School of Fish Out of Water (Undertow – A Book Review)

Undertow (Undertow #1)
Author: Michael Buckley
Published: 2015

On Goodreads

Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt Half bolt

Rated A for Aquaman approved.

 

First, we feared them. Then we fought them. Now they might be our only hope.

Lyric Walker’s life is changed forever as is everyone’s in Coney Island when 30,000 warrior Alpha storm the beach shore. Now, a few years later, the small town has turned into a military zone and the government is ready to try an assimilate Alpha into society. Not everyone is on board with this.

Lyric get assigned to help with the integration by helping the crown prince of the Alpha, Fathom. While he is aggressive and resistant, she can’t help but to start falling for him. There’s something about him that isn’t all bad. It’s dangerous to feel this way though, for both of them.

More so, there is a greater threat on the horizon than the Alpha. The darkness that drew the remaining race to shore.

 

This was a wild and intensely action-packed book with tension seeping out of the cracks. I really enjoyed it! While I do get the Aquaman vibes, I do find this to be interestingly unique and original! The in-depth look at the Alpha is really nifty. They weren’t just some Adonis god-like race to melt at, though Fathom is pretty attractive hehe. Though they have some epic abilities, like controlling water and fast reflexes and mega strength as well as some unique weaponry. Fathom, the prince, can actually pop out bony swords from his arms. Alpha also take on the features and characteristics of creatures of the sea. It’s freaking awesome!

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Tenor

I loved all of the characters, even the assholes. They were all epic. Buckley really wrote some powerful people from the teens to the adults. I can’t find one I didn’t like, because even though there were characters I hated *cough* Mrs. Novakova *cough* it was for legitimate reasons! They were jerky, prejudice asshats. Just some powerful characters here!

I’ve also never read a book where Coney Island was the setting. It was wicked to get a close-up view. Crowded and mucky and not the Disneyland on the dock people imagine it is. In fact, Coney Island is turned into a scary place. (The cover art of it is G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S. And chilling. It’s that too.)

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The Tropix

The comical and honest look at racial lines in society was fantastic! Lyric gave such a great perspective on not only skin color, but culture, and with the Alpha, race. Diversity played a major role in this book and I really liked it. It was so well done and truly added more than just typical them versus us. It was everybody.

More so, the added element of domestic abuse and not just for humans but for the Alpha was heartbreaking. Both of these major themes expressed, in a sad way, that everyone shares these hardships in common. As well as these, they share their love for those they care about.

There was just so much more than I expected and I fell in love with this book.

Dead of Winter

There were many shocking twists and turns. I was caught off guard a few times. Being left guessing is one of my favorite things with a book and this one was successful. Unexpected romance, and expected, of course LOL. And the loss ripped all of it away. Stop ripping things and people I love away from me!

 

Overall

This is really different from other YA I’ve read. It’s humorous, yet filled with love and heartache. There’s such a real spin on this and it really added to the salty imagery. I can’t wait to be blown away in the next book. The ending really left me hanging! I have so many questions.

 

Quotables:

“There’s also this idea that the Alpha caused all the weird racism and xenophobia, too, but whatever. This part of town was always a hotbed of racial sludge, and the various groups never played nice.” (Lyric, p.34)

“When someone is grieving, even a kindness feels like a slap in the face.” (Lyric’s mom to Lyric, p. 265)

“What was I supposed to say to you, Bex? I’m half mermaid and I have the hots for Edward Scissor arms?” (Lyric to Bex, p. 308)

“Nothing will stop me, because I am bigger than the world; I make the sea tremble. I am a wild thing.” (Lyric, p. 376)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? 100 Years by Five For Fighting.

 

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Reunions Taste Bittersweet (Sever – A Book Review)

Sever (The Chemical Garden Trilogy #3)
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Published: 2013

On Goodreads

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Goodreads

My Rating: Full boltFull bolt

Rated P for promising, but ultimately ending in disappointment.

 

I must lose myself in action. Lest I wither in despair.

Rhine is working against the clock and the virus as she works to find her brother, Rowan, and Gabriel, her friend. Though freed from Vaughn’s clutches and experiments, he’s still hot on her trail, determined to get her back so he can get closer to the cure. But like with his previous experiments, she doesn’t care about the cost or who he hurts.

Rhine is in for a shock when she finally finds Rowan. The reunion with her sibling isn’t as sweet as she hoped. Things she didn’t know about her parents and herself are revealed in this shocking conclusion.

 

Wither

Scarlet Reader - Wither

Simon & Schuster

Review: here

 

Fever

Scarlet Reader - Fever

Simon & Schuster

Review: here

 

This book started out so promising! GAH! Cue my frustrated growls. Book 1 and 2 had me hooked! Great writing that was unlike anything I’d read before. This one was the same until the beginning of the end.

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Rhine is officially free. She reunited with her brother and even got on good terms with her ex-husband Linden and sister-wife Cecily. Even Reed, Linden’s uncle, was an incredible surprise. I really like him. Gruff, but a tinkering inventor and good man.

But so much unnecessary stuff happened! It made me so mad!

After getting so excited to meet Rowan, he turned out to be a character I couldn’t stand! I thought he was standing for something, but he was just being a petulant child. And when he and Rhine reunited he was nothing more than a follower that believed anything and everything anyone said.

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The ending is what destroyed this for me. And there’s nothing worse than a book being amazing, or a book series being amazing than for it to have a terrible ending. It was rushed and so incomplete feeling. Gabriel didn’t even come into the book until the very end. The young man she’d created such a beautiful connection with, that she even got feeling for, and it was like he got the F-U. Gabriel deserved SO much better than what he got.

It was just so disappointing.

However, one of the great things about trilogies, is that in the third and final insert (whether a book or movie or other) there are secrets that come to light about those closest to you. Secrets that some with some skeletons you never knew about. And that’s the case for Rhine. Not only were there secrets about her parents revealed, but about herself. Those secrets changed everything!

 

Overall

I hoped for so much more. I really did. There were major moments, some tragic, that felt pointless and didn’t have any real reason explained. As if they were meant to stun and shock, but just felt forced instead. This book just felt incredibly out of wack. What started out beautiful and dark turned into weird and desperate. I’ve got nothing but a frowny face for the pointless death, rushed ending, and the feeling of unsatisfaction this book left me with.

 

Quotables:

“To die trying would be better than to die without purpose.” (Rhine, p. 172)

“People need a leader. They need to feel that someone is in charge, that they’re in the hands of someone greater than they are. It’s far scarier for each of us to believe that we are the only ones in charge of our own destinies. We know our own downfalls.” (Vaughn to Rhine, p.268)

“Loss is a knowledge I’m sorry to have. Perhaps the only things worse that experiencing it is watching it replay anew in someone else—all its awful stages picking up like a chorus that has yet to be sung.” (Rhine, p. 318)

 

More to come soon…

  –K.

 

P.S. Song today? Warm Blood by Carly Rae Jepsen.

 

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NO Vacancy (All the Little Lights – A Book Review)

Hey, my precious!

I hope you are all well. I want to take a moment to apologize for my tardiness lately. I was pretty sick with a nasty head cold that had me weak, dizzy, and a whole lot of other nastiness, so I wasn’t doing much of anything, but being a blob. I’m sorry, I do still love you and still love ranting about books. I’m starting to get back on track. 

I also want to give a shoutout to my mum, though I’m not sure she reads this. LOL. While I was utterly blobby, she was being mum and helping me take care of me. Love you, mum.


All the Little Lights
Author: Jamie Maguire
Published: 2018

On Goodreads

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Amazon

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated S for sweet and strange, with a plot twist that’ll sneak up on you and leave you gobsmacked.

 

Everything buried will come to light.

