Untangling This Mortal Coil

this mortal coilPutting together a life-threatening virus, a YA heroine with the skills to fix said virus and adding a few emotional spanners into the works is nothing new. And yet in This Mortal Coil it makes for a refreshingly different story.

Thrown into the off-kilter world instantly by an elegantly surreal opening, this seemingly simple plot is transformed by expert writing and interesting twists. Not only is the world building believable, the post-apocalyptic apparition we’re presented with carries the reader far beyond the bounds of our reality.

With an intricate design and turns in every direction, I was thoroughly entertained throughout. I especially liked the conflicts between characters brewing behind the scenes. None of the relationships were straightforward and that made for some interesting developments.

The one thing I wasn’t in love with was the protagonist and I sadly struggled to connect to her. Funnily enough however, my trouble investing in her actually made a whole lot of sense by the narrative’s final twist and her character arc ended up being the best thing about the book! I swear I never could have seen that coming!

Ultimately, this was one helluva wild ride and I’m curious about where it’s heading!

Rating: 4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana

So have you read this? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments!

Advertisements

Wicked King was SO COOL!

wicked kingOh wow it was great to be back in this world and with these characters. Jude was a *total* badass in this book; Cardan had even more swagger than in Cruel Prince. And her fractious relationship with Cardan was *everything*! There was so much tension between them and that rippled out into the rest of the narrative. I was completely won over by their romance in this book- forgive me if I squeal, cos I am on this ship!!

There were lots of antagonists as well- which didn’t hurt 😉 Tarryn, in particular, was still a self-centred biatch- who openly says that she sees herself as a hero- so good to know nothing’s changed (also called it).

What was really fab though was the way Black expanded the world building in this story. I *loved* the use of the Undersea and its impact on the plot left me gasping. Plus, *hello Severin of Fairfield*- yes, I spotted you there, straight out of The Darkest Part of the Forest (I may have died when Black got all self-referential there 😉)

And, of course, like its predecessor, Wicked King was addictive and impossible to put down (so yeah, blame my lack of notes for the fact this review is a little watered down 😉). I will say that the pace in the first half was a bit slower, however it certainly picked up and the last hundred pages were a whirlwind of emotions. There was a veritable tsunami of *machinations* and *political intrigue*. I am curious- nay, DESPERATE- to see where it goes! I want book 3, like, yesterday!

4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

And since it’s such chaos in the faerie realm right now, I’ve decided to do everyone a favour and crown myself queen:

royal orangutan

So have you read any of the books in this series? Do you plan to? Did you love them as much as I did? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Brightly Burning was a Blast!

brightly burningI picked this book up for two reasons: 1) I follow the author, Alexa Donne, on Youtube cos her videos are fantastic and 2) it has a sexy concept: Jane Eyre in space- yes please! And I’m happy to say this ended up being an addictive, rompy romance, full of humour and plenty of fun.

As a retelling, this was brilliantly executed. Sure, if you know the story, you’ll get most of the plot points, but equally if you like the original, you’ll get a kick out of this. While there were some points that weren’t totally for me- highlight for spoiler: sorry, George should have stayed dead, bringing him back gave me whiplash– however the tempo  generally worked well and the main twist was stellar!

What I especially appreciated was how Donne got the creep factor down. That gothic vibe in space really succeeded for me and made it stand out from regular YA sci fi. Using more sci fi tropes to achieve this was very cool.

The characters did what they were supposed to. I particularly liked Stella and Hugo- though perhaps this is cos I like their original counterparts so much 😉 Honestly, aspects like this made me feel like it’s hard to see where one story ends and the other begins. The two books are so well blended that I felt a little like I was rereading Jane Eyre, without actually having to put in the time commitment 😉

Ultimately, this does exactly what it says on the tin and I very much enjoyed it for that:

Rating: 4/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

So have you read this? Do you plan to? And are you a Jane Eyre fan? Do you like the idea of putting this story in space? Let me know in the comments!

By Jove! I had fun with Iron Gold!

*Some spoilers for the first 3 books*

iron goldHe’s done it again! Pierce Brown has delivered another brilliant instalment in the Red Rising saga. After the events of Red Rising, I wasn’t certain what direction the series would take- but Brown allayed all my fears by exploring the question: what happens after the revolution? The ensuing plot enters into this discussion in a fascinating way, opening up both sides of the debate, and making me want to challenge old heroes and embrace new ones.

Thankfully, the characters were as memorable as ever. Initially I only wanted to spend time with the original cast and it did take me a little time to warm to some of the new characters- however I eventually came round to each and every one of them.

Obviously, Pierce Brown’s writing is simply out of this world as well. With as drama and pathos as the previous instalments, he successfully explores the human costs of war. It’s also jam-packed with action. Though it didn’t feel as tidy in structure as I remember from the first two books, it came very close to living up to its predecessors. Time and again, the gladiatorial conquests seem to turn to the audience and ask: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!

are you not entertained

Yes, yes I really am. I can happily say I am looking forward to the rest of this series!

