Review: Fearsome Dreamer by Laure Eve

Fearsome Dreafearsome-dreamer-wipmer by Laure Eve
Genre: Techno-Fantasy, Romance
Published By: Hot Key Books
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Series:
The Illusionists (#2)
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

Laure Eve has created a beautifully original new genre of book, combining fantasy, technology and romance in a stunning debut novel that could not have been more satisfying.

Although the blurb suggests the story is told from Rue’s perspective, it is not only Rue’s mind we inhabit. Two other characters, both male, White and Frith offer their thoughts up to the scrutiny of readers, adding to the well roundedness of the novel. Each character has such an action packed story line, I would have been completely happy to have read individual books about each character.

Rue is a girl who was training to be a hedgewitch but felt that she was not as well suited to the role and knew that she had a power that made her different to other people in Angle Tar, the remote island where she lived, that had separated itself from World.

World is the rest of the world; countries that have come together, united under the technology of Life, sort of like a simulator that means travel is no longer an object and people can just connect to Life in order to meet others, shop, go to school, everything! White lived in World, but was being persecuted for his powers, the same powers Rue possessed, but he dealt with them with a lot more experience. He wished to seek the refuge of Angle Tar, a place that would not threaten a prison sentence for being a Talented individual.

Frith is a government agent, working to recruit Talented people like Rue and White in order to train them to be used for government means. Undertones of evil, I suspect.

Sometimes when a story is told from multiple perspectives in can be clumsy and ineffective, yet Eve’s characters wove together perfectly and the POV changed at just the right moments in order to gain the biggest scope of the story world.

I was expecting more love story between Rue and White, because their romance was tantalizingly forbidden by society. Neither Rue nor White would admit they had feelings for each other, leading to ultimate distress at the end of the novel for White in particular. But I think Eve has left it at a dramatic place for the next book – fingers crossed they’ll actually get the kisses they both crave!

Slowly, we were fed information about Angle Tar and World from a variety of sources and an emphasis was placed on choosing whom to believe. My advice: never trust people with unnatural eye colours. They’re just looking for trouble.

IllusionistsI loved the ambiguity surrounding the government and their involvement in things. Sometimes when explanations are too explicit it’s easy to see how the characters are going to react to the corruption but ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ left a lot unsaid which just made me want to read more and more. What’s the ‘Castle’? Why is there a ‘Ghost Girl’? Who are these people? Who am I?

Overall, I’d say that ‘Fearsome Dreamer’ is like nothing else out there. I never knew where the book was going to take me, literally, and loved the sense of surprise with each new development. I feel I’ve really discovered a gem with this book and can’t wait to read the sequel ‘The Illusionists’ in August (which could not come soon enough!) Did I mention that the covers are beautiful? I need this book constantly on display so I can bask in its beauty for as long as possible.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone that is willing to try something different compared to the popular ‘girl vs government’ dystopians that are flooding the shelves at the moment.

Rating: 4.5 stars Can’t be given 5 because I was not emotionally fulfilled with Rue and White’s relationship. More information needed! (and more dancing too, that was cute.)

Review: Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac 51vf-m3-xol1by Gabrielle Zevin
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Rating:
★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

It all started with a coin toss. A simple wager on who would have to go back to the school to collect the camera that they had left behind. It was Naomi who lost and subsequently fell down the front steps of her school. The next thing she knew she woke up in hospital. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac is the story of a girl who has forgotten who she once was and is trying to make sense of who she is now, but not everyone is quite so happy with the change. When she eventually does remember who she is she has to face moving on with the troubles she had previously forgotten, and decide what she is going to do with her life now that she has a fresh start.

      I loved the writing style; it was perfectly formed for a teenage audience. The banter between Naomi and her best friend Will was hilarious and there were some particularly great one liners that I’ll have to use at some point. Even though Naomi was confused and slightly off-kilter when it came to her emotions, as an audience we’re not annoyed by this because it’s understandable in her condition, whereas in other young adult books I will not refrain from shouting at the protagonist until she pulls herself together.

      However, regardless of that fact that she has suffered from some emotional and physical trauma, I didn’t think it was a good enough excuse for treating her friends badly. I understood why she didn’t want to tell them everything now that she was ‘a new person’, and for the most part she did handle things quite as well as I would have hoped, but when it came to Will I just didn’t get how she could ignore him.

      There were moments when she was with James (the boy that sort of rescued her from the fall) when I thought: even if she had lost her memory, surely she shouldn’t have lost her common sense, but apparently so. It was still an enjoyable read.

      The novel is split up into three parts: I was, I am and I will, and my favourite section was definitely I was. Everything was explained perfectly, and Zevin made sure to tie up the majority of the loose ends by ‘I will’, but I couldn’t help feeling slightly disappointed with the ending. I wanted more to have happened and there to have been more character development. I was proud of how Naomi dealt with her family, but with boys she definitely still has some work to do.

Therefore this one gets a 3/5 rating.

Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus UK

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Genre: Fantasy, Romance
Published by: Anchor
Pages: 387
Format: Paperback
Rating:
★★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I have to say it did live up to my expectations. The Night Circus is hard to explain as there are just so many elements to it and the blurb gives almost nothing away. From the title you can ascertain that it is indeed about a Circus and everything that comes to mind when the word ‘Circus’ is mentioned. You may also have guessed that as it is called ‘The Night Circus’ it is indeed only open…at night.

      The Night Circus is a story of romance, mystery and magic. Two magicians are to face a ‘challenge’ and what happens to the loser isn’t revealed until almost the end of the novel. Written in the third person, we experience chapters with almost every character and multiple time lines that all fit together in the end. We start with Celia Bowen when she is five, and we finish the story when she is in her mid-thirties. Although The Night Circus is a stand-alone novel the romantic elements do not feel like an ‘insta-love’ as so often is the case in young adult literature, simply because their love story has lasted almost twenty years in the scheme of things.

      Along with the third person narrative interspersed throughout the novel are second person passages that explain the circus as if you are really there. The Circus itself is a mystery; therefore having it explained to you in that way really helps to build up an image of the Circus. These passages are also key to the plotline even though you don’t quite realise how until more things are explained.

      Reading The Night Circus is very much like playing a game of ‘Jenga.’ With each new piece of information a brick is placed on top of the pile, and with every mystery a brick is taken away. However, you get to the final part of the novel and realise that the tower is way too high and the climax of the story has to topple it down. This is the part where you may be slightly disappointed. You’re still learning about the way of the circus and some things have started to piece together, but there are still bricks being taken and somehow everything still stands up. Just when you think everything is going to fall down, the tower stops swaying and you’re left pretty much where you began. I think there wasn’t quite enough closure, and the ‘competition’ wasn’t explained as well as it could have been – leaving it up to the imagination. It may have been a slightly laboured metaphor, but once you read it I guarantee that it won’t sound quite as ridiculous.

      Overall, I still got completely caught up with the story and will have to buy myself a copy – as I found this gem in my school’s library – so that I can re-read my favourite parts. 4/5 A must read as long as you’re okay to fill in a couple of blanks on your own.

Review: Slated by Teri Terry

Slated by TSlatederi Terry
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi
Published By: Orchard Books
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

Originally, I wasn’t going to pick up this book. I’ve already had my fill of stories about girls that didn’t know the world they lived in was an elaborate lie the government produced as a method of control. But, after consulting GoodReads, my trusty reviewing companion, I decided that ‘Slated’ had something to prove.

The idea is that teenagers that have done terrible wrongs in their lives are given a clean slate (hence the newly coined verb: to slate) and are ‘reprogrammed’ to no longer feel anger; their emotions controlled by a device with a death grip on their wrist.

Kyla (beautiful name) is the main character so, as we are reminded many times, is different. She can feel anger. She can remember parts of her previous life. She is unhappy to conform to the world the government is trying hard to maintain and is desperate to learn about her past self, and the horrible thing she did to be Slated.

 One thing I’ve learnt from novels like this: questioning the government ends in your ultimate termination….or the termination of the government, of life as we know it, of the truth. (These books can be a little melodramatic.)

Generally the pace of the book was very slow. I put this down to it being the first in the series, so a lot of explaining had to be done to build the world, but perhaps 300 pages of miniscule plot was slightly excessive. Kyla doesn’t actually get her ‘mission’ until the final third of the book and though the first two thirds aren’t without purpose they could have been more exciting.

There was a love interest, though like a modern Jane Eyre, Kyla was hung up on the fact that he may have been previously dating another girl that disappeared. The love story felt slightly forced, as if romance is a necessary part of all teen fiction, when in some cases it can only distract from the action.

The last five pages were thrilling, though slightly confusing because the pace of the novel rapidly increased, like Teri Terry was trying to sprint to the finish after she’d saved up her energy at the start of the race.

Dark and sinister in places, ‘Slated’ was a captivating read (when the plot was actually moving forward.) I enjoyed the relationships between Kyla and all other characters; there was so much development below the surface.
Overall, 4 stars.

Review: Tape by Steven Camden

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Tape by Steven Camden
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Published by: Harper Collins
Pages: 363
Format: Paperback
Rating:
★★.5
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

In 2013, a girl called Ameliah discovers a tape that a boy was recording a diary on. She had no idea who the boy is. She’s recently lost both of her parents to a car crash and illness, meaning she lives with her Nan. In 1993, a boy called Ryan decided to record a diary on tape to help him recover from the death of his mother. He is falling in love with a girl called Eve, who is living with her nan for a while during the summer.

The parallels are definitely obvious, though the identity of Ryan isn’t revealed to Ameliah straight away. Due to the time difference between the two, it was somewhat easy to guess how Ryan was significant to Ameliah butequally enjoyable to be with her when she discovers small things to connect the two of them, for example Nirvana mix tapes and sea shells.

The book is told in two very realistic voices. It was interesting to see how the behaviour of teenagers hasn’t changed much in twenty years. Despite being realistic, the book contained too many obvious coincidences – I know it was meant to, but as said, Ryan’s identity was easy to guess after the first…100 pages or so.

Generally a very quick read due to the big font size and average settings. There are no speech marks; the book is formatted like French novels with dashes to represent a new speaker. Strange.

 The blurb makes it sound like there’s going to be more inter-dimensional discussion between Ameliah and Ryan, which I was looking forward to, having watched and enjoyed ‘The Lake House’ movie, yet there was barely any conversational overlaps, despite Ameliah and Ryan both having the opportunity to speak to each other across twenty years. That would have definitely made the plot more captivating.

Apart from that, there was little fault with the novel overall. Ameliah slightly overreacts at the entrance of a new character, Joe, a 30 year old man who happened to know her dad, but then again, we’ve all imagined stalking someone, haven’t we?

An enjoyable and fast read, lacking somewhat in time travel, or love story as the blurb promised. 2.5/5 star