Tag Archives: adult

Book Review and Film Discussion: The Drowning of Arthur Braxton

Today’s post isn’t a conventional review! I was kindly sent a copy of Arthur Braxton, a book I have wanted to read for months, and given that the movie adaptation is out soon (and that this new edition of the book has just published), I thought I would make this review a part-discussion, too!

I’ve been a fan of Luke Cutforth on YouTube for a long time, so when I discovered he was making his first feature film, I was jumping around in excitement. I can’t wait to see it.

Review and Discussion:

Written by Caroline Smailes, published by 4th Estate; adapted into film by Luke Cutforth.

Goodreads Synopsis: Arthur Braxton runs away from school.

He hides out in an abandoned building, an old Edwardian bathhouse.

He discovers a naked woman swimming in the pool.

From this point on, nothing will ever be the same.

My Review: It’s hard to put how I felt about this book into words. It is equal parts strange and wonderful and messed up, but that’s why I liked it.

Reading this book was an incredibly weird experience. Although I enjoyed it, it didn’t instantly blow me away, but it properly hit me after I’d put the book down and began mulling it over. The story, to anyone going in unknowing of the plot, is bizarre, but captivating; teenage Arthur Braxton finds his way into an abandoned bathhouse on a desperate night, and what he finds in there changes his life forever.

I couldn’t like Arthur very much at all, which was sad – but the characters I did adore were the ones that he finds in the swimming pool. Without giving away anything, I’ll say that their stories brought me to tears, and were told in such memorable ways. Lots of people adore Arthur’s character for how brutally honest the representation of his character is, but for me I couldn’t enjoy it too much. I’ll admit that I found it a bit crude in places (even though that is how it’s supposed to be!). Despite being an accurate depiction of a teenager, I just wished he had some qualities I could’ve liked.

I can’t wait to see how the film adaptation presents all of the characters on screen. I’m not sure how accurate they can be (given that there’s a lot of nudity and swearing, and I’m assuming the producers will be aiming for a 12/15 rating) but it’ll be really exciting to see how they appear. The casting looks fantastic so far, and features lots of upcoming talents, so I’m really excited!

The format of the book was really interesting, and not what I had expected! Different characters told their stories in varying styles – parts were in script, parts were conventional storytelling, and a couple of chapters were simply just dialogue. I adored the way in which the plot was told and presented – it felt very refreshing and kept me engaged. I’d love to read more books told in quirky ways like this.

What I also enjoyed about the book was the setting, and how there’s a lot between the lines to read into. Most of the book is set within the Oracle, an abandoned bath house set to be demolished and rebuilt. I envisioned it as a really haunting looking place, but the BTS photos of the set so far are very different – though it looks awesome!

If I am completely honest, I was not blown away by this book whilst reading it – not every aspect appealed to me, and parts were very unsettling. However, I think part of the reason I didn’t fall in love with it was because I wasn’t taking in the mythological aspects of the book – it flew right over my head! I read up on it after reading, and began to appreciate the story much more. There are many layers to this unique story, and it’ll be really interesting to see how Luke, director, translates these from page to screen.

Overall, The Drowning of Arthur Braxton left me in a very weird state after reading. It’s unlike anything I have ever read before; strange, haunting and weirdly wonderful. I’d recommend it to anyone who is looking for a very unconventional story; one that will make you laugh and cry.

I think Luke is the perfect director for this film. By looking at his YouTube channel, anyone might think he’s a strange choice – most of his videos are on the bizarre, funny side – not serious. But I think he’ll bring the brilliant crudeness to the film that the book has; and also, from his directing of various music videos on YouTube in the past, I can tell he’s definitely made for this sort of thing. It will be awesome to see his skills adapting to a much bigger project.

The new edition of this book (cover pictured at the top of this post!) also contains a new introduction written by him – so it’s definitely worth checking that out!

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of The Drowning of Arthur Braxton from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Pretty Is by Maggie Mitchell

Published 21st April 2016 by Orion.

28016325Goodreads Synopsis: Everyone thought we were dead. What else could they think?

One summer, nearly twenty years ago, two twelve year olds
were abducted and kept captive in the forest.

There they formed a bond that could never be broken.

What really happened in the woods that summer?

My Review: When this book came in the post, it looked like a really good read, and the ARC cover was fantastic. I picked it up on a whim, as just something to read between work. The premise sounded quite similar to lots of books I’ve seen before – I didn’t expect to be as blown away as I was! Pretty Is is a stunning, inventive novel, and I’m certain it’s going to be the big début of the year.

The plot is intricate and very well written. I became completely absorbed in the events of the book – it was so haunting and engaging. So many events spiral from the mysterious summer Carly May and Lois are kept in the woods – and all of these different stories come together two decades later incredibly cleverly. I had no idea where the plot could possibly be going from the opening pages right to the ending!

I adored how much time the story takes to delve into the lives of the main characters, and the psychological imprints their abduction left on them. It was incredibly chilling to read about, but also morbidly fascinating.  The book is split into two narratives, Carly May’s and Lois’s. They both had incredibly strong and engaging voices, and seeing how differently they develop was really interesting.

Maggie Mitchell weaves mystery into her novel expertly. Pretty Is is so haunting and unpredictable. I loved how intricate the plot was – it’s such a classic-feeling crime story yet it’s written in such a complex, outstanding way. I finished it feeling like I still wanted to know a bit more about some aspects of the story, but overall, I was truly mesmerised by how powerful of a début Pretty Is was.

Overall, I really highly recommend Pretty Is to those who love chilling and psychological stories. Compelling, dark and addictive, it’s an incredible début novel from a very talented writer. I’m really looking forward to reading more by Mitchell in the future!

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Pretty Is from the publisher. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: The Bones of You by Debbie Howells

Published 16th July by Pan Macmillan.

The Bones of YouGoodreads Synopsis: When eighteen-year-old Rosie Anderson disappears, the idyllic village where she lived will never be the same again. Local gardener Kate is struck with guilt. She’d come to know Rosie well, and thought she understood her – perhaps better even than Rosie’s own mother.
A family torn apart: Rosie was beautiful, kind and gentle. She came from a loving family and she had her whole life ahead of her. Who could possibly want to harm her? And why?
A keeper of secrets: Kate is convinced the police are missing something. She’s certain that someone in the village knows more than they’re letting on. As the investigation deepens, so does Kate’s obsession with solving the mystery of what happened to Rosie.

My Review: This book looked and sounded amazing, so I was very excited to start it! I had to read the first half in short snatches between the last-week-of-school-rush-to-finish-coursework, but on the last day of school I sat and devoured the last half of the book in one reading. I wish I could’ve read the whole book like that. It’s fast paced and definitely one of my most gripping reads this year!

Rosie, teenage daughter of the famous TV presenter Neal Anderson, has disappeared. Kate, the local gardener who had a connection to Rosie, is shocked and saddened by the truths that are slowly coming to light. She decides to investigate on her own as to what happened – delving into the murky and mysterious background of Rosie’s famed family. The outcome of the story is absolutely terrifying.

The story felt so real at points it was scary – I especially really liked the psychological aspects and the heavy focus on media representation. It was very chilling to read about how the national papers exaggerated Rosie’s disappearance story – and made me think of how so many papers do this in real life.

The Bones of You is a very dark tale and certainly not for the faint-hearted – there are lots of grim scenes. However I raced through the story, utterly engrossed, desperate to unravel all of the answers. The Bones of You is an absolutely stunning début novel. The plot was so intricate and complex and I came up with countless theories, but none of them were anything like the outcome. I had to read over the revealing lines to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!

I became really attached to the characters, especially Kate. She felt very realistic and her actions were so believeable. Her daughter has just left for university, and on top of adjusting to that change, she becomes tangled up in the mystery of what happened to Rosie, a local friend’s daughter. I don’t read from adult perspectives very much as I mainly read YA but, unexpectedly, I came to love Kate as much as I would love a YA protagonist.

Overall, I was really impressed with this début novel – I went in with not very many expectations and was met with a truly unique, dark thriller. I would jump at the chance to read more from Howells in the future! She has a great talent for writing very realistic thriller stories. The plot was so well crafted, as were the unforgettable characters. I definitely recommend this to people who love crime books.

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of The Bones of You from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie & Matthew Wilson

Published 12th November 2014 by Image Comics.

