Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye 2013

This year I had a fair few ambitions.  Write a lot and read a lot.

I succeeded.

I read over 30 books this year which was better than the target of 26 that I gave myself.  I discovered some amazing books this year.  These ones have to be my favourite:

Warm Bodies - Isaac Marion
Light - Michael Grant
Eve and Adam - Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Delirium - Lauren Oliver
Blood Red Road / Rebel Heart - Moira Young
Unearthly / Hallowed - Cynthia Hand
More Than This - Patrick Ness
Divergent / Insurgent / Allegiant - Veronica Roth

The absolute favourite winning my book of the year is 'Divergent' by Veronica Roth.  The film in 2014 better be good.  (It will never be good enough.)

Next year I'm looking forward to so many patient books on my shelf, one of which is 'The Fault in Our Stars' by John Green which I expect great things from.


Now on to the writing and editing side of my year which has been on fire!

I released two books this year.


'Gambling a Fairytale' the second book in my 'Immorality of Immortality trilogy'.
 http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Fairytale-The-Immorality-Immortality/dp/1481784137/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388338102&sr=8-1&keywords=gambling+a+fairytale


And 'ZA' my stand alone zombie novel.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ZA-Molly-Looby-ebook/dp/B00ENK4FO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1388338158&sr=8-1&keywords=ZA+molly+looby

I'm starting to create a real portfolio of books.  This year, as well as releasing two, I also wrote two.  One that is kinda about werewolves and another which is a tragic love story with a twist (what else but NaNo 2013.)  My grand total is now eight books in my four years of writing.

An ambition for next year is to reach ten books in five years and then I might slow down!

Oh yeah, I did some A'levels too.

And let's not forget that I was shortlisted for the Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award with my NaNo'12 novel 'I Dare You'!

And was also in the paper!

This year has been amazing.  But next year is going to be even better.  My loyal fans will enjoy the final instalment of the 'Immorality of Immortality trilogy', 'Chancing the Truth'.  And 'I Dare You' is also on my list for next year when I'll give it the love and attention it deserves.  

2014 is the year it's all going to happen.

Mark my words.


Molly Looby

Author at heart


molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Insurgent - Veronica Roth

This review may contain 'Divergent' spoilers.  Read at your own risk.


A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

Heading off to Amity headquarters with Tobias and Caleb, Tris knows one thing.
The Divergent are not safe.


My Review

'Insurgent' was so different from 'Divergent' but somehow it matched its brilliance.  The plot was extremely detailed and clever and I could hardly put it down.

Roth has an amazing talent and reading 'Insurgent' had bubbles of emotion filling me.  I felt everything Tris felt.  I can't even believe how attached I grew to Tris across the novel.

The new characters were as good as the old ones and their development was excellent.  Even knowing more about them, I still loved them.  Nothing seems to be able to put me off these characters.  I don't care what they do.  I'm committed.

In 'Divergent' we gain an understanding of Abnegation, Dauntless and Erudite, leaving Amity and Candor behind somewhat.  But don't worry about that.  'Insurgent' gives you a full understanding of all the factions which still even after reading 'Divergent', fascinated me.

A few lines in 'Insurgent' were phenomenal.  They stuck with me and rendered me speechless.  Just another one of Roth's talents.

I was left awed and gasping for the finale - 'Allegiant'.


Evaluation

Plot - 9/10 - didn't enjoy quite as much as 'Divergent'.

Way Plot Was Pursued - 10/10 - I wanted more info on the factions and I got it.

Characters - 10/10 - new and old all excellent.

Style - 10/10 - I can't praise Roth enough.

Pace - 9/10 - Although fast paced, at times you had to trek.


Would I recommend it? - Yes, of course.  All readers of 'Divergent' have to give 'Insurgent' a try.

Would I look up the author? - Yes, if there was anything for me to look up.


'Insurgent', though not as good as 'Divergent' was still a blast to read.


Molly Looby

Author / Reviewer / Blogger / Editor / Movellian / Wrimo / ZA Ready

Email me here about books, writing, zombies, vampires, werewolves, Movellas, NaNoWriMo, teen fiction and all of that awesome stuff: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Divergent - Veronica Roth

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

The world is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite.  The selflessness, the peaceful, the honest, the brave, the intelligent.  At the age of sixteen you are tested to see which faction you have an aptitude for.  And then at the Choosing Ceremony you must pick one and if you chose to leave your family your faction become your new family - faction before blood.

We follow our protagonist, Tris Prior, born of Abnegation.  But she's sure she isn't selfless enough for it.

The Choosing Ceremony is only the beginning.


My Review

'Divergent' had cropped up a lot in the teen fiction community over the past few months and after hearing about it I knew it was one I just had to read.  I knew it was going to be amazing, so amazing I would become obsessed, or it would be overrated.  Well, let's just say a few chapters in I looked up and said to whoever was in the room at the time "this is going to be awesome".

I wasn't wrong.

My first love of 'Divergent' was our protagonist, Tris.  She was so real to me, doing what anyone would do and making good decisions.  She worries about weakness as we all do and yet again on some level she still wants to be helped.  Her battle between being brave and being herself sucked me in and kept me reading.  I connected with her from the off and the simple voice Roth gives her makes you want to follow her to the end of the universe and not just to the end of the book.  Tris worries about the truly important.  She knows what it means to be selfless and she knows what it means to be brave.  She was my perfect heroine.

The other characters too, stole my heart.  They were round and full and so real.  But what shocked me most was that they were so very quickly, meaning they had plenty of time to develop across the novel.  They were all different and relatable for different reasons.  And they all had sound motives which teenage fiction is sometimes lacking in my opinion.  I loved the ones I hated but not as much as the ones I loved and that if nothing else, is the mark of incredible characters.  Roth paints real friendships with their ups and downs and sometimes the characters broke my heart.

The universe in itself with its five factions was so interesting.  I just wanted to know more, wanted to know everything.  (I suspect I would be in Erudite.)  The idea is great and I loved how different the factions were in ideals and personality.  And of course how even with this system, humanity will always mess it up.

Th pace was excellent.  I could hardly put it down from the first sentence and the action was perfect.  It was so easy to follow even thought it was fast paced and I always knew who was throwing the punches.


Evaluation

Plot Idea - 10/10 - five factions, different from anything I've ever read.

Way Plot Was Pursued - 10/10 - I can't imagine the story being told any differently.

