book review

Review: The Haunting of Alma Fielding by Kate Summerscale

Image result for the haunting of alma fielding

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Over Christmas I read and adored The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale so I obviously had to treat myself to The Haunting of Alma Fielding, Summerscale’s latest book. This is a nonfiction book, set in 1938 when Nandor Fodor (a ghost hunter for the International Institute for Physical Research) starts to investigate a haunting at Alma Fielding’s house. The book follows the characters over the months, as Fodor realises the case is even stranger than he first believed. All of this is set to the backdrop of the run-up to WW2.

I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as the first – I think the first probably appealed more to my personal interests (true crime, detectives, Victorian literature) – but I nevertheless found this one very interesting, well-researched and enjoyable. Kate Summerscale has such an easy writing style, and the book never felt dry, dense or repetitive. I think she’s a very gifted storyteller, weaving together information from scattered primary sources to create one vivid and interesting case. I really liked the way that she reflected what was happening between Alma and Fodor in the general pre-war feeling of England at the time, but perhaps wanted a little bit more of this detail. I think I found this a slightly simpler book than The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, as it didn’t deal with quite as many themes. This is all personal preference though, and I think this one would definitely be a better starting point if you aren’t sure about reading nonfiction/don’t want anything too heavy or time-consuming.

The subject matter was really interesting – I had no idea that people had such an interest in the paranormal in the 30s or that there were Societies dedicated to trying to prove it. As well as Alma and Fodor’s brushes with the paranormal, Kate Summerscale also relates some other stories of hauntings and investigations from the time, which I found very interesting.

This book explores the hauntings in relation to psychology (Freud makes a cameo!), especially to trauma. Fodor’s own suspicions and beliefs about the hauntings are interesting, but I actually found Summerscale’s own most interesting, and I was disappointed that these were mostly kept out of the book until the final chapter. Obviously, she wanted to tell the story in an objective manner, but her thoughts on the subject were so interesting that I would’ve liked to see them spread more throughout the book itself.

After buying the hardback for myself, I should say I was then sent the audiobook to review through NetGalley (which is typical really! I was approved about two months after requesting it so had by then bought it for myself!). I listened to some chapters as the audiobook and read some of the others, and really enjoyed both formats. I think this is the perfect subject matter for an audiobook (I much prefer to listen to nonfiction than fiction) and the narrator did the various characters really well; he really added a creepiness to séance scenes.

The Haunting of Alma Fielding was meticulous and fascinating, and I certainly recommend it to fans of nonfiction and those who like the idea of investigating real-life hauntings!

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book review

Review: The Confession by Jessie Burton

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Image result for the confession

The Confession is a split narrative novel, following Elise in the 1980s and Rose in 2017.

When Elise meets acclaimed author Constance Holden in Hampstead Heath, they are drawn to one another – they fall in love and Elise is drawn fully into Connie’s life, following her to LA (where they are making a movie of one of her novels) so that they can be together. Connie thrives in the atmosphere of LA, but Elise does not, feeling herself become increasingly distant from Connie. In 2017, Rose is seeking answers about her mother, who disappeared when she was a child. Her investigations lead her to Connie, now reclusive and living a lonely life in Hampstead; like Elise, Rose is drawn into Connie’s orbit.

Jessie Burton is an exceptional writer. Her characters are so well developed and they feel so distinctly human. They aren’t caricaturist or surface level – they are well-developed, flawed and authentic. I sometimes find that when stories follow two different timeframes, the characters can become blurred or indistinct, but I didn’t find that the case here. The characters were each unique and recognisable.

I’ve loved The Miniaturist and The Muse by Jessie Burton, and like these books, Burton’s historical research is meticulous and comes to life on the page. 1980s Hollywood felt as real to me as late 2010s London.

I felt instantly hooked and drawn into this novel, reading it over two sittings because once I picked it up, I just didn’t want to put it back down. That’s good going for a 400-odd page novel! The prose is beautiful yet understated, and the pacing was really great – I never felt bored or rushed – it was plotted really well.

There are lots of heavy themes throughout – motherhood, friendship, love, loss, secrets, searching for your own identity – and I think Burton handled them all really well. By the end of the novel I felt a real fondness towards the characters and their struggles, I think because they felt so lifelike and the things that they were struggling for felt so real. This was a truly compelling, engaging read, and I definitely recommend it!

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book review

Review: Insatiable by Daisy Buchanan

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Publisher: Little, Brown Group UK

Pub date: 11 February 2020

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Insatiable follows Violet, a woman in her mid-twenties who is struggling after recently making a few big decisions in her life. She broke off her engagement, broke up with her best friend and moved into a terrible house share with people she doesn’t know. Understandably, she’s feeling quite lost. When she meets the glamourous Lottie at a work event she feels out of her depth at, she is immediately dazzled. When Violet goes to interview for a job at Lottie and her husband’s new start-up, Violet is drawn into a world that she desires but has never had. What follows is a lot of sex and a lot of bad decisions.

I really wanted to like this book. I loved the cover and I loved the premise, and I was very excited going into it. However, it just fell a bit flat for me. I didn’t feel like Violet was very likeable – something that I don’t usually mind in a main character – but I felt like her characterisation and development was very superficial and she didn’t really learn anything in the novel. There was a lack of emotional depth throughout the book – when it came to the big reunions and revelations towards the end of the book (both on a friendship and romantic level) I just didn’t feel enough for the characters to care. Not enough groundwork had been done throughout, and so it all felt very undeserved. For example, Violet believes her obsession with Lottie has turned into love by about 3/4s of the way through the novel – but they’ve met maybe five times by this point? There’s just not enough development or groundwork done to deserve this. And the worst part is that sentence could apply to more than one character!

There is a lot of sex in this novel, so if that isn’t your thing then you might want to give this one a miss! For the most part, I didn’t think it was badly written (sometimes sex scenes are atrociously cringe-y), but I also felt that it probably took up too much of a book that struggled to add much depth to its characters. Though I will say the worst line of the book for me was undoubtedly the description of a ‘delicious Jelly Tot nipple’.

Violet felt quite familiar to me – I feel like I’ve read her character before. It’s quite common in similar books for the main character to feel aimless/purposeless, to feel attacked by life and to be struggling with money but having a penchant for designer clothes. I feel like I’ve read this before. What added to the flat feeling of this novel is that all of these things are magically swept up and solved at the end – much like the relationship issues – with little to no work from the main character. People just fix her problems for her? I would’ve liked the book to explore more why women feel that way and what she could’ve done herself to get her out of the hole she was in.

Violet also struggles with an eating disorder – this was one of the parts of the book that I felt had a lot of potential, but the author didn’t do much with it. It was sort of forgotten about by the end? Again, it just added to the feeling that all of the themes in this book were very superficial. Given that the tag line was ‘A love story for greedy girls’, I was perhaps looking for more of an analysis of female desire, perhaps a link between that and the eating disorder? There was also an instance of sexual assault that felt mostly like a plot device, rather than anything of depth or consequence. Ultimately, this book just didn’t really work for me – though I do think I may be in the minority here as I have seen a lot of four and five star reviews for this novel.

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book review

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Publisher: Viking

Pub date: 4 Feb 2021

Thanks to NetGalley and Viking for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

She tells you she loves you and now you know you don’t have to be the sum of your traumas.

Open Water follows two young Black people (never named) who meet at a London pub and fall in love. The writing in this novel is beautiful and poetic – it’s only about 150 pages, which I think is the perfect length for this intense and evocative novel.

Open Water explores what it’s like to be Black person in a world where you are seen primarily as Black body, the trauma of racism and the effect of police brutality. While dealing with these heavy themes, Nelson also celebrates the love and depth of feeling between the two main characters, as well as highlighting and celebrating Black art. The story is littered with references to Black photographers, authors, films, painters and musicians – Nelson honours Black culture.

There’s a vulnerability to this novel too – it’s a reflection of and insight into masculinity that you rarely see in the mainstream.

Sometimes it’s easier to hide in your own darkness than to emerge, naked and vulnerable, blinking in your own light.

