The cover for Cuckoo’s Egg is beautiful. It perfectly captures the essence of the book. It shows Duun, cradling Thorn as a baby. Between the artwork and back cover we already know it’s about an alien culture meeting human, however it’s the way it intersects, how the story is told which is very beautiful.
Despite all that was happening, I still managed to read some great books in March and one of them naturally took the top spot. My book of the month went to the advance review copy of Corporate Gunslinger: A Novel by Doug Engstrom. It was a compelling read about a world quite similar to this one: inequalities in our society and crushing debt, how very timely
Bri is a typical teenager, rash, impulsive but also thoughtful. I found her annoying in part but realistic at heart. You too will want Bri to win on talent alone and make the right choices, because she deserved it , but this isn’t a fairy tale, the reality is, being talented isn’t enough. On The Come Up is a fantastic read about making choices and fighting against stereotypes.
This book is a must for those who love well written psychological thrillers, that pulls on the heartstrings but not gratuitously so and with characters that you are rooting for. It will make you feel big emotions, be judgemental and sincerely consider your views on several serious issues. What a gripping read!
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger starts with a good premise: a tween who’s not like everyone else.This is a generalisation or more accurately a truism, that most people want to feel necessary, be important and it’s set up from the beginning of the novel that Sophie is all that and more.
As the novel is interspersed with vignettes on cults, their leaders, serial killers and victims, Will Carver has thoughtfully given us (the reader) enough context and examples to assist us in the hunt for the leader and other members of the group, so we are not reliant on the police who appear incapable of solving this in a prompt and satisfactory manner.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo eloquently shows that that love, abuse, the whole spectrum of the human condition is the same and gives no quarter for ethnicity or gender. Her understanding of human beings and ability to convey the complexity of human thought, behaviour and action, through a multifaceted, nuanced depiction of race and relationships in an accessible way, is a triumph.
Orphans of the Tide is a fantastic tale about history, loss, friendship, and love. It takes place in a bleak land almost devoid of joy, where the inhabitants are focused only on survival, a place mired in mystery: this is The City. Where strange things happen because they always have and only a few remember or know the truth of the matter.
The world-building is wonderful and the characters charming, thoroughly recommend
The premise of The Last Smile in Sunder City is good: A land where magical creatures (dwarves, goblins, gremlins, vampires, witches, you get the idea) are left redundant in reduced circumstances: without their magic, the fundamental part of themselves.
I liked the sound of it as soon as I read the synopsis, so a shame it didn’t quite hit the spot.
Violet the character is deliciously written, her small reveals which are at turn disconcerting, unpleasant, or repellent eventually culminates into the realisation that she is dangerously obsessive, retaliatory and unpredictable. What a combination! Terrifying in real life, a boon for a story like this.
The message I got from this book was when you believe in yourself when you acknowledge the belief that someone has in you, everything is possible. You find a strength you didn’t even know you had to fight, to stand up for yourself and be a leader. This invokes the times Amani has referenced Binta telling Amani to be brave, as if Binta knew that despite appearances and past behaviour, Amani could be brave.
I enjoyed this trip through interconnected relationships to the vivid backdrop of England between the two world wars, the ramifications of love in all its guises and evidence that bigotry – overt or understated – is still harmful. It is a nuanced rendition of cause and effect and particularly touching to read during this period around Remembrance Sunday.
Beneath the humour there are serious themes at play, it deftly masks the undercurrent of distress that is revealed subtly throughout the novel to explain why Ayoola kills and Korede doesn’t condone but neither exposes her. It really gets to the heart of the sibling relationship – the expectation of what you should, could and must do for family.