Monday, 23 February 2015

REVIEW: A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab

23403402I received a copy of this book from Titan Books for free, in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: Victoria 'V.E.' Schwab
Published by: Titan Books on 27th February 2015
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Magic
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Series: A Darker Shade of Magic #1
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | B&N

Summary:

Kell is one of the last travellers - magicians with a rare ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city. There's grey London, without magic, and ruled by the mad King George III. Red London - where magic is revered, and where Kell was raised alongside the heir to the empire. White London - where people fight to control the remaining magic and magic fights back. And once there was Black London...

Officially Kell is the Red traveller, carrying letters between the monarchs of each London. Unoffically he is a smuggler, a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences. His escape to Grey London leads to a run-in with Delilah, a cutpurse with lofty aspirations, who forces Kell to take her on a proper adventure. But perilous magic is afoot, and an adventure becomes a mission to save all the worlds.




Before I begin, please note ADSOM is Adult Fantasy, and not YA. Schwab cleared this confusion herself. But all in all, it does feel like a YA read, but it isn't. Also note that I love books like this!

What's that I hear? Was this seriously the first time I have read a Victoria Schwab novel? I can just see the expressions on all of your faces.


To tell you the truth, I haven't a clue as to why I have never picked up one of her books before, I mean, I have heard nothing but great things about her prominent writing and how she holds the Master skill level at world-building and creativity. I'm actually glad ADSOM was the first book I read by Schwab because now I'm completely won over and will now binge read and buy all her books.
I shit you not.

TBR pile? What TBR pile?

I had no idea what to expect when I dived into this fascinating world Schwab has crafted, I just knew I had to keep reading and it took me a while because as soon as I started, I didn't want it to end. It came to a point where I kept forcing myself to read slower and re-read previous pages even though my brain was screaming for me to carry on. I didn't want to leave this evocative world and it's marvellous characters. We discover new details and information about the parallel London's and Kell's history bit by bit, as if not to flood you with information that a lot of Fantasy novels seem to do. It certainly wasn't overwhelming.
It was believable. I could imagine this world where four different London's exist, it seemed so real that sometimes, even now, I think to myself 'Could I find a way to get to Red London? Antari's exist right?' but then the harsh reality sets in that I'm just living in a Fantasy. (Who knows, maybe there are parallel London's.)

That is what every Fantasy book should achieve to do. And Schwab nailed it. I'm a Fantasy fanatic, heck I live in a Fantasy most of the time. 

If you thought the world and plot of this story sounded awesome, you will love the characters. Absolutely sensational! We have our main man, Kell who is living as the adopted son of the Red London's royal family. Rhy, the true heir to the Red London empire and our fabulous Delilah, a enigmatic yet charming thief living in Grey London. Their conversations are at times, light and witty, entertaining even. I loved their interactions with one another. I especially enjoyed the strange friendship between Delilah and Kell that built up as the story progresses. Kell's relationship with Rhy made my heart swell and shatter. It was brilliant. We are given a range of points-of-view to read from, both the protagonists and antagonists, even minor characters and I truly enjoyed this aspect. It's gives us an insight as to what is happening around the worlds rather than with our main heroes/heroine.

An example? Chapter's told from a royal guard's point-of-view that eased the tension I was left with from the previous chapter, to get an outside perspective on the main characters was enlightening. The various points-of-view also allowed me to see a whole new light to the second Antari - a magician like Kell - named Holland. I was truly able to understand his hatred and menacing personality and instead of disliking him, I felt sympathy for him. To get to the point, all characters were developed to perfection. They had depth, genuine characteristics that kept them alive and fleshed them out.


The action. It's practically non-stop action, intense and thrilling that keeps you on your toes. Keeps you drawn in like a moth to a flame. It's addictive. You wouldn't know what to expect until it hits you. Hard. But it left me breathless. I would love to go through this experience again and again. Victoria Schwab is a mastermind. Her creativity is unrivaled and a force to be reckoned with. She breathed life into this Fantasy world and its characters through her words.

