The Boy on the Bridge by M.R. Carey

I read The Girl with All the Gifts when it first came out and absolutely loved it. I even watched the movie version of it, which was really well done. However, I took a long time to get to this book. I finally popped by my local library and picked it up. And I’m so glad I did!

Synopsis: This story takes places years before The Girl with All the Gifts. In this novel, a group of scientists and army personnel are on a mission to understand the hungries by collecting samples left behind by other scientific explorations. Accompanying them is Stephen Greaves, a teenage boy who is considered a child genius but who doesn’t display social skills – unless it is with scientist Samrina Khan. As they make their way through this dangerous expanse of land, Stephen discovers the existence of an anomaly amongst the hungries. Stephen thinks that this discovery is exactly what is needed to find a cure – but will this belief of his become a liability to all on board?


I really didn’t want to give anything away in my summary, but I also didn’t just want to post up what Goodreads did because it’s quite sparse. But I also don’t want to give too much away.

I highly recommend that you read The Girl with All the Gifts before reading this novel. You don’t need to have read it to understand The Boy on the Bridge but it makes the story more interesting and gives you a link between the two books. As it were, this novel is perfectly good all on its own and there are only a few things that will connect the two books.

As with the first book, I loved the violence of the hungries and the action in this story. The author knows how to pack the punches and ramp up the tension. I liked the characters in the novel but none of them really drew me the way Melanie from The Girl with All the Gifts did. Even though Stephen was this child prodigy, his voice was so mature that it was hard for me to remember that he was a teenager. All of the characters got a turn in the spotlight, but it wasn’t always in equal measure; this actually didn’t work as well for me because it meant that I didn’t really make any strong connections with anyone.

But the action! It was phenomenal! When things began to slide downwards, I felt like a helpless character in the book, unable to predict the repercussions of the actions and unable to pull away from it. I loved every part of the journey and the discovery that Stephen makes. The epilogue that the author put in this book was a great shocker and it promises (or atleast I hope it does!) for another book in this series.

My overall thoughts? This is a solid 4/5 with a great story line and tons of action. The only thing that could have made it more perfect would have been if there had been a better way for the reader to connect with the characters.

Happy reading ~

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I don’t usually read books that are like this one. If I had to classify this into a genre, I would probably consider this a literary novel. However, I thought the premise was an interesting one, and worth reading. Here is my review:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and when the Gold children hear of a psychic who can tell anyone the day they die, they decide to visit her. What they didn’t expect is that the prophecies they receive will change their lives forever. The youngest, Simon, escapes to the West Coast on a search for love; Klara, the closest in age to Simon, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a magician but soon finds herself obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; Daniel, the eldest boy, becomes an army doctor in the hopes of controlling fate; and Varya, the eldest of them all, throws herself into the search for longevity through science.

I thought this was a very thought-provoking read. The story is told from the perspectives of all 4 siblings, with each one getting their own section that traverses the entirety of their lives. And their lives are very different. I liked reading about how each character was affected by their prophecy and the way it shaped/influenced their future decisions. Their paths were all so unique and that really made each character stand out to me. Some stories stood out to me more than others, but I have a feeling that most people would also feel this way. I d want to give a note to caution to some readers: if you are expecting a story with elements of magical realism, you will be disappointed; apart from this prophecy, which occurs in the very beginning of the novel, there is nothing fantastical that occurs. While I don’t think the writing was spectacular, I think the story more than makes up for it. I would be lying if I said I never wondered when and how I would die – but how would this knowledge affect me? Would I try to disprove the prophecy or work harder to make it come true? Or would I not believe in it at all? Either way, it would definitely affect my life. I thought the author captured a lot of these scenarios and delivered them quite nicely, allowing the reader to come to their own conclusions without it being delivered to them by a character or through dialogue. I found myself understanding the actions and emotions of all of the characters, and I felt a strong emotional connection to them all as they struggled through their lives. Each story resonated with me in its own way and it led to a very insightful read. Was it everything I had dreamed it would be? No. Even though I enjoyed this novel a great deal, there was this feeling that something was missing. However, this was a powerful and thoughtful read, and I would recommend this to anyone who likes literary fiction, and novels that cause them to question their own existence and mortality.

Happy reading ~

 

 

The Readymade Thief by Augustus Rose

Thank you to Penguin Random House and the First to Read program for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I love stories that have unconventional main characters and that was what drew me to this novel. I wanted to see how the author would spin this story and make it unique. Here are my thoughts:

Lee Cuddy is 17 and on the run. After being betrayed by her family and best friend, she finds refuge in a cooperative for runaways in a building called the Crystal Castle. However, this “safe haven” is a far more sinister place, where fanatical men set on decoding powerful secrets hidden in art take advantage of the young teens who find them. And Lee is their next target. With the help of Tomi, a young hacker and artist, Lee escapes into the unmapped corners of the city. But the deeper she hides, the more tightly the noose tightens around her neck. Desperate and out of options, Lee steps from the shadows to face who is after her—and why.

