As someone who frequently flits around the more rural parts of Scotland, I have to say that thFIVE GREAT THINGS ABOUT HIS BLOODY PROJECT
1. THE SETTING
As someone who frequently flits around the more rural parts of Scotland, I have to say that this book captures the landscape perfectly. Superb use of setting from Graeme Macrae Burnet - a very atmospheric and authentic picture of the Highlands in the 1800sThe best books create images in your mind that linger and haunt - I will remember Roddy's turns about the villages for a long while, I reckon. And you can just tell this book has been meticulously researched - the community quirks and traditions feel very real.
2. THE FORM
I'm a sucker for a change in form. This book has it all - medical reports, witness statements, a report from the trial and detailed accounts of the events. Each one has its own voice, and its own way of fucking with your head and making you question everything you've learned so far. I think switching voice and form is brave, especially since Roddy's account (which makes up just under half of the book) is so strong. But it creates a complex, layered narrative. It was a little bit Making a Murderer only, you know, in 1869. In a crofting community. In the Highlands.
3. THE UNRELIABLE NARRATOR(S)
Ah yes - back to the fucking with your head. A well-done unreliable narrator is a gem. I personally like being screwed over by my narrators. I also like putting a book down and not really knowing the true course of events. I am pro-ambiguity, and so is this book. This book likes to play games. Roddy makes you believe one thing - and then that is completely turned on its head in the next section. It is up to you, the reader, who to believe. Or, you can lay the facts out in front of you and compose your own version of the truth. Great books make you do some work, make you think.
4. THE VILLAIN
I actually went to see Graeme Macrae Burnet talk about this book (I wish I'd read it before then so I'd have been able to formulate some questions) and he said - something along the lines of - that he wanted to capture the feeling of dread whenever the villain was around (he mentioned Blue Velvet influences in that respect). And that feeling of anxiety is there. While we've established that the narrator(s) is/are unreliable, it doesn't mask the fact that in Roddy's account, Lachlan Broad is a nasty piece of work - a bully to the highest degree. As we learn his appearances usually lead to trouble, that ominous dread starts to creep up on you whenever he's mentioned. There was a moment I actually had to put the book down because I was so overwhelmed by my loathing for him.
5. THE MYSTERY
I went in to this thinking it was going to be a murder mystery, a classic whodunit. I thought that maybe Roddy was falsely accused and that the narrative then followed a wiry Scottish detective finding the real killer. I was very much mistaken. This is more of a psychological mystery - more of a why-did-he-do-this? and then a was-he-crazy-to-do-this? and in a way, these are actually more interesting, tantalising questions that delve into the human psyche itself.
I spent the last few evenings completely gripped by this book. I think it's a wild, entertaining and engaging piece of work that deserves all the attention its getting. Recommended - for these reasons and more! ...more
"The Court of Dreams. The people who knew that there was a price, and one worth paying, for that dream. The bastard-born warriors, the Illyrian half-br"The Court of Dreams. The people who knew that there was a price, and one worth paying, for that dream. The bastard-born warriors, the Illyrian half-breed, the monster trapped in a beautiful body, the dreamer born into a court of nightmares...And the huntress with an artist's soul."
I am raw, shattered and completed overwhelmed.
I can't believe I loved this book as much as I did. I didn't like the first one. After a great beginning, I thought it derailed into frilly, dull fluff, and I wasn't at all interested in reading a sequel. Even after the good reviews started pouring in. Even after people who also didn't like the first one said this one was so much better and worth a read. I just wasn't interested! And then I read Empire of Storms. And all I wanted in my life was to read more SJM. So I caved. And I ordered this.
From the beginning, this one felt different. Feyre was different. I could actually feel the darkness and loneliness that swallowed her up. And I know a lot of books choose the theme, 'a light in the darkness' and run with it, but this one did it so well. It was so powerful! You could feel that all-encompassing darkness. Her trauma and guilt were palpable in every page. And then Rhys entered, and there was this spark of light. And it just kept growing.
Feyre's character development was incredible. What a wonderful, wonderful, fierce heroine. I was sceptical about her being a fae and gaining all these crazy powers, but it's so great, and so well done. I have no issues anymore. I just want her to get stronger and stronger.
And then there's Rhysand. Oh my gosh, Rhysand. I can't even explain. I love all of SJM's characters, but I think he might be my new favourite. And I also never thought she could top Chaolaena when it came to a relationship that made my heart swell, brought the tears, brought the joy, but she's done it. Feyre and Rhysand's relationship, in my opinion, is one of the most well-developed I've read in YA literature.
It's just beautiful. I have no other words for it. You get this real sense of care, of loyalty, of longing, of love. They heal each other, and fight for each other. Some of the passages when they were together just broke my damn heart, and others just made me so happy. Oh man. I won't say more, because I'll just gush and gush and gush, but I just can't stop thinking about them.
And of course, SJM is incredible at putting together these fantastic band-of-misfits friendship groups. And Rhysand's inner-circle are the greatest. It's so great when you can see all the different tiny connections between groups of characters, and care about every single one of their friendships. I think SJM portrays friendship groups really realistically - lots of teasing, some fighting, a little bit of sexual tension. It was a joy to get to know them all.
And then there was the plot - where the heck did that come from? Part of me wants to go back and read the first book again, just to get a grip on all the foreshadowing and whatnot. There's so much great stuff going on - so much dark stuff too. Plotting and relics and creepy creatures. Properly detestable villains. I can't wait to see what happens - though knowing SJM, I have a feeling some pretty awful stuff is going to happen to these precious flowers. Ughuughhhhugh.
So. Yeah. I absolutely adored this book. I finished it last night and it took my breath away. I woke up thinking about it. I have no idea what the hell I'm supposed to read next. I don't know if I can even wait for the next one without self-combusting. Good golly gosh, I have so many questions.
this was compelling enough and touched on some interesting themes, but ultimately, it's not really the book for me. There was too much going2.5 stars
this was compelling enough and touched on some interesting themes, but ultimately, it's not really the book for me. There was too much going on for me, and some of the revelations came across unrealistic. great dialogue, though....more
this one was so much better than I initially thought it would be. it was twisty and twisted and actually quite creepy. lots of good stuff hoh my gosh.
this one was so much better than I initially thought it would be. it was twisty and twisted and actually quite creepy. lots of good stuff here: wonderful sense of setting, interesting narrative techniques, realistic depiction of alcoholism: the feeling of not being able to remember, the feelings of shame, of dread and a gripping storyline that keeps you guessing. I battled against tired eyes to finish this one, which is always a good thing in my book.
can't wait to see just how they're going to translate this to screen. ...more
One of my favourite YA reads this year. One is beautifully written and tugs at your heart. Playing around with form, Crossan has formatted t4.5 stars!
One of my favourite YA reads this year. One is beautifully written and tugs at your heart. Playing around with form, Crossan has formatted this novel as a poetry book - and while at a first glance I was dubious, this worked so well. It made the book feel lyrical. Each page felt separate from the previous page, and yet there was harmony and unity there.
A genuinely relatable and thought-provoking read, I recommend this one to anyone looking to shake things up a bit - it's very different. In a good way....more
This was so enjoyable - I loved the setting and the prose and the plot. It was such a magical tale that totally swept me away, though didn't3.5 Stars
This was so enjoyable - I loved the setting and the prose and the plot. It was such a magical tale that totally swept me away, though didn't blow me away. It was just really wonderful escapism with heaps of originality, lots of surprises and faerie mischief.
This book was my first Holly Black and I really loved her writing style, so I might check out some of her other books. ...more
there's some to like in this novel, especially its main focus on the strength of female friendship, and I whizzed through it (plus: look at that damnthere's some to like in this novel, especially its main focus on the strength of female friendship, and I whizzed through it (plus: look at that damn cover. gorgeous). for me, though, it kind of lacked something - something to make it a great read. I felt like the themes came off slightly shallow at times, and that the dialogue felt a little forced and unrealistic. maybe if I had read this six years ago or so, I would have liked it a lot better. ach, well....more
I cannot believe it took me so long to finally read this.
seriously. I bought this book around a year ago and I read the first couple of pages and thouI cannot believe it took me so long to finally read this.
seriously. I bought this book around a year ago and I read the first couple of pages and thought, 'nope, can't do it'. it's been hanging around on the shelf, neglected, ever since.
but picking it up this time, I persevered, and I was rewarded. I was rewarded with a thoroughly engaging, darkly enchanting tale of a fractured, incredible protagonist and the murky, sharp-edged world that surrounds her.
it is a story of family, faith and most deeply, pain - it is the story of a girl and her brother.
reading this book was like riding a wave.
it did not always make sense to me. the parts that did make sense, however, was raw and real and hit bone.
can't wait to read more from the scarily talented Eimear McBride because this one? it's the kind of book that changes your world....more