Pubblicato in: Book preview

The electric heir by Victoria Lee ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 17th 2020 by Skyscape

The electric heir is the sequel of the brilliant and amazing The fever king in the Feverwake duology.

SPOILERS AHEAD

TW

https://victorialeewrites.com/2019/10…

PLOT

The electric heir starts six months after the ending of The Fever King. After Noam helped overthrow the goverment of Carolinia, the Atlantians became citizens and Lehrer chancellor.

But Noam remembers everything Lehrer did, with the magic, to Dara and he’s ready to do anything to bring him down, even playing the double agent, tricking Lehrer to think he’s on his side. When Dara, who Noam thought dead, returns to Carolinia, without his magic, stripped away by the same vaccine it saved his life, both of them are forced to play a dangerous game to bring Lehrer to justice and save their country.

And themselves.

MY THOUGHTS

This book is raw and brutal and so hard to read. Victoria Lee poured her heart in this duology, talking about suffering, abuse and survivors. It’s a book about survivors and surviving.
Dara and Noam’s abuser is charismatic and powerful, persuasive and sick and it was so painful to read how Noam struggled to see what is happening to him as an abuse, as a violence.

He’s so manipulate by Lehrer, so involved into this big game he has trouble realizing he’s a victim. Both Noam and Dara fight to recover and call things by their name, during the book and after.
It was hard to read both of them feeling shame and guilt and blaming theirselves for others’ sins and I love how Ames was such an amazing friend, ready to open their eyes and pushing them to see the truth.

In The electric heir Lehrer’s policy is still brutal and Noam and Dara chose to fight with the Black Magnolia, a rebellion movement, looking for a way to kill an immortal human being, while Lehrer continued his power climbing, using the IV teenager as weapons, Noam included.

Noam found himself playing a double role, a spy for the resistance, living with Lehrer, faking it to be still under his persuasion (the Faraday cage helped him to protect himself and to remember everything Lehrer did to Carolinia, the virus and to Dara) and aiding the resistance.


It was hard to think about how was hurt and manipulated by Lehrer, how twisted Lehrer’s mind could be, forcing Noam into a parody of a couple, when Noam is seventeen and under his power. It was difficult to read, too, when Dara confessed to Ames that Lehrer first and then Ames’ father raped him, when he still thought and yearned for Lehrer’s affection, before he realized the truth.
Reading about Noam trapped in this big scheme was absolutely chilling, how determined he was, despite the dangers how being there with Lehrer, to destroy him, to find a solution against him, to avenge Dara.

In The electric heir we have two POVs, reading Dara’s for the first time. I loved his POV’s, it was brilliant and interesting reading about his thoughts and feelings.
Like in The fever king, Victoria Lee’s writing style is intense and powerful, so captivating I could feel Dara’s anxiety, his feeling powerless without his power, forced to hiding because Lehrer was looking for him and his being worried for Noam.

The relationship between Noam and Dara is incredibly complex in The electric heir. They are both victim, both struggling with the notion of abuse and powerlessness. I loved how Dara decided, thanks to the QZ, to stop drinking and I was so anguished to read how him and Ames were so self-destructive, trying to feel the hollowness and pain with booze, drugs and sex.
In Dara’s and Noam’s relationship there is hurt, betrayal, resentment and so much love and affection. During the book they still want and love each other and Dara hated seeing Noam with Lehrer, so in danger to be hurt, raped or killed. Reading about Dara and Noam being raped and hit was so awful.

I felt so involved, my heart was beating so fast, screaming against the brutality, the unfairness.
It was painful reading how both Dara and Noam thought they wanted to have sex with Lehrer, to consent to that, craving for his attention, manipulated by him.


Before meeting Dara again at the gala, Noam felt guilty because he abandoned him and he spent six months thinking he was dead. His pain, his guilt and anguish were incredibly written. He got close to Lehrer for this reason, too and only after talking with Dara, Noam realized Lehrer had his eyes on him since the beginning.

