Each month a selection of writers will be writing short reviews on different books that have caught their attention that month. For October, each writer chose a book they had read recently and couldn’t put down.
Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard (Reviewed by Ellie Lowe)
Red Queen is a dystopian novel focusing on a world divided by the colour of your blood; red or silver. The reds are inferior commoners, ruled by the silver elite who possess a range of superpowers used to dominate and force the world below them into submission.
Mare Barrow hates the world she lives in, and is desperate to rebel against it. She may have thought she was just another Red, destined for nothing but the poverty-stricken stilts, until she is offered a job at the silver palace she cannot refuse.
It is here she discovers that within herself is an extreme threat to the status quo, as despite her red blood, she holds a deadly silver power. In a desperate bid to disguise her mutation from the world, the royal family strip her true identity and create Mareena Titanos, the long lost daughter of a dead general.
At the palace she is forced to live alongside the Silver elite she despises, and her life is in constant danger as she inevitably becomes caught in the crosshairs of the blood conflict. Mare has the power to turn her world upside down, but in the face of silver oppression, will she remember her Red beginnings?
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games then Red Queen is definitely worth the read. It’s a gripping page-turner from the start that leaves you desperate for the sequel, Glass Sword.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton
(Reviewed by Lisa Schwarzenauer)
Leslye Walton’s debut novel The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a little gem. It tells the bittersweet story of a girl trying to find her place in the world, at times light and dreamlike, at others melancholic and heart-breaking.
Ava Lavender is a perfectly normal girl. Except for her wings, of course. No one can explain why Ava was born with the wings of a bird. Her family is known for being slightly eccentric, but this—this is something new. Sheltered from the world outside her home all her life by her overly protective mother, Ava longs to be like a normal teenager. Have friends, go out, fall in love.
When she finally steps outside, a few people are hostile, but most people are simply curious. One of them, though, mistakes her for an angel; Nathaniel Sorrows, a pious young man living with his aunt, becomes obsessed with Ava and fantasies about having the “pure, heavenly creature” for himself—not to watch and admire, but to touch and hurt. On the night of the summer solstice celebration, Ava expects to have a good time and probably even get her first kiss, while Nathaniel sees his chance to make his sick fantasies come true at last.
The story itself would be enough to make you fall for the book, but it is actually the extraordinary prose that makes Ava’s story so magical. The language is simple and metaphoric, but somehow it touches you to the core and Walton’s words keep dancing in your mind long after you have read the last page.
Alice – Christina Henry (Reviewed by Amber Coombs)
There’s no way to escape the Old City…but Alice somehow managed it.
Take a tumble down the rabbit hole into the sinister underbelly of a horrific re-telling of the classic Alice in Wonderland. Christina Henry combines the fantastical world of Carroll and the dark adaptations of Tim Burton to make a unique and nightmarish version with a new sinister twist.
‘Alice’ is set in the run-down Old City, nothing like the breathtaking Wonderland. Here we find a grown-up Alice in a “hospital”, with a threatening scar down her cheek and haunted memories of a Rabbit. When a fire spreads she escapes with her neighbor, the Hatcher of Heathtown.
They begin a wild journey to destroy the bloodcurdling Jabberwocky and discover what really happened when Alice ventured into the Old City and how she escaped the claws of the Rabbit. On the way, they encounter characters such as Cheshire, the Walrus and the Caterpillar; powerful overlords of the Old City whom, in their own disturbing way, help Alice and Hatcher leading to a fast-paced finale.
This is certainly not a light read and comes with warnings – although the story is captivating and leaves your imagination running wild, there are cases of emotional and physical abuse, and graphic violence. If you think you can handle it, I give some words of warning, “beware the claws that catch” and just follow the White Rabbit.
Behind Closed Doors – B.A Paris (Reviewed by Sophie Francombe)
Nothing beats reading a book that has more to it than first meets the eye, a book that makes you challenge real life and.
Behind Closed Doors is a psychological thriller which I found truly impossible to put down. It is centred around a couple; Grace, the perfect housewife and carer to her disabled sister, and Jack, a successful and handsome lawyer. Their relationship is an idyllic ‘love at first sight’ story, almost too perfect to be true.
As a reader you become completely engrossed in what lies beneath the superficial surface of their marriage, and trying to expose what lies behind closed doors. Only then can you appreciate what an utterly brilliant and clever work B.A Paris has created.
Love books? Write for The Linc’s Book Club by contacting Ellie Lowe, Deputy Culture Editor: firstname.lastname@example.orgTweet