Time for another round of Yvonne’s Shorties! This time around a psychological thriller and a YA fantasy read that both ended up being excellent stories.
“Lies are spindly, unwieldy things. Delicate filaments, like bundles of nerves in the body. Easy to twist, hard to control, impossible to keep hold of.”
After a surprisingly not that good first experience with her work last year, I’ve been wanting to give her books another chance. My TBR jar seemed to agree with that, and picked out 56 Days for me to read… It’s one of the first books I’ve read that include the new COVID reality, and in a way I’m glad that I waited before reading it until things slowed down a bit. Because the fact is: the beginning of COVID was scary. Nobody knew what was happening for sure or how much it was going to affect our lives, and I think that the author did a good job portraying this. Of course the COVID situation was very convenient for the plot as well, but I liked how the two were combined. 56 Days has multiple POVs and jumps back in time and between Oliver and Ciara as well as showing us the present where DI Leah Riordan investigates a suspicious death. You definitely have to pay attention to the chapter headers to understand how far back in time each chapter takes place, as the story is not told in chronological order… But if you do, you will find that this jumping back and forth in time helps build the suspense as well as the eventual plot twists. You realize early on that both Oliver and Ciara have something to hide, but what exactly will keep you guessing for a long time. Things are hinted at and I did suspect some things, but the biggest twists came as a surprise so I call that a win. I also appreciated the switch between a more psychological thriller vibe and a typical detective investigation, as the two complemented each other. In short, while a bit overlong, my second experience with Catherine Ryan Howard‘s writing was definitely a successful one.
“Some people are repelled by darkness. Others are drawn to it, to the static crackle of power in a place. To the hum of magic, or the presence of the dead. They can see these forces staining the world like ink in water.”
It has become a tradition to start a book by one of my favorite authors each year on my birthday, and this year it was the turn of Victoria Schwab. With no pending backlist titles left, each new book published is a treasure and I’ve been waiting impatiently to read Gallant. And it definitely didn’t let me down! While there is no extensive plot and not that much is happening most of the time, this story still swept me away and took me on a magical journey. The writing is lush and simply glorious, and I couldn’t stop devouring page after page; simply enjoying the sentences without worrying about not having a more substantial plot. I understand why some people could feel underwhelmed by this story, because it depends on how you react to the writing and characters, but for me personally it was a big success. Olivia is an intriguing character and I enjoyed learning more about her parents and Gallant through her eyes… The omnious world of the Priors and Gallant maybe could have done with a bit more development, but in a way the mystery and lack of information around it all makes it even more alluring. Gallant definitely has that gothic horror vibe, and mixed with the paranormal elements and lush writing it ended up being one of her stronger stories for me.