It was awful, heartbreaking to read how Noam was stressed and tense, refusing to have sex with Lehrer, starting to realized their relationship, since Dara is back. Difficult to read his denial, almost until the end, when Lehrer almost killed him because he refused him.

I really loved this book, it was a difficult read because it’s impossible not to love these characters (Except Lehrer, even though he is a complex character and not the usual flat villain of the story).

I loved the way the author talked about surviving and survivors, calling things by their names, talking about rape. Both Noam and Dara are survivors and they experience lots of feelings, like shame, guilt, powerlessness, denial. The reader is able to follow them struggling with their feelings and, above all Noam, realizing what is happening to them.

Both Dara and Noam are abused by the same man, Lehrer, but they experience and react to the abuse in a different way. Dara was abused, physically, sexually, psychologically by his adoptive father, while Noam was involved, coerced, manipulated into an abusive relationship, a parody of a couple. Dara reacts in a self-destructive way, drinking, partying, having sex with strangers, Noam, at least in the beginning, can’t see or don’t want to realize what is happening to him as an abuse.

Both of them has to come to term with their abuse, they went through hell, feeling shame, guilt and powerlessness, and it was great and moving reading about their friends, new and old, supporting and helping them. I loved Ames, Bethany and Taye (I’d love more Taye scenes since he’s really cool), their friendships, their wanting to protect each other.

THE WRITING


This book made my heart beat faster in more than one occasion, I have to say. Victoria Lee’s writing style is powerful and intense. Her characters are complex, real, authentic and the story is gripping and it leave you bleeding, in a very good way. They are brimming with life, anger, love, hope, rage and reading about them being hurt and scared was a punch in the gut.


I was so involved, I felt everything. I was scared, I was angry, I felt Noam’s and Dara’s pain, shame, love, guilt, hope, rage.
It was emotional, raw and it wrecked me completely.
I was so captivated, so caught in the story I couldn’t stop reading and hoping for the best. It’s full of angst, revelations, truths and plot twists and I absolutely loved the final chapter, when everything comes to an end in a perfect way.

It’s not saying they will never have nightmares and traumas, but it’s saying it’s possible to heal and move on. I loved seeing Dara and Noam together after all the things they have been through, living together, helping each other through the bad times, Dara cooking and showing Noam the constellations.
Beautiful book, raw, painful and so necessary.

I don’t think I will stop freaking out about this book, because I’ve been obsessed about it for months, since October. And about The Fever king since March, so…TOMORROW IS THE BIG DAY! The electric heir will come out to the world and you shouldn’t miss this amazing and intense book!

https://www.bookdepository.com/Electric-Heir-Victoria-Lee/9781542005081

Pubblicato in: Book preview

Docile by K.M. Szpara ARC review

480 pages

Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Tor.com

SPOILERS AHEAD

There is no consent under capitalism

TW: rape, dubious consent, sexual harassment, drugs, forced drugging, attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts, violence, torture, bdsm

PLOT

In a dystopic society, thanks to the Next of Kin law, people inherit their parents’ debts (if they are married) and they are forced to interact with the Office of Debt Resolution and sell themselves to work their debts. The ODR works with the Dociline, a drug that “helps” debtors to be docile and compliant while working and to erase their memory when under the drug. The Bishops invented the Dociline and the whole debtors’ system use it. In a world where the consent is “optional” and where trillionaires control, through Dociline and the ODR, the life of others, Elisha and Alex struggle to be themself and maintain their soul.

Elisha Wilder’s family is ruined by debt and his mother is under a Dociline state after spending 10 years paying part of her debts. To save his thirteen years old sister from the ODR, from selling herself (usually trillionaries seeks Dociles for sex), Elisha tricks his parents and he registers himself to the ODR, hoping to choose a kind Patron and a short term.