Characters - 10/10 - Rounded.  Different.  Relatable.  Loveable.

Style - 10/10 - loved Roth's peppering of short sentences and Tris's narration.

Pace - 10/10 - not slow at all, couldn't put it down.


Would I recommend it? - Yes.  It's without a doubt the next big thing in teen fiction.

Would I look up the author? - Yes.  Or I would if this wasn't her debut.  I certainly would.


'Divergent' was everything I wanted in a story.  I can't fault it.  The only novel so far I've given perfect ten all round.


Molly Looby

Author / Reviewer / Editor / Writing Coach / Blogger / ZA Ready / Wrimo

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Unfed - Kirsty McKay

As usual, as this is a sequel, it will contain spoilers from the first book, 'Undead'.  But this review will not contain spoilers from this book, 'Unfed'.


A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

After surviving the zombie attack against all odds, thinking they are safe, Bobby, Alice, Pete and Smitty have to think again.  Bobby wakes up from a coma after the bus crash and is told that it's all over and the zombies were contained.
She knows it's too good to be true.


My Review

I was looking forward to reading this book as last summer I really enjoyed reading 'Undead'.  I couldn't put it down.  Unfortunately, 'Unfed' did not have the same effect on me.  Overall, I was thoroughly disappointed.  It felt repetitive, like I'd read it all before.

The plot in itself wasn't bad.  Like 'Undead' there were zombies and sticky situations.  But I was bored of it.  It didn't help that the characters irritated me - all of them - the entire way through.  I didn't care what happened to them and I didn't connect with them, new or old.  And thinking about it, there wasn't much character development and isn't that what sequels are best at?

Most irritating of all was our protagonist and narrator Bobby.  In 'Undead' the narration entertained me and made me laugh but this time it got old fast.  There are certain things you wouldn't joke about during a zombie Armageddon and it really stuck out when this was the case.  I didn't want to hear what little she mentioned of her family life because why should I give a damn?  There was nothing tying me to her as a character.  In fact, as the novel went on, she became more and more unrelatable

Another issue was that a lot of the time I had no idea what I was supposed to be picturing.  I would read the description again and again and still be none the wiser.  I really struggled to follow it at these points.

To top it all off, there were typos in it too.


Evaluation

Plot Idea - 8/10 - there were zombies in it, a good start.

Way Plot Was Pursued - 6/10 - was repetitive after 'Undead'

Characters - 5/10 - irritated me - a lot.

Style - 5/10 - narration seemed unrealistic, description at times impossible to follow.

Pace - 8/10 - Nothing, wrong with the pace but pulled back by the other issues.


Would I recommend it? - No.  This is one of those books that if someone asks, you tell the to read the first one but not bother past that.

Would I look up the author? - No.  This did it for me.  There are too many good books out there.


'Unfed' showed me that if you succeed once you can't get too comfortable.


Molly Looby

Author / Movellian / Reviewer / Editor / Blogger / Writing Coach / ZA Ready / Wrimo

Contact me about writing, reading, books, vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Friday, 6 December 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #7

So . . . it's finished.

80,421 words of it.  351 A5 pages.  35 days.

That's 10 A5 pages a day.  Roughly 2,300 words a day.  Yes, every day.  Every single day.

Still no title - but I haven't thought too hard about it yet.  I've got a list of possible titles in my notebook.  I'm going to think about it during editing.  Not right now.  Now it's time for a well deserved break.

I'm not going to lie, I'm extremely proud.  I haven't read it through yet so I have no idea about the pace or how it flows or if there's any irrelevant stuff hiding away where I can't see it.  All I know is that the ending came out perfect.

I haven't put the whole thing up yet but most of it is here if you fancy a read and the end is coming very soon:
http://www.movellas.com/book/read/201311081846376106-ice-flame-until-i-can-think-of-a-better-title

So now you will ALL be relieved to hear that my project is book three of The Immorality of Immortality Trilogy: Chancing the Truth which deserves a second draft more than anything.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about here are the links to book one - Playing with Reality, book two - Gambling a Fairytale and my Immorality of Immortality website and Facebook page.

PWR -  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Playing-With-Reality-Immorality-Immortality/dp/1467879584/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1386327496&sr=8-3&keywords=molly+looby  (Paperback)
             http://www.amazon.co.uk/Playing-Reality-The-Immorality-Immortality-ebook/dp/B007OC4K0I/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1 (Kindle)

GAF - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Fairytale-The-Immorality-Immortality/dp/1481784137/ref=sr_1_cc_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1386327569&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=molly+looby (Paperback)
          http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gambling-Fairytale-The-Immorality-Immortality-ebook/dp/B00BHX87CM/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1386327546&sr=1-3&keywords=molly+looby (Kindle)

IofI website - http://theimmoralityofimmortalitytrilogy.yolasite.com/

IofI Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/PlayingwithRealityBook

I love CTT and I can't wait to read it again.  (and again, and again, and again unfortunately).  It should be interesting as I have no idea what I'm going to think about it after all this time.  I'm getting my ruthless head on and am going to have to be no nonsense about it.

It should be shiny and ready at some point in 2014.  For now that's all I can estimate as I have no idea of how much needs sorting yet.

But for the rest of the week at least I'm just going to sit back and read my reward: Allegiant by Veronica Roth.  (It so won't take me all week!  And yes, I know it's Friday.)

Don't worry, I know I've got loads of book reviews to do - five to be exact - well they're coming.  They are.  Promise.

So I'll leave you with the last quotes from NaNoWriMo 2013:

Ash - "Against all odds, we fit together: Shard and Flare.  In the most incredible moment of my life."

Cerulean - "We were dangerous together."

Cerulean - "It isn't right . . . But that's what we're best at right?"

Ash - "I just . . . I can't seem to say no to you."

Ash - "So no mater how dangerous and wrong I was, he was too."

Ash - "This was it.  The real deal.  Because without him there was no me.  Not anymore."

Ash - "It's us against the world.  And I prefer that much better to you against me."

Cerulean - "We're a tragedy aren't we?"

Ash - "Because if this was how it was going to end, what had been the point?"


Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Movellian / Editor / Reviewer / Blogger / Writing coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about writing, reading, being an author, NaNoWriMo, Movellas, zombies, werewolves, vampires and anything else that's awesome here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Thursday, 28 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #6

Sorry it's been a while but I've been so busy writing!  I reached 50,000 words on day 22 and I haven't stopped.  I can't!  I've got a book to finish!

