On her birthday, Nessa finds out the terrible truth about her homeland, Ireland – the truth that will change her future forever. That she and her friends must train for the most dangerous three minutes of their lives:
That any day now, without warning, they will each wake in a terrifying land, alone and hunted, with a one in ten chance of returning alive.
And it is Nessa, more than anyone, who is going to need every ounce of the guts, wit, and sheer spirit she was born with, if she – and the nation – are to survive.
The book’s cover is adorned with skulls, and the intriguing tag line: ‘You have three minutes to save your life.’ It sounds dark and urgent, more thriller than fantasy…but is it a little misleading? Maybe a bit, but I wasn’t disappointed.
The faerie folk (or Sidhe), and the grey land in which they reside are suitable terrifying. O’Guilin has created an imaginative and horrifying world, full of terror and suspense. Nothing makes you read on with bated breath, quite like the concept of a hopeless cause in a fight for survival. You sympathise with every character unlucky enough to receive ‘the call,’ and hope they survive until the end. These sections are nicely interspersed throughout the novel, picking up the pace where it’s needed, and keeping the sense of urgency going from beginning to end.
Continue reading THE CALL
On one side of a high wall lies a narrow alley; on the other, a sunlit garden; and between them, a small black iron door.
You just need to open it.
Welcome to Slade House.
First of all…how gorgeous is that cover?? Certainly a testament to the artist, because its what drew me to it. I’ve never read any of David Mitchell’s other work, so had no idea what to expect from it, and the blurb wasn’t willing to give too much away either. A risky move, but I was intrigued (in part, because it’s a brief 230 pages long), but within the front cover lies a fleshed-out brief on what to expect. A supernatural tale with a touch of the old gothic style definitely caught my interest.
Continue reading SLADE HOUSE
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, but no one’s ever looked past her weight to see who she really is. Sine her mum’s death, Libby’s been hiding, but now she’s ready for high school.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin too – sexy, aloof and too cool for school. But Jack’s swaggering confidence is hiding a secret he must keep at all costs.
Then Jack meets Libby. And their worlds change.
If I’m honest, I wasn’t blown away by the blurb. The plot seemed thin, and a little obvious about the direction it was going. Probably the only thing that sold it to me was the concept – so rarely seen – of an overweight protagonist. I’m always interested in how minorities are portrayed in YA, and a fat girl as protagonist probably doesn’t happen too much (I’m aware of Butter, although I haven’t read it myself.)
The trouble is, when the minority/ background/ unrepresented characters DO come to the forefront, it’s never within a genre capacity. Boy meets girl, but it’s all about the character. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Where Holding Up The Universe is concerned, I found Jack Masselin a far more interesting character as a result of his neurological disorder. I’d heard of prosopagnosia through the works of Oliver Sacks (also mentioned by the characters in the book), but not to the in-depth, and first-hand account as given by Jack. This is a bonus for such books, it introduces readers to experiences and conditions they would otherwise have been completely unaware of. The trouble is, without these traits appearing in strong, plot driven pieces, the novel becomes about their differences from able-bodied, straight, white counterparts. It still draws a line of separation between one, and the Other.
Something to think about, I guess.
But back to my thoughts on Holding Up The Universe…
Continue reading HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE