Hi, Hey, Hello!
I am back at it with the book reviews today because I finally finished another one the other day (Friday to be exact) and I have finally digested my thoughts on it to the point where I feel like I can talk about it.
The book in question is the following:
This was probably the book that I was most excited to read all year and even when I got it last year I was super excited to read it, to be honest I don’t why it has taken me so long to read it given that we are now half way through the year. But whatever, that doesn’t matter. The point is that I’ve read it.
And I fucking loved every second of it.
It opened in the most interesting of ways and it went on the way it started. Part 1 did initially take a bit of getting used to in terms of style as it switched between the present day and the past, but once I got used to that I was hooked. The way Mia’s motives and thoughts all wove together in the first part was so brilliantly done and so interesting and it built tension so well that by the time I got to Part 2 I was just desperate to keep reading and it was a huge inconvenience for me to have to keep getting off trains every day.
Part 2 was Mia training for what she had set out to do and it was where everything really took off for me. It built the world nicely and showed just how high the stakes are. The second part of this book was brutal. I mean it did let off but hardly. It really upped the stakes for the narrative and further set the tone for what was to come. Like I said, it was the point for me that I got really hooked on this book. Seeing the way that these characters interplayed with each other within this game and the kind of institution that they were in. The siblings (not the acolyte ones, which would make sense if you read the book) were so weird and creepy and their role in this was borderline horrifying. The punishments and the attitudes to death were also mildly alarming, especially the punishments, which involves the siblings and is why I found them horrifying. Oh and also the Blood Walk. I thought I read that wrong at first and then I thought it couldn’t actually be real blood, then it registered with me that it was (it was early in the morning when that was introduced to me the first time, I’m always slow on the upkeep at that time). It was brutal. So satisfying, but brutal.
Now Part 3 housed the most unexpected twists and turns for me. Not that I ever knew what was going to happen or anything, but still what happened I really did not see coming. It’s not that I trusted Ashlinn, but ya know I kind of didn’t think she was going to do that. I am not going to lie at the point that the twist happened I very nearly threw the damn book across the train. And then went promptly into denial. Mainly because I don’t think the thing that happened really happened (even though I know it did) and I needed to finish the book and know how Mia was going to deal with all of it.
Now, you know me, I am all about endings. I have been jaded by so many of them. But not this one. Thankfully. The Epilogue was the perfect mix of conclusive and also left scope for the next one (which I am already excited to read even though it’s not yet been published and I have 20 other books to read first, oh and I’m technically on a book buying ban right now…). I mean it also fuelled my denial for some reason but I found it very satisfying to read.
Mia is one of my favourite new characters. She is so complex and layered and wonderful to watch grow throughout the pages of the book. Seeing her become more comfortable and in control with her powers and also the complexities of the powers themselves and the way they are viewed in this world created by Kristoff was so delightful to read. Tric, I don’t know at what point I became attached to Tric (not as attached as I was to Mia obviously, but she’s the protagonist, there is a sense of safety with Mia for now…) but I do know that it happened and I was bereft come the closing of the book. I found Hush a really interesting character as well, he very much suited his namesake. I was curious about Jess and Ashlinn. But why did you gotta do me like Ashlinn??
I like that in the context of this book there is no clear idea as to who exactly is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ because they all exist in this murky grey area and the whole story is being told from a slightly unreliable narrator who seems to have a bias towards Mia. It felt real and grounded for that reason and I loved it.
And finally, the footnotes. I have such a complicated relationship with footnotes. On the one hand I get them, but on the other they drag you away from the main narrative and sort of cause you to get lost sometimes. These were manageable for the most part and it was fine. But every time I realise that there are footnotes in something I get serious David Foster Wallace vibes and remember that he sometimes had whole side stories in his footnotes that related to the story. I honestly went a bit mad with him and Brief Interviews and it was all down to the fucking footnotes. So yeah, be warned there are footnotes that are used for word building purposes and where initially they can take you out of the story, they do become less frequent as the narrative goes on and therefore remain manageable (or at least they did for me).
I cannot recommend this book enough. Seriously I really can’t. I mean be warned, there is sex, violence and strong language (oh my gosh this has just reminded of a section in Part 1 that summed up my thoughts on a word so perfectly it was unreal, I think it was the point I fell in love with this book…just like another character did) but it’s worth it if that kind of stuff doesn’t bother you. It’s without a doubt my favourite book of the year so far. It may remain my favourite book of the year, there are very few that I think that can contend for that role right now. I am so excited for Godsgrave and part of me wishes that I could read this book for the first time again. Although I have a feeling that should I re-read this book I will find new layers of things to love that I didn’t notice as I was devouring it the first time.
If it wasn’t obvious at this point: 5/5 stars
Parentheses count: 6. See you tomorrow!
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