Current word count stands at 64,117.

And I'm still going.

Again, since the last blog post I've been enjoying the online company of Movellains who are always there to push you forward.

I have nothing more to add as I'm so busy trying to keep up with my novel and all the other stuff that's piling up.  Including books to read.  Oh yeah, I've just discovered Goodreads.  And I was in the paper today!


Please pardon the pun.  It's killing me.

So I'm going to sign off and keep on writing.  See you when I'm done.  Wish me luck.

I'll leave you with the latest quotes.

Ash - "with Cerulean I could look at my worst and it didn't matter.  He'd hate me just the same whatever I looked like.  There was something liberating about that.  There was something wonderful about that."

Cerulean - "Life is complicated, isn't it?"

Cerulean - "It really is something, feeling so alive you could burst with it."

Cerulean - "It wasn't that I was scared; it was more that I was terrified.  But that good kind of terrified.  The kind that brought a thrill.  The thrills that people lived for."

And the link to my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel on Movellas - well most of it.

Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Movellian / Editor / Reviewer / Blogger / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about writing, reading, NaNoWriMo, Movellas, zombies and everything awesome here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Saturday, 16 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #5

So two weeks in.  I was right before.  Week two was good to me.  I speak to you now five days ahead of the target with 35,000 words under my belt.  It's getting easier every day to sit down and  write 2,000 words.  According to the NaNoWriMo website I am going to finish and reach 50,000 on the 24th of November which is fine by me.

Other than that things are going great, there's really not that much to say, other than this week I've really enjoyed the encouragement I've found on Movellas once again.  The community of WriMos is so friendly and ready to lend a hand and an encouraging word whenever you need it.  I couldn't ask for a better writing community to turn to.

So for any of you interested, here's a link to what I've written so far.  Or should I say, what I've found time to put on Movellas so far.  I think about half is on there at the moment but I try and put two chapters on a day so it grows every day:

http://www.movellas.com/en/book/read/201311081846376106-ice-flame-until-i-can-think-of-a-better-title

As I'm feeling pretty good about this novel right about now it's time for another insight!  This time I'm going to clue you in about the main characters.

The novel has two narrators, Ash Sauna and Cerulean Thistle.  They alternate chapters and lead very opposite lives.

They are both in training in the Training Centre (which is kind of like university but much more practical and useful)

Ash lives on campus and has taken Sport, she wishes to be a personal trainer.  She lives on the fifth floor of one of the apartment buildings opposite Solar, who is a close friend of hers.  She's energetic and fun but can also be selfish and impulsive.  She means well and is caring but she has a short temper.  At the start of the novel we find Ash with her best friend Ember at a party.  Ash has her life exactly how she wanted and planned it to be and she's in a pretty good place in her life.

Cerulean lives off campus in his family home with his mother and younger sister, Skye.  Cerulean has taken Scientific with the dream of becoming a neurologist.  He's intelligent and ambitious but can also be a little cold and only gets close to a few people.  He has only one friend, Azure, who he's known for as long as he can remember.  At the start of the novel we find Cerulean asleep, soon to be awoke by his twelve year old sister who had a bad dream.  Cerulean's life as he knew it has recently fallen down around him and he's just happy to get through each day at a time.

So they're my protagonists and at first I was a little concerned about both of them as I wasn't that fond of them.  But they're both flawed and real and after I'd started telling their story I fell in love with them faults and all.  So what Cerulean's not a great socialiser and Ash's too daring for her own good?  It only makes me love them more.

I'll sign off again with my favourite quotes since the last blog post.

This is one I found from week one that forgot to include: Cerulean - "I couldn't see a way this was going to get any better.  Things could get worse of course.  Things always got worse.  But better?  Nah.  Better was a fairytale.  Better wasn't going to happen."

Now these are from week two:

Ash - "Everyone is always afraid.  All I have to do is figure out what it is exactly that frightens you."

Solar - "But it's a dangerous game, Ash.  If I were you, I'd quit right now."

Ash - "I was more comfortable with this boy that I hated than I had been with the one Id loved all that time ago."

If I keep on going like this, in eight days I'll be at 50,000 words.  See you there.

Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Movellian / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me here for all things writing and reading and everything! molly.looby@hotmail.com

Friday, 8 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #4

Today I feel confident.  Today is the first day I have felt like I can do this.  After the pep talk that made it clear that discipline was more important than inspiration, I've been so determined.  For the two hours this morning my internet was turned off (mostly) and I made myself sit still and just get words on paper.  And I've already done my words for today.  Today the words have come easier than any of the other days so far.  Maybe for me the weeks have been reversed.  Week one is supposed to be easier than week two but it seems that already week two is treating me right.  Good for you, week two.

I hit 15,000 words and feel pretty good about it.  My word count as of this second is: 16,582.  For those of you who don't take part in this crazy task by the eighth you should have reached 13,333 words to be on track for 50,000 by the end of November 30th.  I'm only 84 words away from being two days ahead!

So in celebration of my current success I'm going to tell you a little about my story!  I know!  I've never really done that before!  I'm a little frightened.  Well . . . here we go.

This novel takes place in a universe that isn't our own.  The characters are human for all intents and purposes but with one major difference.  They are split into two races.

The Shards.

The Flares.

So this is essentially my old idea of fire and ice back when I thought about 'Phoenix Feathers'.  And for those of you who haven't read my blog post on that, it was my first ever novel idea, a few months before my first novel I actually wrote, 'Mattie'.  So in 'Phoenix Feathers' these girls could turn into phoenixes and their natural enemies were the ice dragons.  I only wrote one chapter.

Two years later, I picked up the idea, liking the opposite nature of fire and ice and wanting to write about them again.  Different characters, different plot.  They could still turn into these things but it was more about the fact they hated each other.  I wrote about eight chapters I think.

So now, two years again - I think - and the idea has changed.  This time the characters are the same as the second attempt but now they can't turn into dragons or phoenixes, they just hate each other.  And now there are no normal humans in the universe, just Shards and Flames (because they're much cooler names than fire or ice)

Explaining that to you is actually encouraging as it shows me how much the idea has grown which is an exceptionally good sign as 'I Dare You' went through a similar process and is without a doubt the best thing I've ever written (in my opinion).

