Thursday, January 30, 2014

Short reviews

I'm on holiday, and making a concentrated effort to do some actual reading of books, so here are three short reviews of the books I've finished recently.

(All by women authors. I'm SLAYING this challenge.)

1) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

YA fantasy.

I'm not even going to review this really. It's REMARKABLE. Everything about it is remarkable and perfect and joyous and heart-shattering.

Erm. Every October, the sea yields up carniverous water horses to the island of Thisby. The more foolhardy among the residents try to catch the horses and tame them for the yearly race. At 19, Sean Kendrick rules the races with four wins behind him for the stables he's employed by.

Puck Connelly enters the race out of desperation to save her family from complete ruin.

The descriptions of the island and of the water horses and their deep yearning for the sea, and of Puck and Sean's slowly-developing relationship .. everything knits together and the novel rushes at you and pulls away and rushes at you and it's exhausting and perfect.

2) Wake by Elizabeth Knox


Kiwi novelist Elizabeth Knox is best known, probably, as the author of The Vintner's Luck and the Dreamhunter/Dreamquake duo.

Wake is, if I may employ the biggest understatement ever, a departure. It's a horror novel with a lot of depth and shiveriness and all good things.

A small coastal town is suddenly shut off from the rest of the country after the population goes insane and systematically destroys itself. The opening chapter is fairly gory, and there's some truly heartbreaking scenes (no spoilers, but the daycare, and for me, Oscar and his cat, Lucy) as the fourteen survivors try to make the best of it and work out what's happened.

I said this on the twitter and it sums it up for me pretty well: "Wake is like an oil spill: toxic and beautiful, and you cannot look away."

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

YA: General (eating disorders)

I powered through this in a few hours today. It's a short novel, but it packs a pretty hefty wallop.

It starts with 18 year old Lia learning that her former best friend Cassie has been found dead in a hotel room. Lia is struggling with anorexia and self-harm, and an overwhelmed family.

Wintergirls delves into Lia's struggle with determined honesty and doesn't shy away from the difficulties of dealing with such hard to categorise disorders.


Jodie said...


Also, look you read Wintergirls! I thought that book was so well done. I wanted to slow down because I thought the descriptions were really interesting but couldn't slow down for them because I had to know what happened.

Kailana said...

I read Wintergirls back when it came out. Her books are intense!

Maree said...

SCORPIO RACES!!! CORR!!! AHHHH SO GOOD. Wintergirls was great. LHA's descriptions were very elegant.

Kailana: They are! I've read Speak as well and that's definitely intense.