Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

Review: More Than This (By Patrick Ness)

More Than This is a teen novel written by Patrick Ness and follows a boy who is washed up on a beach, naked and confused. As weird as it sounds, More Than This is a world of mystery and this only touches the tip of the iceberg.

A boy drowns. He dies. Then he wakes up. 

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Plot

This story is set in a dystopian future, but it’s not apocalyptic. It’s something else, something different, and this is what makes the story so intriguing. We’re sent on a hunt for answers, and it starts with to a boy we find lying on a beach alone and as naked as a baby. This instantly sparked my curiosity and was actually successful in making me read page after page because of how Patrick Ness writes out the way this lost boy tries to discover more about where he is, who he is and why he’s here.

Now I won’t spoil, but something that has made itself comfortable in our world is the core to this story, and it is shown to have killed our real world while we live in another. It touches a scenario that I could see become real, and installed fear in me. Because of this I wanted to read on and on, never stopping unless I absolutely had to. It was all so scary yet compelling, and I loved it.

The journey that the boy takes is paced lovely, with characters making this plot even more adventurous, with the additional touch of humour that made me burst out laughing yet gripped to know what happens next.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

So, what’s the name of this naked boy on the beach? Well, it’s Seth. Seth Wearing. And I must say, he is an absolute warrior. His determination surprised me because even though he was confused, I was expecting him to be more…desperate. There was something about him that made him different from main characters I’ve encountered in other teen novels. He wasn’t scared but rather utterly confused and wondered why he was alone and empty of memories. His strong and fierce personality made me really like him (he does have one memory/vulnerability, but I’ll let you find that out) and I felt like I was on this journey with him, trying to learn more about the situation. He made the most of what he had around him, and made the brave choice of deciding to venture out to truly understand what had happened.

Once he ventures out into the unknown, he bumps into two other characters who join Seth on his journey and enlighten him on the way with their theories. A teen girl and a young boy, they bring humour, knowledge and tears to the story, and I loved both of them. They added something extra to the story, and I couldn’t help but read more to understand them and their story as well as Seth’s. All of the characters were portrayed as strong youngsters, and their secrets/stories made them so real that I really felt for them and was tempted to shed a tear or two.

Now, there is another character within this book who acts as the villain, trying to get these youngsters for a reason unknown (later it’s revealed) and its name is The Driver. This character is absolutely terrifying (seriously though, I had hairs standing up on my arms!) and although I wouldn’t consider it a main character, it definitely plays an important role in the story. You may also be wondering why I’m referring to The Driver as ‘it’…well that’s for you to find out!

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip 

The mystery of what Seth was doing alone on a beach was just one thing that peaked my interest, and as the story went on, I found myself reading for hours. You can really immerse yourself in the story and imagine yourself walking alongside Seth, wondering about the world you’re in and what’s going on. I think it’s safe to say that the first page was instantly hooking, and I wasn’t satisfied with a few pages a night. I read this book under 2 weeks, so I was reading a few chapters a night!

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, More Than This is an amazing story with unique characters and a gripping plot that sucks you in from the first page. Intense, adventurous and compelling, I highly recommended anyone and everyone read this book and experience the dystopian future that is More Than This. 

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more More Than This reviews and any information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21969786-more-than-this

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below! 

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Review: The Good Girl (By Fiona Neill)

Review: The Good Girl (By Fiona Neill)

A dark and captivating read, The Good Girl is a novel all about the secrets we keep, those that get out and the ones that end up tearing us apart.

Written by Fiona Neill, this book promises to give us a dark story with lots of drama and destruction, but is it all that?

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Plot

This story focuses on a high schooler called Romy, who happens to be the ‘good girl’ of her family, but this isn’t the case for much longer. The secrets that her family keeps soon start to come to light, and this causes Romy to change and become that little bit rebellious. Now, I could see this kind of situation happening from a mile away and wasn’t at all surprised, but it was still really compelling and I just had to read on because it all happens at a great pace that manages to trap you beautifully.

Shortly after the first chapter, we are given the introduction of new characters. They provided the perfect fuel for Romy’s family’s quiet fire, and soon this fire is spouting out drama and threatens to destroy the perfect appearance that her family were trying to convey. Secrets were coming out/resurfacing and I loved it! Romy’s damaged family managed to put Romy in a good light, but soon even Romy herself is going to be involved in something so shocking and unbelievable that it threatens to put her in a bad light. The scenes that played out were amazing but all so predictable, and sometimes I thought it was a little exaggerated. Despite this, the drama was something that reflected actual events that happen in real life, so I was happy that Fiona Neill brought these to light.