Alexander Bishop the Third works for his family company and he’s forced by his father and the Board to look for a Docile, since he pushed away their choice for him. After refusing the choices prescreened by his father and the Board, Alex is attracted by Elisha and decides to be his Patron, offering him a monthly salary for his family and a full life term. Alex feels the pressure of the society, of his father and his role as CEO and the creation of a new version of Dociline, that he wants to test on Elisha. But when Elisha uses one of the seven Docile rights, refusing to take the drug, Alex is put in a difficult position and he’s forced to show his father, the Board and his influential friends he can train an off-med Docile.

They begin, this way, a complex relationship, where Alex enforces rules upon rules on Elisha, telling him how, when and where to stand and sit, not to ask questions, not to be curious, how to dress, how to eat, molding him into a perfect Docile. And disciplining him with cruel punishments, like putting his knees on rice, when he misbehaves. Slowly, forced to obey because he fears Alex could stop paying his family the salary decided in the contract, Elisha lets him changing him, shaping him into a perfect Docile, making him taking cooking, piano, language lessons and so on.

Bit by bit, in six months, Alex erases his personality, his being Elisha, until Elisha can’t function by himself anymore, doesn’t how how to act or sit or dress and only wants only to please Alex, to make him happy, Elisha suffers from a kind of Stockholm Syndrome.

But Alex’s plan to change Elisha goes both way. When a cruel incident forces him to realize he’s falling in love with him and that he’s hurting him, Alex’s only choice is to get Elisha far away from him, to save him, to let him heal with his family and friends.

But at this stage, their relationship, their bond is too strong and complex. Their feelings, their heartstrings and the consequences of their actions get Alex’s company, his friends, his convictions involved, changing his perception of his world and reality.

Abused, changed and broken Elisha is forced to slowly heal himself, to live his life without Alex, forcing to accept the truth about their relationship, while fighting against a trillionaire system that wants to hurt him and his family, his feelings for Alex and how to be his own person again. Raw and moving is realizing how Elisha was so deep in their relationship, so coerced and controlled he couldn’t recognize the abuse.

Important in the life of Elisha and Alex are the Empower Maryland, an organization that helps poor people, assisting them, providing food and clothes, tutors and school, that fights against the Docile and debtors’ system. They contacts Elisha, when he becomes Alex’s Docile, to help them fight the Bishops’s Dociline. And then, when Alex’s family files a lawsuit against Elisha and his family, they helped him fight and get better.

MY THOUGHTS

Docile is a book full of intense and incredibly complex characters, written skillfully and set in a dystopian society. It’s a story about abuse, power, love, need and desire. Told by two POVs, Elisha’s and Alex’s Docile follows their relationship, how they change and grow up. It’s a book about relationships, how to be true to himself, how to maintain his own personality in a world where debts and need want to change you.

Elisa is one of the most relisient and stubborn characters I’ve ever read. He loves deeply and it’s his love for his family that pushes him to sign the contract with Alex. It’s chilling getting to know him and his personality and seeing it being chipped away by Alex’s rules and impositions.
Elisha is forced by need and fear for his family to sign his contract with Alex and even though there is an undeniable attraction between them, his relationship with Alex is not consensual. He’s expected to have sex with him, he loses his virginity with Alex the first night, to satisfy his desires, sexual or not.

In Elisha’s society Dociles are seen like things and in the upper class society, the trillionaire’s one, with Alex’s friends like Mariah and Dutch, they are sexual doll. During one of the first society events Elisha is raped by Dutch and drugged to have sex with another Docile, and that was completely normal for them.

That Alex has feelings for Elisha, that he cares for him, more that he should have (according to the society’s way), is right away seen as weird, dangerous, not socially acceptable. Elisha is forced to be Alex’s perfect Docile, dressed like Alex says, doing whatever he wanted him to do. Elisha slowly changes, until his family, above all his father, can’t recognize him anymore, can’t believe he’s his own person.
It is moving and awful reading how Elisha loses himself and struggles with rules and feelings, not knowing what he did wrong or how to function without Alex.

