Friday, 29 April 2016

Classics: The Incomplete Shakespeare

Shakespeare has just had his 400th birthday/death day and everyone's gone a little bit Shakespeare mad! Which is all good, but not everyone finds Shakespeare that easy to read and understand. Fair enough, while at school we had to read Romeo and Juliet and Much Ado About Nothing and while I read them, I still didn't quite grasp them. Watching the Leo DiCaprio R+J movie helped a little bit as did watching both Much Ado About Nothing movies but I still felt like I was missing something. Even seeing Shakespeare at the theatre didn't help me all that much, I mean I LOVED seeing them at the theatre, Hamlet, Macbeth, Midsummer Nights Dream, we saw all of them and in Drama had to act out some of Hamlet. I find it difficult to act if I don't understand what I'm saying so I didn't do too well at that! Watching it I grasped as much as I could but I still felt like some of it went over my head. I remember having a dictionary in easy reach whenever we did Shakespeare at school, I found the language difficult to understand and hard to understand what was being said and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm fairly certain I'm not the only one who has this trouble with Shakespeare, but really wants to enjoy it/understand it as much as everyone else! Never fear...I've found the solution! 

"Calm down, dear sir, it's powder puffs at dawn."

I present to you....The Incomplete Shakespeare by John Crace and John Sutherland! So far only two have been published, Romeo and Juliet as pictured above, and Macbeth as pictured below! I'm going to straight up tell you that they are absolutely brilliant and I loved every single page, I actually wished they where longer! I'm not sure whether every single play is being done or just the "big ones" as it where but in October the publisher is releasing Much Ado About Nothing and Hamlet and I'm already excited! I mean...they have beautiful, eye catching covers, and they help you understand Shakespeare! It's brilliant, whether you're about to be doing Shakespeare in school and have no idea what he's on about, or if, like me, you want to love Shakespeare as much as everyone else! 

"Lady Macbeth isn't at all well. She's sleepwalking every night and her OCD is completely out of control."

Funny from the start, you end up being completely engrossed in what's going on, while laughing out loud at some of the lines! I liked how the more famous lines where left in tact, I mean, a lot of it is how it is in the actual Shakespeare play (I checked), but they're shorter, all the waffle has been cut out and it's the bare basics/necessary points that you need, to understand what's going on. Some of the lines of the play have been "translated" as it where, in to language we can understand. I actually found Romeo and Juliet funnier than I probably should have, and I kept chuckling at lines and re-reading them. I also went and read both plays after reading these two Incomplete Shakespeare books and I understood what was going on waaaay better than I ever have before! It should also be said that while both of the books where funny, and witty, I liked that Crace and Sutherland weren't afraid to point out when things within the plot weren't properly explained or elaborated on. 

"Well f*** me sideways; if Romeo isn't up for a ruck then I certainly am."

Both of the books are laid out perfectly, the lines from the play are written in a good size font, each act takes up only two or three pages, or in some! I love how big the text was, it wasn't tiny and hard to read and all crammed in and daunting, the size of the text also helped with the layout because it made it easy to put each note with each line. What notes am I talking about? Well that's the other brilliant attribute these editions have...they have notes. There's the text from the play on the right pages, and the notes on the left pages. The notes are completely brilliant, they're informative, they add context, thought and humour to the plays! You get context about when they where written, why and why something may have been added or changed. For instance, in Macbeth the witches where included, not because Shakespeare believed in them, but because the king at the time did, ya know the one....the pyro who liked burning people and wrote his little witchy book? That one! I also found the reasoning behind the weather in the two plays, and the settings very interesting, particularly Macbeth! They tell you a bit about how the plays would have been staged in a theatre of the time and how things would have worked and so on. 

"This pleaseth me not. All these damned ghosts dead ringers for dead Banquo's ugly mug."

Macbeth is the one of the two most altered to please the monarch of the time. I mean there's a scene missing from Romeo and Juliet because Shakespeare didn't feel like being killed when he wrote it, and some other bits to do with religion, but Macbeth has the most changes. He's changed history with Macbeth and the differences are noted, and you find out all the little bits changed or missing to please the King! The notes give you tidbits about the Bard himself, they pick up on things you may have missed, like the use of time in Romeo and Juliet, and they help you to truly understand how clever Shakespeare is! Combined with the changes to the play text, and you come away with a greater understanding of the two plays, and the man who wrote them, as well as eager to give the unaltered Shakespeare another crack! 

Thursday, 28 April 2016


Hey guys! 
It's TBR time again! I've decided this month that I'm going to get aaalll of my review books for the rest of the year done and schedule the reviews for the appropriate times, which is something I should have done ages ago instead of leaving them! Then I'm going to try and blitz my TBR shelves! I'm determined to clear them out this year, but we'll see how well that goes! I've got a lot of reviews coming up next week so there might not be time for a TBR Bites post, just pre-warning you!  

I'm sneakily doing a thin/short classic for this month, because I've done fairly long ones and I kinda fancy an easy-isn one, shhhh! So, yeah, I've got a classic, a Harry Potter and a book that I've been desperate to get to for ages so I've promised myself I'll get to it next after review books! The review books pictured are only a couple, because ya know...the post is slow and I'd already taken the photo when the others arrived!

Yep, it's my new fancy edition that I picked up from the charity shop the other day! I've been meaning to read this for ages, and it's really nice and thin so it's perfect for this months classic! Our main character is jailed for various crimes and they're trying to reform him, from what I know! 

Review book number one for the month! I've actually been itching to get to this and it came with a really cool newspaper page and a map! It's a fantasy, my favourite genre, and it's the first in a brand new series! It's being described as a mix of magic and horror and is set in the town of Whitby. Something's brewing, and BFF's Lil and Verne think it's just a regular storm but Cherry, the last of the Whitby Witches, knows better. She fears ancient forces are at work reviving the curse of a long lost magical artefact. 

Here we have one of my most anticipated releases, and opening this was like opening the Holy Grail! Lada and her brother where abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultans courts. Ruthlessness is the key to survival, especially when Lada and her brother's lineage makes them targets as well as special. Lada hones her skills as a warrior, ready for the day she can wreak revenge on the empire holding her captive. But the bonds of love and loyalty Lada and her brother share are about to be stretched to the limit as the sultan's son stands between them and they turn in to rivals. Lada is the anti-princess we've all been waiting to meet and according to Harriet the lovely publicist it's a "bloody and brutal epic feminist debut!"

This is being described as a "pitch black, hilarious take on modern fandom and the badass girls who have the power to make or break the people we cal 'celebrities'", I love the idea of this, the cover has "we loved them to death" all over it and while the synopsis is a little sketchy, all about fangirls getting a bad rep and the narrator about to tell us something crazy, I'm expecting good things from this! 

I'm actually really sad that my Harry Potter re-read is coming to an end, I'm hitting book 6 this month as you can see, and then next's going to be the final book! I'm also mind blown that Order of the Phoenix is the biggest book and Deathly Hallows isn't! Anyway, Half-Blood Prince is my second favourite HP book, mostly because Draco is my fave! I'm excited to see all the little things I've forgotten from when I last read this! 

Yep. I still haven't read this yet! I pre-ordered it because I loved the first book so much, and I was so excited when it arrived and then I had review books to get done and then ya know...I still haven't read it, so I was hoping to read it before April ended, but I didn't have the time and so I promised myself I could read it first thing after everything else! So excited to get stuck in to it! 

So that's my May TBR, excluding whichever books from my over flowing TBR shelves that I decide to read, I'll be picking them depending on my mood! 
What's on your TBR for May? What Classic are you reading this month? Let me know down below! 

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Wishing For Wednesday #88

How's everyone doing? I've got another couple of exciting reads to share with you guys! I think you'll be interested! 
First up is the sequel to a debut that was one of my favourite books of last year, it was so original and fun and just awesome! I've been looking forward to this book to another level! 
The second book for this week is the first book in a new series by an author that I love, and I've been meaning to check it out for ages and now it's coming out in paperback!

The Inquisition

On trial for a crime he did not commit, Fletcher must face the Inquisition who will decide his future - the process is gruelling, lead by those who will do anything to see him suffer and haunted by ghosts from the past with clues to Fletcher's tragic origins. 

But Fletcher has little time to dwell on these new revelations when the King announces a deadly challenge to the graduating students at Vocans. One that involves entering Orc territory to complete a risky mission. With loyal demons by their sides, commoners and nobles, dwarves and elves must overcome barriers of class and race and work together in triumph. The reward: a fortune in gold, the safety of an empire and PEACE. 

With the entire empire watching, Fletcher has much to prove, but there are those out to get him and it soon becomes clear that there's a traitor in their midst, trying to thwart the mission and create unrest within the Empire. 

With everything stacked against him, Fletcher must use everything in his power to fight his way to victory. 

The Inquisition is out May 5th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

The Fixer

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather's ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess's classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

The Fixer is out May10th, pre-order your
Add it to your!

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

TBR Bites #2

Hey guys! 
Two things! First...thank you so much for all the positive feedback and encouragement for my new feature! It's given me the determination to continue it! I'm not sure how regular it will be at this stage, I'm aiming for every week but we'll see!

Second...welcome to TBR Bites 2: Brandon Sanderson Edition! I know I said I'd only show you a couple a week but I hauled Mistborn off my shelves to take the Currently Reading photo for it and I thought....I should probably do them all together and seeing as I've pulled a few of them off already..why not! So let's get acquainted with the Sanderson books occupying my TBR shelves!

First up is the Mistborn Trilogy! Although, there are other books and I'm not sure if they're spin off's from the trilogy or if this was supposed to be a trilogy but ended up being longer! Either way I have the first three books, and I got them ages ago after everyone was raving about them when one of the others came out! I can't resist a fantasy and I've been told again and again how brilliant Mistborn is! I'm actually writing this while I'm still reading Ink and Bone but I am reading The Final Empire next, and when this goes up I'm probably going to be still reading it! 

In the world of this book the Dark Lord has gained dominion over the world. A world of ash and pain. A world subjugated. But a world where magic can be drawn from metals. A world waiting for a new heroine, a new hope. 

This I picked up when I picked up Steelheart because I had one of those Waterstones stamp cards and I got a free tenner to spend, and ya know...everyone raved about Brandon Sanderson and I decided to pick up these two seeing as they didn't have the first Mistborn book in stock at the time and these two sounded interesting! Not gonna lie, Warbreaker is also purple which is my favourite colour and may have swayed me a little bit! I'm banking so hard on liking Sanderson's writing! 

In Warbreaker we have a tale of two sisters who happen to be princesses, the God King one of them will have to marry, a lesser god, and an immortal trying to undo the mistakes he made hundreds of years ago. In this world, those who die in glory return as gods, but they have to live confined in a Pantheon in the capital city. The world has been transformed by BioChromatic magic, a power that's based on the essence known as breath. Therefore using magic is arduous, and breath has to be collected one unit at a time from individual people. But the rewards are well worth the trouble. By using breath and drawing upon the colour in everyday objects...all manner of miracles and mischief can be performed. 

I'm actually so annoyed I didn't realise these where round the wrong way *frowny face*
So, I picked up Steelheart using the Waterstones stamp card because it sounded brilliant and right up my street...the other week I picked up the sequel Firefight with another Waterstones stamp card! I'm eager to get to these two because I'm getting fantasy superhero vibes! 

In Steelheart, Calamity came to the world ten years ago. It gave ordinary people extraordinary powers, and the awed public started to call them Epics. But Epics are no friends of man. With their incredible gifts, came the desire to rule..big surprise there. Nobody fights the Epics, nobody except for the Reckoners. The Reckoners a shady group of normal people, they spend their lives studying the Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. David wants in. He wants Steelheart, the Epic who killed his father, and is said to be invincible. He's spent years doing the same as the Reckoners, studying and planning and now he has something they need. But it's not an object, it's an experience...he saw Steelheart bleed. 

I'm not going to say much about Firefight because I don't want to spoil it for myself or others but from what I'm aware it's the continuation of David's story and he's looking for answers and hunting down another Epic called Firefight. I think! 

I actually won this one from the publisher! I'm a bit confused though because I think it's supposed to be the entire Stormlight Archive collection but has Volume One written on the cover and I can't find a Volume Two to match so if anyone knows what that's all about do let me know! This book is freaking huge, I'm not going to lie, and I'll probably get around to this one last because it takes me ages to read huge books like this, like it's Game of Thrones level huge! 

