Review: Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2) by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire (The Great Library, #2)Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Paper and Fire
Author: Rachel Caine
Published: 27 July 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $16.99

Review

‘Paper and Fire’ by Rachel Caine is the SECOND, and very much highly-anticipated novel in ‘The Great Library’ series. I LOVED the first novel, ‘Ink and Bone’ so my expectations for this novel were high.
The series has AMAZING world-building. Each aspect of this new, fantastical world was created with a depth that still astounds me. There is the Great Library of Alexandria, the governing system of the world which centres around their motto of knowledge being more precious than the lives of people. However, their rule is tyrannous and they readily and frequently execute those that defy their rule or pose an unsuspecting threat. The rule is so powerful that it has extended for hundreds of years. I fell in love with this world of suspense, myth, magic, alchemy, books and mystery. However, this sequel did not deliver. It still had that foundation of epic-ness due to the world-building, but it did NOTHING to expand on it. I wanted MORE from this beautiful, majestic and corrupt world! And it brought nothing new to the table!
I expected the adventure to extend and flourish, for Jess’s fight for freedom and right to reach even bigger proportions. Regretfully, all his team of friends did was save the life of another friend. It was a good and heroic act, but it provided no movement to the actual plot or storyline. What was so important about this friend that it risked losing momentum in saving the world?
I lost interest in this novel so many times it was ridiculous. Only the most insignificant of moments interested me at times. And the finale is what had me upping my rating of the novel. It gave me something to actually look forward to and enjoy. And the writing was too good for the novel to be anything less than a FOUR star.
There was a definite case of second-book syndrome. Hopefully the third instalment will rectify that and FINALLY give me what I want. A book worthy of a five star.

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

Cell 7Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Cell 7
Author: Kerry Drewery
Published: 28 September 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $19.99

Review

‘Cell 7’ was a REAL thriller! I would highly recommend it to anybody looking for an adrenaline spoke and a novel with a plot that makes you think.
My thoughts before reading the novel:
• I didn’t like the cover. That googly blue eye staring out at me from behind bars creeped me out to no end. It was honestly a VERY unattractive cover in my eyes. Had I seen it in a bookstore I would have run the other way. Screaming.
• The tagline didn’t help, “Behind bars. For your entertainment.” Already I was screaming and terrified on the inside. I DESPISE the horror genre. And ‘Cell 7’ was SCREAMING horror at me.
• However, there was a certain level of intrigue that was created by both cover, tagline and blurb. They sold the novel despite scaring the living daylight out of me.
Whilst reading the novel:
• ‘Cell 7’ had atmosphere to it. It was one of those novels that had you thinking about it and living in its world long after you had closed it. I would often find myself thinking about what was happening and what would happen and why this character would just not be sensible and do the right thing…
• The novel was split into seven parts, one for each day and cell that Martha spends in prison. I found this a superb way of increasing tension and anticipation as the countdown would increase the further you read into the novel. There were no “chapters” per se but a myriad of different character perspectives which would tell a “section” in order to reveal a clue or give more background information. I found this an effective and engaging technique.
After reading the novel:
• The finale had me reeling. I was on the edge of my seat ready to jump if the novel told me to. I LOVED it! I was hooked, lined and sunk by the pace and plot as the novel reached its conclusion. COMPLETELY fulfilling and satisfactory!
Congratulations to Kerry Drewery on publishing her third, spectacular and THRILLING novel, ‘Cell 7’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver, #1) by E. Lockhart

The Boyfriend List (Ruby Oliver #1)The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Boyfriend List
Author: E. Lockhart
Published: 27 July 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $14.99