I think that's about it for now.  I don't want to give stuff away too fast.  Instead, here are my favourite quotes of the week (today included).

Ash - "My favourite part about living alone was that I didn't feel as though I had to withhold that wild side of myself for the benefit of the group."

Cerulean - "I'd never thought about my first kiss much before.  But I never anticipated I wouldn't have wanted it to happen."

Ember - "And then we all lived happily ever after, what's your point?"

Azure - "I just always assumed we'd just ignore each other and then die peacefully in our sleep."

Bring on week two.

Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Movellian / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about all the writing stuff and whatnot here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Monday, 4 November 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #3

Although this is my third NaNoWriMo post, this is the first one during NaNoWriMo.  It has begun.

I was in Spain during the 1st and the 2nd of November and found it surprisingly stress-free to hand write my words for each day.  I hit my target of 2,000 (I need those extra 300-400 words a day to keep away from the exact word count.  I have to be ahead!) both days without much hassle.  My friend helped me work out where was best to start and then I was off.

Counting it up at the end of each page so I didn't have to do it all in one go though, was very irritating.

The real challenge was yesterday, the 3rd.  I arrived home late on the 2nd and unpacked everything but that was just the very beginning of my list of stuff to do.  I read three books on holiday meaning I had three more reviews to write (which I still haven't done - they're coming, just slowly, it is WriMo after all) to add to the two that are still unwritten from before I left.  So now my reviews to write are totalling five - the most I've had to write since I decided to do them.  I also read through the beginning of the novel I finished in October and have a few changes to make to it before the big print out.  I had to put my holiday photos on my laptop and send them to my friend.  I had to sort out my word count on NaNoWriMo.org.

I had to write this blog post.  I wanted to track my progress so that's what I'm going to do.

I had to write up my words from holiday.  (This is coming along in bits and pieces which makes it even worse trying to work out my word count).

I had to do my words for that day.  And today I have to do my words for the 4th.

It's strange how I thought this year would be easiest.  Last year I had work on Friday nights, Sixth Form on the weekdays and tons of homework to do in my spare time and I still got it done.  This year I've got none of that going on.  I go to the lovely writing community - Movellas www.movellas.com - where I intern on Tuesdays and Thursdays but that's it.  And there I write a lot on my train journey into London.

This shouldn't be so hard.

I think it's getting into the swing of things that's the trouble here.  Being in Spain and having some stuff to sort out now I'm back means I haven't had a very good writing routine.

But I am a very driven person.  I would go as far as saying I'm scared of failure.  So that means I will write 2,000 words every day regardless.  Because I will not admit defeat.

I'm coming to get you, Wrimo.

Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Saturday, 19 October 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #2

So November's coming up fast.  Not long now.

You'll be pleased to know my novel idea is growing by the day and I couldn't be more excited about bringing the characters to life.

That's not why I'm posting today.  Today I'm sharing my fundraising page so I can help NaNoWriMo reach it's goal so it can stay for years and years and years.  I couldn't imagine November without NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is an amazing cause helping thousands of writers to discover their potential every year.  NaNoWriMo helps me grow as a writer more than the rest of the year as I'm forced to do nothing but write.  It also helps me remember how much I love my craft.

So please give to NaNoWriMo and help thousands of writers realise their dreams:

www.stayclassy.org/nanomollylooby

Thank you,

Molly Looby

Author / Wrimo / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA ready

Have any of your own NaNo stories?  I'd love to hear them.  I'm simply mollylooby on NaNoWriMo.org or contact me here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The House We Grew Up In - Lisa Jewell

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

'The House We Grew Up In' follows the Bird family through their very different, very separate lives.  But when they were children they were so very close.  Until one Easter Day when disaster changes their lives forever.

'The House We Grew Up In' follows the characters from their childhoods until their adulthoods, switching from the past to the present to show the reader how everything has come together to bring them all back to the Bird House, the house they grew up in.


My Review

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't that it didn't sound good.  Everyone around me was telling me it was brilliant.  It was because I couldn't remember the last chick lit book I read.  (A check of the bookshelf confirms it was Cecelia Ahern's 'PS, I Love You' which I must of read in '10 or '11).  I'm not a huge fan of chick lit.  Too much pink, too many housewives.  Too predictable.  That's probably because I'm a reader of YA books which contain none of this.  So it takes a really special chick lit book to impress me.  And my god did this book impress me.

I loved the backwards and forwards from the past to the present.  The way we discover things about the family is perfect.  Every chapter we learn something new and understand their situation a little more.  The information is fed to us in such a way that we're always asking for more, but never bored because we've been given too little.

I also enjoyed that we got an insight into all the characters' thoughts and feelings.  As we follow the whole family, it's difficult to say who really is the protagonist of this story.  As the novel continues you feel more and more attached to the characters and end up wishing their lives had gone differently.

There was a lot going on in this novel and for that I was glad.  Each character had their own sub plot within the main plot of the book and I loved hearing about all of them.  I didn't find one sub plot to be tedious or boring, they each added to the story in their own way.

Because of the jumps between narrators, chronology and the way it was all put together, what more can I say but that this book was expertly crafted.


Evaluation

Plot Idea - 5/10 - I didn't expect the family's problems to be as intense as they truly were.

Way Plot Was Pursued - 7/10 - I loved the narrative and chronology jumps.

Characters - 6/10 - I liked them and cared for them but felt distanced by the style at times.

Style - 6/10 - I was immersed into the story but sometimes it felt a bit too reported.

Pace - 8/10 - the story moved on quickly as there was so much to cover.


Would I recommend it? - Yes.  More to women than men.

Would I look up the author? - No.  But I have been given another of Jewell's novels which I plan on reading once my 'to read' pile has decreased a bit.  Although this will not be this year!


'The House We Grew Up In' surprised me and reminded me to not always stick with what you know and try out new styles and genres every once in a while.


Anyone else been reading a new genre recently?  Let me know!

Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Reviewer / Editor / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about writing, books, vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Thursday, 3 October 2013

NaNoWriMo 2013 Post #1

I never do a chatty blog so what better time to start than the run up to NaNoWriMo 13.  I think I can honestly say that this year I'm more excited about NaNoWriMo than ever before.  In 2011 - which was my first year - I was just petrified the entire time.  In 2012 I was blind to anything else but my forming novel.  This year I'm filled with anticipation.  Maybe it's because I'm rushing to finish the novel I'm currently writing!  God knows if I'll finish it in time.

This year I'm going to write a story that's been in my head close to five years now.  It's gone through many changes since then (plot, characters, genre) but I've never been able to just drop it like other half formed ideas.  I would try and explain the plot to you here but I'll just get carried away.  Also, I want to save some stuff for November.  I'm planning to track my journey as it happens.

NaNoWriMo is the perfect time to procrastinate.

So for those of you WriMos out there, I don't have any buddies on NaNoWriMo.org which is really sad.  I'd love to chat to my fellow WriMos so feel free to add me.  My username is simply: MollyLooby
I'm the one who's written ZA (2011) I Dare You (2012) and my 2013 novel is called Ice Flame - for now.  I have a feeling I'll change it.

So don't be shy!  I'd love to hear your NaNoWriMo tales!

Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / ZA ready

Contact me about writing, reading, NaNoWriMo!, vampires, werewolves, zombies and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Friday, 27 September 2013

More Than This - Patrick Ness

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book
A boy drowns.  He dies.  And then he wakes up.
My Review
I adored ‘More Than This’.  If ever there was a book to make you think, this is it.
You are immediately thrust into ‘More Than This’, Ness escaping that awkward getting to know what’s going on phase and plunging the reader straight into the action.  I loved how anonymous ‘the boy’ was, the possibility that it could be anyone.  The realisation that it didn’t matter who he was.  I was amazed that even though I knew almost nothing about the boy, I could still care about him as a character. 
The scattering of memories across the novel is extremely effective as it allows us to never know too much or too little.  Not to mention that the memories are always relevant and always add something to the story immediately.  But what more had I expected from the creator of the phenomenal ‘Chaos Walking’ trilogy?
As the novel continued, I read at any given opportunity just so I could find out more about the boy and this place he’d woken up in.  I had to know more.  There’s an air of mystery surrounding ‘More Than This’ which just further adds to the feeling that you need to keep turning the pages and ask ‘What’s next?  What’s next?’.  This makes it near impossible to put down.
Ness creates an unnerving atmosphere that made me huddle close to the pages and fully immerse myself there.  At times I was blown away by the beautiful description and the way he phrases certain things to really make you stop and think.  Interesting observations of human thoughts and behaviours grow deeper and deeper as you read the novel until you feel cleansed by its conclusion.
As always, I was awestruck by Ness’s pace.  I know of no other writer who uses a dash to such monumental effect.  The chapters are short, making it so easy to pick up and yet impossible to put down.  At times I felt my heart pounding as I was reading as though I was there.  The pace was perfect.
The only possible criticism I could have for ‘More Than This’ is that I felt one too many adverbs were used.  This is because they jump out at me on the page because of my hatred for them and I didn’t think they were all needed.
Evaluation
Plot Idea - 10/10 - Waking up from death is always a fascinating concept.
Way Plot Was Pursued - 10/10 - I never expected where 'More Than This' went.  It shocked me multiple times.
Characters - 10/10 - Perfectly rounded and loveable.  Ness's characters always feel real.
Style - 9/10 - I love Ness's style, I had to mark it down one for the adverbs though.
Pace - 10/10 - Always the perfect pace.
Would I recommend it? - Yes.  Unlike most books, I will recommend this book to everyone, everywhere.
Would I look up the author? - Yes, although I really don't have to.  If you haven't read Ness's 'Chaos Walking' trilogy - you should.
Patrick Ness truly is the master of his craft.

Is there an author you're just crazy about?  Let me know.
Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Reviewer / Editor / Writing Coach / ZA Ready
Contact me about writing, books, vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Hallowed - Cynthia Hand

'Hallowed' is the second in a trilogy, 'Unearthly' being book number one.  I read them back to back but I've just about managed to separate them in my head.  If you want to read 'Unearthly' you might not want to read this review as I may spoil parts of 'Unearthly for you.  But not 'Hallowed', with that you're safe.  Feel free to read my post on 'Unearthly': http://www.fangsclawsandwings.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/unearthly-cynthia-hand.html


A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

After not fulfilling her purpose, Clara is on edge, waiting for the repercussions.  But more concerning than waiting to see how it all turns out are the new visions Clara's been having.  But her purpose was over, right?  This could just be a dream.  Something tells her it isn't.


My Review

Everything I loved about 'Unearthly' I loved about 'Hallowed', maybe even more so as I didn't have to get to know any places or characters as I was more than familiar with them to start with as I'd only just put 'Unearthly' down when I picked up 'Hallowed'.

I'm afraid I don't have much to say as this was such a breath-taking sequel.  I hate that I can't fault it but I really can't.  I just devoured it in a day.  Yes, a day.  Well, not twenty-four hours.  It was more like ten, give or take.  All four-hundred pages of it.  I'm telling you, I hardly looked up.  I couldn't, I didn't want to.

Clara as a protagonist, continued to please me.  She didn't do the pathetic 'woe-is-me' thing that is far too common.  She also made very good decisions, again, unlike many teenage fiction protagonists.  She did what anyone would do.

I was so immersed in the story that not only did I feel exactly what Clara felt, but I felt it so strongly it could've been happening to me.  I was tense and teary and jittery.  I laughed and I cried.  I'm deadly serious.

I was also happy with the difference between 'Hallowed' and 'Unearthly'.  The plots were not too samey and we kept learning new things with Clara and meeting new characters.

Also, I had no idea where the plot was going to go at certain points.  Unlike in 'Unearthly' where it was obvious that the climax was going to be the fire in Clara's visions.  This really was a different story entirely.


Evaluation

Plot Idea - 7/10 - I thought new visions might be a bit of old news.  (I was wrong, by the way).

Way Plot Was Pursued - 9/10 - I loved everything I loved before.  I loved Clara's uncertainty.

Characters - 10/10 - he same amazing characters that I loved just as much in their development.  The addition of new characters was just as satisfying.

Style - 9/10 - I was so into Hand's style during 'Hallowed'.  Everything fit into her style, nothing jarred.

Pace - 9/10 - Even better without the need to reintroduce the old characters.  I felt we were even more on the point during 'Hallowed'.


Would I recommend it? - Yes, oh yes.  Loved 'Unearthly'?  What other choice would you have but to read 'Hallowed'?

Would I look up the author? - Yes, most definitely.  Can't wait for the third instalment.


'Hallowed' lived up to 'Unearthly' and maybe even did the impossible.  I think I liked it more.


