Book Review: Dreadnought – April Daniels

cover97312-medium (2)

After witnessing a superhero fight between the ultimate hero, Dreadnought and a new unknown villain, Danny’s life is going to change forever. As Dreadnought dies he gives Danny a gift like no other, his powers and the body he’s always longed for. Daniel, becomes Danielle.

Yes everyone, we have a transgender superhero and about time too! I heard about this book from CeCe at Problemsofabooknerd over on Booktube and immediately went and put in a request to Netgalley,which I was lucky enough to be granted. I wanted to read this on holiday and did so in less than 24 hours. If that’s not enough to get you excited for this book, then I don’t know what is.

Daniels is a brilliant writer, she doesn’t make this a disney-type happy story. Danny has to deal with a lot through the novel and her transition. She deals with transphobia, an abusive parent and sexism after transitioning, all of that on top of getting some of the most powerful super powers ever known. Just what a 15-year old needs to deal with while going to High School.

One of the best things about this novel, which has been mentioned before, is that this sets out to show that superheroes aren’t instantly good and uncomplicated people. Within the novel Danny does struggle with the judgements of others because of their own prejudices because her transformation includes a transition of gender. This was really interesting as it challenges the idea that superheroes all being instantly accepting. On the other hand, Daniels also explores that not everyone with powers wants to be a well known super-hero, something that not many of us would have considered.

I have so much love for Danny and another character, Calamity, although I won’t spoil too much other than she’s an amazing character and persona, I could see her in my head so clearly. The relationship that evolves between them is just something that the novel needed. I cannot love it any more than I already do.

If you love superheroes, action and diversity then Dreadnought is one for you. I gave this wonderful novel five stars, a rare score but it truly deserves it. So much has been packed into this book to set up a series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next in the series, Sovereign which is released THIS MONTH. I honestly can’t contain my excitement to see what’s going to happen next to Danny after that ending.

As always thank you to the publisher and April Daniels for this copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Book Review: The One – John Marrs

cover102178-medium

If you could meet your perfect DNA match, why wouldn’t you do it?

A new relationship revolution is happening. After a gene is discovered to match you to ‘the one’ thousands find unimaginable happiness with the person they’re meant to be with, but the path of true love never runs smooth.

Now, personally, I just found the idea of this super creepy, which instantly makes it a novel I want to read. The idea that there is one person who shares a DNA match, in my head it made you sound like you were related. Nevertheless, it is a great idea for a novel. This is what made me originally request a copy for review. I’m always hopeful for a good thriller.

I really wanted to enjoy this novel, and I did to a point. There are a lot of twists and turns, quite a few I didn’t see coming and that made the novel move faster. It also did a great job of making you want to read on, for the last quarter I needed to finish it and find out what happened. I did care more about what happened to some characters more than others.

The main gripe I had with this is that there were just too many characters and it wasn’t until I was more than halfway through that I could remember who was with who and what their backstory was. There was so much going on it almost felt like a collection of short stories, which maybe it should have been. It seemed like because there were so many characters, by the end, the endings became a little disappointing and some big holes appeared.

Marrs clearly has a talent for suspense and writing violence, that was one of the most well crafted parts of the novel I believe. Each character had been given their own flair, however, it was slightly disappointing that I did see some stereotypes playing out which was quite frustrating because it didn’t really fit with the rest of the novel.

I gave The One 3 stars. Overall this was a good read but ultimately the ending just really let it down for me. That said I would still recommend it but make sure you have time to concentrate because it does get confusing and can be hard to remember exactly that is going on. I would still like to read some of Marr’s other work as he clearly has a talent for writing.

Thank you to the author, publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to give an honest review.

Book Review: Others Of My Kind – James Sallis

bc8c0-othersofmymind

Jenny Rowan has spent years re-building her life. After being kidnapped at the age of eight by a paedophile and kept under his bed for two years, she finally managed to break free and ends up living in her local mall. It takes 18 months for the urban legend of ‘mall girl’ to be found and placed in the state care system after she can’t even remember her real name. We meet Jenny yeas later after she’s built herself a life and career, but her past starts catching up with her.