This is a beautiful, emotionally raw and incredibly powerful debut. This book publishes tomorrow and I heartily recommend you pick up a copy and prepare to be emotionally shattered!

book review

Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Homegoing is an absolute masterpiece of a novel, and I’ve been putting off writing my review as I didn’t know how to do it justice.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi | Waterstones

This is an ambitious generational novel, starting with the stories of Effia and Esi, half-sisters on the Gold Coast of West Africa (now Ghana) who have never met. They suffer very different fates. Effia marries a white man from Cape Coast Castle, who is involved in the slave trade. She is from Fanteland, and some of the Fantes aligned with the white men, acting as middlemen to the slave trade, capturing other Africans and selling them.

Esi, an Asante, is one of the African women who is held at Cape Coast Castle in horrendous conditions, before being transported on a slave ship to America.

From here, each chapter is dedicated to their descendants, showing us snippets of their lives. Effia’s family stays on the Gold Coast, while Esi’s descendants are slaves in America. Both families have their hardships and their joys, and both are irreversibly changed by the decisions of their ancestors and by the actions of white men.

I cannot fully express the humanity that runs through this novel. Though each character only gets a chapter, Yaa Gyasi packs an entire lifetime into it. By the end of each chapter, you love and feel for each character as though you have read an entire book dedicated to them. This ability to so concisely portray an entire life in so few words really reminds of Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other.

Gyasi’s book does the incredibly important and needed job of giving a human face to the dehumanising slave trade. She shows you the devastating personal cost, the ramifications that run through both Effia and Esi’s descendants – still there years after Black people win their freedom in America. It’s very easy for a white person to not truly engage in the human cost of the slave trade – it’s very easy for us to make the victims vague, faceless and nameless, in order to assuage white guilt. By writing this story, Gyasi hits home that every person who was a victim of the slave trade – both directly and indirectly – was a living, breathing, thinking, feeling person. This is obviously and absolutely a basic thing, but I think history often forgets the individual. Gyasi makes you feel the loss of each person’s life, the way their humanity was stripped from them, individually.

This novel has a sense of urgency and relevancy to it, and I think you find it most in H’s story. H is a Black man, previously a slave, who was freed when slavery became illegal in America. Instead of living a free life, though, he is arrested for a small offense and sentenced to 10 years working in the mines. One of the characters in the story remarks ‘War might be over but it ain’t ended’; H thinks about how happy he was to be free, and how that didn’t last long. Racism may take different form nowadays to how it was 50 years ago, 100 years ago, 150 years ago, but the effects of slavery are still here and so is white supremacy. We still have a long way to go.

The true tragedy of the novel, in my opinion, is that we as observers know more about each character’s past and future than they ever do. Each character is disconnected from their history, their parents, and often from their children. This is an effect of slavery – a disconnection from their roots. Amazingly, for such a brutal subject, Yaa Gyasi still injects hope into the novel – especially in the ending. This is symbolised most by a black stone, originally owned by Effia, which has been passed down through the generations – and is still owned by the final character. Despite the uprooting of their family, and all of the terrible things that have happened in between, this character still retains that connection to the past.

Finally, I would like to say that as well as being an incredibly important novel, Gyasi’s writing is absolutely beautiful and I don’t want that to be lost in everything else that I had to say! This is a truly remarkable debut, and it’s astounding that she manages to pack in so much depth into each character. I especially enjoyed the chapters set in Africa, as I thought she described the setting with such a richness that it felt vivid to me. I really slowed down my reading speed for this book, in order to truly savour every part of it.

This is an evocative, emotional and remarkable book – I absolutely recommend it as a must-read to everyone (though I know I am late to the party on this one)!

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book review

Review: The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

The Mercies: Amazon.co.uk: Millwood Hargrave, Kiran: 9781529005103: Books

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Mercies is set in the 1600s, on an island called Vardo in the far north of Norway. The novel opens with a freak storm, which drowns the majority of the island’s men, who had just set out to fish. With their men gone, the women of Vardo must learn to fend for themselves. There are two main characters in this novel: Maren, a 20 year old woman who loses her husband and brother to the storm, and Ursa, who comes to the island as the new wife of a commissioner. The commissioner is appointed to Vardo to keep an eye on the women, as news has spread around of them fishing and doing ‘manly activities’, which is considered ungodly.

The writing in this novel is beautiful. I found it lyrical, and it brought an eerie feeling to the novel at times. The author was particularly good at creating the island – as something so outside of my realm of experience, I could picture Vardo and the life there vividly. The author clearly put in the research to create such a detailed and lifelike depiction of this time period and place.

What I struggled with in this novel was the pacing. Nothing much happens for the first half of the book or so – it’s just life, the women surviving – which I didn’t mind at all (though I could see how it might not be others’ cup of tea)! But I think this was a case of the blurb of the novel really spoiling and placing too much expectation on the book. The blurb introduces Absalom (Ursa’s husband; the commissioner) and mentions that he was a witch-hunter in Scotland. The blurb also says that the novel was inspired by the real events of the storm and the 1621 witch trials. So I knew to expect witch trials, but this doesn’t really come into play in the book until 3/4 of the way through, at least. From there, the ending came quickly and felt really rushed. I think this could have been improved by two things – firstly, don’t mention something that happens 3/4 of the way through in the blurb!! This frustrates me (though this is obviously not the author’s fault, but the publisher’s). And secondly, I felt like we could’ve spent a lot more time with the witch trail aspect to the novel. The book wraps up quite quickly after this is introduced, and I think it doesn’t build the tension in the way that it should. It was captivating and moving to read, but I wasn’t on the edge of my seat in the way I should’ve been. The idea of suspicion and the women turning against each other was a well-planted seed, but it just didn’t pay off in the best way.

This brings me to my next issue with the novel: I found the ending to the novel wasn’t really deserved. By this I don’t mean whether a character did not morally/karmically deserve what happened to them, but that the ending felt like it was tacked on the end of a different book? The best endings to me are when you read them and you think ‘I wasn’t expecting that to happen, but now I look back I can see these seeds’. I didn’t think that at all with this one; I thought ‘I wasn’t expecting that to happen, and looking back, I still think it comes out of the blue’. I just think the emotional pay-off wasn’t there, to be honest.

Despite the issues with the pacing and ending, I did really enjoy the process of reading this book. It was captivating, I loved the writing and the setting, and I was really intrigued by both the characters of Maren and Ursa. I thought they were well-developed. Maren is grieving the loss of her brother and father, as well as the loss of her betrothed and the life that they would’ve had together. Ursa struggles with her new husband – a marriage arranged by her father, which takes her away from her beloved sister and the only life she’s ever known (well-off in the city of Bergen) to a hostile and unfamiliar environment. Maren and Ursa develop a deep and dangerous bond between them – I loved the development of their relationship, I thought it was really well done.

I loved the feminist aspect of this novel; there is a feeling of pure joy when the women first fish together and learn they can fend for themselves. It’s lovely to see women empower themselves. And it’s important to remember that feminism is about things as simple as being able to live and provide for yourself, in whatever way you want – and it’s sad and terrifying to see scared and cowardly men tear these women down because they do things they don’t understand. This book really hammers home the high cost of independence for women.

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book review

Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Publisher: Fig Tree, Penguin

Pub date: 28 Jan 2021

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest review.

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

Twins Jeanie and Julius have always been different from other people. At 51 years old, they still live with their mother, Dot, in rural isolation and poverty. Their rented cottage is simultaneously their armour against the world and their sanctuary. Inside its walls they make music, in its garden they grow (and sometimes kill) everything they need for sustenance.

But when Dot dies suddenly, threats to their livelihood start raining down. At risk of losing everything, Jeanie and her brother must fight to survive in an increasingly dangerous world as their mother’s secrets unfold, putting everything they thought they knew about their lives at stake.

Blurb

I found this novel incredibly difficult to read, and considered giving up on it multiple times. To be honest, the only reason I kept reading it was because I don’t like not knowing how things turn out in books with mysteries – but even the ‘reveals’ were disappointing and anticlimactic, and they weren’t worth hanging around for.