Anyone else blown away by this trilogy?  Read anything amazing that you just have to shout about?  Let me know!

Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Reviewer / Editor / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about writing, books, vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Unearthly - Cynthia Hand

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

'Unearthly' follows Clara, a sixteen year old part angel who's just started to uncover her 'purpose' - what she was put on the earth to do.  She knows there's a forest fire and boy and at the beginning that's all she knows.


My Review

I knew as I read the blurb of 'Unearthly' that it had the potential to be a book I could really get into.  That and the fact that my friend leant it to me to read.  This feeling intensified as I read the first chapter.  I knew for certain that this book could go one of two ways.  I would love it or hate it.  It was the former, I adored it and devoured it.

The only thing that I didn't like was at first the present tense caught me out.  Not just on the first few sentences.  For some reason it was repeatedly during the first chapter and it was beginning to annoy me.  I got past it though and then I was free.

I even liked the prologue.  Now I'm not usually one for prologues.  I don't like them.  When I pick up a new book I just want to dive straight in, not faff around somewhere irrelevant - at least for the moment.  But 'Unearthly's prologue was short and just from reading the blurb I understood its importance, which satisfied me.  It was very effective.

I was also very grateful that Hand trickled information about angel-bloods though the novel at a natural pace.  None of the information felt rushed and I was given enough gap between each thing that I could fully wrap my head around it and understand it.  We learn information as Clara does which helps the information stream seem natural.  It also makes it so much easier to sink into the angel world as though it's real and is completely logical.

While we're on Clara, she was a great protagonist.  She was believable as a regular sixteen year old girl and also as an angel-blood.  Nothing she did was ridiculous or so over the top it was unbelievable.  I found her very relatable.  She thought and felt what anyone would think and feel in her situation.

The other characters surrounding Clara and shaping her world were also very believable and relatable.  I didn't think they were stereotypes or irritating.  I liked them all and found them all charming in their own ways.  They were also diverse enough that I could almost see their part in the novel revolving around them.  Speaking of this, I was thrilled that all the characters' presence in the book was directly linked to their importance and relevance.  I didn't have to hear loads about a character with minimal role, which pleased me to no end as sometimes I feel there are too many characters to worry about.  In 'Unearthly' I was glad to only have to care and connect with the main, important ones.

The chapter names were a breath of fresh air.  They weren't arty or cryptic or clever.  They were simply describing the chapter.  It might be one word or a phrase that sums up the chapter in a completely human way.  It actually helped me to distinguish between the chapters.

Now for the 'impossible choice'.  So many novels, especially teenage fiction, have - or claim to have - an 'impossible choice'.  Usually I'm disappointed as there's only one real choice or the right choice is so obvious it's boring.  Or it's just clear which one the protagonist will choose.  Well, in 'Unearthly' I was pleasantly surprised.  I felt that the decision was difficult enough to be classed as 'impossible'.  So much so, I didn't know what Clara would pick, or indeed what I would pick in that situation.  It was intense, I'll give you that much.


Evaluation

Plot Idea - 6/10 - angels, I remember thinking to myself.  It's been done and I've read it.  How different can this one be?

Way Plot Was Pursued - 8/10 - Clara's 'purpose' really gave this story its originality.  I also enjoyed that she was the powerful one and that she was free to make her own decision.

Characters - 10/10 - all so diverse and charming.  I can't fault them.

Style - 9/10 - I loved Clara as a narrator.  I loved the way she mulled things over.

Pace - 8/10 - I always knew where we were going but at some points I felt like I had to take a stroll to read it.  A pleasant pretty stroll, but one nonetheless.


Would I recommend it? - Oh God, yes.  I couldn't put this book down.

Would I look up the author? - Yes.  Having being leant 'Hallowed', the sequel, I picked it straight up.  Yes please. 


'Unearthly' surpassed my expectations by miles and miles and miles.


Any novels that have surprised you?  I'd love to know!

Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA Ready

Contact me about writing, books, vampires, zombies, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Friday, 6 September 2013

Monument 14 - Emmy Laybourne

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book
'Monument 14' is the story of a group of kids of varying ages - maybe five to eighteen - who are stuck in a shopping centre after their bus crashes.
My Review
I knew from the blurb that 'Monument 14' was going to be my kind of book, so I had high expectations.  I was a little worried that the idea might be too similar to Michael Grant's phenomenal 'GONE' series but I shouldn't have worried.  Emmy Laybourne held her ground and wrote something amazing.
'Monument 14' dove straight in.  There was no faffing which was brilliant.  You don't want life stories at the beginning.  You don't want mind-numbing description.  I was given exactly what I wanted.  A straight in, no nonsense first chapter - first paragraph no less.
While we're talking about the first paragraph, you might be interested to know that it's written in the second person ("you did this") while the rest of the novel is written in the first person ("I did this").  It surprised me and gripped me with it's unusual nature.  It was extremely effective.
I loved Dean's 'voice'  Laybourne has a spectacular grasp of him in her narration and it was so much fun to read.  Dean tells you who is who and what is going on in that straight forward, matter of fact way a teenager tells their friends things.  It was brilliant.  I loved Dean and his narration, it made the novel enjoyable from beginning to end.
It was also great that the characters were all so different from one another.  'Monument 14' needed this due to the vast number of characters but once I'd learnt who was who I didn't get mixed up once.  Although, I do think they were introduced far too close together, making it more difficult at first to know who was who.
The plot was fantastic.  There was always something going on and I always longed to be reading for this reason.  I also had no idea what was coming next.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone wishing to read it so I'll say only this: Emmy Laybourne has an exceptional imagination.  It was one thing after another.  You have no idea what's coming next so you're on your toes.  It was a great read.  I turned the final page longing for more.
Evaluation
Plot Idea - 7/10 - kids, trapped in a shopping centre without adults.  Yes please.
Way Plot Was Pursued - 8/10 - there was so much going on and I loved Dean as a narrator
Characters 8/10 - all very lovable in their own special way.  It was a shame that it was difficult to grasp them all at first.
Style - 9/10 - there was no faff at any point.  Dean was a very realistic, very likeable and easy to relate to narrator.
Pace - 9/10 - there was always something going on and there were parts full of tension and suspense where I couldn't put it down.
Would I recommend it? - Yes.  I found it very difficult to fault at all.
Would I look up the author?  Yes'Monument 14' was Laybourne's debut novel and I can't wait for more!
Read any great books lately?  Any recommendations?  Let me know!
Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Reviewer / Editor / Writing Coach / ZA ready
Contact me on: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Name on Your Wrist - Helen Hiorns

So here it is, as promised.  My review of 'The Name on Your Wrist' by Helen Hiorns, the winner of the Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award.  You can read the first three chapters free on the Movellas website here: http://www.movellas.com/en/book/read/201304061745300627
Before we begin, I want you to know this is a fair review because my jealousy disappeared after chapter one once I fell into the story.  Here is my honest review of 'The Name on Your Wrist'.  I have to say I'm proud of myself for manning up and reading it.

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book

'The Name on Your Wrist' follows Corin who lives in a society where your soul mate's name is written on your wrist and you are expected to search for them and start your life with them.  Corin, however, doesn't want to search, but more than that.  She doesn't want to be found.

My Review

I'll start of with my biggest problem with the book.  It was arty-farty and pretentious.  The sentences sometimes just went on and on.  There were far many words, a lot of them unnecessary.  Sometimes what was trying to be said could've been done so in a couple of words.  I was almost tired reading these long sentences, having to stop sometimes and wonder what I was meant to have taken from a sentence.  I don't know about you, but I thought it was too much effort to read sometimes.  I felt like I had to think way too much and I was concerned on numerous occasions that I'd misunderstood.  It was the kind of style that publishers love and readers do not.

The style may have added to why I found it difficult to like Corin at first.  Her sarcasm, cynicism and disregard for other's feelings made it difficult for me to sympathise for her.  It also felt as though the character was telling me how superior she was to me.  It was also tiring.  I don't want a character to be sassy and arrogant the entire way through the novel.  It's exhausting.

As well as disliking Corin at the beginning, because I must say I grew to like her, although I never loved her.  I'm not sure I even cared how she was going to turn out.  But I also disliked her sister, Jacinta, who also had a large part to play in the novel.  Jacinta I found whiny and impossible to relate to.  My reaction to Jacinta was the opposite to Corin.  I think I disliked Jacinta more and more as the novel progressed.

Here we go again, prepare yourself.  There were too many adverbs in 'The Name on Your Wrist'.  I can't say anything new about adverbs and my hatred of them so I'll just repeat myself.  They add nothing and only take away from a novel.

A little thing that also annoyed me - although it could've been because of the format I was reading it on as I was reading it on my laptop instead of a Sony E-Reader as I don't have one.  It could be a technology fault, I know that.  But every time italics were used they were underlined.  I've never seen the underline tool used in a novel before and it looked wrong and clumsy.

Another little style choice was the use of brackets.  Brackets are fine but I think unnecessary.  'The Name on Your Wrist' uses them a lot and with the complex sentences made even more complex, it was way too much to handle.  This was not an easy book to read.

After all that, though, I enjoyed the main bulk of the novel.  I loved the idea of your soul mate being on your wrist and that Corin questioned it.  Although the soul mate thing is over done, the idea of being as against it as Corin is during the novel I don't think is.  It was a breath of fresh air in this type of genre.  It was a very thought-provoking and intelligent novel.

I thought the pace was very good.  The secrets and the reveal of them was just right.  I always wanted to know more and I never had too much new information to process at once.  I was always asking where the plot was going and wanted to know about the society Corin lived in.

I also have to say that Helen Hiorns has captured human nature perfectly in 'The Name on Your Wrist'.  There were some brilliant observations of human features and behaviours that I'd never noticed or thought of before.  It helped you get a grasp on the characters better and it was an effective method of showing and not telling the reader.

My favourite line in the whole novel is: "In short, I was a damn genius."  I had to share it with you because I thought it was brilliant.  There were a few occasions where a line would stop me reading because I liked it so much and had to share it with whoever was around me.

However, I was so disappointed with the ending.  I was expecting so much more.  There was all this build up and I felt like it turned into nothing.  I felt as though there was no conclusion and I was left hanging but not in that cliff-hanger exciting kind of way.  I was left feeling irritated and cheated.

Evaluation

Plot Idea - 8/10 - I liked the take on soul mates and that the novel wasn't clich├ęd.

Way Plot Was Pursued - 6/10 - I didn't like the inclusion of many parts taking place in high school and the dynamics of high school - but I don't like that in novels anyway.

Characters - 4/10 - I found it difficult at first to like the main character and I also didn't like her sister who was vital to the plot.

Style - 2/10 - too many adverbs.  Pretentious sentence construction. 

Pace - 8/10 - good reveal of information throughout.  I perhaps would've liked more action and confrontation though.


Would I recommend it? - Yes, if you liked soul mate stories and were looking for a new one.  Not if you said "What should I read?".

Would I look up the author? - No.  I didn't like her style of writing or the characters enough to want more.


'The Name on Your Wrist' was a quick but not an easy read.

Have you read 'The Name on Your Wrist'  or any other soul mate stories?  I'd love to know.

Molly Looby
Author / Wrimo / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach / ZA ready

Contact me about writing, reading, zombies, vampires, werewolves and the like here: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Friday, 16 August 2013

ZA - Molly Looby

So I've just finished reading my novel 'ZA' for the final time before its release on Monday.  I didn't think it'd be fair to do a review so I'll just promote it instead.

Here is the front cover:

Created for me by the brilliant James Terry who can be contacted for art and graphics tuition, if you want his artistic ability, or if you are interested in his other art work.  You can contact him on jrterry95@gmail.com

So 'ZA' has only taken up two years of my life - almost.  I started 'ZA' for NaNoWriMo in 2011 and succeeded in writing the 50,000 words in 30 days.  The story of 'ZA' speaks to me because I've always loved zombie stories.  (If you also love zombie stories you have to check out 'The Forest of Hands and Teeth' by Carrie Ryan, who is also a Wrimo.)  I love zombie stories not only because of the gore and the violence, but also because of the social problems and changes.  I was especially interested in how relationships would form and change in a Zombie Armageddon.

Not to toot my own horn or anything but I think the pace of 'ZA' will be just what you readers are looking for.  There isn't much faff in 'ZA' at all, thanks to it being written in 30 days.  It is a quick and easy read.  Here's your proof.  I've had to read 'ZA' over maybe half a dozen or so times for it to be ready for others to read and I'm still not sick of it.  And that's not because I wrote it.  God knows I got sick and tired of 'Gambling a Fairytale' before it's release date, I was happy to send it off in the world. 