Elliott Youngblood is just a boy with a camera, and he captures Catherine Calhoun in his lens on a sad summer evening. After that, he had to know her, make her smile. They have an amazing summer together, but then tragedy strikes in Catherine’s life and Elliott is nowhere to be found, she’s heartbroken.

When Elliott returns, everything has changed. He and Catherine are not the same people they were. He’s a football star and she’s a pariah that helps run her mother’s secret bed & breakfast. Elliott will do anything to get Catherine to forgive him for leaving her alone. And, just when she starts to come around and trust him again, he becomes a prime suspect in a missing person’s case. She refuses to believe he has anything to do with it. But, the dark secret she keeps threatens to dismantle happiness she has with him.

 

The relationship this book gave me was on-again-off-again. It was good and it wasn’t. The main characters, Elliott and Catherine, come with their own unique POVs. I found them to be realistic, but at times they both came off a bit over-dramatic. BUT!!!!! The further I got into the book, the more I got to know each of them, the more that was divulged about why they were the way they were. I find that perspective to be incredible. The author writes so that the characters surprise you, not them. And I was very surprised by the time I got to the end.

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Catherine was more surprising than Elliott. He came across as the great Prince Charming that was unexpected and in some cases pushy and unneeded. It’s totally sweet that he wanted to protect and be there for Catherine. He had a way of saying “I’m in love with you just because.” and it was such a peeve. There’s got to be more, and by the time I got to the more part I didn’t believe it.

I did admire Maguire’s attention to the world she built up around the characters. An old town, filled with nothing but a couple of shops and boarded up spaces is very common. The additional extra of the town being poisoned was shocking. The visual was vivid and strong.

Scarlet Reader

Bustle

I love Maguire’s storytelling. She does such a fantastic job. I just don’t think it reached my inner bookworm. The book started out slow for me. Some places felt rushed. There were parts that sparked my interest and then the ending was a total BAM! SHOCK! But in some places, it just didn’t reach me. There wasn’t enough to keep me invested with intrigue.

EXCEPT: there was a moment, a split second, that left me confused and ever curious. At the very end. And I will leave this open for discussion because I would very much love to talk about it. So, SPOILER for anyone who hasn’t read this book. à Catherine goes to visit her mother after the Juniper closes and they talk about her going to college, but then her mother says the strangest thing that make alarms go off in my head. You know, those flashing red ones that spin? Okay, so it goes,

“I think it’s nice that you still talk to him.”

Mama looked around and leaned in. “It’s okay. We won’t tell anyone. You don’t have to worry.”

“What do you mean?” (p.406)

That’s what I want to know. What the hell did her mother mean? Do any of you know? Was I just blind? Was it just super creepy and that’s all? GAH!

Scarlet Reader

Gfycat

If you’ve read the book, let’s talk!

 

Overall

Jamie Maguire is an author I very much enjoy to read from. This book was good, but I won’t say it compares to the others that I’ve read by her. I just didn’t get hooked this time. It was good. Definitely glad I read it, but sadly, I think this will be the only time I read it.

 

Quotables:

“Haven’t you figured me out by now? You go where you want. I’ll follow.” (Elliott to Catherine, p. 267)

“Pain…Love. Can’t really have one without the other.” (Catherine to Mrs. Mason, p. 358)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

 

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Some Secrets Are Best Stay Hidden (Secret Brother – A Book Review)

Secret Brother

Author: V. C. Andrews

Published: 2015

On Goodreads

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Amazon | V. C. Andrews

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull bolt

Rated T for teen outrage and attempted rebellion with a tad-heavy petting that goes absolutely nowhere.

 

The most unexpected Dollanganger story of them all…

Arnold loses his grandson in the same ER that a mysterious boy was dropped off and left for dead from poisoning. The poisoning left him with amnesia. Moved by the possibility of fate, Arnold, grandpa Arnold to most, brings the boy home. Not everybody is thrilled with this.

Arnold’s granddaughter, Clara Sue, feels like her little brother is being replaced by this boy and she’ll do whatever it takes to be rid of him, even try to help him remember what happened to him before he ended up in the hospital. But, when the his story is uncovered, can she really send him back to the life he before, or will she finally move on past her brother’s death and welcome the boy into a new home?

 

So…

This was unexpected.

I’ve read the previous books of Flowers in the Attic (go ahead and take a read of the reviews if you haven’t) and I didn’t know what would be happening here. Starting out with loss right from the get go is hard. Not hard to get across. Hard because it’s tragedy and that’s heavy. On the bright side, the only direction to go from tragedy is up and to better things…unless it gets worse, which is possible i.e. the saying, “It’s not like it can get any worse.”, because we all know otherwise.

Sorry, spoiler here, even though at this point you should’ve read the Flowers in the Attic books before this one, so, not really sorry. LOL. Corey Dollanganger was the brother who was thought to have died in the very first book and now this book confirms he didn’t die. He got a second chance. But, I felt really sad, too, because his twin, Carrie killed herself, in part because of the bullying, in part because of her mother’s rejection of her, and also because of the loss of Corey. This book did make me think back to her and feel even sadder for her.

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After losing her little brother, Willie, Clara Sue feel lost and angry and sad, and you know what? I was TOTALLY with her on that, even though I already know Corey’s story. She loved Willie to pieces. Then suddenly her grandpa brings home a little boy and nearly replaces him. If that happened to me I’d be just as pissed. She was right to act the way she did. You can’t replace family with strangers.

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And that boy that was chasing Clara Sue, who I won’t even give a name because he wasn’t worth remembering was a nozzle of douches. That’s all I’ll say about him. He really got me disliking him. Pfft. The definition of a F-boy. Gross.

So, all in all, each of the kids’ feelings are understandable. Clara Sue and Corey are both in their own right to be emotional. They went through a lot of tragedy.

The emotions rolling through this book were pretty realistic. So much change after such a tragic change will make a person blow a major gasket. Sometimes it came off a little too dramatic, but this is from a teenager’s POV. So, whataya going to do?

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The world building was pretty basic and predictable for V.C. Andrews. Rich family. Big mansion with multiple wings. Family trauma with a side of effed-up dysfunction. Predictable.

The style of the writing was pretty good, though the tone came off bland. I was getting a little sleepy in places and then I’d jolt when something juicy happened.

 

Overall

I was actually surprised that I enjoyed the book as much as I did. It didn’t move me to tears, but it did stir up some emotions. It was the kind you get for family. Protective and annoyed and a love that can really toil in the heart. Definitely one of my favorite books out of the Flowers in the Attic books. Will I reread it? Honestly? No. The family feels are nice, but they don’t screech, ‘read me again!’. I enjoy an intense read that grips me tight, much like Castiel did to Dean during that season 4 premiere of Supernatural. I say give it a good read, get your family drama out, and then donate it.

 

Quotables:

“Looking messy in public says a lot about how you live your life…” (Clara’s mother, p. 72)

“…Life is like a relay. When good people die, they pass something important of themselves on to those who continue…” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 89)

“Your grandmother used to tell me you can’t fight city hall. City hall is a piece of cake compared with a woman who makes up her mind about something or someone.” (Grandpa Arnold to Clara Sue, p. 279)

“Love has a way of making memories sticky.” (Dorian, p. 345)

“A good-bye is just the curtain closing for this evenings performance. It will open again.” (Bobby to Clara Sue, p. 362)

 

More to come soon…

  -K.

 

P.S. Song today? Secrets by OneRepublic.

 

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I Came to Win (Caraval – A Book Review)

Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Caraval

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…

Beware of getting swept too far away.

Scarlet Dragna has always dreamt of seeing Caraval. Every year, she would send a letter to the great Legend in hopes of going with her sister, Tella. It isn’t until the week before her wedding that she receives her invitation, but she can’t go. Their father would punish them beyond measure if they did.

With the help of the mysterious Julian, Tella kidnaps her sister. When Scarlet awakes, Tella is gone. Turned into the main event of Caraval, Scarlet and Julian must work together in order to find Tella first before any of the other players doo. The one who finds her wins. The winner gets a wish.

 

This book was instantly gripping from the start. My curiosity was pulled like a string the moment Scarlet received her invitation to go to Caraval. My excitement only grew as I kept reading because I was left guessing and dying to find out all of its mysteries. This is definitely one of those books I couldn’t put down and got done with two days and it’s certainly one of the best I’ve read all year. I don’t think I have enough words for how much I enjoyed it.

Scarlet Reader - Perfect

The world that Garber created was magical like a dream, except you didn’t wake up from it because this dream was happening while awake. Filled with lights, secrets, and tricks. When you think you know what’s going on you really don’t. This world flipped me around and I was swept away, even though I was warned not to be. Caraval was marvelous and I definitely want to play the game. With doors opening in unexpected places, shops selling things and the currency to buy it are secrets, and time if not used well, is lost with a single drop of blood.

I was left guessing with these characters. Always guessing and that is always refreshing. Scarlet and Julian were amusing and I couldn’t get enough of these two. Scarlet is always protecting Tella, her sister. Personally, Tella needed her noggin knocked. She is such a blasted pain in the ass. Granted, Scarlet wasn’t much better. Many of the interesting situations Scarlet got Julian and herself into were basically her fault, but it all lead to a magical ending.

Speaking of Julian, Scarlet’s partner in crime during Caraval, he was so mischievous. Which is why I loved him! He was the complete opposite of Scarlet and was exactly the person she needed to open her heart. The entire book, I kept trying to figure out who he was and what his game was. Safe to say, I was wrong in my guesses and totally stunned.

Scarlet Reader

The style Garber brought to this story was fast, fun, and colorful. Driven by the character, Scarlet, I was blown away that she saw emotion in color. It enriched the story so much. That was one of my favorite parts in the story. It gave so much to the imagery. And my emotions! I fell in love with Scarlet and Julian.

Scarlett Reader

 

Overall

I really loved this book. Getting pulled back and forth, my emotions got pulled like Laffy Taffy, as the twists and turns kept coming. This definitely one of those ones that I didn’t want to end. I can’t wait to read Legendary because the end of Caraval left me hanging! Currently, I’m still waiting for it to come out on paperback. It joins the many others I’m impatiently waiting on.

 

Quotables:

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.” (Grandmother, p. 19)

“Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.” (unicyclist, p. 77)

“People are willing to spend a lot of money, or give up their deepest secrets, for a bit of Caraval magic. But those who don’t play fairly usually pay an even higher price.” (Julian, p. 129)

 

More to come soon…

-K.

 

P.S. Song today? High Hopes by Panic! At The Disco.

 

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Mind Over Phobias…and Curses (A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares – A Book Review)

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares
Author: Krystal Sutherland
Published: 2017

On Goodreads

Semi Definitive List of worst Nightmares - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

A family.

A curse.

A greatest fear.

Esther’s family has been haunted by a curse. See, each family member dies from their fear. Dad is agoraphobic. Mom is terrified of bad luck. And her twin cannot be in the dark. All of this leads to Esther living an interesting life.Esther is searching for hers and has an ever-growing list of phobias that might be what she’s cursed with.

When Esther is pickpocketed by Jonah Smallwood, a boy she used to know, she is left stranded at a bus stop. He took everything down to the fruit roll-up and that list of possible fears. They make a strange pair, but Jonah is determined to help Esther through her list. Turns out, she may be afraid of the one thing she didn’t even think about. Love.

This book started out curious and intriguing and snowballed into me loving it a LOT. This was upbeat, yet personally heavy. An incredibly unique story not only about fears and approaching fear, but also dealing with anxiety and other mental illnesses. This book made them so vivid real. For people who don’t fully understand what it’s like, they’ll get a close up

Scarlet Reader - Perfect

There are so many more phobias than I have ever thought about. (Here’s a site where you can have a look for yourself-here.)My best friend has countless. I love her to pieces and always ALWAYS support her and encourage her that it’s okay. It’s no joke to make fun of a person who has them whether they are rational or not. They give people some serious anxiety. I always try to help her work on them, but it’s easier said than done. Mostly, I try be the comic relief. It’s not dumb or ridiculous. I worry about her, but I know she’s a toughie. There are just some things that affect us. I have a fear of spiders sometimes, but that’s because they think I’m a jungle gym. My fight with the dark is worse than an on again off again relationship. More than anything, failure and the thought that I am greatly unneeded, are what often haunts me. By unneeded I don’t mean being a needy human. No, I mean that I have no purpose on this planet and am useless. These fears and matched anxieties are ones I am working on overcoming every day. We should all work on overcoming our fears. Oh, and heights. Heights are tricky because I’m not afraid of climbing them. It’s the idea of falling from them. And I certainly WON’T divulge on my clown fear. They eat people, people! *shivers*

The characters were phenomenal. Seriously. BRAVA. complex, diverse, and opposite of each other. Esther was extremely awesome. From being determined to face her fears even though some of them are pretty scary to dressing up as inspiring characters, both real and fiction, she was brave, strong, and human. Whether she realized it or not, people were drawn to her. Jonah Smallwood, for example. Funny and kind, he was the hot sauce on her ice cream. Sounds gross, but trust me, it’s so GOOD! So spicy and sweet. A fantastic combination if there ever was one. He supports her with no cruelty or frustration or impatience that could be normally received from somebody who doesn’t have any understanding of what it’s like to feel an uncontrollable amount of fear that just squeezes tightly around you like a boa constrictor, taking the air right out of you. He’s even kind to her whole family, not judging or distancing himself just because they have their beliefs with their phobias. I completely melted.

Dead of Winter

The style of story was buoyant, like floating in an air balloon, or so I imagine-the balloon part. All floaty, though there’s that bit of nervousness because all you’re in is a human-sized picnic basket with a massive balloon and a blazing torch keeping it up. So, a little nerve-shaking. But, the view is impeccable. Completely breathtaking and totally worth it. This book is definitely breathtaking. Invigorating even, but I can relate to it so much. The rule-breaking, risk-taking, and life-changing moments were unbelievable. Lighthearted, yet intense and heartbreaking. Just magical with so many emotions so perfectly placed and written.

The ending left me with my jaw on the floor. While the exploration of mental illness was quite serious, I was still left shocked because there was a twist! I was guessing on and off throughout the book about Esther’s serious need to face-off with Death and by the end I was breathless. I had to read it twice. I can’t give too much away, but I was stunned.

mindblown

Overall

Tackling a real world issue in a light of bravery and determination. This wasn’t about love conquering all. It was about overcoming an all-consuming struggle. It encourages understanding for those who face not only fears, but actual illnesses that most people don’t believe

Quotables:

“God, so basic. I can’t decide what would be more tragic, dying at seventeen, or having the most cliché funeral ever.” (Esther, p. 9)

“Fears can’t become full-blown phobias if you avoid them, and phobias can’t kill you if you don’t have them.” (Esther, p. 60)

“Tolkien knew a lot of stuff, but he knew nothing about the dark souls of moths. No way a moth would’ve helped Gandalf. Least believable part of Middle-earth.” (Esther, p. 94)

“Murals were a well-known-gateway drug to feelings, and she couldn’t have any of that.” (Esther, p. 101)

“Depression was a real sneaky asshole.” (Esther, p. 147)

“Love was a trap, a sticky trap of molasses meant to bind two people together. It was a thing that couldn’t be escaped, a weight that people strapped to their own legs before they waded into the water and wondered why they drowned.” (Esther, p. 268)

“Everyone we let into our lives has the power to hurt us. Sometimes they will and sometimes they won’t, but that’s not a reflection of us, or our strength. Loving someone who hurts you doesn’t make you weak.” (Eugene, p.315)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Lucky Day in Hell by Eel.

