Friday, 8 June 2018

Review on Starfish

Kiko Himura has her heart set on going to Prism, one of the best art schools in the country. However, Kiko doesn't get in, and with no backup school, she has no idea what to do next. When her best friend leaves for college early, Kiko seems doomed to spend the summer with her self obsessed mother and her two brothers who she barely speaks to, but her plans all change when she bumps into Jamie, an old childhood friend who moved to California. Jamie convinces Kiko to spend the summer with him in California, where she will be able to look into alternative art schools. However, leaving her family behind turns out to be more difficult than Kiko anticipated.

So I accidentally judged this book by it's cover and thought it was going to be a Sci-Fi book before reading the summary! The cover is completely gorgeous, and as I own about 100 galaxy themed things, it fits my aesthetic perfectly. However the cover doesn't really give the genre away, and I don't think anyone would guess it was a contemporary book just from looking at the cover. I definitely don't think the packaging fits the content, but the cover is definitely eye catching!

The book follows Kiko, a girl who has just graduated from high school and is looking to get into art school. Kiko doesn't get along with her family, and is desperate to move away from home for school. When Kiko doesn't get a place in the only school she applied to, she has no idea what to do about her future. Something that I immedietly loved was how it showed that sometimes our plans don't go the way we thought they would, and we are forced to find alternatives. Life is never smooth sailing, it is full of seemingly unclimbable mountains and ditches we can't seem to scramble out of. As I currently have no idea what I'm doing with my life, I related to Kiko's struggles.

Something that came up quite a lot in the book was Kiko's heritage. Kiko is mixed race, with a white mum and Japanese dad. Kiko feels as if she doesn't belong anywhere, and starts believing her mothers ridiculous beauty standards. Kiko's mother is awful to her, and along with blaming Kiko for practically everything, she makes her feel ugly by idolising blonde, white girls. I hated that Kiko's mum would treat her own daughter this way, and I was happy that Kiko eventually discovered what having a real family is like, and realised that beauty doesn't have a race, as not only white girls can be beautiful.

We often see siblings who get along well and siblings who hate each other, but we rarely see siblings who are indifferent to each other. Kiko cares about her brothers, but she has nothing in common with them, and rarely spends time with them. This is similar to the relationship my mum has with her siblings, so I thought it was interesting to see a character in a similar situation. I did find it a little sad that they didn't get along, as they all had one thing in common, which was hating living with their mum. I felt really bad for Kiko's younger brother, and felt as if he wouldn't have had such a hard time if he hadn't felt so alone. It's important for children to be able to tell people how they're feeling, and Shoji wasn't able to do that.

I talked about Kiko's anxiety and how I related to it in my Starfish blog tour post, but I'm going to touch on it a little here too. I was really happy with how it was dealt with, as I see way too many books that treat anxiety as if it's a character quirk rather than a mental health problem. I related to Kiko a lot, especially with her not being able to go to new places alone. I also loved how although Jamie helped Kiko with her anxiety, he didn't miracuously cure it. Something I hate is the idea that boyfriends are a cure all. Boys can't cure mental illnesses by being cute and charming, so I loved how what happened was realistic.

Hiroshi was an interesting character, and I loved how he became a father figure to Kiko. I loved how he made Kiko feel proud of her Japanese heritage instead of ashamed, and how she got to experience Japanese culture for the first time. Hiroshi was a brilliant role model, and I loved how Kiko slowly started to realise how incapable her mum was at parenting.

The one thing I didn't enjoy that much about this book was the romance. There are times when I love the friends to lovers trope, but it was too obvious from the start that they were going to end up together romantically. I loved that they had been friends for so long, and as platonic relationships between boys and girls are rare in YA, I think I would have preferred if they had stayed friends.

Overall I loved this book, and I thought it dealt perfectly with anxiety, race and family issues. This was a brilliant debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from Akemi in the future!
Starfish is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Review on The Smoke Thieves

When Princess Catherine is forced into an arranged marriage, she is anything but happy. Her father seems to care more about the alliance of the kingdoms than her happiness, and Catherine suspects her father is after something else, the demon smoke. Apart from causing people to feel happier and being sold for high prices, the smoke seems to have no other purpose, but then why would King Aloysius be so determined to get hold of it? Meanwhile, Catherine's cousin Edyon has his own problems to deal with. As Prince Thelonius' illegitimate child, Edyon has lived his life not knowing who his father is, but that all changes when he meets March, a servant who works for his father. However, March hates Prince Thelonius, and intends to lead Edyon to King Aloysius rather than to his father, where he will likely be imprisoned, but will March be able to bring himself to hand Edyon over? With Pitoria on the brink of war, Catherine will need all the help she can get, including that of Edyon, March, and a young demon hunter who may have the answers that Catherine needs.

