Wing Jones is Katherine Webber’s debut novel and one of the strongest debut’s I have read in a very long time. After meeting Katherine at Samantha Shannon’s book launch in Edinburgh early last 2017 and chatting about her book, I just had to read it. This review is two years overdue…
Wing Jones is a contemporary YA which is not usually something I would go for unless John Green has written it. High school (I call it secondary school like the majority of the UK do) wasn’t a fun time for me so I try to avoid reliving it through fictional characters either dealing with what I did, or getting to enjoy the stuff I expected of high school that didn’t happen. However, I loved this book which was a pleasant surprise.
This book was honestly the biggest surprise. It has been sat on my shelf since last July when I bought it at YA Prom (Katherine Webber’s launch party for Only Love Can Break Your Heart), but I haven’t got around to it and I’ve been putting it off for other things. I think it’s because of the sci-fi element. I have an interesting relationship with the genre. I generally enjoy it, but there is a very fine line for me between that enjoyment and content that gives me eye strain from rolling my eyes so hard at either the sheer ridiculousness or predictability of it. I am more likely to DNF a novel of this genre than any other so I think I was apprehensive to start this book. However, as I said, this book was the most pleasant surprise of this year for me. I am seriously impressed.
Anyone who has spoken to me over the last year will know just how much I loved State of Sorrow. It was easily my favourite book of 2018 so the sequel, and conclusion to the duopoly, Song of Sorrow is one of my most anticipated reads of this year. State of Sorrow ended on a cliffhanger that meant Sorrow’s struggles weren’t over, they were merely beginning and were sure to spiral out of control.
Although I’ve had the second instalment of Alwyn Hamilton’s series sat on my shelf for quite some time (since October in fact), I’ve only just got around to it now and I’d completely forgotten how much I love this series! The press tour for the third and final book in this series is currently filling my twitter feed which gave me the kick I needed to jump back into this world.
I’m more than a little obsessed with this series at this point. I honestly don’t know how I was so late to the party in reading this.
The Scarecrow Queen is the third and final instalment of Melinda Salisbury’s series The Sin Eater’s Daughter. If you’ve read my reviews for books one and two you’ll know I’m a bit of a fan. I panicked a little bit when I flicked through this book because my pet peeve is switching POVs every few chapters and I could feel it coming owing to the fact the previous books left us with two equally important protagonists that both have a voice. Whilst Melinda did do this and switch POVs between Errin and Twylla I loved the way she did it in much larger chunks rather than ricocheting between the two every chapter, which would have left me reading only out of loyalty to the series and the characters that I needed to know what happened to. This technique did mean that there was a lot that happened to the protagonist that wasn’t narrating that chunk by the time we got back to them which caused some overlap and some gaps that we had to work hard to fill in ourselves but I don’t feel that impacted the story or my enjoyment of it. The split narrative worked well because it allowed us to see what was happening on both sides of the revolution as one protagonist remained with the rebellion and one was unfortunately imprisoned so we could see the ramp up to the final battle from different angles which I loved. The narrative of this book somehow managed to take even darker turns than the previous instalment with the Sleeping Prince, Aurek, employing some really disturbing methods of torture and war tactics. As horrific as his character is, I really enjoyed it and love that Melinda is not afraid to make her ‘bad guy’ truly disgusting and dark and twisted. There’s nothing better than an antagonist who you can hate with all of your heart.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead in the form of fangirling over a character pairing
This is the second instalment in Melinda Salisbury’s The Sin Eater’s Daughter series. This is the first book in a long time that I ran through in one sitting. After immensely enjoying the first book in the series, I was initially disappointed as this novel seems to drop Twylla from the narrative completely and instead picks up with an unknown character. All I desperately needed to know was how Twylla was getting on after the events of her story and instead we move to a struggling village in a neighbouring part of the realm and follow Leif’s younger sister Errin. I was not happy. However I was far to quick to judge because she became one of my favourite fictional characters to read about in 2017. She is young, snappy and hungry (name that musical 😉) to survive the changes in the world she sees around her. After Leif’s departure from their newly broken family home, Errin is forced to give up her trade as an apothecary to care for her sick mother. She must resort to illegally making remedies, poisons and other lotions and potions to pay for her survival and to ensure the villagers don’t turn on her mother who is looking increasingly like she is possessed by something sinister. She has grown up in a society firmly rooted in fact and science, which is the polar opposite to what we have seen with Twylla. However with their world facing the reawakening of the Sleeping Prince, a being of legend, Errin’s people are not able to place as much surety in science as they are used to. Errin must watch her family life and the society she has always known and loved crumble before her and watch her neighbours take up some of the odd practices of the devout citizens in the part of the world we know through Twylla. The only constant in Errin’s new life of despair is her strange friendship with the mysterious Silas. Enter my favourite couple of the series.
After going to another panel event at Waterstones Piccadilly (Fantasy and Folklore with Samantha Shannon, Melinda Salisbury and Lisa Lueddecke) I decided to buy one of the books spoken about: A Shiver of Snow and Sky. It sounded right up my street with mention of the Northern Lights, folklore, superstitions…I was not disappointed.
Title: A Shiver of Snow and Sky – DEBUT NOVEL ALERT
Author: Lisa Lueddecke
Published: 5th October 2017
⭐️ 4 / 5
Set on the fictional snowy island of Skane, the book follows best friends Ósa and Ivar in the aftermath of the red Lós (Northern Lights) presenting in the sky which signals the beginning of a plague and almost certain death. The friends also uncover a plot of invasion from the evil, almost Viking-esque, race called the Ør – who have a penchant for removing the heads of their victims and wearing their teeth as a necklace. Ivar takes it upon himself to help train all of the local villagers against the impending attack while Ósa decides to tackle the plague. She does this by riding across the country to the mountains to ask their Goddess in the stars for help and in the process she hopes to prove herself – both to herself and to the family who don’t love her as they should.