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

Have you read this series? And have you checked this out? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

 

Breaking News: Evelyn Hugo is a KNOCKOUT!

the orangutan times

seven husbands of evelyn hugoSexy, layered and infinitely complex, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo is not for the faint of heart! Orangutan Librarian reports.

Opening in the style of Citizen Kane, an article allegedly reveals “all” the sordid affairs of Hugo’s life- but don’t be fooled. Beneath the reports darker truths lie. With multiple voices- each flawlessly executed- the reality behind the rumours is uncovered in time.

And, of course, it’s all about Evelyn: compelling, deceitful and enigmatic- it’s no wonder Monique is in awe of her at the start. Naturally, she’s not a particularly moral person by my book, and there were times when I had serious problems with her, however one cannot deny that she makes herself Seen. What’s especially brilliant about her characterisation is how the author lifts her up to stardom and then brings her down to our level- much like a tabloid journalist.

It’s certainly sensational enough. With some serious emotional turmoil, the drama and intensity is there throughout- I didn’t want to put it down! As a mystery romance, it has all the hallmarks of a thrilling, twisty tale. I will admit, I did guess the first revelation- yet not the second. Oh boy, that second one was a shocker, making for a great ending.

Most of all, there was a sense of fun to the story. Believe me darlings, I was loving the tone 😉 I adored watching the relationships unfold and I teared up when the love of her life was revealed- it was simply a beautiful moment.

I’m afraid it wasn’t all plain sailing. I had some, shall we say, philosophical differences with some stances… but I am very rarely in the mood to get into politics on my blog (I can direct you to my thoughts on the matter here and here). Plus, I have way too much respect for this effortlessly *fabulous* book to be heavily critical of my personal niggling issues. Easily, this book got:

4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana 

So have you read this book? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Bound to Love Bound

*Received from the author, but all gushy opinions are my own*

bound lawrenceGotta admit: this review is coming a little sooner than I planned. Basically I’m procrastinating on a review of a book that made me less-than-happy with one that made me all warm and fuzzy inside. Makes sense, right?

This novella, which takes place between Grey Sister and Holy Sister, packed *a lot* into the tight space. It was entertaining, emotional and even a little funny. The dialogue had a witty punch to it; the writing was assured and effective. It’s intricately plotted and manages to come full circle in a delightful way.

More importantly, it’s an incredibly sweet tale. There are moments of atmospheric tension, however, above all this is a romantic tale- and you guys know how I love my romance! This was a simply lovely story woven from a seemingly insignificant point. As you might be able to tell, I’m struggling not to give anything away and will only say that this is a narrative that shows us there is nothing more dangerous than a kiss.

What I especially liked was how it felt like a necessary edition to the series- yet is also a delectable treat that whets the appetite for more. As someone that already adores the characters, I was obviously invested, but this gives a little bit more when it comes to going behind the scenes and developing relationships. Bound brings you straight back into the world of Book of the Ancestor, whilst easily being its own thing. In short, it does exactly what a story of this length should do!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana 

Evidently, I’m having a lot of luck with novellas recently! Has anyone else read this? And do you have a novella you’ve enjoyed lately? Let me know in the comments!

Taking a Peek at the Woman in the Window

woman in the windowMy first glimpse of the Woman in the Window was in a wonderful review over at Steph’s Novel Fiction. Her beautiful description and the hints of Hitchcock in the story instantly made me intrigued…  and I’m glad it did! When I did finally check this out I wasn’t disappointed. While I was drawn to it because of the allusion to Rear Window, the movie references were not limited to a single movie. To Hitchcock and beyond! *Ahem* Bad joke (no there aren’t actually Toy Story references 😉 ) Throughout the book, there were clever and insightful connections made to films.

What I loved about that was how it connected to the main character’s view of the world- regarding herself as if she were in a classic movie. Of course she was slightly unreliable, but it wasn’t that she was deliberately dishonest, so much as she was lying to herself. Her sadness pervaded the novel. And the truth behind it was tragic and desperate. Admittedly, this twist was a little obvious- however it didn’t detract from the plot as a whole.

Overall, the mysteries were slow building and well developed. Beneath the distinctly gorgeous writing style, there were whispers of secrets hidden in every corner. Rather cleverly, the first few days held only short entries, giving a stronger sense of incoherence- yet as time went on, the fragments grew longer, and the tension grew. For a moment, I thought I had all the answers and was almost disappointed with the ending. And then BAM- the curtains came up and everything was revealed. Let’s just say I was far from disappointed with what I saw.

Addictive from beginning to end, the only downside there was to this book was that I made the rookie mistake of reading it before bed.

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

hand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-bananahand-drawn-banana half-a-hand-drawn-banana

So have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!