When Alex realized how much he hurts Elisha and lets him go to his family, Elisha’s world is destroyed, without him and he has to go through a painful process of reasserting himself, learning again how to ask things, how to like things without Alex’s brainwashing. Reading about this was so raw and moving, how he was helped by the Empower Maryland, by his family and friends.

Alex’s character, as Elisha’s, is complex and intriguing. Pressured by his family, the whole city to prove the effectivness of Dociline, he’s torn between his growing feelings for Elisha and his loyalty to his father, Board and legacy.

For me, it wasn’t easy to see Alex as a villain in Docile. He was shaped by the world he lives in, Alex is the product of a society where Dociles are seen as things and where he, as Bishop, has to act and be a certain way.

But Alex’s action are not justified by his being grown up in a certain way. Throughout the whole book Alex is forced to open his eyes and recognize his mistakes and actions.

While reading Docile it’s impossible not to compare both of them, to see Alex as the villain and Elisha as the victim, the abuser and the abused, the rapist and the raped. But they are so much complex that that. In a game of seduction, love, violence and hurt, they move and they live in a society that shapes them and wants to mold them in certain ways.
Thanks to his relationship with Elisha, Alex begins to understand how his POV was biased, how his being rich and spoiled prevented him to see the truth, even when it regarded his closest friends. Jess and Dutch are Alex’s best friends, they work for the Bishop Labs and both of them were under Dociline, when kids.

Discovering Dutch’s and his Docile Onyx’s true nature and intentions was a surprise for me, so it was reading them helping Elisha get back on his own feet and forcing Alex to see what his family company did to debtors in general and Elisha and his mother in particular, pushing him to open his eyes and recognize his feeling and what he should do. Jess is another complex character, her expertise in Dociline helping Alex and Elisha, her friendship with them and Dylan sweet and sure.

THE RELATIONSHIPS

I love how the characters grow in this book. Alex, from rich and spoiled and blind to others’ suffering and feelings, becomes a more mature version of himself, deciding to free himself from his father’s and the company’s clutches and owning the truth about what he did to Elisha, how he hurt and broke him.
Reading how Alex sees that and at the same time that is ready to make amends, helping him and his mother, denouncing his family’s company was incredible.


Reading about Elisha’s depersonalization was awful and raw, so like reading his slow reasserting his own identity and personality, his indecision, his pain, his attempted suicide, his healing, helped by his family and friends. Every character is complex, flawed and utterly human in his faults, desires and needs. None of them is completely bad or good, but they are in the gray area of humanity, pushed and manipulated by a society and system that want to mold them, where debts create slaves and riches. Alex and Elisha change one other and, above all, Alex’s world and convictions are upturned.

The lawsuit was a brilliant way to force the characters to realize and talk about their own feelings and faults.
I love reading how Dutch tells the truths about Docile, how the trial showed the fault in the Docile’s system and the debtor’s reality, how Elisha decides to own his own truths, admitting to himself and other to have been raped and brainwashedand how Alex realizes his faults and tries to fix it, testing himself with drugs and trying to find an antidote for Elisha’s mother.
I was unbelievably proud when Elisha breaks up with Alex and they both realize it’s the right thing to do in that moment, because they need to heal and fix their relationship. I was proud of both of them owning their truths.
I love reading how Abby, Elisha’s sister is supportive and how Nora, Dylan’s mother and David, Elisha’s father are so close to him, even after the first fights because Elisha couldn’t realize he’s changed.
It was fun and interesting reading about the sex scenes, about the BDSM, about the poliamorous relationships.

I loved reading how Elisha and Alex change during the whole book, how they become different people, owning their own truths and faults. Their relationship is incredibly complex. Their love, born in a not consensual relationship, change both of them. Pushed Alex to realized how much he’s hurting Elisha and to letting him go to his family, understanding how, living with him, wouldn’t help. Elisha, after all he’s been through, still have feelings for Alex, strong ones.