There was nothing much wrong with Claire Fuller’s writing, but I found the book really difficult to sink into. It felt cold and distant, and I struggled to connect to any of the characters. On top of this, I was never really hooked by anything that was happening – mostly because, for the majority of the novel, nothing really was happening. The ‘twists’ were easy to work out, but they weren’t even really that interesting.

This book lacks charm and it feels so incredibly bleak. Maybe this is my fault, and I just wasn’t in the right headspace at the time, but there was no contrast to the bleakness. There was never really a moment of fun or light-heartedness to balance out the intense feeling of bleakness throughout the novel.

The reason I haven’t given this one star is that I thought Claire Fuller’s writing was the best thing about the novel – her writing could be beautiful at times, but the story didn’t capture me. This one is not for me, but I feel like someone else out there might appreciate it, especially if you are already a fan of her novels.

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book meme

WWW Wednesday | 20 Jan

Hi everyone! I’m back with another WWW Wednesday, hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The three Ws to be answered are:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall and The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Funny that the latter one wasn’t on last week’s list of what I was going to read next! I just really felt like picking it up.

I’m really enjoying Hood Feminism, which is written in the form of short essays about different areas that Mikki Kendall argues should be part of mainstream feminism. She looks at these areas (lack of education, medical care, living wage, safe neighbourhoods) through the lens of intersectional feminism, focusing specifically on Black womxn. I’ve found all of her essays incredibly insightful, a blend of fact and personal stories – and I will definitely come away from this book with a lot to think about.

I don’t usually read two books at a time, but I find that I best digest these essays reading one or two at a time, and then giving myself the breathing space to really think about them. I’m over halfway through, and I could’ve read more by now, but I really want to absorb what they’re saying instead of rushing through them! I picked up The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave to fill the gaps in between reading Hood Feminism – and I’m really enjoying this too. This novel is set in the 1600s, on a Norweigan coastal village after a great storm killed most of the men in the village. The women have to adapt to survive, breaking social norms at the time. When Absalom Cornet (a witchhunter from Scotland) arrives, he sees a place untouched by God and flooded with evil. The writing in this book is beautiful, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

What did you recently finish reading?

I haven’t actually finished reading anything since last week. I feel like I haven’t had much of a chance to read during weekdays at the moment – work is very busy and by the end of the day I don’t necessarily feel like concentrating on reading. So I made progress with my two books at the weekend, but didn’t finish anything!

What do you think you’ll read next?

I know I didn’t follow any of the things I mentioned in this section last week, but I do think I will read Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson next. This is a debut novel about two Black British artists who fall in and out of love. This is what the Goodreads blurb says:

At once at achingly beautiful love story and potent insight into race and masculinity, Open Water asks what it means to be a person in a world that sees you only as a Black body, to be vulnerable when you are only respected for strength, to find safety in love, only to lose it.

How amazing does that sound?? I have the eARC for the novel (thanks to NetGalley and the publishers), and want to read it before it publishes on 4 February.

So that’s it from me this week! I hope your reading week has been slightly better than mine! What are you currently reading and how are you finding it?

book review

White Ivy by Susie Yang

White Ivy: Amazon.co.uk: 9781982100599: Books

Publisher: Headline

Pub date: 7 Jan 2021

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ivy Lin, a Chinese immigrant growing up in a low-income apartment complex outside Boston, is desperate to assimilate with her American peers. Her parents disapprove, berating her for her mediocre grades and what they see as her lazy, entitled attitude. But Ivy has a secret weapon, her grandmother Meifeng, from whom she learns to shoplift to get the things she needs to fit in.

Ivy develops a taste for winning and for wealth. As an adult, she reconnects with the blond-haired golden boy of a prominent political family, and thinks it’s fate. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the almost-perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists, and offering sharp insights into the immigrant experience, White Ivy is both a love triangle and a coming-of-age story – as well as a dark glimpse at what can happen when we yearn for success at any cost.

Blurb

White Ivy is a coming-of-age story about Ivy Ling, a girl who moved to America from China when she was four. The main thing to know about Ivy is that she wants – the whole book and her character is defined by wanting for things: to assimilate, to fit in, to be rich, to have power, to have ‘peace’, as she calls it.

