All posts filed under: Review

Review: A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

Mere months ago, it was announced that the highly, highly anticipated prequel to The Hunger Games was to star none other than the prick that (basically) started them: President Snow. Now. I had a few feelings about this. Disappointment was one of them. And I wasn’t alone. The internet, in a rare (!) move, turned divisive: some sad they were not going to be in for the treat of revisiting favourite characters and beloved themes; some fuming over the prospect of taking a deep dive into the POV of a despicable baddie; others twirling their pretentious moustaches and claiming to be above it all (“Honestly, am I the only one looking forward to an expertly crafted villain story, especially in a time of such socio-economic unrest in this country – surely we should relish the opportunity to walk a mile in the shoes of a genocidal fascist? You know, to better ourselves or something?”) Good grief, Barbara, jog the fuck on. There is nothing wrong with a decent-to-villainy story, but if you’re walking into a …

Review: The Rearranged Life of Oona Lockhart by Margarita Montimore

“There would be bad days, there always would. But she’d collect these good days, each one illuminated, and string them together until they glowed brightly in her memory like Christmas lights in a mirrored room.” Oona Lockhart is conflicted. It’s New Year’s Eve 1982 and at midnight she will turn 19, with the biggest decision to make: should she move to Europe to study economics, or should she stay in NYC with her boyfriend and her band? And as the countdown to the new year begins, she makes one wish: I wish I didn’t have to chose. The clock strikes midnight … and she wakes up in 2015. She is 51 years old This is an absolute gem of a novel, all about a woman living her life out of order. What a premise! So completely my cup of tea, and the story was just as emotional as it promised to be. This one is not a plot-driven novel, and while there were times while reading I felt the bitter sting of missed opportunity, the …

Review: The Binding by Bridget Collins

If you enjoyed that 2001 blockbuster Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind … then maybe consider watching that again, it’s ever so good. What’s not good, however, is this book. Its plot is literally exactly the same (*ahem* spoiler alert), except, somehow, shittier. Way shittier. And also includes a very brutal dog murder on page 286. And that’s not even the half of it. Welcome to: This Book Was Not For Me and Now You Have to Hear About It! Emmett Farmer is … a farmer. Yes, that just about sums up the amount of creativity this author put into the character, for Emmett Farmer the farmer is duller than a lump of mud. He’s the type of guy who, as a friend of mine brilliantly quipped, is utterly flummoxed by the world he lives in, every day of his life. He didn’t start off well in my eyes, having fainted twice in the same chapter. And as the story progressed, so did his tendency to do a really fun thing where half of his …

Review: The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

Marketed as “genre-changing blend of fantasy, horror, and folkore” (and no that typo is not mine, it’s from the blurb), The Call 100% grabbed my attention from the concept alone. In this version of semi-dystopian Ireland, the Sidhe are targeting teenagers; “calling” them to their world for three minutes before sending them back. Almost none return home alive. And protagonist Nessa may be disabled, but she is determined to train, determined to win, and to be one of the few to survive The Call.I was simultaneously impressed and disappointed by this novel. What I loved was the concept; the idea of The Call felt very Hunger Games, very Maze Runner-ish. And it was exciting: who’s going to be called? When are they going to disappear from their world and appear stark naked in the Grey Land, the grotesque world of the Sidhe and have to run/fight/hide for their life?? And the world-building was incredible; such an imaginative world to place us in, inhabited by fantastic villains who genuinely frightened me a little bit! It was …

Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

“Months passed, winter easing gently into place, as southern winters do. The sun, warm as a blanket, wrapped Kya’s shoulders, coaxing her deeper into the marsh. Sometimes she heard night-sounds she didn’t know or jumped from lightning too close, but whenever she stumbled, it was the land that caught her. Until at last, at some unclaimed moment, the heart-pain seeped away like water into sand. Still there, but deep. Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.” I was completely entranced by this story, in ways I never expected to be. It was memorable, both in character and in content, and though it was only a story about one little girl in one small part of the world, it swept me off my feet as if it were a saga. It’s books like these that prove stories do not to be epic in scope to pack a punch. You can still fall in love with a character and their journey, and that’s exactly what I did. If you’re …