So as I've mentioned a few (hundred) times, fantasy is my favourite genre, so I was looking forward to reading this book. The book is seperated into five seperate character point of views, with the chapters alternating between which character we are following. All the characters are somehow linked to each other, with them all meeting up by the end of the book. As I knew all the different narratives had to be linked somehow, it kept me wondering how their stories were connected to each other, and how everything would come together.

Something that I loved was how the characters all had different backgrounds, and were so different from each other. There was everything from princesses to servants, and I loved seeing how different their lives were from each other. I particularly loved Tash, a young girl who had been sold to a demon hunter, and was now used as bait in hunting demons. I loved how smart and funny she was, and how she was so confident in her demon hunting abilities when men twice her size were too afraid to go near them.

Although I loved Edyon, March and Tash, I wasn't that keen on Catherine and Ambrose. I found Catherine to be quite dull, and although she was smart in her tactics to get the people on her side, she wasn't the strong female character that Tash was, and at times fit into the cliché of the princess who needs to be saved. I also felt as if Ambrose was lacking the personality that the other characters had, and it seemed like his main purpose was to be a love interest for Catherine. I also wasn't keen on the love triangle that Catherine being engaged to the prince caused. Sadly for the majority of the book, I slogged through most of Catherine and Ambrose's chapters to get back to the other characters storylines.

I found March, Edyon and Tash's storylines far more interesting, and I particularly enjoyed reading about March and Edyon's journey. Edyon was a sweet character who made some bad decisions, and I felt bad for him a lot of the time. I loved March's character development, and how he eventually realised that Edyon wasn't like his father. March initially saw Edyon as an extension of his father, and had no remorse in handing him over to the enemy, but eventually came to trust him. I loved the relationship that slowly started to build between the two boys, and it was completely adorable how flustered March got over Edyon's advances. It's rare to find a gay romance in YA fantasy, so I loved how this was included without there being uneccicary drama or it being a major plot point. I felt as if they had more chemistry than Catherine and Ambrose, and their relationship seemed to progress naturally (A.K.A SLOW BURN MY ACTUAL FAVOURITE TROPE), while Catherine and Ambrose's relationship centred around forbidden love (a.k.a my least favourite trope), and there wasn't that much interaction or development between the two.

Something that I loved was the unlikly friendship between Edyon and Tash. I felt as if their personalities fit well together, and I loved their interactions with each other. I loved that although Edyon had stolen from her, she forgave him, and wasn't willing to steal from him later on in the book. I would love for these two to interact more in the next book and become friends!

It's quite difficult for me to rate this book, as if it hadn't been for Catherine's storyline I would definitely have given it five stars. Honestly I just need a spin off series of Tash and March hunting demons together while Edyon screams and hides. In the next book I would love to see more demon hunting, more Tash, and for Edyon and March's relationship to develop further (boyfriends, I want them to be boyfriends). I'm also looking forward to seeing how the battle turns out, as the book ended on a huge cliffhanger. I definitely want to continue reading this series!

The Smoke Thieves is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Monday, 30 April 2018

Review on Goodbye, Perfect

Eden McKinley shares all her secrets with Bonnie, her best friend who she's known since they were eight years old. Eden is shocked when Bonnie suddenly decides to run away with Jack, her boyfriend which Eden has never met, and who she knows nothing about about from his name. Eden soon finds out there was a reason for all the secrecy, as Jack is actually Mr Cohn, their music teacher. Eden has promised Bonnie that she won't reveal the fact she is still in contact with her to the police, or help to lead them to her, but Eden soon starts to wonder if she is doing the right thing. Should Eden stay loyal to Bonnie, or should she tell the police what she knows?

 So before I start this review, I have a confession. This is the first Sara Barnard book I've ever read. For years I wasn't a huge fan of contemporary YA, so I somehow managed to avoid the hype over Beautiful Broken Things and A Quiet Kind of Thunder, but over the last couple of years I've read some amazing contemporary YA which has changed my opinion towards the genre completely! Sure there's plenty of sappy, cliché love stories in contemporary YA, but it's books like Goodbye,Perfect that have made me fall in love with the genre.