I found this novel incredibly compelling. The character of Ivy is unlikeable in many ways, but I think she is realistic and I think a lot of people will see a bit of themselves in her. Maybe not to the extreme of Ivy, who is manipulative and opportunistic at almost every opportunity – but I think the way that she wants things to such a strong degree is very relatable. As a child, Ivy wants to fit in with all of the rich white children at school – she feels ashamed of her more humble upbringing and at the ways that her family is different from other peoples’. Susie Yang creates a brilliant and tense atmosphere, and you truly feel the otherness that Ivy feels in her life. It makes all of the feelings of shame and humiliation tauter, and the negatives in her character more understandable, more forgivable.

My favourite part of the novel was Ivy’s relationship with her mother and grandmother. They are complicated, and she often clashes with Nan (her mum) and Meifeng (her grandmother), but I loved learning more about them and the choices that they made in their lives. As Ivy learns more about them too, you see that they are more alike than she’s ever thought. As Ivy’s relationship with Gideon is mostly born out of a want for more in life, her connections with her family are really the backbone of the novel.

I’ve seen this book described as a thriller, and I can see why (it definitely takes some twists and turns) but it is more slow burn than you would expect. It is more character-driven and a coming-of-age story, with thriller elements interspersed. I would say I found the final twist predictable, but after I had guessed what was going to happen, I was very invested and spent a lot of the time with my head metaphorically in my hands, thinking: no, Ivy, no!

Roux was a much more interesting character than Gideon for me (and I think he’s meant to be!), and I really liked their dynamic – he was the only one that really saw Ivy for who she was, and he liked her anyway. Ivy says that what she really wants in life is peace – the peace knowing she’s reached the top, the peace knowing that you have ‘something no one could take away from you’. This is linked of course to the fact that she was a Chinese immigrant from a lower income family, that she went to school surrounding my white and wealthy people – Ivy has never felt secure, has never felt admired, has never felt like she is top of the pile. So she dedicates her life to reaching the top and achieving peace – and really, how can you blame her for wanting that?

Roux, from a similar background as Ivy, says the most important thing is leverage. She dismisses this is ‘unused power’, as not important – but she finds by the end of the novel that Roux is right, and leverage is how she will achieve peace.

This is a compelling and tense novel, full of sharp storytelling, and I really enjoyed it! I thought the ending was perfect, and exactly what Ivy deserved – I was wondering how the story could possibly be wrapped up, but the author did a very good job of it. This was a brilliant debut, and I will absolutely want to see what Susie Yang does next.

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Review: The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon (spoiler free!)

Pub date: 26 January 2020

The Mask Falling (The Bone Season, #4) by Samantha Shannon

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in return for an honest review!

I’ve seen Samantha Shannon refer to The Mask Falling – the fourth book in her seven-book series – as ‘the heart of the series’. And oh wow, was she correct. In my review of book three, The Song Rising, you may recall me saying that I thought she’d got the pace right, but was hoping that she’d invest more time into relationship and character development. And that’s exactly what she did!

The Mask Falling is just as action-packed and fast-paced as The Song Rising, but it’s also more reflective. While the stakes have never been higher, there is still the time and space in this novel for us to truly explore Paige’s mental health, her character development and her relationship with Warden. My little shipper heart lapped up every second of this novel, loving the blend of action and character.

I think this is the book where everything started to pull together and the threads from the other novels all built into one overarching plot, rather than the slightly more broken-up feeling from the previous three books. This novel is set in Paris, and I really enjoyed seeing the syndicate in a different country, and the way that Samantha Shannon describes Paris was beautiful. She certainly has a knack for creating a world and setting the scene. She really upped the stakes in this novel, expanding Paige’s remit not just from the underworld of London to, well, the whole world, really.

I will warn you: once again, this book ends on an INSANE cliff hanger. The end of the novel was enough to give me heart palpitations, and I immediately want the next book in the series. This is definitely the first book in the series that has made me immediately want to pick up the next.

I really recommend this series for dystopian/fantasy lovers, and if you read the rest of the series a while back and are wondering whether to get stuck into it again, I can only say: do it.

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