I am in awe at how much I loved this book. It is now my #1 Adult Fantasy novel of all time, until the sequel is released, which I'm sure I will love even more. If I love it, that means you should read it.

Huge thanks to Titan Books for giving me this happiness and the chance to read this book. You guys are the best.

Rating:
Gold Wreath

Thursday, 19 February 2015

REVIEW: The Sin Eater's Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

23411347Author: Melinda Salisbury
Published by: Scholastic on 5th February 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Series: The Sin Eater's Daughter #1
Source: Bought
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | Hive | B&N

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Twylla lives in the castle. But although she's engaged to the prince, Twylla isn't exactly a member of the court.

She's the executioner.

As the Goddess embodied, Twylla instantly kills anyone she touches. Each month she's taken to the prison and forced to lay her hands on those accused of treason. No one will ever love a girl with murder in her veins. Even the prince, whose royal blood supposedly makes him immune to Twylla's fatal touch, avoids her company.

But then a new guard arrives, a boy whose easy smile belies his deadly swordsmanship. And unlike the others, he's able to look past Twylla's executioner robes and see the girl, not the Goddess. Yet Twylla's been promised to the prince, and knows what happens to people who cross the queen.

However, a treasonous secret is the least of Twylla's problems. The queen has a plan to destroy her enemies, a plan that requires a stomach-churning, unthinkable sacrifice. Will Twylla do what it takes to protect her kingdom? Or will she abandon her duty in favor of a doomed love?






What was this book? What is this book? I am unable to think of nothing but the compelling masterpiece I have just read. I have witnessed a whole new level of YA Fantasy that is not easy to forget, all deftly crafted by a fellow Slytherin. I am proud. Let me talk you through it.

Hope is inevitable, you can't help but cling onto that little ray of sunshine that whispers in your head that all will be well. Mel certainly wouldn't be so cruel to tear your heart into two. You'd think that. I sure as hell did and boy was I a fool to get my hopes up. Nevertheless, the journey I was taken through was one bombshell of an emotional roller-coaster that I didn't want to end. Ever. As soon as the story took off, I was trapped. Perhaps Mel has taken to private tutoring from Professor Snape and learnt to 'bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses'.



I devoured this book in its entirety, gorgeous cover and all. It's seductive, dark and intense with beautiful prose and rather ravishing male characters, Prince Merek and of course, the playful guard, Lief. Let us not forget about Twylla - what a goddess Mel has created! (No pun intended.)
The world building is staggeringly impressive, vivid and fantastical. The myths, the history and laws of this world were true works of a master in world-building. I longed to be a part of the world of Lormere. To be so induced into this world by only Book 1 in this trilogy, says enough.

Our heroine faces endless heart-dropping plot twists, scenes that make you cry out 'please no!' and gasps in stupor at the clever details of the plot. And through all this, Twylla still remains to be one of the most structured and striking characters I have ever read about. Though she is unable to read or write, Twylla still has wisdom. Though she is confined to loneliness, she is still empathetic and feels love and emotions. She is flawless and flawed at the same time. What a wonderful protagonist!

The lies and secrets that are slowly unraveled as the story progresses were so canny, ingenious and cleverly planned out that it throws you off balance and force you to turn back pages in an attempt to make sure you weren't mistaken in what you have just read. (Trust me, you weren't.) It was so fiendish that I raged yet lapped up the sensational drama and thrills I experienced. I am hungry for more. And let's not begin to talk about the swoon-worthy romance that toys with your feelings, where in one moment you are floating above the ground with joyous feels and the next you are sent crashing down to the ground with a broken heart. It was delectable.

I am fired up and pining for the next book, for Mel's flawless writing and gorgeous setting and characters. For her captivating and witty plots after that evil evil epilogue that is left on such a torturous cliff-hanger! This is a book I have anticipated for months, it was one of my most anticipated books of 2015 and believe me when I say that this was worth the wait. Worth the two copies I had bought and would gladly purchase more of. I want everyone to read this book and feel what I had felt. I want everyone to fall in love with this treasure Melinda Salisbury has created.

Overall summary of my feelings about this book?



Rating:
Gold Wreath

Spellbindingly brilliant!
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Thursday, 5 February 2015

UKYA Extravaganza: Author Spotlight with Bryony Pearce

Blog Tour Button Picture

Hello! Welcome to my stop in the #UKYAExtravaganza blog tour! 

So fantastic author's Emma Pass and Kerry Drewery have combined their talents to curate and bring us a rather exciting event that is to take place on the 28th February 2015 in Birmingham. The event will consist of 35 Authors, you heard me folks, 35 Fabulous Authors will be gathering in Waterstones Birmingham where they will be talking all things bookish. Doesn't that sound incredible?!
The UKYA Extravaganza event is a chance for readers, bloggers and even non-participating authors to round up to talk and share their love for books. Tickets for the event sold out in the first couple hours since going on sale, it was amazing! But until then, there is a blog tour with guest posts from the 35 participating authors hosted by 35 fab bloggers! I was lucky enough to have been invited to take part!
The full list of authors taking part are below.

ukya extravaganza

Find out more about the event via Twitter:


Today, I have the lovely Bryony Pearce on the blog for an interview! So let's kick things off shall we?

Hi Bryony, and welcome to The Dark Dictator! It's great to have you here. Shall we begin with the dreaded cliché opening question? Tell us about yourself!

Hi there. There’s a thing going round Facebook at the moment where you have to write seven things people might not know about yourself, it seems like a fun way to tell you about me, so if you don’t mind, I’ll steal that format:

  1. I have two children - a boy, Riley (6) and a girl, Maisie (9).
  2. I was born with acetabular dysplasia, which meant I had severe arthritis by the time I was 30. I had a total hip replacement in 2007.
  3. I’m a karate blue belt (working towards purple).
  4. I went to a state comprehensive and have an English literature degree from Cambridge university.
  5. I don’t much like the dark – when I’m alone in the evening I can’t go up to bed unless the lights are turned on. Sometimes I carry a torch.
  6. I lived in Gibraltar when I was a little girl and was there to greet Charles and Diana when they got off the plane there for their honeymoon
  7. I once threw up over the feet of the Admiral of the Royal Air Force, after necking my first ever can of Coca Cola in 40 degree heat.

There are many ways in which a writer gains inspiration. What inspired you to write? Have you always known you wanted to be a writer?

I can’t tell you that something specific ‘inspired me to write’ because I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I’ve always written.

The first ever story I remember writing was about a fifty pence piece who wanted to become a pirate (best selling stuff obviously), I think I was six.

Funnily my next novel, Phoenix Rising, which is coming out at the beginning of June, is about pirates - I love the fact that I’ve come full circle and am quite tempted to slip a 50 pence piece in there somewhere.
In terms of story inspiration, I, like anyone, get my ideas from all around me - from news, to conversations, to science, to history, art, the landscape, to things that happen to me personally. I imagine my brain as a bit of a melting pot – ideas for stories simmer away in the background and suddenly I spot the right thing, or the right idea or piece of research falls into place and a full story is born.

Often inspiration for me is about finding something of interest, something that sparks off that moment of fascination, then bolstering the idea with hardcore research!
Goodreads
The inspiration for my first novel, Angel’s Fury, for example, came from events in my own life.
Angel’s Fury was very much inspired by a visit to Gibraltar where I had a strange experience.  Many of my dreams have the same scenery, a town square, white houses and a clock in the middle.  I have no conscious memory of ever having seen such a place. 

I had lived in Gibraltar as a child (we left when I was seven) and I thought it would be nice to revisit when I was grown.  While climbing the Rock I mentioned to the guide that I’d once lived on the RAF base and he pointed behind me and said something like ‘oh, you’ll have lived there then.’  I turned around and there it was – the scenery from my dreams.  It was like being smacked between the eyes!  I had no memory of that white square but I had retained that memory so clearly in my subconscious that it was being recycled nightly. 
That experience stayed with me and I knew I wanted to make a story out of it.  The chapters which describe Cassie’s visit to Germany where she recognises scenes from her dreams, are inspired by that moment. 