Review

‘The Boyfriend List’ was something that seemed to fit quite well in E. Lockhart’s list of published books. It didn’t seem to deviate much from the other angst-y teenage novels she writes. And although I haven’t read her highly popular ‘We Were Liars’ (and I know, I know, I should), ‘The Boyfriend List’ definitely got my attention.
And since this novel contained and was completely written as a list, here’s one from me:
(Because they are quite lovely in the end.)
1. I loved the blurb and I love the new cover. I felt like the funny blurbs were what pulled me in ultimately and the word “shrink” on the front cover. To be honest, the very first cover really creeped me out. What’s with the frog? Who puts a frog on the front cover? And why is it…smiling? Oh, well… I guess it did its purpose. Pulled my attention right in.
2. Ruby Oliver seemed to lead and interesting and very troublesome life. I wanted to see whether she was clever enough to survive it. Mwahahahaha! (And I wanted to have a little laugh at her expense. :P)
3. I loved the little footnotes every few pages. I don’t know. I just love footnotes. They’re like little insights into people/characters. It was awfully good to see them in ‘The Boyfriend List’.
4. At first I felt like the novel was another stereotypical rich girl meets stereotypical bad boy and gets into heaps and heaps of trouble. But it really wasn’t. A lot of the novel was Ruby finding herself, learning to come to terms with her feelings and navigating life.
5. The story was written with each chapter being a number on her list and titled with the name of a boy. I wasn’t quite sure what to think of that or about Ruby at first, but I realised that these boys meant something to her. They were symbolic of important events in her life.
6. It was also written as a whole heap of flashbacks and flash forwards to the present. It was written in first person, and I felt like the novel was solely Ruby’s monologue on her life and her slow understanding of what she did wrong.
7. The novel got me reading and I picking it up a lot more than expected. ‘The Boyfriend List’ wasn’t anything original or overly unique, but it just kept drawing me back, and back, and back. I really don’t know what did it.
8. Maybe it was all those boys…
9. Or the funny stories Ruby had to go with them…
10. But I enjoyed the simple way it was written.
11. An incredibly easy read. And especially light on the brain when you’re trying to recover from too many exams and study.
12. A quick read.
13. I can’t wait to see what else Ruby Oliver gets up to.
14. And WHAT HAPPENS TO ALL THOSE BOYS!!
Congratulations to E. Lockhart on publishing a great start to the ‘Ruby Oliver’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The Ocean of the Dead (Ship Kings, #4) by Andrew McGahan

The Ocean of the Dead (Ship Kings, #4)The Ocean of the Dead by Andrew McGahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Ocean of the Dead
Author: Andrew McGahan
Published: 27 July 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $24.99

Review

‘The Ocean of the Dead’ is BEYOND all words! And all fantasy WORLDS that I have across, too! It really is a magnificent finale to the ‘Ship Kings’ series! I’m so happy/sad that it had to end! Argh! Too many conflicting emotions!
Reading the ‘Ship Kings’ series was (let me tell ya) on HECK of a journey! It was a stupendous voyage across the ‘Ship Kings’ world and one that took some time and effort – but was worth it in the end. Reading this novel, was a pleasure, mainly because Andrew McGahan continues to deliver REAL pieces of literature, time and time again. Reading his writing is like learning what true English is and should sound like. I literally learned how write from his novels, and his writing is what has inspired me to write some of my own short pieces! You could literally call or compare this series to a classic and no one would blink an eye! THAT is the level of grammar and prose!
What has also amazed me, is that this ENTIRE series not only has sun beautiful, sophisticated, elegant and masterful writing, but its plot is really quite complex! It is like a gigantic tapestry. Each instalment reveals something different, but with such intricacy and minute detail, that stepping back to reflect upon the series is like looking at a masterpiece by an artist yet to be discovered.
The world building is beyond this world anything has ever seen! OMG! I cannot describe to you or possibly express with any body language how OUTSTANDING it was! There are novels out there that leave you wondering why something has happened or full of questions about the world, such as why does this work or how does that work? The ‘Ship Kings’ series has none of that. If you think you can ask a question about the science behind this world, you will find yourself stuck. The research into scientific facts that went into this novel is beyond my comprehension. I am SO impressed!
What sticks with me the most after reading this finale, is the incredible, real, tangible moments that Andrew McGahan has created. Each moment, though told from third person narrative, held a reality. Reading a sentence was never boring. Every sentence held something important. Something new. Thinking back, I don’t recall that I have not read a single sentence or just have it a cursory glance. It was like every word held gravitas and gave me this wide perspective on everything that was happening.
If you think that Percy Jackson was good, think again! ‘Ship Kings’ will forever change your mind!
Congratulations to Andrew McGahan on publishing a true cataclysmic conclusion to the ‘Ship Kings’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The War of the Four Isles (Ship Kings, #3) by Andrew McGahan

The War of the Four Isles  (Ship Kings, #3)The War of the Four Isles by Andrew McGahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The War of the Four Isles
Author: Andrew McGahan
Published: 1 August 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $16.99

Review

‘The War of the Four Isles’ really is a MOMENTOUS volume in not only in the ‘Ship Kings’ series, but also the entire young-adult and children’s genre! There is something mighty powerful that continues to make itself known in the series, and this novel showed no signs of lacking it. If you’re into a heroic, romantic and tragic adventure full of ships, battles, losses and victories, then this one is for you!
The writing continues to fascinate me. This novel and the entire series is written in such a way, that every time that I pick it up, I have to adjust to the level of CORRECTNESS and GRAMMAR that it uses. It’s like reading a classic: in order to understand it, you have to first adjust to the language being used, which is so much more sophisticated and complex compared to our English today, and you end up fumbling through the first few chapters. But then, as you get used to the writing style, you read easier and faster. This is what every novel is like! This is a book you can DEFINITELY learn some writing skills from!
What the writing reminded me, also, of was Shakespearean plays! It’s not straight away evident, but the speech and dialogue these characters use is absolutely outstanding and very similar to Shakespearean dialogue with their constant embellishments, and metaphors, and similes.
This is definitely a heavy read! Not only because of the length of the novel approaches five-HUNDRED pages, but because in every sentence there is always something important, and it felt to me that if I missed one of those lines, then I would lose something vital and therefore the story. So be ready to pay close attention to each line and be prepared to remember a LOT!
Andrew McGahan continues to build on this wonderfully enchanting and complicated world of the Ship Kings. This is definitely the number one reason I return again and again to the series: because there is always something new and wonderful to discover since the author has left room not only for US to explore, but for his characters, too. Those who have read the previous novels are aware of the Barrier Doldrums. The belt of sea which prohibits passage from the northern hemisphere to the southern with its jelly-like waters and complete lack of winds. And therefore leaves the Southern Hemisphere completely unknown and undiscovered! This is what the fourth volume is going to explore, and I must say that I am BEYOND and ABOVE ready to learn of it!
The pace remained steady and somewhat slow, like with the entire series. But this was good as it allowed me to really absorb the story.
Dow’s adventures encompass a bigger world now, but I still felt like the author was building up to Dow’s great moment – which I’m still not WHAT it is!
Congratulations to Andrew McGahan on publishing his THIRD volume in the ‘Ship Kings’ series!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice (Ship Kings, #2) by Andrew McGahan

The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice (Ship Kings, #2)The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice by Andrew McGahan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice
Author: Andrew McGahan
Published: 1 August 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $16.99

Review

‘The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice’ was – and IS – a spectacularly told story of Dow Amber and the second instalment in the ‘Ship Kings’ series. There is something amazing about Andrew McGahan’s writing that I really cannot describe but will try very, very, VERY hard to!
Andrew McGahan is an Australian author (of which I’m very proud since I’m Aussie, too) who has won so many incredible awards and was nominated for even more. When you read his books, you actually UNDERSTAND why he is such a highly acclaimed author! There is this constant beauty and natural flow to the writing that makes it incredible to read. And it’s so correct, too! None of that colloquial, everyday slang and language that are liberally peppered in ALL young-adult and children’s books. When you read his novels, you actually learn what true storytelling is about: not only the story, but the words that tell them.
What does not cease to amaze me was the depths at which the world-building has been achieved. There was this immense knowledge of the world this author has created in every single word and sentence written. It was this grounding, viable sense that wouldn’t shake it’s hold of me throughout the entirety of the adventure. And BOY did it make the reading experience AMAZING! I got drawn into this world where I could smell the sea, feel its strength, touch the water, see the Ship Kings’s world, and taste the salty air. No words…simply amazing.
This instalment was of even more epic proportions than the first. The first can only be described as a taste of the Ship Kings’ world, this second instalment is the introduction and catalyst. SOOO many things happened here that made me BEYOND excited and ECSTATIC to be able to read the third! In NO way could this novel be claimed to have suffered second book syndrome!
The pace was well set: It revealed all this information, and there was an OVERWHELMING amount of it, which was what continues to make the series so rich and vibrant, at a steady constant pace that continues to build up and up and UP until the finale has you gasping for air…and then the novel ends. There was indescribable feeling of coming back to reality that I hated every SINGLE time I had to put the book down.
Dow grows a lot as a character in this novel. He does a lot and experiences a lot. What continues to amaze me is how detailed the characters were. All of them! No matter wether minor or major! You could sense that each had this significant role which inevitably affected Dow.
‘The War of the Four Isles’ is one I’d highly recommend to fans of the ‘Broterband’ series, or any other novel by John Flanagan. Not because it’s similar, but because it’s so. Much. Better. Think of everything you enjoyed there, but on more momentous level!
Congratulations to Andrew McGanhan on publishing the spell-binding sequel, ‘The War of the Four Isles’!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow GravesThese Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Published: 22 June 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $16.99

