Trust in Me is Wait for You told from Cam’s point of view... which sounds more exciting than it actually is.
I did enjoy this book, but certainly not...moreTrust in Me is Wait for You told from Cam’s point of view... which sounds more exciting than it actually is.
I did enjoy this book, but certainly not as much as I thought I would. Wait for You, despite its predictability and lack of originality, was pure entertainment for me, whereas Trust in Me, essentially the same story retold, had much more work to do. This time around, I wasn’t turning the pages for the story (I knew it all already), and so felt there was little to hold onto at first. It takes a while for Cam’s voice to catch up with the personality formed in Wait for You, and with the repetitiveness of the plot, this book does carry a bit of a pointless feel at times.
It isn’t long-lived, however, and Cam does eventually manage to turn the entertainment-factor up a notch. While I can’t say that I was ever fully engrossed or impressed, there is a certain sweetness to the romance that makes it enjoyable to experience again. It’s interesting to see things from Cam’s point of view, despite that removing some of the mystery, but I imagine that this would have worked even better had there been a larger portion of new scenes (i.e those that we haven’t already experienced in Wait for You through Avery’s point of view).
Ultimately though, I don’t feel like I’ve gained a great deal from reading this. It’s a quick and fairly satisfying book, but not much more. (less)
“We need the powerful ones... Because it’s coming. It’s coming and they can stop it.”
Creativity abounds in Laure Eve’s Fearsome Dreamer. It’...more3.5 stars
“We need the powerful ones... Because it’s coming. It’s coming and they can stop it.”
Creativity abounds in Laure Eve’s Fearsome Dreamer. It’s an unquestionably ambitious and imaginative debut novel, full of interesting ideas and comfortably touching on a blend of different genres. The series potential is clear from the start, and the cinematic potential clear soon after. It’s the sort of read that I imagine escapists will cherish, and the sort of book that I imagine could be perfect with just a little more work. I certainly had a lot of fun reading it, in immersing myself in such an original world, but I do think there is definite room for improvement.
The high points lie in interweaving of the diverse range of concepts. We have a little of everything – magic, politics, dreamwalking, domed cities, virtual reality realms, romance, and more! The story unravels in a world where an alternate history has led to England becoming Angle Tar, a fiercely independent and isolated island. This is where main character and apprentice hedgewitch Vela Rue lives with her dreams and daydreams of sprites and freshwater mermaids. The rest is World, an alliance of countries and the once war-enemy of Angle Tar. In World, where travel and transport is unheard of, the only place for fantasy is in Life, a virtual reality realm reached via implant. This is where we meet White, a Jumper and one of the Talented, while he is arrested for allegedly conspiring with the Technophobes. Connecting them together is a man named Frith, a recruiter of Talented, and an Angle Tarain agent for the mysterious Castle.
It’s a complicated creation that Laure Eve has churned together here, but definitely an exciting and absorbing one. Much of our time is spent in Angle Tar, in a Capital university with a department for the training and development of Talent. It’s here that Rue and White meet, both being one of the rare Talented who can Jump and transport themselves in the blink of an eye. We follow the story from both points of view – and also from Frith’s perspective, too – and get a glimpse into their tense relationship from all sides. With Rue being quite petulant at times (or ignorant and wistful as others have called it), and White being a mostly hard-bitten and careful character, their personalities are almost opposites and create one of my favourite setups for a romance. Although the characters here are not outstandingly easy to connect with at first, I do like them all, and think that Eve has put the third person narrative to use rather well.
The story does get off to a slow start. Not a great deal takes place plot-wise until the very end of the journey, but even then the progression feels disappointingly slight (particularly for such a grand idea of a book). The climactic point isn’t as pronounced as might be expected, and instead, we’re left with what essentially feels more like an introductory novel to the next book – rather than a strong first instalment. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the stakes have been laid and are on the verge of playing a more important role in the sequel. (Hopefully we’ll see a little more forward momentum with the last-minute fuel added on the final page.) Something else that I think could do with some polishing here is the handling and indication of the passage of time. There is a slight lack of fluidity and structure to the tale on occasion, which perhaps goes hand in hand with the poor plot movement. I also noticed some issues with tense – for example, during recounts, and the transitions in and out of these.
Another thing that takes some getting used to is the prose and dialogue, particularly when we’re with Rue. Eve’s play on language comes across somewhat stiff and awkward at first – with the ‘hit and miss grammar’ as White helpfully calls it – but it does fit the characters and the tone of the story quite nicely after a while. There are still brief moments when the overuse of ‘well’ and ‘so’ make little sense at all, and moments when a misplaced comma results in an awkward sentence construction, but I imagine that the more flexible of readers will be able to ignore this easily enough. The only one other area that I think could be slightly better is the world-building. The overarching concepts and ideas are fantastic, but the actual execution, and the nitty-gritty details that make it count, could be just a little more enhanced. The descriptions are lacking a precision or detail necessary for painting a vivid mental picture. I still don’t feel like I quite know what the different parts of Angle Tar look like.