23093359Goodreads Synopsis: Every ninety years, twelve gods incarnate as humans. They are loved. They are hated. In two years, they are dead. The team behind critical tongue-attractors like Young Avengers and PHONOGRAM reunite to create a world where gods are the ultimate pop stars and pop stars are the ultimate gods. But remember: just because you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you’re going to live forever. Collects THE WICKED + THE DIVINE #1-5

My Review: I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was about reading The Wicked + The Divine, when I spotted the first volume in Waterstones! I had been reading a lot of tweets about it on Twitter as the individual issues were released, but had to wait until the volume was published as I missed the first issues. There was so much hype surrounding this! And, of course: Gillen, writer, McKelvie, artist, and Wilson, colorist, are the super team that created Young Avengers – without doubt the best series I read last year.

The concept really intrigued me: Re-incarnated gods… as pop stars? It sounded crazy but inventive (And there are some really interesting ways to look a the concept); I was sold. The Wicked + The Divine had me completed gripped from the opening pages and I read the entire volume in one go (then cried a little a lot).

The plot was such a good crime story, laced with paranormal elements (and some really cool outfits.): Luci is seemingly framed for murder, and locked away in prison, so London student Laura decides to investigate and find the truth, investigating into the somewhat sinister worlds of the re-incarnated gods.

On the mythological side of the story, I think I missed some references; I read on Goodreads that the Gods all relate to different famous legends, which brings a whole new depth to the plot: I’ll have to reread it!

Jamie McKelvie’s illustrations, along with Matt Wilson’s beautiful colouring, were flawless. I loved the artwork in Young Avengers, so I knew I would enjoy the art in this series. The whole comic was drawn so beautifully: I loved how the Gods, particularly, were drawn. The outfits and the hair were SO cool. I will disappointed if I don’t see cosplay… OH WAIT LOOK AT THIS AMATERASU ONE OHMYGOSH.

Overall, The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1, was definitely as great as I hoped it would be – and worth the wait to read it, too. I’m so excited about reading on in the series soon! I’m sure it will be a future classic. Gillen has crafted a truly individual story that had me completely absorbed, and I can’t even describe how much I loved Jamie McKelvie’s illustration. I’m counting down until Volume two now… because AGHHH THAT ENDING.

My Rating:

four and a half

I purchased a copy of The Wicked + The Divine in a local bookstore.

New Books! #48

NewBooksMemeBanner1Gahhh! All of these books came over nine days. That’s… thirteen books in nine days… I swear, my book hauls are getting bigger and bigger… Well, at least this weekend kicks off the week off school… so between some exam revision I can get some more reading done! I’ve been reading pretty slowly lately… and I keep picking up books, starting them, then moving on. Meh, reading slump-y moods suck.

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Alif the Unseen by G Willow Wilson: A twitter friend recommended this to me after I tweeted fangirlishly about G Willow Wilson’s amazing Ms Marvel series! I spotted it in the library and had to pick it up. The cover is so, so gorgeous. I really can’t wait to start it.

Confessions of a Blabbermouth by Mike & Lousie Carey and Alex Alexovich, and The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Ross: I borrowed these from the library, too, because I really wanted to read some more of mike Carey’s works after the event I went to recently! I have already finished Blabbermouth- the review went up this week!

V for Vendetta by Alan moore and David Lloyd (Not pictured): I also picked this up in the library, because after ages of begging my dad to be able to read it, he finally let me xD I’ve heard so, so much about this and I’ve just finished the first part. It’s brilliant; dark, dystopian and chilling.

The case of the Exploding Loo by Rachel Hamilton: I met Rachel over Twitter and I’ve been really excited about her upcoming MG book. It sounds crazily awesome. Thank you to Simon & Schuster for the copy!

My Brother’s Secret by Dan Smith: I don’t think I’ve read many historical fiction titles recently, even though I really enjoy the genre. This is definitely going to be one of my next reads as I’d love to read more from the genre again. My Brother’s Secret looks so emotional, set in the world war. I can’t wait to start it- thanks to Chicken House for the copy.

Tanith Low in The Maleficent Seven by Derek Landy: Okay, confession… I haven’t read the Skulduggery Pleasent series… *hides* I know they’re meant to be amazing- I’ve just never gotten around to reading them! This came as a surprise in the post, and I was a ittle sad because I thought I wouldn’t be able to read it, but it turns out The Maleficent Seven spins off from the world and so it can work as a standalone. Hopefully if I enjoy this I’ll go pick up Skulduggery! 😀 Thanks to Harper Collins for this.

Thanks again to the publishers who sent me arcs! What books did you buy or borrow recently? Or what did you think of any of these titles? (: