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Friday, 20 May 2016

Review: Glass Sword, Victoria Aveyard.

Following the fast-paced, action packed 'Red Queen', 'Glass Sword' dives back into the world divided by the colour of blood where tensions are the highest they have ever been.

Having managed to escape the Bowl of Bones by the skin of their teeth, Mare Barrow, Cal and the remainder of the Scarlet Guard are fleeing for their lives. Escaping to Tuck, a Scarlet Guard stronghold, Mare plans her next move - namely, to use a list she got given in 'Red Queen' containing the names of known newbloods - essentially, Reds with Silver abilities. It's a race against time as not only will Maven, the new king, be after her but will also be tracking down the newbloods in a bid to wipe out and deny their very existence, lest they threat the order of their world.

The story and action of this book rivals any dystopian fiction that has come out in the last few books - you will be turning the pages feverishly. The inner monologue of Mare, though, is not that distinguishable from many dystopian heroines. The 'I'm just an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances/I push everyone I love away/I'm turning into a monster' things are all very present and repetitive, despite their validity. I tended to gloss over these bits and focus on the mission to find the newbloods. I don't know whether it was the inner monologue that made me care less about Mare, but I tended to find myself caring more about the characters around her and their development.

There were several surprises, namely one shocker towards the end of the book that I did not expect to happen in this instalment, at least. If you are a fan of this genre, it's definitely something you would pick up and burn through in a few hours.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Review: Career of Evil, Robert Galbraith.

The third instalment in Galbraith's (Rowling's) hugely successful crime adventure packs a rather more grisly punch than its predecessors, starting from the very off. In fact, there are several significant changes that Galbraith has made which, while staying true to our favourite characters, steer the story in a different way to keep things fresh and interesting.

The most significant of these is the use of point of view in the villain, the mysterious man who starts the story by explaining how much he enjoyed his recent kill, and proceeding to stalk Robin (not deemed worthy enough for him to address by name - she is simply The Secretary). All we know for a while is that this man has a vendetta against Strike and aims to wound him through Robin.

The other significant direction is that we learn far more about Strike's and Robin's past. Their histories become essential to the story itself, although - certainly when Strike is having his flashbacks - they can consume the narrative.

Entering the psyche of the killer is, like you would expect, fascinating and disturbing. Rowling said she had nightmares while researching this novel, and it is no surprise.

Pretty soon, the killer is narrowed down to three suspects, and what you appreciate at the end is how it kept veering towards one of the three at certain points. It certainly kept things tense as each of the three eventually got ruled out and the identity of the murderer discovered.

Robin, who came more into her own in "The Silkworm" makes this story as much about her as it is Strike. Her talents, the impact her personal history has on the story and how it unfolds, and her relationship with Matthew, are plumbed to more satisfying depths and you appreciate even more the badass she is.

"Career of Evil" takes a much darker turn in this fantastic series, both in tone and content, and certainly leaves you longing for more of Strike's and Robin's adventures.