Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman

Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Publisher: Headline
Published: April 22, 2014
Buy: The Book Depository

Never show your enemies how much you care, Papa had taught, because then they have power over you.”

Prisoner of Night and Fog is Anne Blankman’s debut novel – and it is an incredibly impressive debut novel at that. There is something so horrifyingly intriguing about Hitler’s rise to power, about his personality and his inconceivable hold over people. Blankman captures the essence of one of history’s most infamous characters, and does something just slightly different too. She shows us who he is not just as Adolf Hitler, but as ‘Uncle Dolf’, the charming, charismatic and inspirational man that our main character, Gretchen Muller, has come to idolise. She shows us what it means to be in Hitler’s inner circle, what it means to have complete faith in something, and what it means when one change – one person – brings that all crashing down.

To Gretchen Muller, the Jew has always been subhuman, something to be avoided and feared. After witnessing an attack on a Jew – one initiated by her brother Reinhard and his friend Kurt – this ingrained ideal suddenly becomes frayed at the edges. Blankman handles Gretchen’s character perfectly. It’s a morbid experience, seeing Hitler through her eyes, but a strangely mesmerising one too. The change in perception comes slowly but surely, but even before then, her character is not unlikeable or difficult to understand. You get a sense of the situation, that vivid desperation to cling onto hope, and recognise what it does to people. For Gretchen, however, hope soon morphs into a very different and unexpected form – into that of a Jew. Daniel Cohen, a young reporter at the Poison Kitchen, is attractive, kind, and most surprising of all, there for her when no one else is.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Stolen Songbird
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Published: April 01, 2014
Buy: The Book Depository

She foretold that when a prince of night bonded a daughter of the sun, the curse would be broken...

It turns out that I quite like the idea of trolls and magic and romance. Stolen Songbird is a pretty mesmerising story, complete with beautiful, calculating creatures, an underground cavernous city, and a gutsy human heroine. There is fantasy, witty dialogue, magical oaths and rebellions, love and loyalty, and everything in between. It’s a brewing pot of potential, one that spells exciting things for this new trilogy, and – despite some slight issues with it here and there – a definite enjoyable read.

The highlight, for me, is Tristan and Cecile, the troll and the human and our two main characters. To say these two have an amusing relationship would be somewhat of an understatement. Upon meeting, it is sarcasm and sass galore, fuelled by their mutual distrust and dislike of each other, and common bold personalities. Tristan is the prince of Trollus, a hidden troll city trapped underneath a ruined mountain, and Cecile de Troyes is the human girl snatched from the outside world to be his bride. Despite their practical, reluctant union, it’s not difficult to see the blossoming romance on the horizon, and the journey there is a most entertaining one.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Penguin
Published: March 03, 2014
Buy: The Book Depository

As far as debut novels go, Half Bad is one of the more wonderfully distinct and captivating ones that I’ve read in some time. It uses a classic concept – magic and good versus evil – and moulds into something more, building the paranormal elements into the raw and heartfelt tale of growth and acceptance.

For me, Half Bad is less a book about witches, and more a book about a boy. This is Nathan’s story, his story of being hunted, caged, and suffocated by a society that functions in only one way. He is an irregularity, an outsider, someone who is neither good nor bad, neither White nor Black. In Sally Green’s England, there are two types of people; fains, or ordinary humans, and Witches, both of the evil and good variety. It’s a fairly simple setup, one that is not completely innovative either, but Sally Green makes it her own, and it works for the book, and it works in bringing Nathan’s situation alive. He is the son of the only Black Witch left in England, a Half Code, with a White Witch mother and White Witch siblings.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Signed Copy Giveaway: Half Bad by Sally Green

Sally Green's Half Bad will be releasing tomorrow (the 3rd!) and today's post marks the end of the online book tour. If you've missed any of the stops, which include an interview with the author and 'Part One' chapter excerpts, do check out the links posted at the end.

I will have a full review up soon, but I can tell you all that I really enjoyed this book. It's different, captivating, and written in a very unique and fresh style. Here's the book description for those of you who are new to the title:

Half Bad by Sally Green
Published by Penguin
Releasing March 3, 2014
A stunning, magical debut. An international sensation.

In modern-day England, witches live alongside humans: White witches, who are good; Black witches, who are evil; and fifteen-year-old Nathan, who is both.

Nathan’s father is the world’s most powerful and cruel Black witch, and his mother is dead. He is hunted from all sides. Trapped in a cage, beaten and handcuffed, Nathan must escape before his sixteenth birthday, at which point he will receive three gifts from his father and come into his own as a witch—or else he will die. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is tracked, when there is no one safe to trust—not even family, not even the girl he loves?

In the tradition of Patrick Ness and Markus Zusak, Half Bad is a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive, a story that will grab hold of you and not let go until the very last page.

There are FIVE signed copies of the book up for grabs today. If you'd like to enter, please read the information below and fill out the rafflecopter form.

  • The giveaway is open to UK residents only
  • Winners will be selected and announced on March 7th on the Giveaways page. 
  • You will be contacted by email if you win
  • You must be 13 years of age or older to enter