October 2015 Book Reviews

 

ILLUMINAE

Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

When the planet of Kerenza is invaded, survivors flee aboard separate spaceships. Their attackers chase them through space, but is the enemy warship, the deadly zombie-like virus, or the damaged system their biggest threat?

I can’t get over how good this was! Visually stunning and such an (emotional) experience. The survivors’ journey through space is delivered through classified documents, IM chats, transcripts, camera footage, diary entries, countdowns, and more. The way the story is told gives a real sense of urgency. Bursts of text bring forward a feeling of chaos and high-action. Swirling sentences bring forward a feeling of vast emptiness, a peaceful loneliness – the calm before the storm.

It’s a bulky book, but quite a quick read due to the writing style, and the characters made me care so much that I read fast because I wanted – no, needed – to know what was going to happen to them! I did wonder if I’d fall for the characters given the way it is written. But, yep. So hard. It actually surprised me with how deeply we do get to know them. It’s really cleverly crafted.

The horror/zombie element was my favourite, along with the Artificial Intelligence machine – AIDAN – and, of course, Kady and Ezra. There’s so much to love here. I know I will pick this up again and again. It’s a very unique reading experience, one I enjoyed immensely. I can’t recommend it highly enough or, I feel, do it justice with my review. But my other attempt looked like this: omgugofsdidahidhiDHHN, so let’s stick with this one.

MONSTER

CJ Skuse

Six girls stranded at their remote boarding school over Christmas while the Beast of Bathory stalks the grounds, looking for its next victim. Rumours surround the Beast, and a string of killings and disappearances convince some of the girls that it exists. But others put it down to old legends with no truth behind them and seek a more logical approach. When a snowstorm hits the country and parents can’t make it to the school to collect the girls, things go from scary to scarier and maybe the Beast isn’t their biggest threat…

I haven’t read a mystery/thriller as good as this in ages. I also haven’t read a boarding school setting as good as this in ages. The scare-factor was done to perfection, but alongside that there was Skuse’s wicked humour – the book had me both laughing out loud and hiding under my duvet. The author knows how to bring the best of everything into her stories, and do it just right. Reading this in the build up to Halloween couldn’t have been better – it’s a real edge-of-your-seat page-turner. I thought it was brilliant.

ALSO READ THIS MONTH:

The Uninvited by Cat Winters

Romancing the Dark in the City of Light by Ann Jacobus

Fateful by Claudia Gray

Real Murders by Charlaine Harris

Rebellion by Stephanie Diaz

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd