Sunday, 18 November 2018

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Shusterman – review



The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a war zone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.


I love Neal Shusterman's writing, as his books always contain believable worlds and compelling characterisation. I think this is my favourite yet because it's terrifyingly believable and the characters are well-developed. 

The way society deteriorates so quickly in Dry struck me as frighteningly realistic. The book makes the reader feel very close to the main characters' actions and reactions, as well as capturing what's happening in the world at large. There are some unsettling parallels to the tragic fires affecting California and that brings home how topical this book really is.

There are a lot of characters to focus on in this book and each of them is developed really well. I liked trying to work out if we knew everything about a character and watching them grow and adapt as the story progressed.

A really effective device is the use of snippets of storyline about characters who aren't in the central group. It allows interesting insights into the wider world and it's fun trying to work out how these snapshots will impact on the main plot.

Dry is a gripping, almost unbearably tense book that made me think a lot about what we can do to be kinder to the planet. I hope there'll be more books in this series, but in the meantime I'll read Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe.





Thank you so much Walker Books for the review copy!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke



They called us the Mercies, or sometimes the Boneless Mercies. They said we were shadows, ghosts, and if you touched our skin we dissolved into smoke ...

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are Boneless Mercies – death-traders, hired to kill quickly, quietly and mercifully. It is a job for women, and women only. Men will not do this sad, dark work.
 
Frey has no family, no home, no fortune, and yet her blood sings a song of glory. So when she hears of a monster slaughtering men, women, and children in a northern jarldom, she decides this the Mercies’ one chance to change their fate.

But glory comes at a price…


Everything about this book appealed to me, from the premise and blurb to the cover. The Boneless Mercies is the perfect read for this dark and spooky season and one that I'd reread at any time.

I love an ensemble cast done well and the girls won me over immediately. Each were distinct, with their own rich characteristics and back stories, and I enjoyed their interactions as well. Frey is an interesting, multi-faceted main character with strength and agency. I'm hoping for a sequel to see what she does next!

The mythology and world-building in this book are exceptional. There is a timeless quality to the writing that suited the fantastical subject matter and I'd happily read a whole book of myths from the world of the Boneless Mercies.

I was a huge fan of Slasher Girls and Monster Boys (edited and featuring a story by April Genevieve Tucholke). April's writing is creative, unique and delightfully dark. I adored The Boneless Mercies and I'm excited to see what April writes next. 







Thank you so much Simon & Schuster for the book.