ...more
‘Outside the door, the world was taking shape out of the high-country mist. Blued timbers sprung of the fugitive reality of dawn, ghostlike, perfect‘Outside the door, the world was taking shape out of the high-country mist. Blued timbers sprung of the fugitive reality of dawn, ghostlike, perfect hidings for ambushing men.’
Fallen Land tells the harrowing tale about two young people that manage to fall in love in the midst of the Civil War. Callum is riding in the company of a band of Confederates being led by a dangerous man; the Colonel. He is a man both loved and feared; described as “a man of great cruelty who nevertheless protected them, led them, eclipsed any guilt of theirs with his own. At his behest they had razed and butchered, no reason but hunger and the Colonel’s orders.” When they reach a house and Callum is the first to find a woman inside, his immediate instinct is to protect her and he kills a man to do just that. While wounded in the process, he wakes to find that while he protected her from the first man, he wasn’t there to protect her from the second. This knowledge spurs him to leave his troop and set off to find her again and ensure she’s okay. Callum is subsequently accused of murder and a bounty is put on him, forcing him and now Ava to flee from certain death.
‘…the bounty of the boy’s head was only of greater import, for men such as them have little place int he world that stood scorched and remnant before them.’<.i>
The story is told primarily through Callum’s point of view, however, we are shown snippets through the eyes of the bounty hunters and their devotion to Callum’s death is ruthless. Fierce and relentless, these men have no qualms about tracking him down for the purposes of obtaining the money promised to them; even if it involves killing or maiming innocents that stand in their way of discovery. The duo are forced to endure tremendous hardship and any hope that they have of making out of this alive is seemingly improbable.
While I found the writing to be positively sumptuous, the story itself did follow a meandering pace and took me quite some time to finish. The violence is extreme, but fitting. The romance is lacking with no spark between the two to be seen, which you wouldn’t expect since Callum made some pretty life-changing decisions in order to protect this woman of mystery. I can understand his intentions to protect a woman, I just never quite understood exactly why he went to such extreme lengths to do so. Setting all that aside, this is still a notable debut that leaves me anticipating future works to come from this author. I will also be checking out his short story collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold, which is more Southern Gothic/Country Noir.
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
Continuing his unique theme of storytelling, Selznick takes his readers on a dual adventure told in pictures and then words. The first adventure is exContinuing his unique theme of storytelling, Selznick takes his readers on a dual adventure told in pictures and then words. The first adventure is experienced solely in pictures and begins in 1776 on a ship named the Kraken. After a massive storm, there is only a single survivor: Billy Marvel. The pictures tell of his story, how he came to be connected to the Royal Theatre in London, and how subsequent generations became well-known actors with their own story to tell. The visually impressive illustrated story continues for over 400 pages and ends with an air of mystery.
Flashing forward to the 1990s, we’re introduced to Joseph Jervis who has just ran away from boarding school to go in search of his Uncle Albert. Joseph’s parents are the absent sort and he’s hoping to find a family, a place to call home. Finding his Uncle ends up being a letdown seeing as he wants to immediately send Joseph back to where he belongs and doesn’t show any interest in getting to know each other. Joseph takes comfort in his Uncle’s old house that’s filled with history and a certain story that Joseph desperately wants to uncover. While the story of Joseph is an intriguing one, what’s more intriguing is how his story and that of Billy Marvel’s, two seemingly isolated stories, could possibly be connected. The connection slowly begins to piece together, flowering into a beautifully simplistic story about love and family.
I really adored this story; it even managed to elicit some teary-eyed feels. I loved the combination of pictures/words and was most impressed that Selznick managed to make his words-only storytelling just as mentally visual as his illustrations-only story. This charmingly simplistic story won me over completely and I definitely intend on picking up all of Selznick’s other works.
Many thanks to Wendy for gifting me this lovely story. ...more
“…our world is filled with many mysteries, things we don’t understand. Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there,“…our world is filled with many mysteries, things we don’t understand. Never go into the deep parts of the forest, for there are many dangers there, both dark and bright, and they will ensnare your soul.”
Biltmore Estate is large enough to have kept a secret for over a decade: deep within its basement lives a man and his daughter, named Serafina. Serafina’s father is in charge of the buildings maintenance but he would be tossed out in a heartbeat if it were discovered he also resided there. And Serafina is a whole different matter. Curious about the world around her and of her own past, she’s no longer able to keep herself confined to the basement, especially when she witnesses the murder of a young girl. Her body was never discovered and by the following morning another child was missing. Serafina is determined to help these people find their lost children, even if it means disclosing her secret.
