Blog Tour: Misfits – Hunter Shea

Blog Tour: Misfits – Hunter Shea


Release Date:
September 8th 2020
Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Pages: 288
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

During the height of the 90s grunge era, five high school friends living on the fringe are driven to the breaking point. When one of their friends is brutally raped by a drunk townie, they decide to take matters into their own hands.

Deep in the woods of Milbury, Connecticut, there lives the legend of the Melon Heads, a race of creatures that shun human interaction and prey on those who dare to wander down Dracula Drive. Maybe this night, one band of misfits can help the other. Or maybe some legends are meant to be feared for a reason.

Review

Misfits is the dark and gruesome tale that follows five friends who are outcasts in their small town of Milbury Connecticut. When one of their friends is attacked the group decide to take matters into their own hands and seek justice. The woods surrounding the town are home to the legendary Melon Heads. When the two groups collide they think that perhaps they can be of use to each other – but at what cost?

This is my first Hunter Shea book and it was such a dark and brutal read. It was a perfect horror story to get engrossed in and one I couldn’t tear my eyes away from. It had me on the edge of my seat right from the outset and it definitely creeped me out on more than one occasion. The story is quite a violent one, with plenty of brutal and bloody moments.

I really liked Shea’s writing style and it was really easy to sink into the story. The story is set in the 90s grunge era and it was fascinating seeing that come alive in the story. I really liked the group of misfits in this story and I found myself getting attached to them quite early on. I was rooting for them from the beginning and hoping they would survive the night.

The story is a gruesome one, but it is a well executed tale and it’s absolutely perfect for some late night Halloween reading. I loved the way that Shea used the idea of the local legend, creating a story that is an entertaining horror read. If you’re looking for something fast paced, full of action and plenty of horrifying moments, Misfits should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski

Book Review: Dead Rock Stars – Guy Mankowski


Release Date:
14th September 2020
Publisher: Darkstroke
Pages: 209
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Emma Imrie was a Plath-obsessed, self-taught teenage musician dreaming of fame, from a remote village on the Isle of Wight. She found it too, briefly becoming a star of the nineties Camden music scene. But then she died in mysterious circumstances.
In the aftermath of Emma’s death, her younger brother, Jeff, is forced by their parents to stay at the opulent home of childhood friends on the island.
During a wild summer of beach parties and music, Jeff faces up to the challenges that come with young love, youthful ambition and unresolved grief. His sister’s prodigious advice from beyond the grave becomes the only weapon he has against an indifferent world. As well as the only place where the answers he craves might exist…

Review

Dead Rock Stars is a clever and compelling tale that follows a young boy named Jeff who is reeling from the death of his sister Emma – a star of the Camden music scene who dies in mysterious circumstances. While forced to spend the summer on the Isle of Wight, Jeff discovers his sisters diary that will help to guide him through the challenges of first love and growing up.

This book is completely unlike anything I’ve read before and manages to pack so much into one story – it is a coming of age novel, but also an exploration of grief and a mystery all rolled into one. Mankowski weaves the different elements to create a story that is heart wrenching and addictive. The thing I found most fascinating in this book are the brilliant characters Mankowski has created. Jeff is trying to come to terms with the death of his sister, his parents have abandoned him while they too cope with Emma’s death. We see glimpses of Emma through her diary and she too is a complex and interesting character.

I really enjoyed the diary aspect of the story and it was brilliant to see the Camden music scene come alive in Mankowski’s words. I found the diary entries particularly gripping as we see Emma’s lifestyle become more and more reckless. This is a very powerful story and one I didn’t want to put down. This is my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last. If you’re looking for a compelling read to keep you engrossed during the dark autumn months this should definitely be on your wish list.

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson

Blog Tour: The Year of the Witching – Alexis Henderson


Release Date:
July 21st 2020
Publisher: Bantam Press
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In the lands of Bethel, where the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle Moore’s very existence is blasphemy.

The daughter of a union with an outsider that cast her once-proud family into disgrace, Immanuelle does her best to worship the Father, follow Holy Protocol and lead a life of submission, devotion and absolute conformity, like all the women in the settlement.

But a chance mishap lures her into the forbidden Darkwood that surrounds Bethel – a place where the first prophet once pursued and killed four powerful witches. Their spirits are still walking there, and they bestow a gift on Immanuelle: the diary of her dead mother, who Immanuelle is shocked to learn once sought sanctuary in the wood.