When I went on holiday to Bali the in-flight magazine had an article on the local belief in reincarnation.  During the holiday I made a point of visiting a number of temples and religious places including Tanah Lot and Pura Tirta and spoke to locals about their beliefs.  I was fascinated and suddenly I had a reason for Cassie’s experience – she had been reincarnated.

As a UKYA author, what is one thing you love about UKYA?

Goodreads
There are so many things - can I mention two? First of all, for me, there is the sense of community. UKYA writers and bloggers are supportive, fun and there is a real sense that we’re all ‘in it’ together. When the publisher of The Weight of Souls, Strange Chemistry, folded last year, my inbox was inundated with messages of support from other UK YA authors and bloggers.  I always imagined that being a writer would be quite a lonely existence, but there are so many networks and groups of other UKYA writers out there, from The Edge to Author Allsorts we work together to bring our books to our readers, we celebrate one another’s successes, commiserate when things go wrong – and yes, we do talk about our publishers!

The other amazing thing about UKYA is the range of wonderful books out there. I picture UKYA a bit like the indie movie scene – publishers over here have been brave enough to take risks and publish books that are different, exciting and inspirational.

In UKYA you can find stories about anything you can dream of, from contemporary thrillers, to historical to supernatural, to sci fi to dystopia, to romance and everything in between and often blending more than one.
Writers of YA can take risks, genre-bending, because our editors don’t have to worry about where the book will sit on the shelves: is it a romance or a sci fi? Well, it’s both and that’s okay because it’ll sit happily on the YA shelf right next to the historical supernatural and the dystopian murder mystery.

Out of all the characters you have created, which one of them can you most relate to and why?

That’s tough. All of my main characters come from deep inside me and reflect different parts of my personality.
Cassie, my first leading lady, suffers from nightmares - so do I.
Taylor, from The Weight of Souls, is bullied at school - so was I.
Web, from Windrunner (out in November) fights discrimination - so have I.
Toby, from Phoenix Rising (out in June) is working out how to move from being a child to being an adult and struggling with how people perceive him - This is something I’m sure we can all identify with.


Now we know how important it is to promote UKYA but what would be the first UKYA book you would recommend to someone who has just been introduced to UKYA?

Apart from mine, you mean?

I can wholeheartedly recommend Tom Pollock’s City’s Son, not only because it is a wonderful supernatural story with stunning lyrical language and relatable characters, but because it is set in London - an alternative version of London, but still recognisable and in many ways distilled so that is almost a more accurate reflection of London than London itself. Those unfamiliar with UKYA and who read City’s Son will not only get a sense of the strange and wonderful books that are written with such skill  (and the British black humour) over here, but will also get a clear view of our country and what it feels like to live in the UK.

There are so many wonderful UKYA books out there! But tell us about your Top 3. (I'll allow you to count a series as one!)

SO DIFFICULT!

- It would be remiss of me not to mention the Harry Potter series, without which I don’t believe we would have such a thriving UKYA industry

- Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy, is wonderful, different and a masterclass in conveying a message about war that will generate thought and discussion among readers

- Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series introduces characters and situations that remain with the reader long after the book has been closed down

All of my favourite books are similar in that the world building is intricate and detailed, the characters seem real, remaining with the reader long after the books have closed, the female characters are strong and relevant (who can forget Hermione, Hester or Viola?) And they deal with themes and issues that are important to me.

I'm always intrigued to what people would answer to this. What animal would you describe yourself as and why? (Personally, I see myself as an Eagle!)

I’d like to be a cat – minimum responsibility, maximum pampering, totally gorgeous. Sadly that’s not what I am at all. Cats are the supermodels of the animal world. I’m more of the supermodel’s PA.
I think I’m more like a squirrel – burying my nuts for winter, constantly worrying about the future, constantly on the move and raising my babies as best I can in a changing ecosystem!

What was your favourite book as a child?

YIKES – another really, really hard question, which also raises the question what age specifically do you mean? Because my favourite book was different depending on how old I was.
When I was very little I loved Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. I had an Enid Blyton phase (my daughter is currently just finishing her Blyton phase too). I loved Roald Dahl The Twits, and I adored Ursula Le Guin Tales of Earthsea. I had a Piers Anthony phase and then and then as I moved into the teenage years I fell hard for David Gemmell and Anne Macaffrey’s PERN and Brain and Brawn Ship series.
Basically I loved fantasy, humour and strong female characters. Still do.

We know the process of becoming a published writer is a tough journey. What advice would you give to an aspiring writer?

The best way to become a writer is to write, so don’t stop trying. You can’t fail if you never give up!
Join the SCBWI if you want to write children’s or YA, they are an incredibly supportive network with loads of amazing, useful events and competitions, well respected in the indsutry.

Tell us about one author you'd love to meet that you haven't met. (They don't have to be alive!)

Anne Macaffrey. She inspired me to write the way that I do and I loved her work so much as a young teen. She was an inspirational woman as well as an inspirational writer: she was the first woman to win a Hugo and the first to win a Nebula Award and she was one of the earliest YA trailblazers (her PERN story’s of Menolly, inclding Dragonsong, Dragonsinger and Dragondrums were YA).

Do you have any pet peeves? If so, what are they?

There’s the big stuff, like sexism and racism, which make me crazy. I recently wrote a blog post about misogynistic humour, which gets my back right up.
But ‘peeves’ sounds like I should be talking about the smaller things - so I hate it when people eat with their mouth open, park their cars inconsiderately and are not punctual. Punctuality is a bug bear of mine, probably because in the days before mobile phones I lived on an RAF base and, when meeting friends, I had to do so outside the base – a mile away from my house - because they couldn’t come through the gate to get to me. The hours and hours I spent sat outside the NAAFI waiting for friends who were late!
Once I spend an hour and half shivering in the snow waiting for a friend who finally rocked up and never even apologised. I hate lateness.

Where is your favourite place to read?

On a sun lounger next to a swimming pool!

Can you give us a sneak peek on what you're currently working on?

Absolutely. My next book, Phoenix Rising is due out at the beginning of June. Here is an (unedited) extract – this the moment Toby first meets Ayla:


Toby held Nix ahead of him and edged forwards. Standing water sloshed up his ankles as he walked. He still hadn’t met a crew member, but the longer he went without being seen, the sweatier his palms became and the harder his heart thumped in his chest. Slowly his shuffling walk became a hunched scuttle.
“You, there. Stop. All hands below deck.”
It was with a kind of awful relief that Toby realised he had been spotted. Even as his heart sunk, he straightened, tightened his hand around Nix and turned.
A single member of the Banshee’s crew stood silhouetted above him.
 “You’re not crew. Who are you?” The voice was high, undoubtedly female.  Toby’s hand tightened on Nix and he sidestepped as the figure cart-wheeled from the deck to land in front of Toby.
As she flew, a long coat like Nell’s, flapped behind her. Her booted feet landed with a bone-jarring thud and splashed inches from Toby’s bare toes. Next to her the scrawny cat landed on silent paws. Toby watched, incredulous, as it wound itself around his legs, claws ticking through the puddles on the walkway.
Then it went to sit beside its mistress, growling low in its throat, as if daring Toby to move.
As the figure straightened, Toby stared. He was facing a girl who had to be about the same age as Toby himself. His hand loosened on Nix, matching the slackness of his jaw.
All the crewmen of the Banshee that Toby had seen so far were shaven and tattooed; men or women, it didn’t seem to matter. This girl wore her long hair loose. Tiny braids decorated with beads and feathers kept it from falling into her eyes. Beneath the decoration the silky strands were the colour of oil; a shiny black, which hinted of prisms of colour beneath, darker even than Dee’s.
Drawn despite his better judgement, Toby was unable to retreat. Instead he balanced against the rise and fall of the ship and stared. The girl’s eyes were shockingly green; algae on seawater. Her face was as tanned as Toby’s own, but her skin was not as salt-burned or work-rough. She hadn’t the perfect face that Toby had pictured for the girl of his dreams. Her cheeks were hollow, speaking of hunger, her nose had clearly been broken at least once and she had a thin scar bisecting her lower lip.
As he exhaled, his breath shivered in the air between them and the girl put her hands on her hips to reveal black leather trousers and a tight waxed jerkin beneath her coat.
“Polly want a cracker,” Polly muttered, her warning obvious.
 The cat hissed and Polly squawked angrily.
“I told them that boy was too young to be Ford’s son. You’re Toby, aren’t you?” The girl frowned. “Then who do we have in the cage?”
Toby growled, reminded of his mission. “That’s Hiko. I’ve come to take him home.”
Finally he stepped backwards and the girl’s full lips split into a grin. “I don’t think so, boy.” Before Toby could react, she had grabbed his shoulders, slammed her forehead between his eyes, released him and leaped back.


And finally, what was the most valuable thing you have learnt during your journey in becoming a published author?

I’ve learned that it’s very easy, in the rush to make the next milestone, deadline or book deal, to lose sight of what’s important – that I love to write. That I would be writing whether or not I had that deal and that actually being published the first time was the fulfilment of a dream. I must keep hold of that and I must not lose sight of the joy inherent in what I do.



Thanks so much for a great interview Bryony! And we were lucky enough to have had a sneak peek of her next book Phoenix Rising.

If you would like to know more about Bryony and her present and upcoming releases, you can Follow her on Twitter at @BryonyPearce. You can also find her on Facebook at BryonyPearceAuthorCheck out her website www.bryonypearce.co.uk.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Bryony Pearce (formerly McCarthy) lives with her husband and two children in a village on the edge of the Peak District. She completed an English Literature degree at Corpus Christi College Cambridge in 1998 and afterward worked in the business-to-business market research sector. She went freelance in 2004 so she could devote more time to writing. Bryony was a winner of the 2008 Undiscovered Voices competition with her MG novel Windrunner's Daughter. Her first YA novel, Angel's Fury, will be published on 4th July 2011 by Egmont.

REVIEW: A Thousand Pieces Of You by Claudia Gray

17234658Author: Claudia Gray
Published by: Harper Teen on 4th November 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 358
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Series: Firebird #1
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | B&N

Summary:

Marguerite Caine's physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite's father is murdered, the killer - her parent's handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul - escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can't let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul's guilt - and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father's death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.




Oh beautiful cover, I'll never forget thee.


Goes to say that a story can be as beautiful as its jacket. I'd like to make something clear before I share my perilous thoughts on A Thousand Pieces Of You so hear me out when I say that if you are looking for an action-packed driven story then you will face disappointment. Not to say that there isn't any, oh god no, there just isn't enough to label the book as action. What you will find is beautiful writing, lots of them traitorous feels (yeah, you know what I'm talking about), and well thought-out characters. Not to mention dramatic scenes that throw you off balance.

But hey, I'm cool with all that so I loved it. Needless to say that it took a little time to understand the complexities of the parallel worlds thingy-ma-bob, but I got there!

So main character Marguerite, her father has just been killed. The murderer happened to steal the Firebird necklace designed and produced by her parents, which allows its host to travel to alternate dimensions and infuse with their own bodies from that world. Pretty cool right? 

A good chunk of this book was set in Russia. That's a win for me. Kudos to Claudia for including my favourite location. Drama constantly follows the heroine, Marguerite. No chapter is boring. Her feelings clash together after the death of her father in her own dimension and his alleged murderer happening to be the guy she believed to be in love with. That and the third wheel - Theo. I'll get to him in a minute. There is the making of a love triangle, don't be put off by this as it doesn't overtake the plot, but I see more chemistry between Paul and Marguerite.
But even then, I was attached to the Paul from the Russian dimension, because we see a lot more screen time with him and you learn a few things that make you want to cry. And swoon. And EVERYTHING.