After being so dependent in Alex, reading how Elisha reasserts himself, making his own decisions, asking his own questions, was absolutely amazing. So was reading how Alex owns his mistakes, his faults, his guilt, deciding to give Elisha space, to letting him heal, piece by piece. Their relationship change a lot throughout the book, from owner and owned, abuser and abused, from Elisha being dependent on Alex, to be his own person, again and starts a new relationship with him, without disparities, helping each other and seeing one other as how they really are, without pressures and social impositions.

I loved the ending. It was hopeful and sweet, social justice aside. I loved reading how both Elisha and Alex still have feeling for each other and they are willing to give each other space and time, while deciding to work together and be together.

QUOTES

“I want to be with you- want to be around you without the pressure”

“He kissed me again, and again, parting so slowly I feel dazed. Heady. Elisha leans his forehead against the base of my neck and I rest my chin on his head, the hood long fallen off. When he finally looks at me, he says “I’m not giving up on you, Alexander Bishop.” I don’t answer him, because I want him to feel like he can go on without me if he needs to. He’ll see me soon, anyway. We’re neighbours, now, and I think I promised to open a clinic with him. This isn’t a goodbye. It’s a beginning- one we’ve agreed on. Together.”

CONCLUSION

Docile left me breathless and full of things to say and write. I loved the plot, the characters, the themes. I loved Elisha and Alex and the ending left me so hopeful for them, showing how it’s possible to heal and starts love again even after awful experiences. How it’s important to be true to oneself and do the right thing, how it’s right to fight for what it’s right. Docile is a book with intense and skillfully written themes like abuse, power, consent and love. It’s raw, beautiful, heartbreaking and sexy. It’s impossible not to love Elisha and Alex.

Let me now what do you think! Will you read Docile? Are you excited as I am to have this book in your hands? Comment this post and share your thoughts.

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

ARC review

430 pages
Expected publication: TODAY! February 18th 2020 by Uproar Books, LLC

I received this book from netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD

I really loved reading Asperfell, this book is peculiar and the characters are intriguing and interesting.
Set in a world called Tiralaen, a sort of medioeval one, where magic is real and people who possessed it are called Mages, the story starts when the main character, Briony, is only eight years old. When the king is killed by his heir Elyan, a potent Mage, able to siphon other’s magic and use it, he’s condemned to walk through the Gate, a passage into another world and to be exiled in the Asperfell prison.


The Asperfell is an ancient prison, created hundreds of years ago, the only one capable to hold the Mages’ magic. With the king’s death and the new one’s growing paranoia about and violence against who possesses magic, the world of Tiralaen is turn upside down and where reigned violence, suspicion and deaths.

Briony’s life, a young and stubborn daughter from a prestigious and influential family is sheltered and she lived with her family, her sister Livia, parents and uncle in the capital, Iluviel, at the court, her days spent learning how to curtsy, to sew and to do the things women are supposed to learn. When she survived a bad illness, Briony and Livia are are sent away to their aunt. Kept safely away from the capital, where her parents and uncle advised their mad and violent king, Briony’s world is changed another time 10 years later, when soldiers accused her to be a Mage, bringing her to the capital and sentencing her to death. Helped to escape into the Asperfell world, Briony promised her friend Cyprias to bring back the only hope for her country: prince Elyan, sentenced there thirteen years ago.


Asperfell is not what she could have ever imagined, though and the prison, full of true criminals and of innocent people alike, is awash with secrets, about itself, Briony and the whole world too.

I loved reading about Briony. She’s such a strong and brave main character. Unlike her sister and the women of their time and world, Briony is wild, curious, brilliant and she refused to be a pretty wife or to gossip at court or to learn how to be a housewife, how to sew and so on. I admired her curiosity, her drive to know more about everything, her refusing to be passive and remissive. I liked her friendship with Cyprias’, her father’s spy and how she kept herself informed while with her aunt.

Briony is resilient. When she is saved and pushed in Asperfell her promise to save her kingdom and country is strong and even in a different and peculiar world, surrounded by dangers and criminals, she learned how to adapt and how to discover more about her power and the prison’s secrets. It was really interesting reading about all the kind of Mages and their magic, about Briony’s power, so peculiar. Her eagerness, her curiosity, her need to learn more about her magic, to compensate and balance from her being untrained collided with the person she’s sent to save and free, prince Elyan, who is rude, cynical and a really powerful Mage.

I love their interaction, how Briony is not a simpering subject and she stood her own ground against him, pushing him to not giving up hope for their freedom.
Elyan is a peculiar character, not the spoiled royal one could think he is. He’s rude and sarcastic and insufferable, irritating Briony with his attitude, but he’s a complex character, full of grief, pain and regret and, after being in that prison for so many years, his cynical side was brought forward. Briony’s eagerness and her scheming and plans overwhelmed him, crushing his reservations, or, at least, involving him into hoping for more. I really like their relationship, it’s really complex and not granted.


This book is full of interesting characters, like the Steward of Asperfell, Philomena and its Master Tiberius, Yralis, Phyra and Thaniel, who become Briony’s friends while she adapted and learned to care about her new home. I liked the riddles and mysteries of Asperfell and how some things were connected since the very beginning, with mulpiple twists and magical beings. It was really amazing learning everything about Briony’s world’s magic through her eyes and to follow her in her quest and journey.


Asperfell itself is an interesting place, where people learned to life, surrendering themselves to this exile, creating relationships and so on. It was peculiar reading about the Melancholy Revels, where past nobility is still grabbing at their illusion of power, even in prison and in exile. It was interesting reading about the power system, fueled by violence and power. I liked reading about Thaniel’s knights and the lower levels, too, the Sentinels and basically everything in this book.

In the author’s biography she says she wants “to smash the patriarchy one novel at a time, creating characters and worlds that inspire, empower and elevate women” and I have to say she’s done it really well with Asperfell.

The first book is amazing and Briony is an unconventional heroine, unconventional because as a woman, in her time, she did the opposite the world expected from her and it’s amazing and really inspiring.
I can’t wait to read more about her, Elyan, Phyra and the others and their journey towards home and country.

Let me know what do you think about my blog and reviews in the comment!

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Blog tour Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Welcome to my stop of the blog tour for Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel, Highfire, which comes out on January 28th!

A huge thanks to Milly Reid for my shiny copy of Highfire and to the publishers! I’m thrilled to be part of this blog tour!

Synopsis:

From the internationally bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series: Eoin Colfer’s first adult fantasy novel is a hilarious, high-octane adventure about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who’s been hiding out from the world – and potential torch-carrying mobs – in a Louisiana bayou . . . until his peaceful world’s turned upside down by a well-intentioned but wild Cajun tearaway and the crooked (and heavily armed) law officer who wants him dead.

Squib Moreau may be swamp-wild, but his intentions are (generally) good: he really wants to be a supportive son to his hard-working momma Elodie. But sometimes life gets in the way – like when Fake Daddy walked out on them leaving a ton of debt, or when crooked Constable Regence Hooke got to thinking pretty Elodie Moreau was just the gal for him…

An apprenticeship with the local moonshine runner, servicing the bayou, looks like the only way to pay off the family debts and maybe get Squib and his momma a place in town, far from Constable Hooke’s unwanted courtship and Fake Daddy’s reputation. Unfortunately for Squib, Hooke has his own eye on that very same stretch of bayou – and neither of them have taken into account the fire-breathing dragon hiding out in the Louisiana swamp…

For Squib Moreau, Regence Hooke and Vern, aka Lord Highfire of Highfire Eyrie, life is never going to be the same again

I’ve always been a fan of Eoin Colfer’s books, since I grew up with Artemis Fowl, so I was over the moon when Netgalley accepted my request for an earc and then when I was asked to be part of my first blog tour.