Fascinated by secrets in the diary, Immanuelle finds herself struggling to understand how her mother could have consorted with the witches. But when she begins to learn grim truths about the Church and its history, she realises the true threat to Bethel is its own darkness. And if Bethel is to change, it must begin with her . . .

Review

The Year of the Witching is the dark and compelling tale of the town of Bethel, a religious community in which the Prophet’s word is law. Immanuelle does her best to follow the town rules, but she is always looked on as the daughter of a forbidden relationship between her mother and an outsider. When Immanuelle ends up in the Darkwood and is gifted the diary of her mother, she unleashes a great threat on Bethel and to stop it she must learn the dark truths behind the Church and its history.

I absolutely loved this book. It’s exactly the kind of book that hooks you from the very beginning and I did not want to put this book down. Henderson has created such a fascinating world and this book is full of beautiful writing and a tense, uneasy atmosphere. It’s an intense story and it’s the perfect read for a dark autumn evening. I’ve seen this book described as ‘The Handmaid’s Tale meets Salem’ and I don’t think I could sum it up any better myself.

The story is well paced, giving the reader a chance to understand the world and religion of Bethel. I really liked the characters – Immanuelle is a great protagonist, growing from a meek young woman just hoping to blend into the background to someone strong and powerful, standing up for what she believes in. I similarly liked Ezra and Leah, I thought they were both really interesting and well fleshed out. The Year of the Witching is a very impressive debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Alexis Henderson writes next.

This feminist tale is an addictive read and I ended up reading it in a single day. I particularly loved the dark horror moments in the Darkwood, when Immanuelle comes face to face with the legendary witches. This is a brilliantly captivating tale and one I would highly recommend. The Year of the Witching will have you on the edge of your seat, and almost certainly reading past your bedtime.

Book Review: The Falconer – Elizabeth May

Book Review: The Falconer – Elizabeth May


Series:
The Falconer #1
Release Date: September 19th 2013
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this at a Waterstones event with Elizabeth May & Victoria Aveyard
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

One girl’s nightmare is this girl’s faery tale

She’s a stunner.
Edinburgh, 1844. Eighteen-year-old Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, has everything a girl could dream of: brains, charm, wealth, a title—and drop-dead beauty.

She’s a liar.
But Aileana only looks the part of an aristocratic young lady. she’s leading a double life: She has a rare ability to sense the sìthíchean—the faery race obsessed with slaughtering humans—and, with the aid of a mysterious mentor, has spent the year since her mother died learning how to kill them.

She’s a murderer.
Now Aileana is dedicated to slaying the fae before they take innocent lives. With her knack for inventing ingenious tools and weapons—from flying machines to detonators to lightning pistols—ruthless Aileana has one goal: Destroy the faery who destroyed her mother.

She’s a Falconer.
The last in a line of female warriors born with a gift for hunting and killing the fae, Aileana is the sole hope of preventing a powerful faery population from massacring all of humanity. Suddenly, her quest is a lot more complicated. She still longs to avenge her mother’s murder—but she’ll have to save the world first.

The first volume of a trilogy from an exciting new voice in young adult fantasy, this electrifying thriller combines romance and action, steampunk technology and Scottish lore in a deliciously addictive read.

Review

The Falconer is a book I’ve had on my TBR for a while but just not had the opportunity to pick it up. I ended up reading it to fulfil a readathon prompt for a steampunk read and I’m absolutely kicking myself for not picking this one up earlier. I completely fell in love with the world that May has created and I’ve already ordered books two and three in the trilogy.

The Falconer follows Aileana – she’s a young aristocratic lady but she’s also a Falconer, one of the few people who can detect sìthíchean – the faeries who hunt and murder humans. Aileana must juggle two lives and in the process avenge her mother who was murdered by one. When tracking her mother’s murderer Aileana uncovers a darker plot to destroy humanity and must do everything she can to save the ones she loves.

The Falconer is such a compelling and engrossing read. It’s set in a steampunk Edinburgh which is something I’ve never encountered before and loved. I went to University in Edinburgh and loved the twists May put on the city. May has a really gorgeous writing style and I became completely caught up in the fascinating world and beautiful writing of The Falconer. If you’re looking for a new fae read, this is definitely one to pick up.

Aileana is a fascinating protagonist too and I loved seeing her juggle being a lady in society as well as a hunter. She’s tough and clever and such a kick ass main character. Likewise Kiaran and Gavin were really interesting characters and I also enjoyed the romance in the story. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger so if you’re planning to read this one you might want to pick up the next book two because if you’re anything like me you’ll be dying to find out what happens next.

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Baron

Book Review: Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Baron


Release Date:
August 6th 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to participate in the Tandem Collective readalong.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.

Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.

But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

Review

I absolutely love stories inspired by fairy tales so when I read the synopsis for Cinderella is Dead I was so intrigued to read it. The story follows Sophia who lives in a kingdom ruled by men. She knows the tale of Cinderella – all the women in the kingdom do. When she comes of age she’s sent to the palace to participate in the choosing – to be chosen by a man or become forfeit. Being chosen is the last thing Sophia wants, she’s in love with her best friend Erin and after a disastrous turn of events, must flee for her life. While on the run she finds out that the true nature of the Cinderella story might not be everything she thought it was.

As soon as I picked up this book I became completely sucked into the story. Kalynn Baron has taken a well known tale and completely turned it on its head. The story is a pretty fast paced one and I found myself completely racing though it, desperate to know what was going to happen next. Baron has created a fascinating world where Cinderella might be dead, but her story has lived on and shaped the lives of every woman in the kingdom. The story does have a few plot twists, a few of which I guessed quite early on. This didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story because it was such an addictive and entertaining read.

Sophia is a brilliant main character. She’s so determined and she stands up for her beliefs. I also really enjoyed the romance in the story although it did happen a little bit quickly for me. Baron has an absolutely gorgeous writing style and this ended up being one of my favourite reads of August. If you’ve been intrigued by this one I’d definitely recommend picking it up and I cannot wait to see what Baron writes next!

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth – Adalyn Grace

Book Review: All the Stars and Teeth – Adalyn Grace


Series:
All the Stars and Teeth #1
Release Date: August 4th 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer – the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder – and more peril – than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

Review

All the Stars and Teeth is an epic fantasy adventure that follows Amora Montara, princess of Visidia and future ruler of the kingdom. To claim her thrown she must show the kingdom her abilities to work and control soul magic, but on the night of the demonstration things go horribly wrong and she must flee the island. She meets the mysterious Bastian and ends up on an adventure to save her kingdom from a dangerous new force.

I really love books with pirates in them and when I heard about All the Stars and Teeth I was really intrigued by the story. I found myself hooked on this incredible tale almost straight away and I loved every minute of it. Grace has created a fascinating world full of magnificent characters. This story was just so easy to get lost in, and I can’t wait to see what happens in book two.

All the Stars and Teeth has a really fast paced plot, and there’s plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. There’s epic battles, deadly sea monsters and some really fascinating magic. The thing I loved most about this story was the world building and the magic system – the magic system in particular I thought was so unique and interesting. Amora’s ability to do soul magic as well as the curse magic used in the story fascinated me so much. There’s tons of history about the kingdom and the Montara family that it felt incredibly well fleshed out.

Likewise I really liked the characters in this story. Amora is a great protagonist, having thought she was going to rule all her life it was so interesting watching her grapple with the knowledge that everything is not what she thought in the kingdom. I also really liked Bastian and the quick banter the two have. Grace has written a captivating tale and I did not want to put this one down.

If you’ve looking for a gripping tale with high stakes, full to the brim with magic and adventure, All the Stars and Teeth should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Book Review: Wilder Girls – Rory Power


Release Date:
February 6th 2020
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this in my local bookshop
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Everyone loses something to the Tox; Hetty lost her eye, Reese’s hand has changed, and Byatt just disappeared completely.

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put in quarantine. The Tox turned the students strange and savage, the teachers died off one by one. Cut off from the mainland, the girls don’t dare wander past the school’s fence where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure as the Tox takes; their bodies becoming sick and foreign, things bursting out of them, bits missing.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her best friend, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie in the wilderness past the fence. As she digs deeper, she learns disturbing truths about her school and what else is living on Raxter Island. And that the cure might not be a cure at all..