That version of Paul was developed incredibly well and hats off to Claudia for succeeding to tear your hear and feelings to shreds with some of the events that happen. (No spoilers for you matey.)

Theo is someone I can sense being one of my favourite characters in the future. For reasons. So all in all, the characters are all wonderful and all emotional wrecks. Love it.

The story flows at a good pace, in fact it was very enjoyable to read. Somewhat slow yet perfect at the same time. We are forced to feel Marguerite's every battling emotion and there are twists thrown in there that were like woah. I can't even describe. Though majority of the book was a 4 star read for me, after that ending I had to give it 5. Fabulous Characters. Fabulous World-Building. Fabulous Storyline. I loved the writing and I hope to see a lot more in the next book.
(By the way, have you guys seen the cover for the sequel Ten Thousand Skies Above You? SO BEAUTIFUL!)

Read this book. Read it now.

Rating:
Gold Wreath

Monday, 2 February 2015

REVIEW: Jekyll's Mirror by William Hussey

23198244I received an ARC of this book from the publisher for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect the content of my review in any form.

Author: William Hussey
Published by: Oxford University Press on 1st January 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, Thriller
Format: ARC
Pages: 304
Source: Publisher
Links: Goodreads | Wordery | OUP Website

Summary:

Sam is a tortured soul, but his darkest hour is yet to come, when he's invited to take part in 'Project Hyde'. A new social networking site where the users can enjoy total anonymity - it's exhilarating at first, until Sam notices that the other users are becoming obsessed with the program - addicted to the cruelty they are inflicting online. Sam watches with a growing sense of horror as his classmates turn into something unrecognisable...

For the truth behind Project Hyde is this: it doesn't simply change WHO you are, it changes WHAT you are.

One click away from Evil's new domain. Are you ready to face the truth?





Does that not sound like the most mind-blowing summary? My thoughts exactly.

I write this review fresh after finishing this book, mostly because my brain is still in a haze, and a little fried, with all the dramatic twists and turns the book ended with. Now, I'm a HUGE fan of Stevenson's Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde having read the book countless times and watched many film adaptations. I am well and truly obsessed with the twisted storyline of battling your inner demon, in Dr Jekyll's case - seriously fighting off your evil alter ego.

Jekyll's Mirror focuses on a more modernised version of the story, investing cyberbullying within its pages which was truly impressive. It's vastly common for children and teens to be victims to cyberbullying thanks to the anonymity the internet grants us with. It outlines the severe outcomes of cyberbullying and the dangers it can lead to - but not only to the victim, but the bully him/herself. 

Sam was definitely one of those broken male protagonists dealing with the hardships of his past yet he tries his best to overcome it and fit in. He's also having to deal with a conflicted uncle who is less than happy to be sharing his home. I loved how he had weaknesses and flaws like a real human being, it truly made him shine as he developed. I also enjoyed the involvement of a strong female protagonist, Cass, who has flaws of her own because even a kick-ass female needs a little help sometimes!

The story is fast paced, especially towards the end when things get a little hectic. We even experience a little zombie apocalypse situation which was awesome! I totally loved it. We have dark magic and a rather intriguing villain, in fact, Edgar was most probably my favourite character. He's incredibly witty and intimidating, everything he does is acted upon with complete precision.
That man is a force to be reckoned with.

In regards to the Romance, I wasn't completely won by it and in my honest opinion I think it would have worked better if there wasn't any. Despite that, I think Sam and Cass as individuals were both striking and powerful characters that I liked very much. I also liked Cora - Sam's aunt who always seemed to see the brighter side of Sam and supported him. It was all so heartwarming!

This story is as twisted (how many times have I used this word?) as the original Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but more complex and deals with issues I believe are imperative to include in today's children books. I think Hussey did an excellent job in portraying cyberbullying through Jekyll's Mirror and you should definitely check this book out!

Rating:
Silver Wreath