The book follows Eden McKinley, a teenager in her last year of school. The week before the GCSE exams are due to start, Eden's best friend Bonnie runs away from home with Mr Cohn, their music teacher. One thing I found interesting about this book was that it followed Eden rather than Bonnie. I have read similar books about teenagers who run away from home, but they have always been from their point of view. I thought the story being told from Eden's perspective was unique, as we got to see the repercussions on Bonnie's friends and family.

A few years ago, there was a similar case in the UK where a fifteen year old girl had ran away to France with her maths teacher. Like with Bonnie's case, it was all over the news, and the pair were eventually caught by the police. I felt that writing a fictional version of something that could and has happened to a teenage girl made Goodbye,Perfect a powerful story, and there were no instances where I thought a part of the plot was unrealistic. It was easy to see the difficulty of Eden's situation, as she was torn between her loyalty to Bonnie and doing what she thought was right.

One thing that I loved about this book was Eden's family. Eden and her younger sister, Daisy, have been in and out of foster care for years, until one of their foster families decides to adopt them. I loved the family bond between them all, and it showed that family isn't about who you are related to, it's about who you love. I loved that although Eden initially didn't get along with Valerie, her adoptive parents biological daughter, she soon discovered that there was more to Valerie than she thought, and she wasn't just the perfect, straight A student that Eden thought she was.

The theme of not truly knowing what is going on in the life of someone who you think you know well runs throughout the book. Eden thinks that all Bonnie cares about is getting good grades, and assumes her family life is perfect, even though the reality is that Bonnie had been having problems at home. It showed the importance of having someone who you can talk to about personal problems, as I felt as if Bonnie turned to Mr Cohn because he listened to her, which gave him the opportunity to gain her trust. I think the scariest part was that Mr Cohn seemed like a nice person, and I think we all had that one teacher in their 20's who seemed to have more in common with us than the older ones, which just shows that anyone could groom a minor, even if they have no previous history of doing so.

I loved that romance wasn't a huge part of the plot, but the romance we did get was sweet and unproblematic. It's true that teenage romances can often be dramatic, but sometimes that's not the case. When I was Eden's age, there was a couple in my class who started dating who are still together now. I loved that Eden and Connor were together before the start of the novel, and they never had any drama between them that didn't involve Bonnie. We rarely see this side of teen romances in YA fiction, but they can and do exist. I loved that Connor constantly supported Eden, even when he didn't agree with her ideas. Honestly, we all need a Connor in our lives!

Exams come up quite often in the book, and something I loved was Eden's feelings towards them. Some people just don't cope well in an exam environment, and everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Getting bad grades in your GCSE's isn't the end of the world. University isn't for everyone, and you don't need a degree to do well in life, as there are alternatives, such as apprenticeships. Having to make a decision on what you want to do with your life when you're a teenager is difficult, and although Eden decided grades weren't important for the job she wanted to go into, it's often not that easy. There is no time limit to decides what you want to do, and when I was in University, there were multiple older students in my classes who had families. Just because you feel pressured to decides on a career at sixteen, doesn't mean that you have to stick with that decision for life

Something that I loved and felt was completely honest to real life was how it showed that people change over time, and even people who you have been friends with for years can change beyond recognition. Life goes on, and I myself am no longer friends with anyone that I went to school with, and I'm pretty sure that if I were to meet up with them now, I'd have nothing in common with them anymore. Life is full of temporary friendships, but sometimes if you're lucky, you find a friend who sticks by you no matter what. I didn't actually meet my best friend until I was eighteen, but I'm sure we will be sitting in our rocking chairs talking about Harry Potter in fifty years.

I overall loved this book, and although it dealt with serious and important themes, it also had themes of the importance of family, friendship and love. Finally I have discovered what an amazing author Sara is, and I will definitely be reading her other books ASAP!

Goodbye,Perfect is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Friday, 6 April 2018

Starfish Blog Tour

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Starfish blog tour! So today I want to talk about a topic that comes up in the book that I really related to, which is social anxiety. In Starfish, Kiko suffers from anxiety, stopping her from doing things that her classmates are doing such as going to parties, and making it impossible for her to go to new places alone. Kiko's friends and family don't seem to understand why she can do certain things but not others, and Kiko finds it difficult to explain it to them. I was so happy to find a book that dealt with social anxiety as the mental illness that it is rather than a cute character quirk! Anxiety is not a quirk, it's something that affects the way you interact with the world. It's something that stops you from doing things that you really want to do, and it isn't something that you can just “get over.”