Although I fell in love with Sallis’s style and generally the way he writes I didn’t really understand the meaning of the novella. It was as if there were so many avenues that Sallis could have taken and so many unanswered questions remained at the end. The story moves quite quickly and you can generally assume that this is building up to a key part of the story. It wasn’t until after I finished I realised that there isn’t a  huge moment in this novel, instead, the plot actually seems to reflect the personality of the protagonist.

I found the character of Jenny to be sweet but I don’t feel like I really knew her throughout the novel. The changes were almost too quick and despite knowing her back story the reader doesn’t have a relationship with her. The novel doesn’t focus on Jenny’s past, which although others say is one of the perks, I found quite disappointing. I also didn’t understand the relationship between Jenny and Jack, it didn’t really make sense to me and perhaps that is due to the lack of context. They just seemed to be thrown together and get on instantly, it didn’t seem real or likely. As did Jenny’s relationship with Cheryl, while it highlighted Jenny’s open and caring nature, this also seemed rushed, perhaps because this is a novella. That said Jenny’s empathy for the squatters was what, for me, showed her as the ‘good person’ she is described as on the back of the book.

Overall I enjoyed the short story and it was interesting but it could have done with more suspense or general push behind it. I’m going to give this 3 stars ***, I did enjoy it but I found it difficult to follow. For example, Sallis also brings in some sort of political agenda, one which I struggled to understand. While it relates to Jenny’s past I wish it had added more suspense rather than just being there as an issue and a link. This would definitely have made a much better full length novel in my opinion.

Book Review: Philomena – Martin Sixsmith

19660158

After being made into a film starring Judi Dench I had to hunt down the book before seeing the movie, which I try and do every time. The book follows Philomena and her search for the son she was forced to give up as an unmarried mother in Ireland in the 1950s. The novel starts with Philomena’s violent labour, through the eyes of a young nun. The novel then follows her and her young son, Anthony through their time at the nunnery. The novel outlines her horrific conditions young women in Ireland in the 1950s faced, the worst being forced to sign a legal document stating that they will never contact their children again, despite bonding with them for three years. The savage beatings from horrific nuns and at times not being told as your child is simply taken away from you. The scandal of children being sold to Americans could have also been handled better. The novel does have a few unclear perspective changes I warn you, I got terribly confused at points.

I felt quite uncomfortable reading from what was supposed to be Michael’s perspective, because it really isn’t.  I don’t feel like we really get either perspective, Michaels or Philomena’s, the book is mostly guesswork from the author’s idea of what happened and the memories of others. We will never know what was really felt by Michael and I wonder if we can really appreciate his story in this manner. We will never know how he felt in his relationships with his adopted family, nor will we really know how he felt being a secretive gay man in the republican party at the height of the AIDS scare in the United States.

I desperately wanted to know more about what Philomena does after she leaves the nunnery. As fascinating as Michael’s story was I wanted to know more about the woman who had her heart broken, we are simply left to wonder and don’t meet her again for years. Apparently the book is also called The Lost child of Philomena Lee a much more fitting title than the one currently given because the book only really focuses on Michael’s life. I couldn’t help but notice throughout the novel the awful impression that religion leaves on both mother and son and the lasting effects on both of them.

I give this 3 stars simply because I got very bored with it. It wasn’t really a page turner and I could quite easily put it down and walk away from it. I felt like it was largely based on stereotypes and not always on fact, possibly due to the fact that a large part of the book was trying to put the pieces together. The ending was also a little disappointing and I’m hoping that the film version could possibly bring the story to life.

Book Review: We Are Completely Beside Ourselves – Karen Joy Fowler

22817474

‘In most families, there is a favourite child…I was our mother’s favourite child’

The story follows Rosemary throughout her life, although on her father’s advice it’s best to start with the middle of the story, and so she does. In the middle of the story it’s 1996 and Rosemary is in college, it’s been years since her sister Fern disappeared completely and she’s done her best to make sure no one even finds out she existed. Fern is not spoken about at home, no pictures hang on the wall, but Rosemary is haunted by the sister she just can’t forget and after being given her mother’s journals she is reminded that she can never really escape her past.

I was looking forward to reading this one because it had a lot of hype surrounding it. The quotes on the front were saying how ‘irresistible’ it was and that the twist was the ‘best in years’. Now I’m a sucker for a good twist and I won’t say that it’s a bad one,it’s just not great. The twist takes over the whole novel, meaning that not only is it hard to review but it’s also kind of boring. There is also the issue of how the novel weaves in and out of different times, at points it’s hard to remember what point of the story it is and where the characters are at this point.

There does seem to be an underlying ethical issue which kind of takes over the entire book, it’s an interesting argument and I definitely think twice about my shopping habits as a result of reading it, but it gets a little boring after a while. While I agree with the idea that is being put across, I also got bored of this ethical issue being shoved in my face constantly while I was trying to read and get involved with the characters.

I don’t know if it’s intentional but Fowler has made a lot of the characters distant and unloveable. From the beginning there was something I didn’t like about the family dynamic and something I really didn’t trust about Rosemary. The descriptions of her father went from one extreme to the other at one point he is a kind and caring man, the other he’s very strange and easy to hate. I felt like I couldn’t relate to any of the characters that much, which is upsetting because they were well written.

I’ve given this three stars ***, although it wasn’t badly written the ‘twists and turns’ were all just very underwhelming. At times it felt like the novel was building to something fantastic only to be let down, it seemed to me that by the end of the novel Fowler has just run out of steam and come up with a safe ending, which was quite boring to me. I don’t think this was a book for me but I know other people who I think would enjoy it, it’s possibly because when I read the word ‘twist’ I think it’s going to be earth shattering, which unfortunately this twist was not.

Book Review: The Baby- Lisa Drakeford

chloe temp

1 party, 5 friends, 1 unexpected guest.

Imagine you’re in the middle of your 17th birthday party, drinks are flowing and your having a great time when you realise you haven’t seen your best friend in a while. You’re not ready for what you find. Your friend is on your bathroom floor about to give birth to a baby you know nothing about, and apparently neither did she. Olivia’s head is spinning as she has to help her best friend Nicola deliver the baby. Little does she know this baby will blow their friendship group apart. This is the start of Lisa Drakeford’s novel The Baby. The book is divided into five sections, one for each of the main characters Olivia,  her best friend Nicola, her controlling boyfriend Jonty, her gay friend Ben and her little sister Alice. We see the aftermath through each of their eyes, but all isn’t as it seems.

I’m always interested in books that focus on teenage parents and have been for as long as I can remember. As someone who stood by their best friend as they had a child at the age of 17, I was intrigued to see what Drakeford would do with her characters. It’s easy to assume that a child changes things, but I feel like there was almost too many issues with the characters and not enough novel. There are complex relationships within the group, Olivia is struggling in a controlling relationship with Jonty, Jonty hates Ben for his closeness to Olivia. The only character that isn’t involved with the group, but in my opinion has the best chapter, is Olivia’s sister Alice. Alice has no friends of her own but observes everything around her and loves helping out with Nicola’s baby at any given moment. She’s just the strange little sister but through her eyes you see more than through any other, she was my favourite character by far. As for Olivia, I felt like she was a kind of punch bag throughout the whole story and I really struggled to like her. I would have like to have seen more of Nicola and how she copes with her daughter and more of Jonty’s backstory, that was something I really enjoyed and made him a much more relatable character.

There is a big twist towards the end of the novel, which I couldn’t stand. It kind of derails the entire plot up to that point and then adds a real question mark to the end of the novel. After reading 200 pages I was beyond angry and frustrated at the twist, I’m pretty sure it’s a love or hate scenario, there will definitely be people who recommend the book to their friend on the basis of the ending, although I’m not a fan.

I’m giving this book two stars **. I really wanted to enjoy it but there really are too many issues in one short book for me to enjoy. I think that the biggest reason for my low rating is the twist at the end, it kind of ruined it for me. It isn’t that I completely loved the book throughout, but I did struggle with having positive feelings about it at the end.

Review by Chloe Metzger