“The Remedy” by Suzanne Young | Spoiler-Free Review!

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Rating: 5/5 stars

I recently finished reading “The Remedy” by Suzanne Young, a prequel to “The Program”. “The Program” is one of my favorites, but I personally think this book was even better. The novel follows a teenage closer named Quinlan. In this only slightly futuristic world  very similar to our own, closers are employed to help assist with grief. When certain families are having difficulty dealing with the loss of a loved one, a closer will step in to aid them. Closers skillfully imitate the person who passed away, by mimicking their voices, and wearing wigs and contacts. The closer then stays with the family for a few days, taking on the role of their lost relative. This process is designed to give the family closure over their lost loved one, and to minimise the levels of depression. In “The Program”, depression is known as an international epidemic. However, in this prequel, this is only hinted at in foreshadowing. One day, Quinlan receives an unusual mission – she must stay with a family particularly struggling with grief for two weeks, which is longer than any closer should be in character. Quinlan takes on the task, but soon struggles to differentiate between her and the character she plays. In this thrilling tale, Quinlan must soothe the family’s grief, and hide her impending panic when she realises that the character she plays mysteriously committed suicide, a fact covered up by the government. I absolutely adored this story – I’d give it a 5 out of 5 stars and honestly, I had no issues with the novel. None at all; something incredibly rare for an honest reviewer. I was already loving the story on its own but then plot twist after PLOT TWIST hit me, making the story even more flawless. I definitely recommend “The Remedy”, whether you want to read it before or after “The Program”. Though there is slight foreshadowing, I don’t think it’s really necessary to read the other book before reading this one. If you want mind-blowing plot twists and a crazy cliffhanger, all wrapped up in an electrifying dystopian, you’ve come to the right place.

It’s like this book has a flawlessness checklist – and hell yeah it ticked all the boxes.

1. Characterisation – Quinlan is such a realistic and relatable character, so relatable that it felt like I was feeling all of the pain that she was feeling! So yeah – basically a lot of feels.

2.The Creep Factor – So I’m not sure if you got it from that synopsis, but the idea of closers is weird. Like really weird. You want someone to dress up as your dead child? Apparently the government has it covered. Not only is that weird,  but when Quinlan starts discovering things about the suicide victim she is playing, the book gets kind of dark and disturbing. In a good way.

3.Writing – Suzanne Young wrote this book flawlessly. While I had some issues with “The Program“, within this novel I found none. Her writing immediately drew us to care about Quinlan’s welfare, and soon it was as if I was the closer, having to differentiate between the character and myself.

4.Romance – The romance in this book was so frustrating…in a good way. On one side, Quinlan has her gorgeous moody ex, but they have a history. On the other side, Quinlan’s character had a boyfriend whom she encounters. Seeing his dead girlfriend in the form of a closer definitely triggers some of his emotions. So there was a kind-of love triangle, but not really. Either way, I loved it.

I could continue on with the checklist, but it’s not necessary – Suzanne Young did it all. I could write some sentence with a lot of pretty adjectives, but instead I’ll just say this:

READ IT.

“Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale” by Donna Jo Napoli | Spoiler-Free Review!

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Rating: 4/5 stars

Hello readers of Oh My Blog! Today I have another spoiler-free review for you all, this time on Hush: An Irish Princess’ Tale” by Donna Jo Napoli. The novel is an enthralling, realistic historical fiction piece set in the Viking Age of Europe, somewhere around 900 A.D. The story begins in Ireland, following the story of Melkorka – an Irish princess of a wealthy kingdom. However, due to negative negotiations with Viking raiders, Melkorka is forced to leave her home for a short amount of time in her parents’ attempt to keep her safe. Unfortunately, on the road to the place in which she would reside, she is taken captive on a nearby marauding ship, and is soon forced into an unfamiliar world of cruelty and slavery. In order to hide her Gaelic voice, Melkorka decides to become mute, quickly becoming of interest to her captors. This spellbinding novel follows her captivating and shockingly honest tale in a story of struggle, pain and desperation.

Due to the trade of slaves, Melkorka is introduced to many different companions in this story. Despite occasional confusion, I really enjoyed the wide selection of characters available in the novel. I really admire stories with lots of different characters, whether that be The Simpsons or Harry Potter. In terms of the main character, I loved Melkorka as the protagonist. At first, she irritated me as she was basically the generic “princess type”…haughtiness and prejudice included. However, throughout the course of the story, she shows extensive character development and transforms from a spoiled princess into a hardworking protagonist, determined to survive. I ended up strongly admiring her character and became really invested in her welfare, as you do in an intense story of adventure and survival. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of books with protagonists in which I simply can’t connect with, so it was refreshing to have Melkorka as a model leading character.

I throughly enjoyed the context and setting of this novel. The wonderful thing about historical fiction is subconsciously learning new things about past time periods. Going into this story, I really didn’t have any knowledge of the time period featuring the barbarous Vikings – other than the first episode of the TV series Vikings – and I found it interesting learning about this certain area of European history. I even ended up researching a bit about the Viking Age after reading this novel and experiencing the Vikings’ raids on Ireland through an Irish person’s perspective. The writing in Hush flawlessly introduced all of these new things to me, leaving me intrigued for more tales from this bloodthirsty and gory time period.

In terms of the layout, I really enjoyed the writing in this story. To be honest, it took a few chapters for me to get used to the author’s writing – it’s quite different to most Young Adult novels. However, I have read stories with similar writing styles before, such as Wise Child and Juniper by Monica Furlong, and I soon found myself slipping back into familiarity. I must say it isn’t my favourite style of writing, but I felt it was appropriate for the story at-hand. The telling of the story could easily be ruined by over dramatising certain scenes, but the author carefully kept the story emotional enough for the audience to feel fear and anticipation, but not too sappy that we became irritated with the characters or storyline.

Despite the constant changing setting in this novel, I think it’s fair to say that not much happened plot-wise. I never felt as if the story was dull or slow, but I feel like the novel had such potential to bring in stronger themes of adventure and mystery, and other classic survival aspects. But man, did this book give me a giant whack in the feels. The narration removes all chance of hope or happiness, and literally only leaves a strong feeling of desperation and sadness. Though this story may follow a princess, this book is no fairy tale – there’s no prince or a classic happily ever after. This princess goes through harsh brutality that is rare in a Young Adult book, which is very enticing.

All in all, I thought it was a very good book which expressed the harsh realities and outcomes of  a slave in a context which heavily focuses on Vikings and their effect on European history, and was beautifully conveyed through honest writing that did not exclude the brutality of the protagonist’s story. Despite the lack of a detailed plot, I still really enjoyed the novel and would give it a 4 star rating. I would definitely recommend it to all who enjoy adventure and historical fiction, though it’s certainly not for the faint-hearted or those in need of a happy ending.

 

Awesome April YA Releases!

I haven’t done this since December, and I’m really sorry guys! But here I have listed some awesome Young Adult books releasing this month 🙂

Miss Mayhem – rachel hawkins

> Sequel to “Rebel Belle”

> Releases 7th April

simon vs. the homo sapiens agenda – becky albertalli

> Stand alone novel

> Releases 7th April

The queen of bright and shiny things – ann AGUIRRE

> Stand alone novel

> Releases 7th April

THE PRETTY APP – KATIE SISE

> Book #2 of the App series

> Releases 14th April

THE TRUTH COMMISSION – SUSAN JUBY

> Stand alone contemporary

> Releases 14th April

THE REVELATION OF LOUISA MAY – MICHAELA MACCOLL

> Stand alone  thriller/mystery

> Releases 14th April

Steven Moffat Speaks on Sherlock/Doctor Who Crossover

Executive producer of Doctor Who and Sherlock Steven Moffat, this week expressed his thoughts on the possibility of producing a Sherlock and Doctor Who crossover.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Moffat stated:

‘if people want to, we should give it to them’.

In the past, Moffat has made his dislike for the crossover quite clear, believing that it would not clash well. However, he believes to think differently now. Moffat continued,

“I got persuaded by Mark [Gatiss], Benedict [Cumberbatch], [executive producer Sue Vertue] and Martin [Freeman] saying, ‘Look, it will never be as good as they think it’s going to be’”.

What do you Doctor Who or Sherlock fans think of this? Would it be an awesome thing where the Doctor travels to the world of Sherlock? Or is it perhaps better left to fan fiction? Let me know in the comments!

“Shadowhunters” TV Series | Art, Episodes, Social Media!

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According to ABC Family, the show has been given a 13-episode count for its first season, each episode being an hour long, meaning that we’re guaranteed at least 13 hours of the show, even if it flops.

Cassandra Clare says:

“I’m excited to see ABC Family bring the world of the Shadowhunters to life. As a huge fan of long-form television drama, I can’t wait to see the story unfold and for the fans to have more time with the world and the characters,” added book author, Cassandra Clare.

Additionally, there are now various social media accounts for the Shadowhunters tv series, including a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram:

Twitter: @ShadowhuntersTV

Facebook: Shadowhunters

Instagram: ShadowhuntersTV

What are your thoughts on this news? I’m happy that we’re guaranteed 13 hours, no matter the audience’s perception.