Book Review: The Blue Salt Road – Joanne Harris

Book Review: The Blue Salt Road – Joanne Harris

BOOK REVIEW (28)Release Date: 15th November 2018
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. Waterstones.
Source: I won an ARC of this at YALC.

Synopsis

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings, “Ba lilly wean,
Little ken I my bairn’s father,
Far less the land that he staps in.
(Child Ballad, no. 113)

So begins a stunning tale of love, loss and revenge, against a powerful backdrop of adventure on the high seas, and drama on the land. The Blue Salt Road balances passion and loss, love and violence and draws on nature and folklore to weave a stunning modern mythology around a nameless, wild young man.

Passion drew him to a new world, and trickery has kept him there – without his memories, separated from his own people. But as he finds his way in this dangerous new way of life, so he learns that his notions of home, and your people, might not be as fixed as he believed.

Review

This is the second of book by Joanne Harris based on The Child Ballads. The first being A Pocketful of Crows which I read last year and adored. This time around the story focuses on selkies and Harris weaves a beautiful fairytale of adventure, love and loss.

Untitled design (94)The story follows a young woman named Flora who tricks a Selkie into becoming her mate. Once pregnant she steals his seal skin meaning he can never return to the water. According to myth when the Selkie is separated from his skin he cannot remember who he truly is. The story follows the Selkie as he seeks to reclaim what is his, as well as protect his newborn child.

Joanne Harris really is the Queen of beautiful, lyrical writing and her style fits so well with this kind of story. It allows you to really sink into the story, enveloping you in this world of wild seas, full of danger and violence.

Like A Pocketful of Crows I found this book fascinating. I loved the bold story with memorable characters and the gorgeous illustrations really helped to bring the story to life. Although it’s a short little book (in fact I read in a single sitting on the train from London to Edinburgh), it certainly packs a punch and I still think about it even though I read it a while ago.

With gorgeous artwork both inside and out, this really is a stunning book. The story is a beautifully woven tale of magic, adventure and love. Fans of Joanne Harris will definitely not be disappointed and if you enjoy fairy tales and retellings, this should absolutely be on your wish list.
4 stars

Book Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert

Book Review: The Hazel Wood – Melissa Albert


BOOK REVIEW (39)Series:
The Hazel Wood #1
Release Date: 30th January 2018
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 359
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Review

As soon as I read the synopsis for The Hazel Wood I was dying to read it. Dark fairy tale stories? a mystery surrounding a reclusive grandmother and her creepy estate? Count me in! I really enjoyed reading The Hazel Wood but it didn’t turn out quite how I expected it would. It was dark and unsettling and I’m definitely looking forward to picking up the next instalment in the series.

book cover (14)The first half of the book I absolutely fell in love with. I loved the mystery surrounding the Hazel Wood. Where was it located? What was really behind the gates? There were so many questions and these creepy fairy tale characters kept appearing which made me desperate for me. At this point I felt the book could easily have been a five star all time favourite read, but for some reason as soon as Alice reached the Hinterland I felt the book fell a little flat. I felt like the story was racing towards the end and Id didn’t get the opportunity to enjoy it.

The story is a slow burner, but I enjoyed the little hints and clues that led up to Alice finding her way into the Hazel Wood. Alice was an interesting main protagonist, although she was pretty unlikeable and I felt some of her actions were a bit questionable. What I did really love was Melissa Albert’s writing style, I thought her writing was really beautiful and I loved completely absorbing myself in world of this book.

Despite being a little disappointed with the second half of the book I still think this is a really great read. It’s dark and enjoyable definitely gave me some serious Alice in Wonderland vibes. If you love your fairy tales with a bit of a twist, this is bound to be right up your street.
4 stars

Book Review: Through the Woods – Emily Carroll

Book Review: Through the Woods – Emily Carroll

BOOK REVIEW (52)
Release Date:
7th May 2015
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Pages: 208
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones
Source: I found a copy in a second hand bookshop.

Synopsis

It came from the woods. Most strange things do.’
Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss.

These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll.

Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there…

Review

This was a book that caught my eye in a second hand bookshop. Being only 50p I snapped it up and read it as soon as I got home. Dark, eerie and magical, I absolutely loved this book. I read it in one sitting and I’ve already had a friend steal it off me.

book cover (27)Through the woods features five different stories told in graphic novel form. The art is haunting and beautiful. The stories are told in a fairy tale style, but with a much darker and chilling twist. I really liked this section:

“Oh, but you must travel through those woods again and again… said a shadow at the window… and you must be lucky to avoid the wolf every time…

But the wolf… the wolf only needs enough luck to find you once.”

The book is a pretty quick read, and it’s the kind of thing you can find yourself absorbed in for a few hours. I loved the black and vivid reds of the artwork. In some parts it was quite grotesque and kind of reminded me of The Wytches. I thought each story was well written and developed and overall I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful set of tales.
5 stars