With 'ZA' I do so with a hint of sadness.  'ZA' is a story I wrote because myself, my brother and my dad are obsessed with zombies.  We even did a zombie photo shoot and the first ever UK Zombie Run (a run where you face obstacles and  zombies.)

See:

This was the first Zombie Run UK which took place in Lincoln, it was a long drive for us living down in Essex.  We dressed up as ZA survivors - of course.


Me, my boyfriend who is the amazing artist James Terry, Gemma - one of my brother's best friends, my brother James.




This medal means I survived the Zombie Run.  Not to brag or anything but I still had all my life tags at the end.


Me, my dad, my brother James.



This was our family photo shoot in 2010.  Of course we had to do some ZA ready ones.





The character of Jai in 'ZA' is my brother James through and through.  There's even a direct quote from him that features in the book: "You know what would be awesome? . . . If I could have a machete."


So as you can see, the idea of killing zombies was a familiar concept to me.  The phrase "ZA ready" was coined in my household, it means "to be prepared for the Zombie Armageddon" and the conversations I've had with my dad and my brother directly inspired me to write about zombies.

I will let 'ZA' go though.  It deserves a bigger audience than just my family and friends.  Who knows, it might help you become ZA ready.

'ZA' will be released into the world for all you readers on Monday and as a gift from me because I think everyone should read zombie stories - it's free on Amazon's Kindle.

I would love to hear what you all think next week!  Don't hesitate to leave reviews and ask questions!

While you're waiting, here's the 'ZA' Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ZAzombiearmageddon?ref=hl


But for now, "Get supplies.  Stay hidden.  If they come, run.  Fast."


Molly Looby

ZA ready/ Wrimo / Author / Editor / Reviewer / Writing Coach


Contact me about books, writing, zombies, vampires, werewolves and the like: molly.looby@hotmail.com

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Blood Red Road - Moira Young


A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book
Blood Red Road follows Saba on her journey to find her brother Lugh, who’s been taken by some cloaked men.  Saba has to leave Silverlake, the only home she’s ever known, to go and find him, risking her life to get her twin back.
Blood Red Road is set in an apocalyptic future where there are no laws.  Saba, Lugh, their younger sister Emmi and their pa all live so far away from anyone that they don’t get into any trouble.  However when Lugh is taken, Saba more or less goes running for trouble and shoving it out of her way.  Blood Red Road is set in the Dustlands and the settings are all rocks and sand and harsh, like Saba’s world.

My Review
To start with, I struggled with Blood Red Road.  This is because the writing style is so different than anything else I’ve come across.  The whole novel is narrated in Saba’s speech patterns, for example: git instead of get, an instead of and, jest instead of just.  Because of this, a lot of it is also grammatically incorrect which didn’t bother me but I feel it may bother some readers.  It was difficult to grasp but once I fell into it somewhere in the first fifty pages, I loved it.  I don’t think it should’ve been written in any other way.  My favourite example of the way this is written I have to share with you.  It’s the word exactly.  In Blood Red Road it is spelt like this: “ezzackly”.  I think it’s brilliant.
Another style choice – much stranger than writing the novel in Saba’s speech patterns – was the decision not to include speech marks.  This was much more difficult to get on with as sometimes I was unsure what had been said aloud.  But I was shocked to find that it wasn’t impossible to get on with.  If Blood Red Road has taught me anything about writing, it’s that you don’t have to listen to the rules.  And sometimes you’ll get on just fine without them.

Blood Red Road has again done things differently with its way of chaptering.  The chapters are separated into places – it’s more like parts when I think about it.  Each part ends when Saba arrives in a new place and it’s much more interesting like that.  The breaks in between the chapters can sometimes be very small, less than a page sometimes, which makes it very easy to read and get into.  And most important of all it makes it easy to pick up and impossible to put down.  But I never felt like the sections were ever too short or going too fast.  I thought the pace was spot on from start to finish.

I felt the characters speech patterns made them even more endearing and lovable.  I felt it made it that much easier to feel what Saba felt and because of it I felt really connected to her and I wanted to follow her every step of the way and to the ends of the earth to find Lugh.  The other characters are all so different that it makes it that much easier to fall in love with them.  There wasn’t one character in the book that I didn’t like (who I was supposed to like).  Even the ones I disliked I liked, if you know what I mean.  Everyone loves the bad guys really.
The plot amazed me.  That’s all I can say.  Unlike most books you – literally – cannot guess where the plot is going to take you next.  Well, you can try but you wouldn’t be right.  I loved that about Blood Red Road, there was so much going on and most of it I could’ve never predicted.
Speaking of this, the final climax at the end just goes on and on.  I was breathless, just reading and turning pages, knowing there was no way I was putting the book down until the end, that was certain.  I even had to cover up the end of a section where I could see a break so that my eyes didn’t wander.  I just needed to know what was going to happen!  To say my heart sped and so did my breaths would not be an exaggeration.  This book had a real physical reaction on my body.  I was there in the moment with Saba and the other characters and I was fighting side by side with them.
Also, a mark of a great book.  It made me cry.

Evaluation

Plot Idea – 10/10 – I loved everything from start to finish.  The plot was thick and fast and never did I question the relevance of anything.  It was all important.  It was amazing.
Way Plot Was Pursued – 10/10 – I love post-apocalyptic novels and I loved that Saba went from place to place.
Characters – 10/10 – they were all amazing.  Good, bad, ugly.  Perfect.  I loved them all.
Style – 9/10 – the only reason this is not a 10 is because it was difficult to grasp the style at first until you got into it and I think it would put some people off.
Pace – 10/10 – there’s nothing to say but it was perfect.  Start to finish.

Would I recommend it? – Yes.  To everyone and everything.

Would I look up the author? – Yes.  I can’t wait for more.

Blood Red Road captured me and took me for a ride that started on the first page and ended on the last.  Book perfection if it ever exists.  Sorry Delirium, although you are the best love story of the year, Blood Red Road trumps you at being my favourite.  Look at those stats!  I’ve only given a ten once before now.  Blood Red Road earned four, that’s all I’m going to say.

Anyone else think of an amazing post-apocalyptic novel?  Recommendations are always welcome.

Molly Looby

Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach

Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Emil me on: molly.looby@hotmail.com