Everyone who has anxiety suffers from it in different ways, and of course have different experiences, but I just wanted to share a little about how it has affected me personally. Some of the things Kiko went through were quite similar to what has happened to me, and I particularly related to the party scenes. Like Kiko, I try to make everyone happy and try to push myself to do things I'm not comfortable with to try to please others. Kiko only has one friend near the start of the book, and she decides to go to a party with her friend who will soon be moving away for college. Kiko sees this as an opportunity to spend time with her friend, and get away from her abusive uncle. However things don't go to plan, and Kiko ends up immediately regretting her choice to attend. Like Kiko, I don't drink alcohol. I shouldn't have to explain why, but if on the rare occasion I find myself in a place that serves alcohol, I get asked why I'm not drinking, often by complete strangers. The last time this happened was at a comic con after party, and I made the mistake of telling them that I didn't like the taste of alcohol, which obviously wasn't a good enough reason, as they then started trying to get me to try various alcoholic drinks to see if I liked them. As the night went on and the people around me became more and more drunk, I ended up being more and more uncomfortable. I didn't want to talk to people I'd never met, I didn't want to try this drink, and I definitely didn't want to dance to nineties music. When I followed my acquaintances to the dance floor, I felt like everyone was staring at me. I felt like I was getting judged and if I danced people would laugh at me. But of course it turns out that awkwardly standing on the dance floor gained me more attention than dancing would have, and when the girl I had arrived with left to go to the bathroom, I had people asking me if I was okay. I wasn't okay, and all I wanted was to go home, but even that was difficult. How did I tell the people I was with that I was going to go home early? What excuse could I give for doing that? What I ended up doing was miserably waiting until the end. Until the bar had closed and the music stopped and my acquaintances were planning on going to get pizza. Only then did I excuse myself and leave.

This was kind of a bi annual thing that happens after the comic con I volunteer at, and the next time comic con came around, no one invited me to the after party. No one wanted me around this time. I didn't drink alcohol and I was probably really boring anyway, and even though I was a little hurt that I hadn't been asked, I was also relieved. Relieved because I didn't have to try to make an excuse for not going, or let myself be talked into going. Like Kiko, there are places I'm comfortable going, and places that I'm not. Comic Con itself is actually busier than the bar I was at, which would obviously make it more difficult for me right? Well actually that isn't the case, as like Kiko with her art, Comic Con is something I'm passionate about. I'm proud to be a nerd, and talking to actors is easier for me than talking to complete strangers. Having something to focus on, a topic I'm familiar with, and knowing a little about the person can work wonders on me. My mum finds it strange that I can talk to actors but not your average person in the street. I can't do small talk. I will immediately let any conversation die, and will do my best to get out of talking to someone. One of the most difficult things for me in answering the phone. Seeing an unknown number on my phone makes my heart race, and I will stare at it in horror until it stops. You would think talking to someone in person would be harder than talking on the phone, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes anxiety doesn't seem to make sense even to the people suffering from it.

Something that Kiko mentions that I really related to was having to take a break from people to be able to recharge. I think introverts without anxiety can probably relate to this too, but would probably seem really strange to extroverts. There is only so much social interaction I can take in a day, and even if I'm with someone who I love spending time with and am completely comfortable around, I still eventually hit a point where it's too much and I need to spend some time alone. Having somewhere I can retreat to when it gets too much is important to me, and when I'm out in public, sometimes I'll lock myself in a bathroom stall for a few minutes just to try to get a bit of headspace. Some things that I do to try to cope with day to day life does seem strange to any onlookers, but I have things I do to cope, and try to avoid having a full blown panic attack. One thing I wish was that people would understand mental illnesses more, and treat them as an illness rather than something you can easily get over. I have had anxiety for years, and sometimes it feels as if people think I'm faking, or that I want to have anxiety and I'm not helping myself. I would do anything to not feel like I was going to die from calling the dentist to make an appointment or for my heart not to race when I walk through a crowd of people. Things that most people don't think twice about doing can seem like the most difficult thing in the world for someone with anxiety.

There are of course several other important themes in this book that I thought were dealt with really well, but as anxiety was the one that I related to personally, I felt as if I would focus on that! I adored Starfish and will be posting a review on it soon!