Plot Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Romy is the main character for this story, and it’s told from her POV (Point of  view). From the moment I first looked upon the sentences that were written, I knew she was completely set on her feelings for everyone around her. That is a fact until she meets her new neighbours. I have to say though, I didn’t like her at first because she seemed so confident of her thoughts and of everyone else, and this made her come across as a judgemental girl. Throughout the story however, she slowly becomes less judgemental and because of the secrets that come out, she changes her views of certain people. Even so, I still didn’t like her. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but she’s just a bit of an over-confident teenager who puts herself first before anyone else.

As for the Romy’s family and the neighbouring family/other characters, I found them to be interesting as each had their own secret, but those secrets were pretty easy to guess, therefore it slightly dulled the excitement that was yet to come.

As for the neighbouring family, they have a young son called Jay, who also happens to be Romy’s age and attends her school. Jay is your average teenager who is desperate to explore the female body and well…I won’t spoil but I wasn’t surprised when I found out his secret. He soon becomes a part of her life, but that is exactly when the fuel is added to her family’s fire. The more interaction that occurs between herself and Jay, the more the fire builds up and soon will cause chaos to both families.

Character Rating: 2½ out of 4 Stars

Grip

This whole story is full of revelations, but unsurprisingly they were easy to guess. Both families have their fair share of secrets and dark sides, but they were so predictable and a little too fictional that it wasn’t exciting. Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable read and definitely gripping, but not to the point that I was in love.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In conclusion, it was a good read which undoubtedly started off great but soon became too wild and unrealistic and sadly I found the ending of the book disappointing, and frankly felt underwhelmed with the build up of events leaving you feeling whether you actually liked it or not.

Overall Rating: 3 + 2½ + 2 = 7½ out of 10 Stars

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For more The Good Girl reviews and any information, visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24728721-the-good-girl

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four (By George Orwell)

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four (By George Orwell)

Nineteen Eighty-Four is a politically themed dystopian book written by George Orwell, and is centred on a controlled Socialist society in the UK that answers to the Inner Party and their leader, Big Brother.

I had heard a lot about this book and how good it was, thus I decided to read it and see for myself. What did I think though? Read on to find out!

NOTE: This is a simple review. I will only be looking at how good the plot was, how good the characters were and whether it was hooking or not. I wasn’t going to read between the lines and try to get right under the words because I felt it was more effort for a book I was reading for enjoyment.

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Plot

The story starts off pretty simple. We’re introduced to our main character waking up from bed, going through their morning routine and then see the rest of their day play out, as well as what goes through their head. This kind of introduction was mediocre to me because of how ordinary it was, but I still wanted to read on to see what else happened.

Unsurprisingly, once I was out of the introductory part, I was greeted with more information about the society/party. Newspeak words and ministries were being explained, and as much as it was intriguing, I began to forget the words shortly afterwards. Whenever they popped up I couldn’t be bothered to learn what they meant again. It sounds lazy, but when you’re trying to find enjoyment out of a story, you don’t want to have to keep going back to an index to remind you what ‘Ingsoc‘ means.

Aside from the words and sentences that required effort and deep reading to understand, I thought that the rest story was definitely entertaining, with some parts a little scary, especially if you imagined it to be a reality. Citizens were expected to show no emotion and to have little interaction with anyone, and if the Inner Party saw any suspicious behaviour, then they would go after you. The amount of party power and the constant observation of the Outer Party citizens was just unnerving, but at some points I wanted something exciting to happen because it was the same old thing that was the looming over the characters. The fear was annoying, and I welcomed any other emotion or feeling that wasn’t fear. I understand that it was trying to portray realistic behaviours and actions from such a society and its’ people, but with my kind of taste, I wanted some sparks and was a little disappointed.

Plot Rating: 1½ out of 4 Stars

Characters

Winston Smith is the main character in this story, alongside Julia (who is introduced later in the book). There were no immediate thoughts or feelings about Winston, but as I read on a little bit, I thought that he was an average Joe who just wanted to get through the day like most people. This made him a relatable character in my eyes because everyone would do what he did and secretly hold a hatred for the Inner Party whilst retaining a submissive exterior. Additionally, it was later made clear that he was a little bit old (perhaps 40’s/50’s) and had little muscle mass, therefore I pictured him as a skinny ageing male. This image of the character actually made me like Winston a bit more because it wasn’t the typical description the comes with most main character’s and I liked that. He was someone who just wanted to feel emotions freely and think freely without worrying about consequences, but in the end the cost of freedom would ruin him.