Review

I could not and CAN not express how excited I was about receiving a paperback ARC of ‘These Shallow Graves’! I was literally on cloud nine! I have heard so much good things about it from the rest of the YA community (and some bad things) but this novel seemed right up my alley and boy was I glad that I was able read it! I was ready to give it a FIVE star…but…here’s why it a four.
I thought the novel was a solid work that had many things going for it. But there were a few that just nicked down my rating little by little. For example:
I really enjoyed Jennifer Donnelly’s writing style and this novel was NOT my first read by the author. It was probably book one of the ‘Waterfire Saga’. Have you guys seen the cover for that one? *fangirling all over again* But the draw back with that novel as well as this one was that the writing didn’t have unique tang or flavour to it that would have identified Donnelly as the author. She wasn’t able to give me that something special with her words that would have made the novel hers and hers alone.
The plot was extremely well constructed. There were twists and turn and passion and romance! Gosh! So much that went on! But…at the end of the day, it didn’t amaze me AS much as I wanted it to. Let me clarify this: I enjoyed the story IMMENSELY but I thought it could have been better.
I felt like some parts of the novel went on a little. No, they didn’t drag and bore me to death, but I did wonder what the purpose of all those extra words was. The author probably could have said just as much in less AND it would have made the effect more powerful.
The characters were great! I loved them to bits and pieces! I thought each was quite interesting and I loved how their behaviour and antics were so TRUE and RIGHT for the time period in which they lived. They captured the essence of what it was to live in 19th century, New York.
Josephine was such a pleasure to read from. She was a 21st century soul trapped in the body of a 19th century girl. She was driven, clever, brave, persistent, and – my most favourite of all – with a big, gigantic heart that loved and felt for everybody.
And her name! Her name! It was a reference to Louisa May Alcott’s ‘Little Women’! It is my all time favourite series and I greatly admired how Jennifer Donnelly masterfully merged classic and thriller to create a new type of classic worthy of any audience today.
But best of all was the chemistry between Eddie Gallagher and Jo. Slow-burning and sweet, it was a romance that touched my heart, soul and mind. And I loved it!
And, YES, the novel did focus a lot on the life privileged and non-privileged women had to survive in order to be identified as normal. As sensible. There were SO many hardships that both types of women had to undergo in order to live in a – let’s say it – MAN’s world. Because that is what it was. And they ruled over it with an iron fist.
I felt like the balance of mystery and history in ‘These Shallow Graves’ was JUST right. I know that many felt there was not enough mystery in the novel, because that, I believe, is what it was primarily advertised as: a historical tjriller. I really enjoyed how the mystery was not ALL what the novel explored. The author explored a side women still have to face: equality alongside men.
The setting was such a great way to do this! New York is a city we associate with the modern day and power. The year 1890 showed that what women faced in ‘These Shallow Graves’ wasn’t that very long ago.
Congratulations to Jennifer Donnelly on publishing her new, EPIC, standalone novel worthy of the greatest and biggest!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

Sophie SomeoneSophie Someone by Hayley Long
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Sophie Someone
Author: Hayley Long
Published: 25 June 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $16.99

Review

Straight away I knew that ‘Sophie Someone’ was going to be one of those novels written to enlighten its readers in finding themselves and the hardships everyday teenagers face. A story about the REAL world. One that I knew may either make me:
1. Cry
2. Get depressed
3. Over emotional
4. Throw the book against the wall.
But I haven’t picked one of these up in a little while, and so decided to give it a go for better or for worse. So here are my thoughts:
I was SO confused at the beginning. Be prepared to learn Sophie’s personal language. It wasn’t too complicated, she would mostly substitute different words that start with the same letter. E.g. Helix for head, don for Dad. It was a special thing that I liked at times but…didn’t so much at others.
I also really enjoyed the beginning. There was this mystery that surrounded everything and it just made me excited to learn about this new adventure. Sophie was a person who wasn’t sure who she was and the fact that this story was about finding herself, allowed me to connect with her troubles.
I didn’t like the complication (or the middle) of the novel. It was such a weird part in the novel and I felt really disconnected from it. There wasn’t anything that held my interest for long, and even though I kept reading, the story made me snooze. I felt like all of Sophie’s actions were very selfish…but also very justified. What also didn’t appeal to me was the lack of emotion that I felt towards the whole situation. I just didn’t feel fulfilled.
Even though this novel is target for all teen readers, I believe this would be better suited for readers twelve to sixteen. The only reason my recommended age range went up is because some of the words which Sophie substituted in were for actual swearing.
The conclusion was a lot better. I finally started to understand why the author was making her readers go on this long-winded journey.
I enjoyed the Hayley Long’s writing style: it made me realise why she has won so many awards. Her writing is not just words on a page, they keep trying to tell you something at every moment. This novel really explored the art of words; of being able to communicate and the barriers people may face with language. How we all have our very own language, too.
The character, whilst being a totally real person, was much too…real…for my liking. Maybe this is why I usually stick to action fiction as a general rule of thumb. On the other hand, the way the author created her characters was absolutely amazing. They were these mysterious people who you met at the beginning of the book and got to know them and their peculiarities and complexities as you progressed through the novel.
This was one of those good stories. Ones that inspire you and teach you all in one go. I think, reading this novel was something I won’t regret. There was just something satisfying in finishing it that I loved. In the end it was fulfilling.
Congratulations to Hayley Long on publishing a great read fit for teen hands!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews

Review: The Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon

The Monstrous ChildThe Monstrous Child by Francesca Simon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

ARC kindly provided by Allen & Unwin in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Monstrous Child
Author: Francesca Simon
Published: 22 June 2016
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
RRP: $19.99

Review

When I was first fortunate to come across this book I must say that I was both curious and wary. I am a BIG fan of all sorts of mythologies. And when I read “sister to Fenrir the wolf” I had a feeling I knew what this novel was going to be about: Norse mythology. Yet, what really captured me was “Queen of the Dead” in the blurb. I must admit I also hoped for a retelling of Persephone and Hades but what I got was so much more.
I really shouldn’t be saying this because ‘The Monstrous Child’ stands and speaks for itself, but if you’re SUPER into the ‘Percy Jackson and the Olympians’ series than you will also love this. Curious? Think, Percy Jackson but with a smarter, drier sense of humour and from a girl’s perspective.
People, readers, young-adult lovers, I LOVED IT! I was hooked, reeled and sunk within the first page. I loved the author’s writing style and I really shouldn’t be so surprised since the author, Francesca Simon, had attended both Yale and Harvard Universities.
I couldn’t spot any typos or spelling mistakes. The grammar and writing was SO GOOD! And the prose was even better!
‘The Monstrous Child’ is written in first person narration and follows only Hel’s point of view. I loved the dry, angry yet yearning-for-love character which the authoress painted. Hel was a very, very flawed character but as the reader gets to know her better through her recount of her…problematic…upbringing, they slowly come to enjoy the story.
I enjoyed the story yet the plot could have been worked on a little more. It is told in chronological order and this gave the novel a very smooth pace and rhythm. Everything – from small to big – was slowly revealed…which did make me drift off from time to time.
Francesca Simon’s retelling of Norse mythology was quite hilarious. She put a twist on the rarely-retold-but-often-used-by-Marvel myths and gave (what I believe) was a unique experience.
And yes, there is Loki and Thor and Odin, but they were not exactly as they appeared. If you’re not into any evil-Loki’s, Thors or Odins – well, be prepared to have your mind changed.
The novel also explored themes such as hate, love, childhood, revenge and many other things that really skyrocketed its rating for me. This added quality and value to reading ‘The Monstrous Child’ which I really appreciated. A strong recommendation from me for young-adults of twelve to fourteen years of age. But anybody over that will, no doubt, enjoy this, too.
The title was actually very misleading. I was expecting a horrendously ugly main character who was going to do some EXTREMELY gruesome and horror but it wasn’t at all like that…for the most part. There were some unpleasant bits but they weren’t full on and actually made the reading experience a lot better.
Congratulations to Francesca Simon on publishing a great first young-adult novel!

Rating Plan
1 star : Strongly did not like the book, writing and plot was bad. Idea of the book was against my liking.
2 star : Didn’t like it, didn’t find it interesting or gripping. Seemed to drag on to me.
3 star : An average book. Wasn’t bad or good. Everything else was well done. Original idea.
4 star : Like a 3 star but has potential to it as a series or the book grew on me as it progressed and certain scenes captured me. I Enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.
5 star : I LOVED IT! I stayed up late until 3 am. Author is a genius, characters, plot, idea, development, EVERYTHING was EXCELLENT. Nothing else can possibly be said except that its 5 STAR!

View all my reviews