The Starfish blog tour is running until 14th April, so check out the posts by all the other amazing bloggers!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Review on Children of Blood and Bone

They killed my mother.
They took out magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

Twelve years ago, Zélie Adebola's mother was murdered under the order of the King, along with other maji. Magic died along with the maji, leaving their children, the diviners, powerless against the monarchy who treat them as if they are maggots. When Princess Amari runs away, Zélie finds herself caught in the middle. Zélie soon discovers that Amari is in possession of a scroll that will give magic back to any diviner who touches it. However, there is a better way. A way that will bring magic back to all diviners for good, and with the help of Amari and her brother, Tzain, Zélie must obtain two more artefacts and awaken magic before it is too late.

 OKAY SO I HAVE A LOT OF FEELINGS ABOUT THIS BOOK! So something that I always try to do is go into a book without expectations. Even if it is a new book by one of my favourite authors, I try to go in without any presumptions. I think I might have failed that with Children of Blood and Bone, as there was such a huge hype around this book before it was even published that I couldn't help but set my expectations high! Luckily I got away with it this time, as the book definitely lives up to the hype!

The book follows Zélie , a girl who lost her mother in The Raid when she was killed alongside the other Maji. After learning about a scroll than give give magic back to her people, Zélie goes on a quest to find the remaining artifacts that will be able to bring back magic for good. Something that I immediately loved about this book was how it blended fantasy with culture. The majority of YA fantasy is either set in the Western World, or in a fictional location where elves and werewolves exist, but for some reason those elves and werewolves are all white. Finding diverse YA fantasy is difficult, but Children of Blood and Bone is the perfect example of how fantasy books can be about POC while selling well.

This book is an absolute brick, and although it took me a while to read it just because of it's size, there was never a dull moment, and I was still hooked even in the less action packed scenes. Some books of this length tend to drag on and bore me at times, but even when I was 500 pages in, I wasn't ready for the book to end. A mixture of an amazing plot and amazing characters had me hooked from beginning to end.

So I'll talk about the plot in a little while, but firstly I want to talk about the characters. I adored Zélie and Amari, and I loved how their opinions of each other changed over time. Both girls were strong characters, but in different ways. I particularly loved Amari's character development, as she was initially terrified of what she had got herself into, and seemed almost to be the damsel in distress. We constantly see princesses who need rescuing in video games and Disney movies, and I was initially worried Amari would fit into this cliché. I was relieved when Amari started fighting back, and how she went from needing to be saved to saving others. I loved that although the girls had completely different pasts and upbringings, they were able to come together to reach a common goal.

So a character I have been ranting about on Twitter is Inan. I loved learning about his past, and how he had been brought up to see the Maji as the enemy. Even though I adored Inan, I was also wary of him, as he seemed constantly torn between wanting to help the Maji, and staying loyal to his father. I loved how Zélie helped him see that what he had been taught about the Maji his whole life was a lie, and they weren't the monsters his father thought they were. I also loved how Zélie was able to forgive Inan. Sometimes the reason people are prejudiced is because they haven't been educated on the subject properly, or they follow their parents beliefs. I loved how instead of fighting hate with hate, Zélie educated Inan on the Maji and helped him to change the opinions his father had forced on him.

Something that I adored was the relationships between the siblings. I loved how although both pairs of siblings didn't always get along, they still loved each other and tried to protect each other. I particularly loved the bond between Zelie and Tzain, as although they disagreed often, Tzain risked his life multiple times for Zelie, and constantly pulled her out of danger. Honestly I think we all need a Tzain in our lives to stop us from making stupid decisions!

I'm not going to talk about the plot too much as I don't want to spoil anything, but I do have to say it was full of magic, adventure and plot twists! Honestly I had to put the book down a few times when something major was revealed just so that I could process it. I often get confused over fantasy books, but even when the inevitable back story came, I still felt as if I was able to follow along. There is quite a lot of killing in this book, most often of innocent, defenceless people, and there were a few scenes which I found to be quite gruesome for a YA book. Characters are often murdered or tortured, which were both shocking and upsetting at times. The horrible thing is this isn't far off how POC are treated in the real world, as there always seems to be new instances of innocent black people being killed by the police. The link to racism is evident, as although there are some Maji with lighter skin, the majority have dark skin, and are frequently called maggots. I think this is one of the reasons why Saran was such a detestable and terrifying villain, as although he was prejudiced against the Maji and practically treated them as slaves, he was the one with the power. I loved the positive message the book gave to minority groups, which was to rise up together against the hatred and fight against those who oppress them, as the only way to achieve equality is by letting your voices be heard.