According to mythology mankind used to live in The Tranquiline Halls. Heaven. But then the Voidbringers assaulted and captured Heaven, casting out God and men. Men took root on Roshar, the world of storms and the Voidbringers followed. They came against men ten thousand times. To help them in their fight the Almighty gave men powerful suits or armour and mystical weapons, known as Shardblades. Led by ten angelic Heralds and ten orders of Knights known as Radiants..mankind finally won. Or so the legends say. The only remnants of these battles are Shardblades, the possession of which makes a man nearly invincible on the battlefield. The entire world is at war with itself, and has been for centuries since the Radiants turned on mankind. Kings strive to win more Shardblades, each secretly wishing to be the one to unite all of makind under one throne. 

On a world scoured down to rock by terrifying hurricanes that blow through every few days, a young spearman is forced in to the army of a Shardbearer, led to war against an enemy he doesn't understand and doesn't really want to fight. What happened deep in mankinds past? Why did the Radiants turn against mankind? What happened to the magic they used to wield? 

I know, I have quite the collection for someone who still hasn't read even one of his books! The thing is, a trusted friend loves them and I'm 99% sure I'm going to love them too. I love fantasy and each one of these books sounds so different not only from the others, but from any other fantasy I've come across! From what I've read of the synopsis, the author takes each new book and makes an entirely new world with with magic and myths and legends all of their own and that's astounding as it is! I really need to complete my collection so there's some Mistborn I need to pick up, some novellas and Elantris and I think that's it! I'm actually really excited to dive in to all these different worlds! 

Monday, 25 April 2016

Bookshelf Tour: Manga

Hey guys! 
How's everyone's Monday going!? Today i'm giving you a mini bookshelf tour, or more accurately...a tour of one part of my bookshelf! 
I asked you guys what you wanted to see and you where all eager to check out my Manga collection which is what you're getting today! You also wanted to have a nose at my graphic novel collection which I'll be doing soon! Let me know what other sections of my bookshelf you would like to see! Leather-bounds? Word Cloud Classics? Clothbounds? I might make it a regular thing if there's more bits you want to see! 

So anyway, my manga collection! I usually get manga from the library because they can be expensive and a lot of them have so many volumes it's insane..Fairy Tail is one of them God help me! Recently I started to watch various different Anime shows thanks to Netflix, Seven Deadly Sins, Blue Exorcist and Fairy Tail are a couple I've watched! Seeing as how I loved the shows so much, I decided I needed to own the manga, I'm sure I'll come to regret my determination to collect Fairy Tail! I've not watched Seraph or Death Note yet I just liked the sound of them, I mean once I ventured in to the Manga section at Waterstones I kept spotting various different ones that are now on my list! As for Twin Star, that one I stumbled on when the Anime was announced! My collection isn't that big, but I'm working on it! 

Fairy Tail is my current obsession, I'm not going to lie! I've slowly worked my way through the Anime and I'm very close to catching up but I'm trying really hard not to because then I'll have to wait for new episodes to be dubbed and I'm really impatient! I'm determined to collect the Fairy Tail manga because it's brilliant and funny and original and kind of addicting! The world is huge,there's always something happening and there are so many different kinds of magic in the world! I've only got 6 volumes though and there's like 50 and counting...pray for me! 

In the land of Fiore wizards form in to Guilds, the biggest of all being the guild of Fairy Tail in Magnolia. Fairy Tail is full of the most powerful wizards and Lucy is determined to join! Luckily for her she bumps in to Natsu a Fairy Tail member, of course, she only comes across him when she gets in to trouble with a dodgy wizard and his gang of pirates. It's not long before Lucy becomes a part of Fairy Tail and the adventures begin. Warring Guilds, Dark Guilds determined to cause destruction and set demons loose, missions, mutiny and more! 

Seven Deadly Sins is the Anime that started it all, I stumbled across it on Netflix because they where advertising it everywhere and watched it all in a couple of days and I completely loved it, I've been obsessed ever since! The manga was necessary because I'm impatient waiting for season two and ya know...adaptions are always a little bit different! I have way more chance of catching up to this and the others than I do Fairy Tail at this stage! This is fantasy, there's magic, it's funny, there's action and mystery and it's another original! It took me far too long to work out that the spines of these volumes make a picture! 

The Seven Deadly Sins were once a group of elite Holy Knights in the region of Brittania, formed by criminals. They where forced to disband and flee the kingdom for their lives when accused of the murder of the Great Holy Knight and plotting to take over the Kingdom. The Holy Knights claim that they've been defeated, but rumours abound that they're still alive. Fast forward ten years and the Holy Knights are up to no good, staging a coup d'├ętat and imprisoning the King leaving themselves in charge. The third princess of the Kingdom, Elizabeth, manages to get away and sets out to find the Sins to enlist their help in defeating the Holy Knights and taking back the Kingdom. Luckily for her it's not long before she stumbles across their Captain. 

I watched the one off season of this in a couple of days and while I was unsure at first, it ended up being brilliant! Seeing as there would be no more Anime of it, I had to get the manga because I just need to know what happens next, although the Anime adaption is actually quite different! I gave up on watching Supernatural and this fills the SPN shaped hole in my life! I also love the full colour illustration in the front of each volume! The demons in this are original, and there's so many different kinds! You'll find a guide to them in the back of most volumes! It turns out it's inspired by a Brother's Grimm fairy tale, which makes it even more awesome! 

Rin's always been a bit of a screw up when compared to his younger twin Yukio, forever getting in to trouble and letting his temper get the best of him. The twins where raised by Father Fujimoto, an exorcist and as we join the story Rin's having the rather awkward "Your real dad is Satan" conversation after an encounter with a demon. Yep the twins are the sons of Satan, however Rin is the only one who's inherited the power. When Fujimoto dies to save Rin, Rin does what he was forbidden to do by Fujimoto, he draws the demon-slaying blade Kurikara, which restrains his powers. From that moment his power has been unleashed. Rin is determined to become an Exorcist like Father Fujimoto, and become the strongest of all so he can defeat Satan. Rin ends up enrolling at the prestigious True Cross Academy, which is the cover for the Japanese branch of an international organisation of exorcists. While attending regular classes, Rin also attends special exorcists classes with a few others who's goal it is to become exorcists of varying different types. Turns out Rin's twin Yukio has actually been doing the Exorcist thing for years and is one of his new teachers, then there's also the whole "the people in charge don't know about you otherwise you'd be slightly less alive" thing. 

This one is one that I wasn't entirely sure on. I ended up seeing the first few minutes of the Anime's first episode, but it hasn't been dubbed yet and I get too distracted by the animation and forget to read the subtitles! So I haven't watched the rest but the first few minutes looked really good, so I decided why not! Every manga I've picked up has been unique and original and this is no exception, the demons are different to the ones in Blue Exorcist and there's a different hierarchy to the exorcists and different mythology to it. I was definitely iffy at first, but it's been getting better and better! I was actually all caught up on this until volume 4 came out the other day! 

Rokuro is from a family of exorcists and he's one of the best exorcists in the country, although after a tragic incident 2 years ago, he'd rather be anything but an Exorcist! Trouble is...being an Exorcist is the only thing he's actually good at. When new arrival Benio arrives on the scene and the two find themselves in more than one dangerous situation, Rokuro begins to rethink his decision to never be an Exorcist again. When an old enemy resurfaces....there's no decision left for Rokuro to make. Alongside all of that, it turns out Benio and Rokuro are the prophesied Twin Star Exorcists and are fated to be together. Awkward. 

I found this one when I was browsing in Waterstones, and I watched the trailer for the Anime and it looked brilliant! I actually picked up volumes 5 and 6 from a charity shop looking like they'd never been read, and since I have and have read volume 1...those two volumes are staring at me begging to be read but I need to get the others first! This one's interesting because there's vampires and everything...but it's not the standard that you'd expect. This manga has a dystopian feel to the world when you read about what happened, but then it seems pretty normal at other points until a vampire bursts in! I'm not sure what to class this as, fantasy? Supernatural? Dystopian? Bit of everything? I think it's actually down as Dark Fantasy though so let's go with that! 

It's the year 2012, and a catastrophic epidemic kills everyone over the age of 13, leaving vampires to rise up out of the recesses of the Earth, bringing age old horrors of the dark, thought to be myth, with them. The vampires take immediate control, enslaving what's left of humanity and taking them beneath the surface for safety. The price of this safety? Blood. That's the story everyone's been told anyway. Yuichiro and his friend Mikaela plot to escape along with the other children from their orphanage, but when everything goes wrong, Yuichiro is the only one to make it to the surface alive. It's there that he's rescued by the Moon Demon company, a vampire extermination unit of the Japanese Imperial Demon Army. It's through them that he learns everything they've been told by the vampires has been a lie. Four years later and Yuichiro has dedicated his life to destroying vampires and seeking revenge, he's determined to join the Moon Demon company, the best of the best. The only problem is he has a bit of a problem with team work. 

