Recently I read A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling and Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan. I will discuss A Casual Vacancy first.
First of all, I loved the Harry Potter series and I have read it multiple times. I understand that writing an adult novel is new to Rowling, and there is no way anyone could possibly compare the series to this book. However, I hated it. As a matter of fact, I returned the book, and here's why:
A Casual Vacancy was very well written and edited. I will give Rowling that. The book reminded me of a Maeve Binchy book, except Binchy's books aren't filled with foul language and despicable characters. I care about the characters in Binchy's books, but I did not care what happened to the characters in A Casual Vacancy. Rowling said in an interview that she expected everyone to cry at the end of the book. Well I didn't cry, and I wasn't surprised. I was sad that I would never get back those lost hours from reading it, though. Rowling packs the book with filth, and it comes off as juvenile. Why do we need an adolescent male describing female genitalia in infinite detail? Really??? It is as if Rowling was trying so hard to write an adult book that she felt compelled to put every adult situation and dirty word she could think of in it. As far as the humor in the book? I did not see it at all. Another thing I hated is that Rowling's tone seemed preachy to me. It's fine for writers to care about social issues, but even if I agree with a writer, I don't like to be lectured to in the guise of a fictitious story.
Don't waste your time and money on this one.
Now on to a more positive note, I read a delightful young adult book entitled Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan.
I loved this gothic novel! Brennan has created a world unique in YA fiction. The main character, Kami Glass, lives in a pretty little English village built of Cotswold stone called Sorry-in-the-Vale. She has an imaginary friend who has spoken to Kami inside her head since she was a baby. Everyone in her village knows that when Kami gets a faraway look in her eye, she is having an internal conversation with her friend. Of course this unnerves people; she is an oddity.
The Lynburn family owns the huge manor Aurimere House that sits high on a hill overshadowing the village. The family had been absent for many years, but now they're back. Suddenly Kami comes face to face with Jared Lynburn: The boy inside her head is real.
Kami and her friends start a school newspaper, and Jared and his cousin Ash sign-up for the paper, too. Their goal is to write difficult articles through investigative journalism because Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of secrets. There has been a ritualistic animal mutilation in the woods behind Kami's home, and one of her classmates is brutally murdered. Plus everyone in the village discusses the Lynburns in whispers, her mother is hiding a family secret, and Kami discovers she has powers of her own.
Unspoken is the first book in The Lynburn Legacy series, and I'm looking forward to the next installment. Book one ends in heartbreak, but I am hoping that Kami and Jared will have a chance for happiness.
Unspoken book trailer
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Until next time...