The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Monday, 27 February 2017

The Accident Season
Moira Fowley-Doyle
Genre(s): Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult
Published: August 18th 2015
Pages: 282
Rating: 1.5 stars

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

The Accident Season is a... weird book, that's for sure. I would call it unique, but it reminded me too much of We Were Liars and The Ocean of the End of the Lane. Whimsical and nonsensical best describe this mysterious novel. I'm not entirely convinced the author knew what she was doing when she wrote this because it's just so odd.

Sure, it's magical realism, it can get away with being rather kooky and quirky. What it cannot get away with, however, is leaving the reader in the dark. And not just that 'I wonder who the killer is' kind of left in the dark. I'm talking about full on 'what on earth is going on this doesn't make sense am I missing something' kind of feeling.

Yeah. I'm not a fan of that.

The prose was trying too hard to be poetic and metaphorical in the way that is become oh so popular in prose and it fell flat on its face. It didn't draw me in, it pushed me away. The story became boring and a chore to read, and considering this book is under three hundred pages that's an achievement.

There isn't exactly a solid plot (or even really a point) to The Accident Season. It tries to create an air of mystery but ultimately fails by wandering all over the place focusing too long on too many mundane things that are never fully explained. And even when things are resolved, they aren't really solved. Explanations are fleeting and the bare minimum of information is shoved at you and you're somehow meant to fit everything together and understand.

If you're a fan of whimsy and stories that border on pointless and boring, give this a go. If not, don't bother.

Recommendations: Sci-Fi and Dystopia

Friday, 24 February 2017

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
If you want sci-fi with androids, cyborg, and aliens but still want a fun young adult story then The Lunar Chronicles is the way to go. Cinder introduces all the spacey and futuristic elements but it also lays the foundations for the bigger picture. And it's a quick, fun read - what more could you want?

Slated by Teri Terry
A dystopian with some scientific (and political) elements, Slated is a bit darker but still an incredibly gripping and compelling read. Full of mystery, you can't help but read on as you try and piece everything together alongside the main character, Kyla. 

The Selection by Kiera Cass
And if you want something more romantic but still crave the action that comes with the dystopian genre, The Selection series is the one for you. Packed with princess dresses and drama the first book is less focused on the dystopian world, but it's so damn cute it doesn't matter.

TBR Feature #42

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

Rose Madder by Stephen King

Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker

Monday, 20 February 2017

Witch Hunter
Virginia Boecker
Genre(s): Fantasy, Supernatural, Young Adult
Published: September 1st 2015
Pages: 409
Rating: 2 stars

Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.

When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.

As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.

The blurb for Witch Hunter makes it out to be a thrilling fantasy book, filled with magic and witches, suitable ‘for fans of Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black’. In reality, it’s a mishmash of historical fiction based around witch trials, fantasy but with a ban on magic, and – of course – a traditional young adult romance with plenty of butterflies and longing.

Our main character, Elizabeth Grey, is supposedly the best witch hunter in Anglia. I say supposedly because within the first few pages she makes a mistake in arresting a group of necromancers, and it’s revealed that she’s made several more before. Nobody is perfect, but if you’re going to call yourself the best then at least be the best. To me, she felt like a Celaena Sardothien wannabe. And not a good quality one, either.

After her mistake she’s soon found with some witch’s herbs and arrested, her punishment being death. Ironic, huh, that the girl who hates magic so much would turn to it in her time of need. It seemed very convenient to me, as it resulted in her being rescued by – yeah, you guessed it – witches in order to get the plot rolling. The aftermath of her arrest also seemed far too contrived, and much too over the top for what she was convicted of, making things hard to take seriously.

However, even though the plot was reached fairly quickly (which in itself was an issue for me, I wanted more background into Anglia and its laws and how magic worked) it didn’t really seem to do anything. I wasn’t gripped. Elizabeth was annoying – constantly whining about Caleb and how magic is such a terrible thing. Which I can sort of see, seeing as magic was responsible for a plague throughout the kingdom. What I find hard to see, though, is why so many people were keen for the bans on it to be lifted.

All the way through Witch Hunter I was left wanting to know more backstory, get more character development, and just be immersed fully into the world. It all fell very flat, focusing more on the love triangle and Elizabeth’s thoughts. The writing wasn’t thrilling enough to pull this off successfully, so reading felt like more of a chore to me.

I didn’t hate this, but I also didn’t like it.

Getting Rid of Books

Friday, 17 February 2017

As avid readers and book collectors (and hoarders, let's be honest here), getting rid of books can sometimes be a difficult task. It's not quite giving up a newborn to the unknown evils of the world... But it's not far from it.

TBR Feature #41

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

TBR Feature is the chance for me to, every Wednesday, pick one of my unread books and discuss it: why I picked it up, when I'll get round to reading it, if I'm still interested in it at all etc.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

Winter by Marissa Meyer

Monday, 13 February 2017

Winter
Marissa Meyer
Genre(s): Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Published: November 12th 2015
Pages: 823
Rating: 5 stars

Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won't approve of her feelings for her childhood friend--the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn't as weak as Levana believes her to be and she's been undermining her stepmother's wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.

Winter was a wild ride from start to finish, and after how fantastic the first three books were, I expected nothing less.

With our band of heroes heading to Luna in order to overthrow the evil Queen Levana - who's really more of a tyrant than a true queen - and over eight hundred pages, this book requires you to give it your full attention in order to really sink your teeth into it.

Meyer wastes no time in jumping into the story, focusing on a new narrator, Princess Winter. Things from the previous installments are mentioned and explained in a way that refreshes your memory but doesn't hinder the progression of things. Things are still as beautifully described and based on the traditional tales, but with the added action of rallying an army and the final showdown of the series. Every chapter carries vital information, nothing is skipped out, but reading this brick of a book wasn't onerous. I can't count the number of times I was left on the edge of my seat.

Winter also reads very well without the knowledge gleaned from Fairest. Yes, things are alluded to, but it's not totally necessary to read Levana's story before concluding the series.

There isn't really much that can be said about the plot without delving into details from the previous books (and giving away a lot of major points from this one), but it is the perfect ending to The Lunar Chronicles. It takes its time, but things are wrapped up neatly and presented to you with a bow. Characters are developed even further, new relationships are explored, and conflicts are resolved.

What more could you ask for in a series finale? Nothing.
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