Not going to lie, I still haven't read this yet. Why? Because I immediately saw this edition and decided it was the edition I needed, not only because it has both volumes 1 and 2, but because it's all black. The edges are sprayed black and everything, so of course I needed the fancy edition. So why haven't I read it yet? Because I'm trying to work out how the hell to read it without getting my grubby fingerprint marks all over it...yep, it's one of THOSE covers that refuses to have fingerprints wiped off! So yeah, I still need to read this one, but I've heard good things and it sounds awesome! 

Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects. He's also totally bored out of his mind, that is...until he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook...dies. Now in possession of this notebook, Light has vowed to use it to rid the world of evil. But then criminals start dropping dead and the authorities send legendary detective L to investigate and track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal...or his life? 

So there you have my rather small collection of Manga! I still have four of them to catch up on, Fairy Tail being the biggest challenge, but I'm sure I'll get there eventually! There's also plenty of others lurking on my amazon wishlist that I'd love to check out! Perhaps when I've built my collection more you'd like me to do an updated version? Or a part two with any new manga I get? We'll see! Next time, probably next week, I'll be doing my graphic novel collection, it's also not very big but oh well! Let me know what manga you love, hit me with your recommendations, and also let me know if you want to take a peek at what manga is on my wishlist, and what other collections of mine you'd like to see, if any! 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Review: The Bombs That Brought Us Together

The Bombs That Brought Us Together
Rating: 3/5
Buy or Borrow: Borrow
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Bloomsbury! 

Fourteen-year-old Charlie Law has lived in Little Town, on the border with Old Country, all his life. He knows the rules: no going out after dark; no drinking; no litter; no fighting. You don't want to get on the wrong side of the people who run Little Town. When he meets Pavel Duda, a refugee from Old Country, the rules start to get broken. Then the bombs come, and the soldiers from Old Country, and Little Town changes for ever.

Sometimes, to keep the people you love safe, you have to do bad things. As Little Town's rules crumble, Charlie is sucked into a dangerous game. There's a gun, and a bad man, and his closest friend, and his dearest enemy.

Charlie Law wants to keep everyone happy, even if it kills him. And maybe it will ... But he's got to kill someone else first.

Maybe it's because I read this right after Flamecaster (a completely amazing fantasy!) or maybe I just wasn't in the mood but I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. The books not bad, not at all, it's haunting in it's closeness to real life/events. There's a brilliantly tense opening to it, that throws you straight in to the world of the book and what things are like for them. I loved the friendship between Charlie and Pavel and Charlie's determination to befriend him and help him settle in to his new life. Pavel has a horribly realistic awful time and is treated horrendously by the people of the Town, and when the invasion happens, the tables are turned. I felt like it was a very realistic look at what it's like to be occupied by an enemy force. 

So the book wasn't bad and I did enjoy parts of it, like I loved the ending! But for the most part I found my attention wandering, the book grabbed me every now and then but it wasn't one that I loved completely and got lost in. It just wasn't the book for me, for whatever reason, which is a shame because I was excited to read it and loved the sound of it! 

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Review: Chasing The Stars

Chasing The Stars
Rating: 4/5
Buy or Borrow: Buy 
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher! 

What happens when love brings loss? When love brings lies? When love brings hate?

Olivia and her twin brother Aidan are heading alone back to Earth 
following the virus that wiped out the rest of their crew, and their family, in its entirety. 

Nathan is part of a community heading in the opposite direction. 
But on their journey, Nathan’s ship is attacked and most of the community killed.
Only a few survive.

Their lives unexpectedly collided, Nathan and Olivia are instantly attracted to each other, deeply, head-over-heels – like nothing they have ever experienced.

But not everyone is pleased. Surrounded by rumours, deception, even murder, is it possible to live out a happy ever after . . . ?

I am a HUGE Malorie Blackman fan, and not just because she sent all of us booksellers Hummingbird Bakery cupcakes that one year! I remember reading Noughts and Crosses back when I was at school, and it's one of my favourite books, and I remember waiting for each new book to come out with baited breath! It was a given that I was going to read her latest book, but I mean....Shakespeare in space!? Blackman's book is begging to be read for that alone! I will admit, I've been in a near book slump so I actually picked this up the other week and kind of went to read it but wasn't really in the mood! I've spent the last week reading graphic novels and manga, this is actually the first book I've picked up since then! 

Once I started reading Chasing The Stars, I got more and more hooked until I couldn't put it down. Knowing Shakespeare and Othello and how it ends, I was waiting for all the bad things to happen, but the book actually surprised me with it's ending, it wasn't what I was expecting, I was expecting a lot more death! The ending is also my one thing with this book but more on that later! 

The story is told from two points of view, Vee and Nathan. In the beginning, Nathan's is the more action filled POV, it's the one that drew me in and there's hints of the "Authority" and the negative connotations of it, and the tensions with the Mazon. Vee's point of view gives a different opinion on the Authority so it was interesting to see the differing thoughts they had on certain things. Especially when it's revealed what Nathan is and how Vee reacts to it, realising everything she's been taught is wrong. Anyway, both POV's are different, they have a different way of talking or thinking and you can tell who it is who's narrating, but there's two different fonts as well which was a nice touch I thought, as it showed they where different! 

Chasing the Stars is snappy and fast paced and the plot pulls you in more and more. You have the action filled beginning with the escape from the Mazon, then you have the murders on board which adds a nice mystery element to it, along with the romance and the drama from that. There really is never a dull moment in this book and I'm glad I read it in one go because I'd struggle to find a place to put it down! The pacing is literally perfect and it ramps up as we near the climax of the book! The combination of sci-fi elements, action, romance and fight scenes is brilliant! I'm not usually one for sci-fi but I can't imagine this book working any other way. The whole murder mystery element works so well because of how claustrophobic the spaceship is! 

Character-wise I loved Vee, and I really felt for her. She's been through so much, and you can't really blame her for thinking the worst at some points, and reacting how she does. Especially when it's her brother telling her things. I thought she was courageous, brave and determined to help the others even though for the majority of the time, hardly any of them appreciated it. I loved Vee and Aidan's banter and relationship, but as the book went on Aidan took a sinister turn. Something weird was definitely going on with him and he became very manipulative and unpleasant, but at the end of it all, I felt for him too and there as a completely heartbreaking scene or two involving the two of them! 

I really liked Nathan as well, he made me laugh as did his banter with Vee! They really where hilarious together. Nathan was funny, he was trying to be the peacemaker between everyone at a few points, I would say he's intelligent but his behaviour towards the end negates that in my opinion! Nathan takes a rather bad turn when he becomes the world's biggest prat. The thing is...I understand where he is coming from just as much as I understand where Vee is coming from, the thing is...Nathan doesn't understand where Vee is coming from at all. He refuses to see her side of things, even when his mum has a word with him! Vee's brother was all she had for so long so of course she's going to trust him and things did look pretty bad and Nathan wasn't helping much with his behaviour but he refuses to acknowledge all of that! Much as I loved his character, he annoyed me so much at the end! DAMN YOU NATHAN. 

"Nathan, my hand is itching to give you an attitude adjustment slap"

Same Catherine, same! Speaking of Catherine, she's Nathan's mum and I'm not going to lie to you all, I thought she was a bit of a cow in the beginning. What she tried to do to Vee and everything after and the atmosphere of the book kept me a little bit distrustful of her to be honest. There was one point when I was like...oh wow what if her being nice was all just an act!? But I actually ended up quite liking Catherine, she started to trust Vee, she gave Vee a pep talk when she needed it and reminded her that she could do this and all of that, and I liked those moments between them when she refused to let Vee give up. I was wary of her for a while but I still liked her and then as we got near the end you really got a feel for what her character is normally like without all the stuff going on that she has to deal with. Almost like a surrogate mum to Vee towards the end! 

There are plenty of other brilliant characters in the book that you both love and hate. I wasn't too sure of Erica because I wasn't sure what she was up to, I loved Mike and Anjuli even if I then was wary of Anjuli at one point! Her and Mike where funny and such great characters and so willing from the beginning to get to know Vee and become her friends. Darren I hated, he was a complete a-hole. Like in the beginning I got what his problem was and why he was upset but then he still continued to blame Vee even though it wasn't her fault and he continued to be a really horrible character right up until the end. He consistently tries to undermine Vee at every turn, blames her for everything and keeps calling her a child and saying she doesn't know what she's doing. I really wanted to smack him one and I did cheer a little bit when he got his comeuppance! 

I've mentioned the atmosphere of the book a lot because it's something really palpable as you're reading. You're with the characters on this spaceship, which I'm imaging to be really claustrophobic once you've been on there for a while! Once these murders start to happen the distrust gets more and more palpable, you start to become suspicious of all the characters and unsure of their motives and you lose all trust right along with Vee and Nathan. It certainly makes reading the book an experience as you try to work out who to trust! You can feel the conflict brewing as you read, especially with characters like Darren stirring things up. It's a very negative environment as the book goes on! I mean, I just loved how Vee saved everyone and then they're all trying to take over the ship and take it from her! That's the other thing, the book makes you feel as you imagine the characters to feel, angry at the way they're being treated, and at other's behaviour, sad at other points and so on. 

The romance I need to talk about because we all know I don't like the whole insta-love thing, and there's the whole love at first sight thing in this book. Now I think it would have bothered me a lot more than it did if Vee wasn't questioning it and her feelings at points, not being sure if the feelings where real or just proximity or whatever the line was! Her doing that made me feel like the romance wasn't as ridiculous and unbelievable as most insta-love situations in books! That and the book is based on Othello a Shakespeare play and he does love a bit of insta-love! SO I rolled with it in other words, and ended up liking the romance a lot more than I would have under normal circumstances! That and the fact that once the romance really gets going it's not all sunshine and rainbows and happy ever afters, there's obstacles to overcome, there's drama and angst and it made the romance a lot more believable than it would normally be! I mean, as much as the ending bothers me, it fits with what you imagine the reality would be of a love at first sight situation and the situation the characters are in! 

I'm sure you all know that Chasing The Stars is based on Othello, and I'm sure some of you are wondering just how similar it is so I'm going to try to help you out briefly! First off, my knowledge of Othello is very vague, we never studied it at school we did Romeo and Juliet instead! I have read Othello on my own, but it's been a while shall we say! I need to re-read! From what I'm aware of, Blackman has twisted some of the things from the play as only she can! I feel like Aidan is Iago to an extent, there's a scene where Aidan refuses to answer after everything goes down and I'm 99% sure that's Iago in one scene in the play! Nathan and Vee are obviously Othello and Desdemona, there's changes to what happens though! They're switched around he's accused of the thing instead of her like in the play, and there's a lot less death than in the play, I mean knowing how it ends I was expecting death at the end of the book which is why I was so surprised with the ending! It's not a happy ever after ending, but it wasn't as death and despair as I was expecting. 

Chasing the Stars has plenty of emotion to hit you with, it has it's funny scenes, tense scenes, and heart breaking scenes. I mean...I choked up once or twice reading this and couldn't believe my eyes at other points, there where plenty of plot twists! It got closer and closer to the end and I really didn't want it to end, and I was surprised right up until the end! 

The ending we need to talk about because I mentioned it was one of the things I wasn't happy with. The thing is....I'm in two minds about it! I mean on the one hand it's kind of perfect, with Vee flying off in to the sunset and the surprise crew that joins her, I mean that scene gave me the warm and fuzzies! But at the same time I was left a little unsatisfied on the romance front, there was no solid ending there. I'm a bit fickle with open endings, sometimes I love them and sometimes I don't, it depends on the book, and in this case I really wasn't down for the open ending! I NEED to know what happens to Vee and Nathan next, it's driving me up the wall! Nathan was the worlds biggest prat and like Vee I had hope right up until it became obvious he wasn't coming. I mean he sent the thing but still. 

So yeah, I'm so torn about the ending it's not even funny! The book is completely brilliant but that ending is just driving me mad! I'm also not entirely sure if there is going to be a sequel, and if there is going to be a it going to be a continuation of Vee and Nathan's story or will it be other characters that aren't anything to do with them!? Will we get to see what happens with the two of them if there's another book that's set in the universe but not with them!? These are the questions I need answered! I'm really hoping for a second book with Vee and Nathan, not just for the romance issues to be resolved, but because of what Vee's going to be getting up to! I got such Han Solo vibes off her at the end! I actually daydream a lot about Vee's new life and her goals, not going to lie, because I'm thinking she's going to be doing some awesome things! 

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