Sunday, 28 February 2016

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories by Angela Carter - Review

Publisher: Gollancz (1979) First Edition

I read this as my second book in the 2016 Classics Challenge. It is isn't something I'd usually review on my blog, as it's an adult take on various fairy tales. However, this is absolutely a book you should read if you want a different slant on fairy tales that is dark, literary and sensual.

Angela Carter's writing style is just brilliant! It shifted masterfully depending on the story and context, from the humorous Puss-In-Boots to the Gothic romance of 'The Bloody Chamber'. The descriptions were consistently evocative and lyrical, capturing the essence of the original fairy tales at the same time as twisting and flipping them.

My favourite story was 'The Bloody Chamber' based on the Bluebeard story by the Brothers' Grimm. This tale of a man who killed his former wives in a torture chamber has always horrified me! Angela Carter retold it from a first person viewpoint that made the story feel all the more immediate and horrifying. 

The book was organised in an intriguing way, with stories of similar origins being grouped together. At first I wasn't sure whether that might get a bit repetitive but I found it created a thread through the book that can sometimes be lacking in short story collections.

This has made me feel like dusting off my old fairy tale books, as well as giving me a good excuse to buy more books by Angela Carter!

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton Review

Publisher: Faber and Faber (4th February 2016)

I'd heard a lot of hype about this book so I started it with high expectations. It was original, exciting and romantic - everything I wanted it to be!

The premise of a Western meets the Arabian Nights gave this a fresh slant. I loved the fantastical elements set against the Western setting and all of the action associated with this genre. The world building was just brilliant and gave a lot of scope for sequels.

All of the characters in this book were really compelling! Amani was a great MC, with a huge amount of guts and principles that drove the plot. Even the most minor characters were well-drawn and realistic, which was helped by the witty, believable dialogue.

Last but not least was the romance. The relationship between Amani and Jin was perfectly paced: It held out just long enough to keep my attention, though unlike some books there was plenty of chemistry and romantic moments.

This is a brilliantly written, compelling book and I can't wait for the sequels!

If you liked the sound of this, now try:

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (reviewed here

Snow like Ashes by Sara Raasch

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (reviewed here

Sunday, 14 February 2016

In Place of Never review

Author: Julie Anne Lindsey
Publisher: Kensington Publishing
Release Date: 2nd February 2016

This was an ARC provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Can the truth set her free?…
A part of Mercy died the summer her sister tragically drowned. Now Mercy has a chance to discover if Faith’s death was an accident—or murder.  Her first step is to confront the lead suspects: a band of traveling gypsies—the last people who saw her sister alive. But Mercy finds an unexpected ally in Cross, the soulful musician in their ranks. He’s a kindred spirit, someone who sees into her heart for the first time in, well, forever. Yet stirring up the past puts Mercy in danger… 
Suddenly someone is shadowing Mercy’s every move, making her even more determined to uncover the facts. With Cross by her side, she is ready to face it all, even if that means opening up to him, knowing he may one day leave her. What she discovers is a truth that rocks the foundation of her small river town—and a love worth risking everything for… (Publisher's Blurb)

I'm a huge fan of books about travelling performers so I was really excited about this. There were a lot of interesting elements, including a compelling story about loss and a love story. This book was thoroughly addictive and I ended up reading it really quickly!

Books about coping with grief are a difficult sell for me. Sometimes I find them too painful to read and it can be difficult to come across as sincere. Loss was handled beautifully in this book and it felt very genuine. The subject of self-harm in relation to this was also dealt with in a sympathetic though realistic manner

The mystery element was also intriguing and well-paced. I found it hard to predict what was going to happen on Mercy's journey to find out what happened to her sister.

It's no secret that I love YA romance and this one totally won me over! Cross and Mercy's relationship was believable and really sweet. The relationships in this book in general were interesting, including the interactions with Mercy's father and the close relationship that developed between Mercy and her younger sister. 

The only part of this that I was less keen on was that a couple of plot cliches and clumsy dialogue pulled me out of the narrative, though overall I enjoyed the plotting and writing style.

This was a really enjoyable read and I will definitely look out for more by Julie Anne Lindsey.

Image result for 3.5 stars

If you liked the sound of this, now try:

-The Accident Season by Moira Fowley -Doyle
-The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge