26 April 2017

Borrowed Books // Where I Realise I Need More Fantasy In My Life

Borrowed Books
Borrowed Books is a feature I started when I first began visiting the library again. I wanted to try and make sure I spoke about the books I borrowed and figured this was the feature to do it in. I normally review and say my thoughts on them. What makes it different from when I write my mini reviews in Bite Sized Books? Absolutely nothing, I just like to confuse folk. Anyway, these are the latest couple of books I’ve borrowed and loved because libraries are brilliant, you should go visit yours and see what you can find.

The Rook
Published: 1st August 2013
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Mystery
My Rating:
The body you are wearing used to be mine.

So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.
This was such a surprising read and I don't know what to say exactly to explain why. I’d had it on my radar for a little while and expected to enjoy it, but I wasn’t sure what to expect from it. I knew it was meant to be a Harry Potter spy top book but I was completely unprepared for what I got.

I couldn’t out this book down once I started. I was fully absorbed in the book and Myfanwy’s story as she tries to figure out who she was, who she is, and who on earth has it out for her. I loved the fact that there was a whole cast of characters and it was a complex world set in the modern day. I was continually trying to figure out who had wiped Myfanwy’s memory and who put her in her predicament. The fact I hadn’t a clue whodunnit until the end just demonstrates how well it was written. I suspected everyone!

I did have some gripes, I felt like the whole book was extra confusing and could have been made a touch clearer. But that may have been because I didn't figure things out until the end and once it got explained to me I felt like smacking my head and going 'duh'. The other thing is that Myfanwy should have figured out how to pronounce her name far sooner. Anyone that knows even a bit of Welsh names, as in able to correctly pronounce Welsh towns, would know how to say her name right. I wish that had been corrected immediately because I was saying it right in my mind but I knew that wasn’t how she was saying it. What a nightmare!

Apart from minor gripes I adored this book. I loved how intricate the world was and how it was written to be slightly hilarious and everything was a little weird and it totally worked for me. I loved the fact it kind of addressed the concept of nature vs nurture with the whole memory thing with the way Myfanwy’s personality changed completely with all her former memories removed she was a totally different person which leads you to question does that mean personality is formed by experience as much as being part of who you are? I just really liked what was done with this book. Now I need to try and get my library to get the second one.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
Published: 3rd September 2013
Source: Library
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
My Rating:
Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black.
This book has been on my radar for a very long time, essentially since I first began blogging. I was even more interested after reading The Darkest Part of the Forest because that book showed me she is a fantastic author yet still I didn’t pick this up. When I saw it at my local library I knew I had to commit and enjoy it. I realised it had been a good long while since I’d read any kind of vampire book so I knew this would feed my craving for the paranormal. I just wish I knew why I always wait to read books I know I’ll enjoy.

This book did an excellent job of being a love letter to the vampire genre without romanticising vampires too much. It was a sharp dose of reality about vampires a lot of the time and didn't fall into the Twilight trap. There were no sparkling vampires and gentle creatures feeding only on animals. All vampires were deadly, they were monsters and whilst folks romanticised them when they came face to face with them it was all very different. This is the book I'd want to give to teenage girls thinking of reading Twilight.

Tana has grown up in a world where vampires have become public knowledge. They accidentally revealed themselves and now the world must put up with them whilst trying to prevent the spread of the vampire infection. Coldtowns have emerged where vampires and those infected with vampirism are expected to seclude themselves and anyone is allowed to enter, but no one is allowed to leave. Tana ends up at a party where everyone is slaughtered by vampires and her, her ex boyfriend and a boy she has never met are forced to flee. She ends up going to a coldtown believing herself to be infected so it’s the only way to go

It is an excellent YA book but I'd expect no less from Holly Black. More importantly it's a good book outside of the YA genre. It hooked practically from the start and I was constantly thinking about reading. It reminded me that I don't read anywhere near enough vampire or paranormal books and that it's not hard to make me fall in love with secondary characters.

Have you read either of these? What did you think? I read two fantasy books from the library. What was the last book you borrowed?

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