Review

Wilder Girls is the strange and compelling story of the pupils at Raxter School for Girls, which is put under quarantine after the island becomes infected with the Tox. Affecting every student and teacher differently, Hetty loses an eye, Reese loses a hand and many of the teachers have died off one by one. When Hetty’s best friend Byatt goes missing, Hetty breaks the rules to search for her discovering the truth behind the mysterious disease that is affecting her classmates.

I wanted to love this one. There was so much hype around it that I think I might have built it up in my expectations just a little too much. It was a really enjoyable read but it wasn’t particularly scary and I think I was expecting that shiver up your spine kind of feeling. I really liked Hetty and Reese, they were great main characters and I really liked watching their relationship blossom. It was an enticing read, drawing you deeper and deeper into the reasons for this horrible plague.

I really liked Power’s writing style, the island and the setting beautifully described and the horror of the tox was highlighted in a really visceral way. The plot was pretty fast going and I read the first half of the book pretty quickly, but I did feel a little let down by the ending. It felt a bit on the rushed side and just wasn’t the type of ending I was expecting.

Overall Wilder Girls was a really enjoyable read and if you’re looking for a YA mystery with a touch of horror thrown into this mix this could be exactly what you’re looking for!

Book Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas

Book Review: Crown of Midnight – Sarah J Maas


Series:
Throne of Glass #2
Release Date: August 15th 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this in my local Waterstones

Synopsis

She is the greatest assassin her world has ever known. But does she have the heart of a killer?

After a year of hard labor in the Salt Mines of Endovier, eighteen-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien has won the king’s contest to become the new royal assassin. But Calaena is far from loyal to the crown. Keeping up the charade – while pretending to do the king’s bidding – will test her skills in an entirely new way. And it certainly isn’t the only point of confusion for the young girl. Because though she’s made her choice between Dorian and Chaol, the ways of the heart are never simple…

Review

Crown of Midnight is the second instalment in the incredibly popular Throne of Glass series. Picking up right where the events of Throne of Glass ended, the story follows Calaena as she becomes the new Royal Assassin. Sent to investigate someone from her old life, Calaena discovers that things in the capital are not all that they seem. She also has to deal with her conflicting emotions for Dorian and Chaol of which there never seems to be a right answer.

This is my second time reading this book. I read it a number of years ago and then never continued on with the series so I thought a reread was in order because I remembered very little of the story. It was such a fun read, full of action and adventure and I loved every second of it. I ended up racing through this and I cannot wait to continue on with the next book in the series.

I enjoyed seeing the characters continue to grow as well as watching the relationships change between Dorian, Chaol and Calaena – especially now that Calaena is a deadly assassin. The plot is incredibly compelling and Sarah J Maas creates a world that you do not want to leave for a second. I find the magic and the world building really fascinating, and I’m excited to see what else will be revealed in Heir of Fire.

I’d definitely say I preferred the second instalment to the first and I’m hoping the series will continue to go from strength to strength. There is a lot of buzz around this series so I’m so glad that it is living up to the hype. If you love YA fantasy that’s a roller coaster ride, you’ll be in for a treat with this series.

Mini Reviews!

Mini Reviews!

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Today I’m back with three mini reviews! I recently read three of the Reading Agency’s Quick Reads for 2020 so I thought I would combine the reviews rather than posting all three individually.

The Donor – Clare Mackintosh
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis

She gave you everything. But what does she want in return?

When Lizzie’s daughter Meg is given a life-saving heart transplant, Lizzie feels hugely grateful to the nameless donor. Then she receives a letter from the donor’s mother, Karen, asking to meet, and it seems like the least she can do.

But as soon as Karen is welcomed into their lives, Lizzie feels something isn’t right. And before long, she can’t help but worry that by inviting Karen in, she might have put Meg in danger . . .

Review

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This was a dark and twisty read about a young girl who receives a heart transplant. She begins receiving letters from the mother of the donor and their lives become intertwined. But Meg’s mum feels there’s something much more sinister going on.

This was such an interesting little book and I loved the surprise twist at the end. The characters were well written and the story really packed a punch. I liked that it was a complete story and it had a really satisfying ending. This is my first read from Clare Mackintosh but it has definitely made me more intrigued to try out some of her full length novels.4 Stars

Darkness Rising – A. A. Dhand
Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis

Detective Inspector Harry Virdee has a lot on his plate. His team is facing government cuts, tensions are building between Bradford’s two rival drugs gangs and his wife Saima is due to give birth any day now.