Beatty created a most mysterious girl with Serafina, who is described as having golden eyes and strangely enough, four toes instead of the normal five. Those differences only add to the air of mystery surrounding her and keep you wondering what it is that makes her so special. She’s a girl with a good heart and a kind soul that you can’t help but admire. Befriending the owner’s of Biltmore’s nephew, Braeden, makes this story even more charming. The two quickly hit it off, despite their obvious differences in social class, and they both team up convinced that they’re going to be able to find these children. Through her friendship, Serafina starts seeing the world through a new set of eyes, only seen before through the pages of books. She sees the good in the world but because of the man in the black cloak, she’s also uncovering the bad as well.
‘She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.’
Serafina possesses a definite horror, but isn’t quite as terrifying as it is charming. The unique heroine is definitely the spotlight of this tale with her most uncommon story of her life and how she came to reside in the Biltmore Estate basement. While some parts of the book did seem to creep along very slowly and some aspects weren’t left sufficiently explained, it was still ultimately a satisfying supernatural tale of mystery that will no doubt delight children and adults alike.
I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
Noel, a ten year old boy, has been raised by his eccentric, ex-suffragette godmother Mattie. In addition to his normal schoolMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Noel, a ten year old boy, has been raised by his eccentric, ex-suffragette godmother Mattie. In addition to his normal schooling, Mattie always took the time to give what she referred to as “proper schooling” which included discussions on the obscure and essay topics that gave you more reasons to think such as “What Is Freedom?” and “All Things are Difficult Before They Are Easy”. Mattie imbued in him her particular understanding of the world causing him to develop the most intriguing personality making him an immediate addition to my favorite quirky children in literature shelf. In addition to the impending war causing the residents of London and its outskirts to be constantly on their toes, Noel is attempting to handle the seriousness of Mattie’s decline into senile dementia. Instead of evacuating London with the rest of the children, he opts to stay with Mattie to take care of her knowing that soon she’s not going to be able to take care of him much longer let alone herself. The introduction of Noel and Mattie is fantastically succinct and encompasses the Prologue alone. It set an amazing tone and heightened expectations for the rest of the story. I’m so very pleased to say that it never disappointed and only continued to impress me.
‘The day after that, all the children disappeared, as if London had shrugged and the small people had fallen off the edge.’
On a particularly typical yet cold Winter night, Mattie decides to take a walk and doesn’t come back home. Noel is now forced into evacuating and he’s rounded up with several other children hoping to find families willing to take in another mouth to feed. Noel comes across as a shy, silent child but is actually in very deep mourning for the one person on this earth he truly loved.
‘Reading felt effortful. It was odd to think that for years he had sucked up print without thinking. Since leaving Mattie’s house, he hadn’t finished a book. He couldn’t follow a plot any more, the meaning seemed to bypass his brain, or else stuck to it briefly and then fell off when he turned the page, like an inadequately licked stamp.’
He finds himself taken in by a middle-aged woman named Vee, for the sole reason of the money she’s able to collect for taking him into her care. Right off the bat, her intentions aren’t honorable, but considering Noel is never mistreated or anything of the like, she’s easily forgiven. Vee’s son Donny has a heart problem and is unable to contribute financially and her mother is unable to speak following an incident where she collapsed and hit her head after Vee first told her she was pregnant (and un-wed). Drastic times call for drastic measures and Vee begins grasping for any possible way to earn enough money to help her household survive. This is how she comes up with the idea of going door to door for donations, except there is no charity awaiting her collected coin; it’s going straight into her own pocket. Noel, wrapped in the comfort of his mourning, regains a spark of life when he recognizes Vee’s actions for what they are subsequently intriguing him enough to offer to help. He comes up with a better plan and together, the unlikeliest of duos use the War as an opportunity to survive.
I really paced myself with this one, knowing early on it was going to be hard to say goodbye to this vibrant and original cast of characters. For a book that I picked up simply because it was related to World War II, it had surprisingly little to do with the actual war. It was rather a behind the scenes type look on what you would expect to encounter during wartime but never quite earns its own story. I loved how the story delves into what’s morally right after the duo uncover a crime occurring where people’s belongings are being stolen after they are forced to evacuate. Even though they are collecting for a charity that doesn’t actually exist, these people are still giving willingly. Crooked Heart asks the question: is it better to take under false pretenses or to steal without their knowledge? Is one legally wrong and the other simply morally wrong?
Crooked Heart, while also delving into the seriousness of war without going as far as to take us to the battle lines, is also instilled with a dark humor that I feel is most appropriate for that day and age. Because even though there is sadness that is saturated into every nook and cranny and hangs over the city like a pall, there’s still some humor to be found and Evans characters use it as a coping mechanism to get through these trying times. Wonderful, wonderful novel, I’m so very glad I took the chance on this obscure little gem of a read.
I received this book free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
“What do you do when you learn, without a doubt, that you’ve lost everyone you love and you’re trapped by time forever?”
Charlotte “Lottie” Bromley h“What do you do when you learn, without a doubt, that you’ve lost everyone you love and you’re trapped by time forever?”
Charlotte “Lottie” Bromley has been raised to believe in time travel. Her father is an illustrious scientist who has been tasked with learning the secrets of time travel in hopes of gaining a leg up in the war. The year is 1940 and ten-year-old Lottie and her best friend Kitty are kidnapped by Nazis in an effort to coerce the secret of time travel from her father. When a shimmering portal appears in front of Lottie, she takes advantage of an opportunity that might never present itself again, even though that means leaving Kitty behind. Lottie finds herself in a place called Wisconsin in the year 2013 clad only in her pajamas. Her only desire is to find some way to return to Kitty and hope that her and her father survived after she escaped.
Once Was a Time intrigued me from the very beginning with the portrayal of a war ravaged England through the perspective of a ten year-old girl. Add in a scientist researching the existence of time travel and I was more than ready for an adventurous and entertaining story. Unfortunately, that feeling was tragically short lived. I am ready and willing to read anything to do with time travel, however, in looking at the time travel books I have read and loved, there was one similarity between them all: the characters were time traveling to a fascinating time and place. Alas, Wisconsin circa 2013 does not scream fascinating to me.
The numerous genres also made this a difficult one for me. We’re introduced to this as historical fiction upon which it’s given a dash of science fiction and mystery. As soon as you’ve got comfortable with this interesting blend, the reader is then thrust into a contemporary, coming-of-age setting where Lottie is adapting to a modern age where everything is unknown. It was an interesting switch from what you typically find in time travel books, where a modern person is forced to adapt to the past but her dealing with mean girl cliques was too much. She makes friends with these girls even though she never seems to actually care for them because of she believes she doesn’t deserve to have good friends because she left her best friend behind with the Nazis. I could understand her mindset, it just ended up being far too long and drawn out for a meager 272 pages. The pacing picked up speed and seemed to be making a comeback at the end but seemed to lose control making the ending feel avoidably rushed.
I fell in love with Leila Sales’ writing after her novel This Song Will Save Your Life. Yes, that story touched on personal experiences so of course it would be special to me but it was so passionately written, personal experiences or no, it was an incredible story. Unfortunately, I think it set the bar astronomically high for any future read I picked up from her. That spark that made that such an incredible story seemed to be absent here and while I loved the concept of it all, it could have been so much more than it was.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
This book will be discussed in detail, so please do not read unless you wanted to be spoiled.
When Go Set a Watchman was announced and released in theThis book will be discussed in detail, so please do not read unless you wanted to be spoiled.
When Go Set a Watchman was announced and released in the summer of 2015, it had its fair share of controversy. It was heavily questioned initially whether Harper Lee had authorized the books release, or if she had even wrote it at all. But then the release came, and the outrage became even more substantial: Atticus Finch is racist. I couldn’t help but feel that the quotations that were shared were being taken out of context, but it was some pretty solid evidence that was hard to refute. Bottom line, my curiosity was great and I had to experience the truth myself.
Readers are mad, and rightly so in my opinion, that Atticus Finch’s character has been dramatically transposed from the interpretation we were given in To Kill A Mockingbird. But that’s just what it was, an interpretation. If you remember, the story was written entirely from the point of view of Scout, who was just six years old and at that young age it is easy for parental idolatry to occur. Go Set a Watchman takes place years later, where Jean Louise Finch “Scout” is now twenty-six years old and coming home from New York to visit her aging father. She’s confronted with the fact that she’s understood her father to be of one frame of mind about the world, that she has modeled her own mindset after his, and her beliefs are now crumbling when she discovers him in a “citizens’ council” meeting hosting a racist preacher. When she has it out with him later, she finds out that her father is a card carrying member of the KKK as well. Atticus was that one shining beacon of hope in a sea of racism and to find out he’s no different than the majority of individuals in this era caused a complete loss of innocence. And here we all thought that To Kill A Mockingbird was the coming-of-age tale.
