‘Fallen’ by Lauren Kate

FallenAfter a horrific accident that destroyed Luce’s life, she lands at a reform school, which is predictably full of oddballs, misery and strict rules.

But the second Luce sees fellow student Daniel, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s met him before. She’s haunted by a sense of déjà vu, and she can’t seem to stay away from him. He, on the other hand, seems to want nothing to do with her.

Soon though, circumstances conspire to throw them together, and it becomes clear that the two of them have a past that goes back far longer than Luce can remember. As Luce searches for answers, the stakes continue to get higher and more dangerous at every turn.

While the idea was good, there were a few inconsistencies in ‘Fallen’ that I couldn’t really get my head around. Daniel and Luce have known each other before, time and time again, that’s clear from the opening pages. But while Luce is ignorant of their past each time they meet, Daniel has the full knowledge of what’s come before. It’s no surprise then when they meet again at reform school. But Daniel is there first. And if he’s lived so many amazing lives in the past, I couldn’t help but wonder what he was doing in somewhere so miserable.

The same goes for all of the other supernatural beings – and there are many! Why immortal creatures would choose to spend their time going to one of the dreariest sounding schools around, when they clearly have other, more interesting options, is beyond me.

The setting itself is very atmospheric – with a school with an onsite graveyard, a gym in a converted church, a huge gothic library, permanent mist and lingering smell – but it felt a little clichéd. Continue reading

‘Written in the Blood’ by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Written in the Blood‘Written in the Blood’ is the sequel to Stephen Lloyd Jones ‘The String Diaries’. If you want to catch up on the plot, you can find my review here.

Set fifteen years after the first novel in the series, the main protagonist in ‘Written in the Blood’ is Hannah Wilde’s daughter, Leah. Last seen as a nine year old girl on the run with her mother from the dangerous Jakab, she is now 24 and on a mission to help save the future of her race – the Hosszu Eletek.

Fertility among the remaining Hosszu Eletek is failing, and Leah is one of the youngest in a declining society. Together with her mother, Leah is helping to run a highly controversial fertility programme to give women the chance to have a child. But the upper echelons of the Hosszu Eletek society aren’t keen on diluting their race with the human blood that runs through Hannah and Leah’s veins. And when they decide that it’s necessary to reach out to the banished Kirekesztett, their fertility programme is soon seen as something that needs to be stopped at any cost. Continue reading

Chrysler Szarlan’s ‘The Hawley Book of the Dead’

photoReve Dyer and her husband Jeremy run a successful magic act in Vegas – until the day that a bullet trick goes horribly wrong, leaving Jeremy dead and Reve suspected of his murder. But as Reve attempts to comfort her grieving family, burned photographs of her and her three daughters going about their daily lives start to appear. Fearing for their safety, Reve flees home to Hawley Five Corners.

A village abandoned by its inhabitants during the 1920’s, Hawley Five Corners offers a safe haven. But Hawley Five Corners is haunted by secrets, rumours and unnatural disappearances, and being back in the place of her ancestors raises more questions that Reve isn’t yet ready to face. For the women in Reve’s family each possess a magical gift – an ability to find lost things, to heal or in Reve’s case, to disappear, temporarily slipping behind the veil between worlds. The more time that Reve and her daughters spend in the village, the more they start to understand their personal history and the mysterious powers of the Hawley Book of the Dead. Continue reading

‘The String Diaries’ by Stephen Lloyd Jones

String diariesThe best mystery novels keep adding twist after twist.
The best thrillers ramp up the tension and don’t let us go until we turn the last page.
The best supernatural stories include just a pinch of horror to keep us on the edge of our seats.

Stephen Lloyd Jones’ ‘The String Diaries’ was a perfect fusion of all three.

From the moment this book started, with our protagonist driving on a dark, remote road, trying to escape from a nameless but clearly dangerous pursuer, the bar was set high.

Hannah, along with her husband and her young daughter, is on the run from an enemy that has stalked her family across generations. He has the power to change his appearance at will and to speak in other people’s voices, and he is unswerving in his desire to hunt down Hannah as he has her predecessors.

From a remote farmhouse in Wales to a library in Oxford and a masquerade ball in nineteenth century Hungary, Stephen Lloyd Jones creates a thoroughly convincing story of an ancient hidden race, a spurned son and a dangerous obsession that won’t die. Continue reading

Curtis Sittenfeld’s ‘Sisterland’

SisterlandIdentical twins Violet and Kate have grown up as two halves of a whole. With an often absent father and a mother suffering from some sort of implied depression, they are left to find their way through their adolescence together. But Violet and Kate also have a physic gift, with an uncanny ability to see what isn’t there and to predict what’s coming. As children, this gift binds them together, but it also drives others away.

As the twins grow up, their lives take very different directions. Kate changes her name and does everything she can to blend in and conform. She aims to be the model friend, mother and wife. She sees her psychic abilities as the root cause of everything bad that has happened in her past, and she does all she can to supress them. On the other hand, Violet embraces her differences. Exuberant and eccentric, she makes a living as a psychic and has no inhibitions when it comes to embracing life and exploring her sexuality.

Their wildly different choices have been the cause of strained relationships between the sisters their whole lives, but they are still linked by the unbreakable bond of sisterhood. When Violet predicts a catastrophic earthquake and is catapulted into the public eye, Kate is drawn back into the world that she hoped to have left behind. As the date of the event draws near, tensions rise. For Kate, the cracks in the life she has built will be revealed. For Violet, her life is about to be put under a microscope by the media. Continue reading