Told by three POVs (Vern’s, Squib’s and Hooke’s), Highfire is a very peculiar book, full of adventure, action and funny moments. Like in his other books, Colfer’s writing style is brilliant, full of sarcasm, jokes and foreshadowing.

“And as is so often the case, things would’ve turned out a whole lot better if the kid could’ve kept it in his pants.”

Highfire’s characters are brilliantly written and relatable. Squib is a fifteen years old, who finds himself involved in something bigger than he could have ever thought, running from a crooked cop, with a dragon as boss. His thoughts and inner monologue are hilarious and his character is multi-dimensional and realistic. Through his POV the reader can see how deeply he loves his mother, how loyal and stubborn he is. And unfortunate. He means well, even though he finds himself into trouble everytime.

His thoughts are consistent with his age, still able to believe in extraordinary things like a talking dragon and to accept this turn of events, without thinking himself crazy. Even though he’s in a difficult situation (his Momma works hard, he works three jobs, his Daddies left them in trouble), Squib is brilliant, sassy, sarcastic and able to see the world for what it is and act accordingly, but without losing his hopes and dreams.

Reading through Vern’s eyes, the reader is able to experience his loneliness, his depression. He remembers, melancholically, an Era when dragon were feared and he mourns his family, killed by humans, whom he distrusts and hates. Vern hides from them and their phones recording and weapons and from what would happen if they discover his existence. Convinced to be the last dragon alive, he would love to live peacefully watching TV cable and talking only with Waxman, his mogwai and oldest friend. But then Squib changes his entire existence.

Vern is funny, sarcastic and thoughtful. Even though he has fantasy characteristics, such as flying, hording riches, fire, Colfer created a new dragon, talking about his physical traits like his powerful sense of smell, the oil he needs to use his fire, his fat, his cells, the proprieties of his fluids and excrements, his penis and the importance and message of the balls if they are in or out. It was unbelievably funny ( and sometimes gross) reading about the physical characteristics of both dragon’s and mogwai’s anatomies.

Even though he is a dragon, a mystical creature, Vern is absolutely relatable and “humanized” with this thoughts and fears, his prejudices, his depression and blues and loneliness. I’ve never felt so close to a dragon before.

The third POV is Hooke’s, who is crooked, arrogant and psycothic. Sadist. From his background the reader learns he had a difficult childhood, with his parents, above all his father, but it’s impossible to feel sympathy for him, because Hooke is unrepentant. He’s cruel, greedy, patronizing, calling everyone “son”, feeling superior. In his thoughts and inner monologue it’s clear the influence of his father and the church. His lust for Elodie and hatred for Squib are very clear. It was interesting seeing his thoughts, because he’s the perfect villain in the story, ready to do anything to get what he wants. He represents, incarnates the cruel human Vern is hiding from, with his violence and plans to exploit or kill.

The relationship between Vern and Squib is one of the thing I loved the most in Highfire. Rocky and suspicious at first, slowly they get to know each other, until they are at ease with one other. Vern is cinical and bitter, but funny and Squib is sassy and brilliant, even though many didn’t know that. I really liked reading their banter. They would do (and do) anything for each other. It was fascinating reading how much they and their relationship grow throughout the book, until they become friends. Vern and Squib are captivating main characters, very intruing.

The side characters were brilliantly written, too. I liked a lot the relationship between Vern and Waxman, full of insults, witty and sarcastic banter and good-natured bickering. I liked how Squib listened to Waxman’s advices and thoughts, how he was an important friend in his life. Elodie Moreau and Bodi Irwin were amazing characters, both of them sassy and protective of Squib first and then of Vern, too. I’d loved to read more about them.

There are a lot of reference to music and TV shows in Highfire, from Flashdance (Vern really liked that movie, above all a particular scene), Game of Thrones (Vern DIDN’T like how the dragons were portayed), Lord of the Rings, Batman and so on.

I loved reading Highfire. I laughed so hard, I was moved by many moments and involved in the action. It was impossible not to love these characters, cheering for Squib and Vern, getting angry at Hooke, laughing at Vern bantering with Waxman, Squib and Bodi.

I really enjoyed reading Highfire, a very peculiar book, a mix between a comedy, a thriller, a noir with unforgettable characters, full of funny, moving and deep moments, able to captivate the reader since the first page into an emotional and brilliant rollercoaster.

Trigger warnings: suicide, attempted suicide, death, gore, mutilation, rape jokes, depression, kidnapping, drugs, weapons.

#Highfire           @JoFletcherBOoks                        @EoinColfer

Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Burn the dark Malus Domestica #1 by S.A. Hunt

Publication date: Today! 14 January 2020 https://www.amazon.com/Burn-Dark-Malus-Domestica-1-ebook/dp/B07QLHFZGB https://www.bookdepository.com/Burn-Dark-S-Hunt/9781250306425?ref=grid-view&qid=1579030128846&sr=1-4

I thank Netgalley and the publisher for this book, received in exchange of an honest review.

Robin Martine is not the usual girl. She’s an orphan, she can use swords and knives, she runs a Youtube channel, she travels around America recording her adventure in…witch killing. Robin is a witch hunter and the witches are not like Sabrina Spellman or any kind witches seen on television. They are cruel, they are known to siphon life to them through spells and sacrifices and they are immortal. They killed Robin’s mother, Annie, blaming her violent father. After being instituzionalized, because Robin spoke the truth about the witches and doctors made her believe she was crazy, filling her with medications and shock therapies, she’s rescued by a family friend, Heinrich. He reveals her the truth about witches and starts training her. Haunted by a green eyed monster, for years, Robin fights against supposed hallucinations and spells, while trying to do her job. The story is built with flashbacks and memories and starts when Robin comes back to Blackfield, in her old city. For Robin, coming back home means reconnecting with Joel, his old best friend and to know Kenway,with whom Robin right away get along, dragging both of her friends in her caotic and dangerous life and revenge. Her path crossed Wayne’s and his father, who they just moved in her old house. While she’s keen on getting her revenge on the Coven that killed her mother, Robin starts to understand she may have been underestimated the situation.

I really liked this book. Robin is a great main character, funny, determined, stubborn and keen on discovering the truth about her family, her mother, the creature that haunts her. She wants to kill the coven that murdered her mother, the dangerous Lazenbury. Joel is a fantastic and ironic best friend and I love her relationship with him and how she found someone in him and Kenway to rely on. Kenway is another amazing character. He’s a veteran, he went through hell and back and, like Robin, he’s full of memories and scars. I loved how Robin’s plot crossed with Wayne’s, the new kid. I like Wayne, a lot. The author did a fantastic job writing his character. Wayne lost his mother to cancer, his father went through a bad moment, drinking and, deciding to move from Chicago to a little city meant for him changing his whole life, school and friends, while still grieving for his mother. He’s a strong character, friendly, smart and I liked reading about he having new friends. He was forced to grow up faster when his father started to drink. I found really sweet his habit to put her mother’s wedding ring near his eye and see through it.

I love how important that ring became in the book., too. Leon, his father, a teacher, found himself involved in witches, monsters and spell, involving witch hunting, magic rings and creature from other dimensions. I liked reading about Robin’s mentor and savior, too, Heinrich, even though he’s less present in the book and I hope to read more about him in the sequel, because he seemed an interesting character. The book is captivating, full of twists and revelations and it kept me hooked until the end. It was amazing reading the multiple POVs, Robin’s, Joel’s, Wayne’s, Marylin’s and see through the “villains’ ” eyes too. I liked reading about witches, their powers and dryads, goddesses and so on. I’m really happy to have read this book and I can’t wait to know more about Robin’s story.