As for Julia, I thought she was a strong character who was important in the character development of Winston because of the ‘don’t care’ she emitted when around him. She was a woman who wasn’t scared and maintained a confidence that helped Winston with his weariness about going against the Inner Party’s rules. Although at times I thought she was cold towards Winston, I understood her reason for not feeling an attachment. In such a controlled and scary society, little things could have big repercussions.

Character Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Grip

Honestly, I wasn’t hooked. The story was slow when it came to new developments in the character’s life, and because the politics was so powerful, you couldn’t really enjoy it. The book is interesting, but it doesn’t have any surprises or anything spectacular hiding within the pages.

Grip Rating: ½ out of 2 Stars

Overall, I thought that Nineteen Eighty-Four was an interesting book but could only be fully enjoyed by those with a strong passion for politics. It is the centre and over powering theme that makes this book so famous, and the scary thing about the story is that it is so easy to visualise that it seems such a society could occur overnight.

Overall Rating: 1½ + 3 + ½ = 5 out of 10 Stars

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For more Nineteen Eighty-Four reviews and any information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5470.1984

Review: The Essex Serpent (By Sarah Perry)

Review: The Essex Serpent (By Sarah Perry)

The Essex Serpent is a novel of historical fiction written by Sarah Perry, who happens to be an Essex native herself. Her inspiration for this story comes from the legend of the serpent, whereby it is said to have lurked in Essex waters in the past, but who really knows, for a legend is forever a mystery…

So, what about this novel? Well, it’s set in the late 1800’s and is centred around Ms Cora Seabourne. Who is she? Well, keep on reading to find out!

Essex_Serpent_COVER

Plot

The first thing I noticed whilst starting to read this book was the style of writing. It was the type that you’d find in books written in the 1800’s, and I found this to be a great fit. It made me feel like I was reading a classic book, and I loved it. And it’s not just the style of writing that made me like this book, but the layout too. The use of letters and journal entries gave an even deeper insight to the characters thoughts, adding a greater understanding and a plot with depth. With everything that was happening, I could never guess what was going to happen next, and sometimes I was and wasn’t surprised.

Additionally, the plot is rich in detail, with descriptions of scenes and the environment written in a way I could picture them perfectly. The personalities of characters made it easier to imagine what they would have worn and what kind of decor they would have in their house or in their hotel room. With such clear and vibrant descriptions, I was able to have a vibrant imagination.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Cora Seabourne is a widow and our leading lady, and I have to be honest here…I love her! She’s unlike any Victorian lady I’ve read in classic books. She’s boystrous, outlandish and does not care about what she looks like, and I found her so refreshing. The only sad thing I noticed about her was that she acted the way she did because her marriage to her deceased husband was an unhappy one. It is hinted that she was on the receiving end of domestic abuse, therefore I concluded she found happiness in being free and not really caring about her character around other people. Even so, she came across as a strong character who only desired love, and I felt for her.

As well as Cora, there were others who occasionally took to the main stage, such as Reverend William Ransome and Dr Luke Garrett. Luke was a character I liked and disliked, but I enjoyed reading his little story because he had such strong affection towards Cora that edged on obsessive and it made me feel excited for what lay ahead. As for William, I found him to be a simple character who slowly began to question his faith once Cora came into the picture, but still he stayed true to who he was despite his urges and I liked this element. He questioned Evolution, but still considered it alongside his beliefs, and I found this kind of progression to be realistic to what would have happened to those in the late 1800’s who questioned faith over fact. Will’s character, and others, were just as important as Cora was because they allowed character progression and change, which was an exciting prospect.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

Upon beginning this book, I found that I was already a little gripped just by learning about Cora and what was happening. It wasn’t excitement that enticed me to read on, but rather curiosity. Things were already in motion once I started to read, and I wanted to know more. Once I was in the depths of this book, I realise that this story is not one that you read because of the main title, but because of the exploration that the characters go through, between themselves and their surroundings. The Essex Serpent is only a small portion of this story, with the characters and their lives being perhaps more interesting than the myth.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, The Essex Serpent is a satisfying read that I highly recommend to those with a taste for the old tales of mystery and unique love. It is packed with such detail that you dare not rush the book in fear of forgetting what happened in the previous sentence/page/chapter. The serpent itself is a mystery, and during this story I kept asking myself ‘What’s going to happen next’ and ‘Is there really a serpent in the Essex Blackwater River?’ Well, now I know. Now you MUST find out for yourself!

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more The Essex Serpent reviews and further information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32075861-the-essex-serpent

Have you read this book? If so, what did you think? Leave a comment below! 

Review: Curtain Call (By Anthony Quinn)

Review: Curtain Call (By Anthony Quinn)

Curtain Call is a novel written by Anthony Quinn and is set in the streets of 1930’s London where murders are being committed by the ‘Tie-Pin Killer’. Within this book we are also introduced to various characters who soon become entwined by the events that occur, and may slowly but unknowingly become in danger themselves.

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Plot

I’d never encountered a story that was set in the 1930’s, so I was really excited to see what it had it store for me. The first feature I noticed was the amount of detail, which I found was perfect, especially when describing the environment. It offered just enough to be able to visualise it and imagine it as if I a part of the environment too, and I really enjoyed this.

Additionally, the use of bars made the plot rich in detail as almost all of the characters frequented bars and had a life aside from wondering who the Tie-Pin Killer was and when they were going to strike next. If anything, the murders made up 50% of the story and the characters lives made up the other half. However, the murders were the most least interesting thing, until it affected one of the characters first hand later in the book. At that point, it got really exciting, but then it went a bit boring and sadly, I finished the book at little disgruntled.

Plot Rating: 2½ out of 4 Stars

Characters

There a 4 main characters within this book, each with their own story that slowly becomes one big story. Usually, when there a numerous characters, I tend to forget who is who and what their story is, but the writing and plot is successful in having unique characters that are easily memorable, and for that I applaud Anthony Quinn.

I’ll be honest and say that I preferred some characters and their stories over others, such as Madeline’s. Despite this however, I found each character unique and captivating in their own way, with Erksine’s quirkiness and Nina’s confidence offering a nice change of scene at each chapter.

Character Rating: 3 out of 4 Stars

Grip

With a rich plot and diverse characters, you’d think this book was hooking, but it isn’t. Sadly, the pace doesn’t quite go well with the plot, and you have to wait for a few chapters till something good happens, and I found this a little laborious. Furthermore, the good parts happen in the middle of the story, which was a little disappointing to realise at the end because I expected drama and thriller to occur throughout, not in a cluster.

Grip: ½ out of 2 Stars 

Overall, Curtain Call is nice read, but only if you’re out of other books to read. It’s quite an effort to read and I almost felt like not finishing it, that is until I reached the middle of the story and found the scenes exciting, only to be left dissatisfied once I’d finished the whole story.

Overall Rating: 2½ + 3 + ½ = 6 out of 10 Stars

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For more Curtain Call reviews and further information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24909848-curtain-call

Review: Extraordinary Means (By Robyn Schneider)

Review: Extraordinary Means (By Robyn Schneider)

Extraordinary Means is a Young Adult novel that tells the story of Lane, who suffers from a strain of tuberculosis which has no cure. He is sent to a facility that is part school and part hospital whereby he bumps into a familiar face, and finds himself making new friends and falling in love, but Lane doesn’t realise that his world will slowly start to fall apart sooner rather than later….

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Plot

The whole story takes place around Lane and his friends at the half school-half hospital facility, and I found that it flowed really nicely. I never felt confused about what was going on and always found myself entertained, whereby I was either wiping a tear away, smiling or/and laughing.

The actions and emotions of characters within the story were understandable, and I felt that I could connect with each character in each situation, even though I can’t relate to them in regards to health. The connection made it easier to feel emotional for characters and I loved it. There was so much humour that balanced well with sadness, and I welcomed this happily.

Overall, the plot was consistent and I liked that TB was never out of the picture, but rather it in lurked in the background and pounced when you least expected it, sometimes mildly and sometimes severe. TB was the reason these teens were in the facility, and that’s one thing that Robyn Schneider doesn’t let sink into the black abyss.

Aside from the TB, the story is packed full of intrigue, youthfulness and hope, and I really enjoyed every page and chapter, savouring each sentence and really thinking about the actions of characters and the events that unfold.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

If not made obvious already, Lane is the main character in Extraordinary Means. My feelings towards Lane were not negative at all, because he was actually my favourite character. At the beginning, I had no immediate thoughts about Lane, but progression into the story made me realise that Lane is your average guy (with an incurable strain of TB) who just wants to left in peace, and I can definitely relate. That is the case, until he sees a girl in the cafeteria who looks awfully familiar. Her name is Sadie and she has definite negative feelings towards Lane, until she actually gets to know him and becomes his friend. I found that the addition of friends to Lane’s character really brought him out of his shell, and I quite liked seeing him open up and become more comfortable with his environment and make the most out of what time he has left.

Now, this next thing was something I saw coming from a mile away, and that was the love that blossomed between Lane and Sadie. The beautiful thing about it was that Sadie made Lane realise that their TB wasn’t going to go away, and that this offered an opportunity that live life as you wanted within the time that was left. She was all about second chances, although I did find her version of enjoyment distasteful. She was set on the thought that alcohol was the way to go, and I thought that other ventures could have been used as a better way of enjoying themselves. Despite this, I thought Lane’s friends were a welcome addition to the story, and the love and sadness that they brought really changed them and the story to a degree that made everything quite sweet.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I think the fact that I read this book in 5 days says a lot about how hooking this was! Humorous, heartbreaking and utterly inspiring, Extraordinary Means takes hold of your heart by the first page and doesn’t let you go till you’re finished. The main message that is embedded throughout this story is about second chances and the realisation of how much time we really have to do the things we love, and I found this beautifully motivational.

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, this novel is an extraordinary read and I would definitely recommend it. The youthful lust for excitement plus incurable TB really brings something to this story, and I think I know what it is – second chances.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

tenor

 

For more Extraordinary Means reviews and information, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23149128-extraordinary-means

Have you read Extraordinary Means? Let me know about your thoughts in the comment section below!

Review: Twisted (By Laurie Halse Anderson)

Review: Twisted (By Laurie Halse Anderson)

Twisted is a young adult novel written by Laurie Anderson and revolves around a high school senior called Tyler. Once an average student who faded into the background, he now stands out and attracts the attention of everyone, and this sets off a string of events that no one would see coming.

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Plot

Considering it’s a YA novel, there’s no surprise that it centres around a high school student and his struggles with his home life and his social life. Even though this is the case, I found that Laurie made the most out of this common setting by adding the character’s change from being an average student to becoming a mature and strong teen. This transformation made the plot a lot more interesting because the main character introduced so much accidental drama which made his life a little worse but a bit more juicy. It’s just packed full of drama, romance, and heartbreak, enough to induce emotions for the main character and really allow you to feel immersed into the story.

Plot Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Characters

Tyler Miller is in the spotlight within this story, and I have to say that he was a character I very much enjoyed reading. Tyler gains everyone’s attention because of his physique and his past actions that led him to become a ‘criminal’, but once he’s back at school and trying to be a better person, things are thrown at him that cause him to consider his place with his family, friends and the world. Every emotion that he felt, I felt too. The shock, the sadness and the anger all felt real, but Tyler wasn’t a character that most readers can relate too, so the fact that I felt emotional for Tyler made me feel strongly for the novel.

As for other character’s within this novel, all I felt was a dislike towards them. Tyler’s crush and bully only caused problems for Tyler, but I also felt that they offered Tyler the chance to develop even further as a person.

The bully always managed to put Tyler is a situation where it seemed he was the culprit, but I was happy to see further along in the story that karma made its’ way to the bully. As for Tyler’s crush, I couldn’t have cared less about her. She is a big character in how Tyler develops, but I knew from the start that her behaviour and actions would lead to Tyler learning to not fall for queen bees ever again. The fact that I disliked her also made me feel positive about the book because there were great villains within the story, and you really rooted for the main character.

Character Rating: 4 out of 4 Stars

Grip

I found that the plot didn’t really get exciting until you were introduced to Tyler’s crush and bully because all the real drama starts from there. As you read on, the drama unfolds further and it kept me reading on and on, whereby even more drama was going to occur. From this, I learned that every few pages would have Tyler reflecting on what just happened, dealing with it, then being introduced to a new bout of juicy stuff! All of the stuff that was going on kept me hooked, and I loved every single moment of it (from like…page 40 on-wards).

Grip Rating: 2 out of 2 Stars

In all, Twisted is a brilliant Young Adult novel but can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. It has a great plot line, a main character that you can really feel for, and is very much different from any other teenage book I’ve ever read.

Overall Rating: 4 + 4 + 2 = 10 out of 10 Stars

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For more Twisted information and reviews, please visit https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/123106.Twisted