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Backpacking Across Worlds (The Ragwitch – A Book Review)

The Ragwitch
Author: Garth Nix
Published: 1991

On Goodreads

Ragwitch - The Scarlet Reader

My Rating: Full boltFull boltFull boltFull boltFull bolt

Paul is easygoing while his sister Julia is adventurous. While playing along the beach one grey afternoon, they happen across a strange spot on the shore and Julia finds a peculiar doll. Suddenly, the siblings are thrust into a world they never imagined.

Paul never imagined being a savior, but that’s the role everyone puts him into. All he wants to do is save Julia. She suffers, possessed by the Ragwitch, an evil that brings ruin. She is not alone though. With allies of her own, she fights for her being as Paul fights the Ragwitch’s army to save her and the Kingdom of Yendre.

Garth Nix, author of the Abhorsen trilogy and Shade’s Children, brings forth The Ragwitch. Nix jumps right into the story without any dawdling. Once moment these kiddos are playing around and the next they’re stepping into a whole different world. I really liked how he just jumps right in. It grabbed my interest instantly.

The story follows both siblings, detailing their journey through both of their eyes. I found this to be unique. Both POVs were incredible, expanding such amazing storytelling from a battle for the Kingdom of Yendre to the battle for one’s soul. The detail was fantastical and reminded of so many other great journeys’ like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia that leave you breathless and wishing the journey didn’t end. It’s that element that makes you sad when a story ends.

Scarlet Readers - Endings

While this was adventurous and enchanting with magic, it was also silly and cute. This was a splendid balance and Nix did it well. What has surprised me the most is that each person and magical being that Paul happened across during this great pilgrimage has helped him out without a question or expectation. Not once was he treated as an outsider, though it was very obvious that he wasn’t from around Yendre. Lives were given and nobody batted an eye, like he was the savior they’ve been waiting for even though no prophecy was mentioned whatsoever.

Paul and Julia were just mere kids, but that meant nothing with the great responsibilities that they shouldered. These siblings are complete opposites but so close. There were many moments I just wanted to snatch them up and shield them. Paul broke free of his shy shell, though his fainting spells didn’t dim a bit and he fell asleep for most of the journey, he became a warrior and leader alongside Qwerty, A Friend of Beasts, Tanboule, the wise, and even the great elementals. Julia had the hardest battle between the two of them. Rather than hide in a dark crevice of herself and let the Ragwitch win, she rose up to battle for control and to free herself of the evil hag. She risked losing everything. Both of them had their weaknesses though. Paul has a habit of fainting A LOT while Julia wanted to just give up at times. This made me like them even more because this only showed how human they were and humans have limits they have to battle everyday.

Nix’s imagination blew me away. He can build a world that can compete with Tolkien in my opinion. He’s always had strong originality that is pure and untouched. It’s utterly striking how he can create a world like Yendre off the coast of Australia in a far away land. It was beautiful and vast. I can’t talk about it enough.

Overall

Fantasy beyond my wildest imaginings. Creatures unheard of and phenomenal storytelling. Garth Nix has always impressed me. I loved the Abhorsen trilogy and had no doubt that I’d love this one as well. He follows no traditional path and creates such amazing worlds.

Quotables:

“The stars don’t lie—but they can be mischievous. There’s nothing they like more than a joke, particularly if it’s a long one, played on someone who deserves it.” (Tanboule to Paul, p. 79)

“The stars see everything, and look deep into everyone below them.” (Tanboule, p. 306)

“Questions, questions, questions. No one ever just comes for a spell. They always want conversation as well.” (Patchwork King, p. 360)

More to come soon…

-K.

P.S. Song today? Punching in a Dream by The Naked and Famous.

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