22 Apr 2012

HEART SHAPED BRUISE - TANYA BYRNE

SUMMARY
They say I'm evil. The police. The newspapers. The girls from school who sigh on the six o'clock news and say they always knew there was something not quite right about me. And everyone believes it. Including you. But you don't know. You don't know who I used to be. Who I could have been. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever shake off my mistakes or if I'll just carry them around with me forever like a bunch of red balloons Awaiting trial at Archway Young Offenders Institution, Emily Koll is going to tell her side of the story for the first time. Heart-Shaped Bruise is a compulsive and moving novel about infamy, identity and how far a person might go to seek revenge.

REVIEW
I had heard so much buzz about this book all over Twitter, it had been given 5 stars by so many people that I began to grow curious: what is this book? And why did it have such a strange (and I hate to say it but pretty terrible) name? I had to find out. I requested a copy and the wonderful publisher very kindly obliged. Many people commented that it looks like a crime novel and if I hadn't read the synopsis then the cover would have led me to believe it is too. Even though the main event that the writing centres around is a stabbing, it is SO much more than this.

Its main gist, without giving anything major away, is this: Emily Koll, the narrator of the diary-style narrative, is in the psychiatric ward of a Young Offenders Institute for stabbing Juliet, who had initially stabbed Emily's father in an act of self defence after he had broken into Juliet's home and killer her father. (It sounds complicated but when you start reading it will all make sense). Emily discovers that her Dad had actually been some kind of East-End Gangster and now feels that in stabbing him Juliet had taken everything in her life away from her and wants revenge. I'll stop here because what she does next is important in driving the narrative.

19 Apr 2012

SHADOW OF NIGHT - DEBORAH HARKNESS

THIS BOOK MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST BOOK IN THE ALL SOULS TRILOGY.

SUMMARY
It began with A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES. Historian Diana Bishop, descended from a line of powerful witches, and long-lived vampire Matthew Clairmont have broken the laws dividing creatures. When Diana discovered a significant alchemical manuscript in the Bodleian Library, she sparked a struggle in which she became bound to Matthew. Now the fragile coexistence of witches, daemons, vampires and humans is dangerously threatened. Seeking safety, Diana and Matthew travel back in time to London, 1590. But they soon realise that the past may not provide a haven. Reclaiming his former identity as poet and spy for Queen Elizabeth, the vampire falls back in with a group of radicals known as the School of Night. Many are unruly daemons, the creative minds of the age, including playwright Christopher Marlowe and mathematician Thomas Harriot. Together Matthew and Diana scour Tudor London for the elusive manuscript Ashmole 782, and search for the witch who will teach Diana how to control her remarkable powers...Fall under the spell of Diana and Matthew once more in this stunning, richly imagined, epic tale.

REVIEW
Firstly, I loved A Discovery of Witches. It was absolutely inspired but unfortunately I have left it too long since reading to give it a review that would really do it justice.

Shadow of Night is just as amazing. When I first received this advanced copy I was so unbelievably excited that I wasn't even overwhelmed by the fact it was over 700 pages and that I could barely fit it in my tiny girl hands. From the first pages I was right back where we left off, it felt like I had never been away. Harkness creates the most intoxicating and absorbing narrative that not even the inane chatter on the train could disturb. I was happily sucked in to Elizabethan England, enjoying the author's indulgence in creating personalities for real historical figures and bringing to life the characters we were introduced to secondhand in the first book.

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