Wow, this book was not what I expected. And I don’t mean that in a good way. This novel really didn’t have anything that I enjoyed. I thought that the story would move at a much faster pace than it did … and it was seriously slow. It was also very unrealistic in terms of plot. Now, I know that sounds like a dumb comment, considering that this is fiction, but there needs to be a touch of realism in order to make the reader believe in the story. The amount of bad luck that follows Lee is ridiculous and the author’s struggle to tie in art, science made me cringe. The whole novel felt like this huge struggle where the author was trying to say something meaningful…. but there really wasn’t anything meaningful to say. To top it all off, the characters were all one-dimensional and didn’t have anything to connect me to them. Overall, this novel failed for me on many levels and I would give this a 1.5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

I received this novel as an advanced copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I haven’t read a nonfiction novel in a long time and I don’t think I have ever blogged about it. I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to broaden my reading range. I’m so glad that I chose to read this book because it was such a fantastic experience. Here is my review:

As World War I took its tool, hundreds of young women were employed at radium-dial factories to paint clock faces with a new miracle substance: radium. Assured by their bosses that the luminous material was completely safe, the women used the “lip-painting” technique to do their job, happily surprised to find themselves glowing from head to toe by the dust that collected after a day’s work. With such a coveted job, these girls were considered to be the luckiest of all – until they all began to fall ill. As the radium poisoned their bodies, they found themselves battling not just their physical ailments but the working industry themselves in one of America’s biggest scandals.

I never expected a nonfiction novel to be so moving and gripping. I could not read this novel in one sitting; I had to take multiple pauses because it was just so emotional. I didn’t know much about this topic before I began reading. I had just thought that this was an interesting event that involved radium, a substance I’m familiar with through my course work. I got so much more than that through this book. The author creates a vivid story that looks at the lives of all of these women, full of their hopes and dreams and despairs. It shows all of the different people involved that either hindered or aided in justice being meted out. There was so much courage and strength portrayed here and the author made the reader care about every single woman mentioned in the story; they weren’t just names but real people that I could connect with. While the novel was definitely more in favor of the women than the radium companies (which totally makes sense!), I was happy to see that the author did take into account the reasons why the companies did what they did; it didn’t make me sympathetic to them on any account but it did make an attempt to give a more well-rounded picture of the scandal. This was a gripping story where I was on the edge of my seat, wondering how the women would get past each obstacle thrown in their way. The best thing about this story was the message of perseverance and hope and bravery that these women showed in every facet of their lives; they may have been dying but they wouldn’t give up on living and fighting. It made me feel so proud to see all that they accomplished even after facing such adversity. I can honestly say that I have never felt this emotionally invested in a novel before. What an amazing story and the author did such a brilliant job of making it relevant and appealing to the masses. This is definitely a nonfiction book you don’t want to miss out on!

Happy reading ~

Orphan #8 by Kim van Alkemade

What drew me to this novel was that it is based on a true story. I love fiction and I will read pretty much any genre but when it comes to historical fiction, the more truth there is, the more I like it. The story line itself seemed quite intriguing, what with its gruesome portrayal of experimentation done on children in the name of science. I was very eager to read it and now, I am eager to give you my review!

In 1919, 4-year-old Rachel Rabinowitz lives in a small apartment with her parents and her older brother. But when tragedy strikes, Rachel is separated from her brother and sent to a Jewish orphanage, where she is subjected to experimentation by Dr. Mildred Solomon. The x-ray treatments leave her disfigured in more ways than one, and Rachel grows up suffering from the consequences both physically and emotionally. Years later, Rachel is a nurse at a Manhattan Care Home and comes face-to-face with Dr. Solomon, who is now elderly and cancer-striken. This is Rachel’s chance to confront the doctor and punish her for her wrongdoings. But as Rachel begins to take care of her new charge, she realizes that things may be more complex than she initially thought.

Although I liked the premise of this novel, it didn’t satisfy me as much as I had hoped. I loved the moral dilemma that Rachel was facing and I really enjoyed reading about the life Rachel had lived before, during, and after the experimentation that led to this culminating point in the novel. The complexity of the situation was aptly described and it made me rethink my own views on the situation. Revenge always seems simple when you first encounter a situation where you have been wronged, and it’s not often that one gets the chance to really delve deeper into the emotions and morals associated with revenge. This novel gives you that chance. That being said, the ending was too bittersweet for my taste.  I felt like I wanted more for Rachel. The author had done such a good job portraying her character that I felt a kinship towards her and wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. And even though life doesn’t work out that way, I wanted it to. In a way, that’s a sign that this novel is fantastic in its ability to capture the reader’s attention and draw the sympathy of the reader for the protagonist. If you are looking for a good historical fiction, I would definitely recommend this one!

Happy reading!