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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Midnight Dress- Karen Foxlee

WOW…. Really that’s all I want to say.
This book was great and I couldn’t put it down. The synopsis on the cover doesn’t do it justice.
Yes there is a beautiful mysterious dress, yes a girl goes missing…But that’s not all, not even part of it.
First off the book takes place in Australia which is pretty unique, I, at least, don’t see it a lot. So the back drop for the story is beautiful and new.
The characters are good and almost believable teen girls, which is also hard to find in YA.
The culture is different, so it was interesting to see how a single dad manages to take his teen daughter on a rather wandering hobo like lifestyle where they move from one town to the next living in a trailer. Here in the USA that is almost impossible, CPS is all over that kind of shit. So I am interested to see if child services actually works differently in Australia or if the author tweaked some things for sake of the plot….either way bravo.
Rose and Pearl are two totally different people who become best friends. Pearl is beautiful and popular and only cares about leaving their small town and finding her Russian father. Rose is a misfit, trying hard to find someplace to belong while acting like she doesn’t care.
There is NO ROMANCE in this novel. There are discussions about love, lust and sex, there are a few clumsy teen make out sessions and gropes but love doesn’t fuel this novel.
The book is written in  a great way, the first part of every chapter is in italics present day after  the girl has gone missing and then the rest is normal font in the past telling us the events that led up to the girl disappearing. The author’s style is also very up front and nothing is sugar coated. So a warning there are hints of rape, molestation and a relationship between a 30 + guy and a teen girl…Those parts were a little disturbing, but they needed to be.
The mystery was a little hard to solve for me at first, I had it figured out by the end, but the author threw in a great red herring to lead readers astray.

This novel has no magic, it is simply YA fiction and really very good, anyone who likes YA and is looking for something outside of what this genre usually produces should read this book.

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine

Prince of Shadows by Rachel Caine was yet
another Romeo and Juliet retelling from the position of Benvolio and Rosaline. Accept this time a little more realistic is what might have actually happened with two huge back stabbing, angry vicious families warring within one city.
There was blood, gossip, death, rumors of women being impure and unchaste, tattling of homosexual boys…which was actually really horrible since the author goes into detail about how being called out as a pervert gets you hung.
The author uses quotes from the play quite nicely but uses a modern tone so the reader doesn't get bored and confused. The characters were really good and the writing flushed out depth in them I always thought lacking in the play. Romeo and Juliet is my least favorite Shakespeare play, so getting me to enjoy it is a bonus. The author also calls to attention the actual age difference between Romeo and Juliet, her 13 to his 17 and Ben (as Benvolio is familiarly called) mentions how much more a child than a women she looks.
The author made Ben a thief, the Prince of Shadows. He is a Robin Hood type character the steals from those who insult the house of Montague and then gives those riches to the poor. The romance between him and Rosaline is almost nonexistent which works in favor for the novel and against it. It is nice to have a book not centered on the romance between two people and live off the merits of its plot but also at the end when they are spouting undying love it almost breaks into an insta-love quality.
However the reason this is getting 3.5 instead of 4 or 5 weeping angels is the magic. The book was so great, a lovely yet brutal retelling of a classic, until the author brought in a witch, a curse and magic to take the blame for Romeo and Juliet falling in love and all the tragedies that happened in the last half on the novel. Felt like a cop out to me. It could have stood alone, without paranormal brew ha ha.
 Aside from that you should read this if you enjoy Shakespeare retellings. I really liked it.