This was originally published in French as two separate volumes titled "The Butcher of the Dances" and "PrThis is so, soo good. Really loved this one.
This was originally published in French as two separate volumes titled "The Butcher of the Dances" and "Prince Charming."
The first story is definitely the more gripping of the two. When Blanche's sister is murdered by The Butcher of the Dances - a serial killer who targets young women who go out dancing - and makes it look like suicide, she vows revenge. Her only clue is that the Butcher's last target was a prostitute who worked at the Pompadour, a high-scale brothel. She manages to get hired on and becomes the Pompadour's main attraction: Miss Don't Touch Me, a virgin dominatrix.
"The Dancing Butcher" is definitely the stronger of the two volumes. It's a tightly paced story of murder and revenge and while it's not completely surprising to find out who the culprit is, it was still a fast and wild ride to the reveal. Blanche is a great lead: she's headstrong, and while this doesn't always lead to the best decisions, it was still great to read about such a feisty heroine. The only thing that bothered me was (view spoiler)[why there wasn't any investigation or persecution when Blanche shoots Judith point-blank in the face. (hide spoiler)]
"Prince Charming" follows Blanche after the events of "The Butcher of the Dances". Still employed by the Pompadour (as she has nowhere else to go), she makes the acquaintance of Antoine, an enigmatic young man who asks for Blanche's services but never actually takes advantage of them. He's content to talk to her, buy her things and show her off to his friends and less-than-happy mother. This story does not have the Noir-crime element to it like "The Dancing Butcher", and it felt a little meandering to me at first, but the ending is a real gut-punch that ended up winning me over. Many reviewers seemed to dislike this story quite a bit, and while I didn't feel that way, I can totally see why: "The Butcher of the Dances" is a complete story, so a continuation felt a little odd; the stories have very different tones; and "The Butcher of the Dances" is definitely the stronger of the two.
The art in this collection is absolutely fabulous. I hadn't noticed that the artist was Kerascoet, but as soon as I opened the pages I recognized his distinctive style (I read Beautiful Darkness last year, another of his works which is also excellent). It's very European, with its seemingly simple line work and excellent colour palettes. Kerascoet's style has a softness and innocence to it that seems to contradict the subject matter of the plot, but the contrast actually highlights this grittiness in a satisfying way.
Very highly recommended. The only reason this got 4-stars instead of 5 was because, as I mentioned, the second story wasn't quite as good as the first, but this is a solid work.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Some early buzz about this title alongside some comparisons to A.S. King's work bumped this up my list of most anticipaWhat a strange and lovely book.
Some early buzz about this title alongside some comparisons to A.S. King's work bumped this up my list of most anticipated releases of 2016 -- I'm happy to say that, in my opinion, the buzz was well-deserved. This novel seamlessly blends fantastical elements alongside a heart-breaking contemporary story to create something that's really special.
The novel follows Henry Denton, a high schooler who's been getting abducted by aliens since he was 13 years old. During one of his abductions, the aliens tell him that the world is going to end in 144 days but that Henry can stop it from happening at the press of a button. However, between his boyfriend's suicide, the bullying he faces at school and the myriad of troubles he's dealing with at home, Henry isn't sure the world is worth saving.
As you can see from that brief synopsis, this novel deals with a lot of serious issues: bullying, suicide and abusive relationships are some of the few that are broached. It made for a very heart-wrenching read (it brought me to tears a couple of times), but Hutchinson also somehow manages to buoy the narrative with hope as well.
Henry's a character I ached for -- his pain at losing his boyfriend, the ensuing fallout with his best friend because of it, the distance he feels from his mother -- and watching him work through these relationships gave me the warm and fuzzies in a way that a work of fiction hasn't done in a long time. The secondary characters were similarly well developed. I especially liked how Henry's bully was handled: instead of presenting a one-dimensional jock, we're given a nuanced portrayal of what leads him to behave the way he does (without ever, ever excusing it).
I was a bit worried that Diego's character would swoop in to save Henry from himself and that he would be the sole factor in Henry deciding to change his mind about ending the world -- the official synopsis of the book definitely gives off those vibes -- but thankfully that wasn't the case. Hutchinson handles Henry's depression very sensitively, and I appreciated how it was Henry's collective interactions with those around him that affects and changes how he works through his grief.
The alien abductions that Henry experiences (view spoiler)[are never explained. So if that kind of thing frustrates you, you won't find any relief in this novel. But taking the abductions literally is beside the point, in my opinion. Let yourself be taken on the ride that is this book! :) (hide spoiler)].
This is definitely one of my favourite books that I've read this year so far. If you're a fan of contemporary YA, don't mind having your heart stomped on a little, and aren't bothered by the dashes of the fantastical, I highly recommend this. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I'll seriously read anything John Allison writes. Giant Days has only solidified my love for his work.
Set in a small university, Giant Days follows thI'll seriously read anything John Allison writes. Giant Days has only solidified my love for his work.
Set in a small university, Giant Days follows the antics of Susan, Esther and Daisy. The series starts about three weeks into their first semester, and even though they've only just become friends, they've already had their fair share of drama to solidify their bond. This first volume sees the girls facing the wrath of an inevitable cold, unrequited crushes, and dealing with *shudder* dudebros.
Allison's writing is, unsurprisingly, great. His dialogue is quippy, hilarious and so effortless -- it really facilitates buying into the girls' quick friendship even if as a reader you're only meeting the them well after their first encounter. The art compliments the writing very well with bright colours and exaggerated facial expressions.
Overall, this is super fun and I can't wait to read more!