So when bodies start turning up in the old industrial district, the pressure is on to get the case wrapped up as quickly as possible, or risk a full-scale gang war.

But the man behind the murders is ruthless and pushy. And things are getting personal. Harry must think fast and bend the rules if he wants to keep his city, and his family, safe…

Review

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Darkness Rising is a prequel novella in A. A. Dhand’s Harry Virdee series and the story follows Inspector Virdee as a body is discovered in Bradford that could be linked to local gangs. As Harry continues to investigate his life and the lives of his family are at stake and he must do everything he can to keep them safe.

I enjoyed this one quite a lot, it was dark and gritty and I really liked A. A. Dhand’s writing style. It did very much feel like an opening to a much larger series and I would be interested to read Streets of Darkness. It was an enjoyable and entertaining read and it felt very atmospheric. I had seen A. A. Dhand talk at a Bloody Scotland panel and had always been interested to read some of his work so I am definitely going to continue on with this series.3 Stars (1)

Notting Hill Carnival – Candice Carty-Williams
Rating: 2.5

Synopsis

Sapphire is the hot-headed leader of the Red Roses in an area where gang loyalty is all that matters. But after a tragic event, Sapphire vows to leave her old life, friends and her gang behind. Life without the Red Roses and the violence that always followed them is certainly quieter.

When she meets a boy called Apollo on her way to Notting Hill Carnival, she forms an instant bond with him. She thinks he could be the one. Until she discovers he’s a member of rival gang, the Gold Teeth. Will she ever escape her past with the Red Roses, and how many lives will be ruined until she does?

Review

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Notting Hill Carnival is the story of a girl named Sapphire who has abandoned her life as a gang leader to the Red Roses and is working full time. When she meets a boy called Apollo on her way to the carnival, they instantly form a connection. She discovers he is a part of a rival gang and they have plans to meet with the Red Roses at the carnival. Can she escape her past before it destroys her?

I really wanted to love this one but I didn’t connect with it as much as I did the other two Quick Reads books I’ve picked up. I think if this had been a full length novel that really gave you the chance to get to know the characters I would have absolutely loved it. I thought it was a brilliant premise, but the story was just too quick for me. I enjoyed reading about the gangs and the friendships between them but I was less interested in the romance between Sapphire and Apollo. I did really like the writing style however so I would be intrigued to read a full length novel from Candice Carty-Williams.3 Stars (1)

Book Review: The Human Son – Adrian J. Walker

Book Review: The Human Son – Adrian J. Walker

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Release Date:
April 28th 2020
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 500
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.25/5 stars

Synopsis

500 YEARS IN THE FUTURE, EARTH IS A PARADISE… WITHOUT US.

The Earth was dying, and only the Erta could save it. Created to be genetically superior, hyper-intelligent and unburdened by the full range of human emotions, they succeeded by removing the cause: humans.

Now the Erta are faced with a dilemma—if they reintroduce the rebellious and violent Homo sapiens, all of their work could be undone.

They decide to raise one child: a sole human to decide if we should again inherit the Earth.

But the quiet and clinical Ima finds that there is more to raising a human than she had expected; and there is more to humanity’s history than she has been told.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-04-15T131539.279The Human Son is a unique and compelling tale that follows a race of people known as the Erta who, 500 years in the future, have saved the Earth from dying. Now they have a decision to make, do they reintroduce humans (who caused all the damage) or allow the human race to become extinct. Ima is tasked with raising a human child as an experiment, to decide to the fate of humanity. But as she watches the child grow, Ima finds a lot more than she expected.

This clever tale is an engaging read, one that gives the reader plenty to think about in terms of human nature and the destruction of the Earth. It was unlike anything I had read before and I thought the premise was completely fascinating. The story really tackles the idea of what it means to be human and I found it quite an engrossing topic.

The story is a very character driven one, focusing on the relationship between Ima and Reed as well as how Ima’s relationships with the other Erta change as Reed grows. We follow the two through all ages of Reed’s development and it was fascinating seeing their relationship change, how Ima changes in her role as parent. Because it was such a character driven read it is on the slower paced side, so I found some parts – particularly in the middle – harder to get through.

The Human Son is a beautifully written book, with a really compelling premise. If you love character driven science fiction, this is definitely a must read.
3 Stars (1)