Those things aside – and they are quite a few things, admittedly! – I do think Fearsome Dreamer is a perfectly solid and decent read. It might not have been perfect (and I hope that the next book will be stronger), but for a first attempt, it’s not bad at all. What was lacking here was just about made up for with Laure Eve’s exciting and fresh imagination. I’m sure that I’ll be following the rest of the series.
This was fantastic! Such a masterfully told and wonderfully written story, and quite unlike anything that I've read in a...more4.5 stars for the second half.
This was fantastic! Such a masterfully told and wonderfully written story, and quite unlike anything that I've read in a while too.
Brilliant attention to detail, from the historical setting to the Icelandic culture and names (though I must confess that I butchered much of the pronunciation to begin with).
The only slight issue I had is that it took me a handful of chapters to fully invest in the story. Other than that, I really couldn't be more impressed. Burial Rites is a remarkable debut novel from a brilliantly talented author. I sure hope it will get the attention that it undoubtedly deserves. (less)
The Lure was really just snapshots of the story - the good story - that it could have been. There were many gritty, raw and dark moments, but a very p...moreThe Lure was really just snapshots of the story - the good story - that it could have been. There were many gritty, raw and dark moments, but a very poor attempt to weave them all together cohesively. By the end, everything simply felt messy. The plot lacked some consistency, the dialogue (in places) felt stilted and unrealistic, and the characters often bordered too close to dramatic.
It's a shame, because the potential was so clearly there, but the execution massively disappointed.(less)
A Really Awesome Mess is, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of what usually tends to work for me. In retrospect, even the book description is nothi...moreA Really Awesome Mess is, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of what usually tends to work for me. In retrospect, even the book description is nothing less than unappealing (with perhaps the exception of the laugh-out-loud statement), which raises the obvious question of why I even bothered. (It’s best not to ask, really; I’m still working that one out.) While the random effort on my part may not have fully paid off – unfortunately, the book as a whole is pretty unremarkable – there are enough fun and engaging moments dispersed throughout to keep it from being a complete waste of time. If nothing else, A Really Awesome Mess is capable of evoking a healthy grin or two, particularly at the start, and while it may not be an utterly outstanding contemporary tale, it isn’t a poor choice for a quick, I-don’t-want-to-think-too-hard kind of read, either.
As the vast majority of the story takes place at Heartland Academy, a middle-of-nowhere reform school, we do touch on a whole range of mental and health issues – everything from anger management, eating disorders and self-appreciation – but very little (believable) substance is given to these threads to make them feel significant. Instead, we get vomit and porn, plenty of Harry Potter references, a group of volatile characters on a break-out mission, and a stolen pig named Willy. This isn’t a book that is teeming in logic and intelligence, but, thankfully enough, it doesn’t need to be. Admittedly the whole thing is outrageously unrealistic – we’re talking about trained professionals being completely oblivious to the presence of a pig in a reform school – yet some difficult-to-define part of that ridiculousness is strangely pleasing. The sarcasm and humour is present here in bucket-loads and it’s difficult not to smile after a while, no matter how much reason and common sense may be telling you to do otherwise.
The characters are not obviously likeable, but they are amusing in their own right and do manage to claim and hold attention. While neither Emmy nor Justin (the two main protagonists) are particularly well-defined, both manage to narrate the story with ease and have straight-forward voices that are strangely infectious. We also meet a handful of other characters, from mute, pig-loving Jenny to ‘psycho’ Diana. The group dynamics are perhaps the better aspects of the book, with the character interactions ranging from hilarious to genuinely interesting. They are a racially diverse and active bunch, too. One thing that is easy to appreciate is the brutally honest references to oral sex, ethnic stereotyping and other generally unmentionable topics. Although this is not quite a defining highlight of the book, nothing is too preachy or distastefully handled, so it is easily valued, nonetheless.
Despite the moments of fun, and the surprisingly engaging eventual friendships, very little of A Really Awesome Mess manages to be truly striking. It’s efficient enough to be a temporary mood-lifter, but not quite at a standard where it is able to leaving a lasting impression. Like much of the plot, Emmy and Justin’s romance is somewhat absurd, which, for me, considerably dampened the last third of so of the book. (Either that or I grew tired of the novelty of a smuggled-pig storyline and was ready to move on.) Nevertheless, a good portion of this co-authored novel is more than readable, and sure to work for those who are looking for swift entertainment. This isn’t the right book for anyone who is after something affecting or heart-warming, and this certainly isn’t the gut-wrenching journey of self-discovery that the description claims it to be. Rather, if you have a free weekend, with nothing better to do, and are looking for something uncomplicated and easy to read, A Really Awesome Mess is your book.