I did a re-read of To Kill A Mockingbird just last year, so it was all still very clear in my mind. This is a direct line from my review which posted last March:
“Atticus Finch, by far my favorite character, is a man that saw everyone as his equal. He believed this wholeheartedly and was willing to put his very livelihood on the line to fight for those rights. He was able to accept the differences in all of us and see the true bottom line: regardless of race, color, gender or any of the multitudes of ways that not only make us who we are but also separates us from the rest, at the end of the day we are all the same; we’re all human beings. This world would be a far better place with a few more Atticus Finch’s in existence.”
Go Set a Watchman has definitely caused me to examine my own mindset, much like Scout. So other than our preconceived notions that Atticus was anything but racist, what do we know about him actually? He’s honest and fair, he’s a great father, and a fantastic lawyer. He views his job less as a job but more as a personal pledge to upholding the law, regardless of race. And there’s the rub. Atticus chose to defend Tom Robinson solely because of his personal obligation to upholding justice because he felt that no one would properly defend him like Atticus would.
“I remember that rape case you defended, but I missed the point. You love justice, all right. Abstract justice written down item by item on a brief – nothing to do with that black boy, you just like a neat brief. His cause interfered with your orderly mind, and you had to work order out of disorder. It’s a compulsion with you, and now it’s coming home to you – "
He goes on to explain his membership to the KKK as a way of being aware of who is also a member and who holds those beliefs. Jean Louise’s love interest, Henry, is also a card carrying member and he explains to her his presence in the citizen’s council meeting be saying it allows him to continue to be of use to the community. That he isn’t necessarily agreeing with their beliefs, but he’s not going against them because calling them out would cast him out and being a part of the norm is safe. In a nutshell. So, conform to the norm and don’t voice your differing opinions because that’s not safe, is the belief. Of course, this is an extremely accurate interpretation of the typical mindset during this period in history and having Atticus come out as having racist beliefs just makes more sense even if I’d prefer to stick with my illustrious views of him, rather than these dispiriting quotes:
“Have you ever considered that you can’t have a set of backward people living among people advanced in one kind of civilization and have a social Arcadia?”
“You realize that our Negro population is backward, don’t you? You will concede that? You realize the full implications of the word ‘backward’, don’t you?”
“You realize that the vast majority of them here in the South are unable to share fully in the responsibilities of citizenship, and why?”
“Do you want Negroes by the carload in our schools and churches and theaters? Do you want them in our world? […] Do you want your children going to school that’s been dragged down to accommodate Negro children?”
“…you do not seem to understand that the Negroes down here are still in their childhood as people.”
Jean Louise is naturally irate at what’s coming out of his mouth, but instead of voicing her dissension, explains her anger to him by asking him why he didn’t just raise her right.
“…I grew up right here in your house, and I never knew what was in your mind. I only heard what you said. You neglected to tell me that we were naturally better than the Negroes, bless their kinky heads, that they were able to go so far but so far only.”
Because if he had raised her to not be “colorblind”, as she says, and to be able to recognize the differences in the races then she wouldn’t be so conflicted because she’d be like-minded with everyone else in the town.
I loved To Kill a Mockingbird. I loved the hope it presented, but again, it was all being viewed from the point of view of a child so it had that sense of innocence. To Kill a Mockingbird has grown up, Scout has grown up, and that same world is now viewed with a devastating sense of realism that I think is a difficult thing to stomach. I have read many reviews that state even if this tarnishes Atticus for you, it is still a must-read because of how it views the world harshly but honestly. I have to disagree. For me, I think even if we enjoyed Scout’s innocent interpretation of the world, we’re all still fully aware of how the world truly is. We’re all aware of the masks that people can wear and the secrets that they hide from the public and even from those they love. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with continuing to hope that there was at least one good man in the South that was willing to stand up for his beliefs even if they didn’t manage to fit the norm.
‘I did not want my world disturbed, but I wanted to crush the man who’s trying to preserve it for me. I wanted to stamp out all the people like him. I guess it’s like an airplane: they’re the drag and we’re the thrust, together we make the thing fly. Too much of us and we’re nose-heavy, too much of them and we’re tail-heavy—it’s a matter of balance. I can’t beat him, and I can’t join him–’ Note on the Narration: I listened to Sissy Spacek’s narration of To Kill a Mockingbird and I couldn’t imagine Scout’s story being told any other way. But this book wouldn’t have been anything without the narration of Reese Witherspoon. Her southern accent is perfection and somebody has got to tell her she really must narrate more audiobooks. Listen to a clip here. ____________________________ Immediate Feelings:
Someday. Definitely not in this installment though. Good grief, this was DARK. And sick. And just relatively hard to stomach.My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
Someday. Definitely not in this installment though. Good grief, this was DARK. And sick. And just relatively hard to stomach. And here I was hoping to like this one more than the first installment when I actually think I liked this one less.
*spoilers from Scarlet will follow*
Lady Thief opens with Robin Hood suffering through the effects of the torture he had to endure leading him to him developing PTSD. On numerous occasions Scarlet would wake in the night to find Robin in the throws of an attack, unaware of what he’s doing, but hurting her nonetheless. I understand that Robin isn’t doing any of these things maliciously but maybe sleeping next to him at night isn’t the wisest of choices? And then there’s the fact that Robin isn’t as apologetic as one would hope him to be. There was also the feeling that “love can heal” but Robin was clearly dealing with some serious mental issues at this point that would go beyond “love”. I’m well aware that there weren’t exactly psychologists during this period of time but the whole love heals message and use of PTSD as a plot-point just didn’t sit well with me. When she begins to blame herself for it all is where this one just about lost me completely. Adding to all that, Scarlet then agrees to pretend to be with Gisbourne in an attempt to get an annulment so that her and Robin can finally be together! But of course Gisbourne is abusive too (the difference is he’s fully aware of what he’s doing) but at this point Scarlet is transforming in my mind to Sansa and for fucks sake how much shit is this girl going to have to go through?
And since I brought up Game of Thrones, the newly introduced character of Prince John is an exact, spoiled replica of Joffrey.
He’s a horrible, miserable human being but Scarlet is determined to suffer through it all just as long as she can get that annulment. Which, seriously? Thievery is cool. Murder? Sure, why not. But heaven forbid you allow yourself to kiss the love of your life because you just so happened to be forced into marrying a sadist.
Morals. Whatever. Moving on.
Lady Thief is the second in a trilogy and suffers from middle-book-syndrome. The plot doesn’t consist of any forward moving progression, choosing instead to focus on stuff like pain, torture, pain, and some more pain. Seriously, I don’t understand why Gisbourne was even still alive at this point since they were able to swiftly deal with the sheriff in the last installment. Would have saved everyone a whole lotta torture (and pain) if he just ceased to exist. And alas, that ending failed to hint at any happily ever after in the near future. I enjoyed the continued expansion on Scarlet’s backstory but this poor girl just can’t catch a break. Lion Heart is the final installment and last hope for a HEA… we’ll see if it actually happens....more
I’ve been quite the black sheep when it comes to the series as a whole so I might as well go out with a bang. I did not like this one. At all. There wI’ve been quite the black sheep when it comes to the series as a whole so I might as well go out with a bang. I did not like this one. At all. There wasn’t anything seriously wrong with it, however, it was extremely uneventful and didn’t go out with the bang and/or explosive finale that I was kind of hoping for this whole time. Throwing a wrench in the whole Robin Hood tale by transforming Marian into one of the gang was definitely cause for excitement but the story itself continued much on the same trodden path and inevitably failed to live up to its potential. So, let’s break down my issues with this installment.
THERE BE SPOILERS.
Scarlet continued to be problematic for me. I’ve gotten past her strange dialect, mostly because it’s not as prevalent considering Eleanor has “taught” her how to talk like a lady even though we all know she’s completely capable of it. She has to begin talking like a lady again because her father, King Richard has given her a bit of land thus making her Lady Huntington. The entirety of the story consists of Scarlet going all “oh woe is me” about nobody liking her. What? She acted as if people were constantly shooting spit balls at her or something. It felt very out of character considering she’s supposed to be some thieving badass yet she’s whining because nobody likes her. Get over yourself, Charlie Brown Scarlet.
And then there’s Robin Hood. So many issues here. First off, the whole PTSD plotline seems to have found its way under a rug or something because it’s never made an issue again. Even though they have many nights sleeping next to each other. Apparently the “love can heal” message the author was going for in Lady Thief actually worked. Ha. Right. Then there’s the magic trick performed where Robin turns into a spectacular douchebag right before your very eyes! Sure, one of those douchebag moments ended up being a momentary lapse but DUDE.
First DB moment: I don’t know if you recall but when Scarlet was married to Gisbourne, Robin could barely even kiss her because *gasp* she’s married. You know, against her will. To a sadist. And then there was the subtle mentioning of her basically being no longer pure because of said marriage that took place against her will in order to save Robin’s life. But then in this installment he changes his tune. All those awful things are never mentioned and he acts shocked that Scarlet is ready and willing to marry him. Well, if I was a douchebag like that I guess I’d be shocked anyone wanted to be with me too.
Second DB moment: Scarlet was gifted lands which essentially gave her more power than the other douchebag of this tale, Prince John. It comes in handy when he tries to re-kidnap her for the “crimes” she was already pardoned for. Scarlet keeps this bit of information from Rob until she has to, and why? Well, if you recall, Robin was Earl of Huntingdon before the lands were taken from him. So his lands are now Scarlet’s, not that it should matter… but it does! He has the audacity to actually be pissed about it like she alone stole his land from him. This fucking guy. Way to make her feel bad about something completely beyond her control.
I’ve spent so much time complaining about those two I actually forgot the major reason Lion Heart was my least favorite installment: Prince John. In Lady Thief, John was still relatively villain-y however in this installment he reverted to his animated version.
He became such a non-villain and every time he was in a scene I imagined a toddler throwing a tantrum that didn’t get his way about something. He was a spoiled brat and it was just ridiculous that he still managed to almost best Scarlet and Robin. Eleanor really needed to slap the shit out of that boy though.
Another small issue were the strange side stories going on that were seemingly thrown in there for filler since they lacked any sort of resolution. Please do not tell me there’s going to be a spin-off. And that “ending”! I’m convinced my ARC was missing the final chapter because what is up with that lackluster and completely inadequate end? I mean come on, Sean Connery King Richard didn’t even make an appearance! Boooooooooooooooo.
I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more
‘They all had their terrors, but at least the spiders that lived in the new girl’s veins were imaginary. Grace has learned long ago that the true hor‘They all had their terrors, but at least the spiders that lived in the new girl’s veins were imaginary. Grace has learned long ago that the true horrors of this world were other people.’
A Madness So Discreet introduces Grace Mae, a young woman who has been placed in an asylum in an attempt to hide her out of wedlock pregnancy in addition to the horrible secret to how she came to be pregnant in the first place. She is certainly of sound mind, however, the long nights spent listening to the screams of patients echoing the corridors is enough to effect even the toughest of individuals. When an opportunity to leave the asylum is presented to her she jumps at the opportunity for a fresh start, but Grace soon finds that sometimes your past finds a way to sneak up on you.
The beginning is one of the most shocking and audacious introductions I have come across in YA. We’re introduced to Grace and the patients in the Wayburne Lunatic Asylum of Boston and a terrifying picture is quickly painted. This is set in the 19th century and patients are not treated as people, they are not given sufficient food or clothing, and they are thrown into the basement cells which leak rainwater from outside as a form of punishment. There are other far worse punishments described as well. It was grisly and utterly distressing but considering grisly and distressing are totally my thing, I was immediately foreseeing a first-rate reading experience. Alas, the book took an odd turn after that.
‘They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain, and we hold on to our truths in the darkness.’
Going from a decidedly Gothic feel and leaving the confines of the asylum, it quickly transforms into a something of a crime thriller, just minus the thrill. Grace is placed in the care of Dr. Thornhollow after he takes a keen interest in her sharp mind and believes she can be of assistance to him. Why he goes to such dramatic lengths to get her out of the asylum is beyond me though. See, Dr. Thornhollow believes himself to be Sherlock in his spare time, investigating crimes and catching killers. Towards the end we once again take an odd turn and it quickly becomes an episode of Law & Order.
Referencing a book as having a Gothic feel, set in an asylum with crime and legal aspects should have been a home-run for me and I can’t decide whether all aspects combined were simply too much or it was simply too far-fetched for it to feel any way authentic. I would have much preferred Grace’s story to play out within the asylum walls, wrestling her inner-demons.
I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review....more