bullet-point review: the twisted tree by rachel burge

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Title: The Twisted Tree

Author: Rachel Burge

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: January 10th 2019

Pages: 180 (Kindle edition)

Rating:

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

what i loved

+ So first off, Rachel Burge’s writing is hella solid. Very descriptive, very emotive. Makes it easy for the reader to picture both the isolated island upon which Martha travels to and the monstrous creatures that reside there.

+ The suspense was definitely the strongest point. Burge kept tensions high and you on the edge of your seat for the majority of this novella. Plus the horrorish nightmare fuel involved here was hecka powerful for such a short piece.

+ The mythology and the world = perfection. I really enjoyed all the Norse mythology and how it connects to Martha’s family.

+ I enjoyed Martha’s character and she had decent character development. She went from a person hiding away to someone who embraces who she is, even questioning some of her past actions. Solid growth for a book that is so short.

+ The ability to feel people’s emotions/see their history through touching cloth is ACE. Completely unique, I’ve never read anything like it. Thought it would be quite weird and pointless but it really wasn’t. Top notch ability!

+ I liked Stig as a character! He was mysterious and contradictory and basically left you with so many questions about who is his and what is in his past. Honestly, I wanted far more about whoever this dude is.

what i didnt love

– Why romance ????? Considering how short it was, a lot of time was focused on this relationship between Martha and Stig but it didn’t seem necessary??? Felt like it was there because it’s something that YA books have, ya know? It could have easily been a platonic relationship and Martha’s development still would have happened exactly as it did.

– Also, far too short. Burge does well to fit as much tension and suspense and action into such a short space but it would have benefitted for even a few more pages

– There’s like a weird cliffhanger about Stig and it just doesn’t go anywhere??? a few more pages could have solved that.

overall

The Twisted Tree was a good read. It was super atmospheric and I really did enjoy Rachel Burge’s writing style. I loved the unique twists on usual mythology YA books and it managed to get a lot of interesting story into few pages. I would recommend it those who enjoy suspensive writing and new takes on mythology.

However, I felt it was a lot shorter than it should have been and when those few pages are focused on a fledgeling relationship that seems kind of pointless and still leaves loads of questions to answer, it does feel like aspects of the story are missing.


Have you read The Twisted Tree? What did you think? If you haven’t, has this review made you want to pick the book up or not? Let me know what you think in the comments!


happy reading

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Galley Review: S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett

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Title: S.T.A.G.S35154365

Author: M.A Bennett

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Release Date: August 10th, 2017

Pages: 294

Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin’ shootin’ fishin’. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry’s parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports – hunting, shooting and fishing – become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school… 

 

my thoughts

I was excited for this book from the first moment I heard about it. The very premise was something that pricked my interest. I was able to get a copy of this book signed by M.A Bennett during YALC this July and I impatiently waited for The Reading Quest to start so that I could start this book. As you can tell, there was a lot of build up and a lot of anticipation for this release.

S.T.A.G.S reached all of my expectations.

From the very first line – “I think I might be a murderer” – I was engaged in this story.

It’s written like almost like a memoir, everything told in retrospect which I think adds to the tension and thriller aspects of the story. You know something happened, you know someone died, you know who is responsible – you just don’t know what it is.

Bennett is really good at keeping the tension up throughout the story. The events of the deadly weekend are paralleled against the posh blood sports that take place each day – day 1, huntin’; day 2, shootin’; day 3, fishin’. Details about each bloody hobby are described and then seen acted out by the perpetrators. It’s a great way of adding foreshadowing – and therefore tension – to each arc of the story.

I really liked Greer’s voice. I enjoyed the moments of uncertainty that she felt, I liked all the movie references because that was something that was distinctly her and gives her a fantastic voice that you can follow with ease.

All the characters really were charismatic and entertaining in their own way. From the ‘Medievals’, blond and beautiful, to Shafeen, who wants to find out the secrets and save those he cares about, to Nel, who just wants to fit in. Each of them have you questioning intentions or feeling empathy deep in your chest for these feelings of inadequacy.

There’s a lot of focus on the modern world vs the old, and the social commentary that comes with that is incredibly interesting to read. Positives and negatives are both raised, the romanticisation of the past repeatedly challenged. In the end, this questioning is something that sets the characters and the world that S.T.A.G.S inhabited apart from everything else.

And as for the plot twist, well, let’s say – M.A. Bennett, is there going to be a sequel?

rating

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