So the ending... oh dear. I was so ready to give this book a five star rating but then the ending happened. Now I usually love a good plot twist, but I had my heart set on the ending going a specific way, but it turned out completely the opposite to what I was expecting, and not in a good way. It still doesn't make sense to me and I'm not sure if it ever will, but I was disappointed, as it seemed to undo a whole lot of amazing character development. I felt this was a shame, as I had no problems with the book until the last twenty pages, and it felt like shock value had been placed ahead of a good plot. I'm wondering if anyone else feels this way about the ending so please DM me if you've read it!

Apart from the disappointing ending I loved this book, and it definitely deserves all the hype it's been getting! Honestly I think I need a time machine as I have no idea how I'm going to be able to wait for the sequel! If you haven't read this book yet, then definitely add it to your TBR!

Children of Blood and Bone is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Children of Blood and Bone Blog Tour

Hello Majis! Today I bring you a very special Children of Blood and Bone themed post! I have to admit that this book may possibly be my favourite fantasy book of the year, and that's a big deal seeing as it's only March! I will be posting a full review in the next few days, but today I'm probably going to be ranting a lot about how amazing this book this, talking a little about my favourite character (because why not?), sharing what maji clan I would be in, and showing you how you can find out what your own is!

So let's start with the clans! Although Zelie is a Reaper, there are actually twelve different clans, each with their own unique abilities! Now I was given a quiz by the publisher that involved adding the day and month of your birthday together, but I always feel those are really inaccurate, so instead I'd like to guide you to the Maji quiz on the official Children of Blood and Bone website, which you can find HERE! This one is more of a Pottermore style quiz, where you get asked a number of questions, and at the end you get given a Maji clan based on your personality. Pretty cool huh? So I of course took this quiz, and the Maji clan I got given was... drum role please.

To be honest I feel as if this is probably the equivilant of being a Slytherin. At first I thought it was a horrible power to have, but then I started thinking more in terms of fighting an enemy, and I think it would be pretty powerful against the King! Being a Cancer seems like it would be pretty close to what Light can do in Death Note, and if I was fighting alongside Zelie, Amari, Tzain and Inan, I think being a Cancer would be great for getting information from an enemy! Teaming up with a Healer seems like a great torture technique (I probably shouldn't even be thinking of torture, but let's be real, the king would deserve it after everything he's done!) I also think I'd end up having a little fun with it, such as annoying my friends by giving them acne.

If you decide to do the quiz, then please tell me what Maji Clan you got, and what you would do with your powers!

Okay so I did say I was going to talk a little about my favourite character, and that character is of course Inan. If you follow me on twitter, you'll probably have seen me ranting about how much I love this boy. I will be talking about him in my review too, but I thought I could use this post to give Inan the spotlight. Inan is such an interesting character, and he definitely goes through the most character development out of everyone! Inan is the son of the King, a corrupt ruler who is trying to destroy magic once and for all. He ordered his armies to kill all of the Majis twelve years ago, and now treats the Diviners, those who were too young during the time of the raid to be Maji, as if they are the scum of the earth. Basically he's not a very nice person (understatement of the year!) and as Inan has been brought up under his rule, he has also grown up with his fathers prejudices against the Diviners. However, after meeting Zelie, Inan slowly discovers that the Maji aren't the evil monsters his father had always told him they were. I think one of the reasons why I loved Inan so much was that he reminded me of one of my all time favourite characters, Draco Malfoy. If Draco had had a positive influence like Zelie in his life, I feel as if he would have turned out like Inan. I feel as if there is a difference between characters who are openly prejudiced, and characters who don't know any better, as that's how they were brought up, and they haven't had much experience of the real world to learn that what they have been taught is wrong. As children, we often think that what our parents tell us has to be right. They are the main influence in our lives, and sadly not all parents are good people, but as children we don't realise this. As Inan experiences more of the real world, he discovers the truth, and learns that it's not really the Maji who are the enemy, it's his father. Sadly the real world is also full of the hatred and racism that we see in Children of Blood and Bone, and I think the book gives a positive message that we must rise about the hatred, as only by working together can we overcome it.

I will be typing up a full review in the next few days so look forward to that! Please feel free to talk to me about this book as I honestly just want to rant to someone about how great it is! Let me know your Maji clan and your favourite character in the comments, or you can always talk to me on twitter, as I will always happily talk about books!

If you haven't already grabbed up a copy of Children of Blood and Bone, then here are a few links to where you can purchase a copy!

  | Amazon Book Depository

Monday, 26 February 2018

Review on The Collector

The Bone Collector is back, and this time he has an apprentice.

It has been 100 days since Bryan Howley kidnapped five year old Clara Foyle, and still there has been no sighting of either of them. Detective Sergeant Fitzroy is determined to put Howley behind bars once and for all. The only problem is she has no idea where he is. Jakey Frith may have escaped, but The Bone Collector isn't giving up so easily. He has an apprentice, a sixteen year old boy named Saul who lives with his alcoholic mother. Saul is determined to stop having to take care of his mother and start living, and The Collector, who is now going by the name Mr Silver just might be able to give him that opportunity. With time running out for Clara, the bone collector must be caught before more innocent lives are lost.

I loved reading Rattle last year, so of course I was quick to request an advanced copy of the sequel! The book starts 100 days after the abduction of Clara Foyle, a five year old girl with cleft hands. Her kidnapper, Bryan Howley has become known as the bone collector due to his obsession with collecting the bones of people with bone deformities, and Clara's hands are what he wants to add to his collection next. However, he has his eyes on another target, six year old Jakey, who suffers from fibrodysplasia, or stone man syndrome, a rare disease that causes muscles to turn to bone. Jakey managed to escape the bone collector once, and he is determined to get him back. I thought this was a fantastic sequel to Rattle, and I was completely hooked from start to finish. I did wonder how Fiona could possibly make the story any creepier, but somehow she managed it.

Along with the characters from Rattle, there were also some new characters, including Saul, a sixteen year old boy who the bone collector grooms into being his apprentice. I found the relationship between them to be really creepy. As the bone collector has no children, he decides that Saul will be his apprentice and continue his legacy. Howley, now going by the name Mr Silver to protect his identity gains Saul's trust by helping his mother, and providing him with a place to stay. He eventually starts referring to Saul as his son, something that he seems to end up believing as true. As he barely knew Saul and refused to let him leave, I found this one sided father/son relationship to be extremely uncomfortable and creepy. I loved that this was the first real step that was taken into revealing Howley's past, and the relationship he had had with his own family.

Something that I loved was that we finally got told about Howley's past. We're told in Rattle that it was his father who had started to collect bones, but we don't really get an insight to why his son continued his work. However that all changes in this book, as we are shown a series of flashbacks to Howley witnessing a murder committed by his father. I felt that this was important to bring up, as it gave an explanation as to why he collected bones. I always feel that a back story makes a villain seem more genuine, as there is nothing worse than a villain being evil for the sake of being evil. There is nothing more terrifying than a villain who thinks that what they are doing is for the greater good, and I think that's what made Howley such a fantastic villain. I loved the parallel between what Howley's father had made him witness, and how he was now doing the same thing to Saul. It showed just how desperate Howley was to continue his fathers work.

Saul was an interesting character, as even before he met “Mr Silver,” it was clear that he was a little odd. I love how we eventually learn that Saul also has a dark past involving his family, and he has some similarities with the bone collector. One thing that I loved was how it was never certain which way Saul would go. He didn't fit neatly into either the villain or hero categories, and one minute I would think he was going to betray Howley, and the next it seemed more like he was gaining the trust of Jakey and his father for Howley's benefit. It was impossible to ever fully trust Saul, and this was a brilliant way to keep the reader in suspense, as his actions were completely unreadable.

I loved that Clara and Jakey had more of a presence in this book, and how although they are young children, they were both far braver than the adults. Jakey using himself as bait was both clever and heartbreaking, as no six year old should have to come to terms with the fact they were going to die a young age. I also felt really sorry for Clara, as she had to grow up fast in order to survive. It was both terrifying and sad how she no longer feared the dark or strange sounds, as she had witnessed something far more horrifying.

As you can probably tell from my blog, crime fiction is not usually my cup of tea, but I'm so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone to read these books! Bryan Howley is one of the most terrifying villains I've ever come across, and the fact that what he does isn't too dissimilar to what some real life serial killers have done makes it all the more realistic and terrifying. Fiona Cummins is a talented author who will leave you on the edge of your seat reading into the early hours of the morning. Even if, like me, you're not usually a crime fiction fan, I still recommend this series!

The Collector is now available to purchase!

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