Book Review: Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton

Tyger Tyger (The Goblin Wars #1) by Kersten Hamilton

Published: 15 November 2010
Publisher: Clarion
Add it on Goodreads

Format: Hardback
Pages: 308
Source: eBay
Buy it here

My rating: ★★★★☆


“It’s an Irish story, love,” Mrs. Wylltson said. “We don’t do happy endings.”

KERSTEN HAMILTON, TYGER TYGER

Synopsis

Teagan Wylltson’s best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures—goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty—are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn’t worried. Her life isn’t in danger. In fact, it’s perfect. She’s on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She’s focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn’s a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he’s crazy or he’s been haunting Abby’s dreams, because he’s talking about goblins, too… and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby’s right. The goblins are coming.

My Review

I loved this book! It hit so many boxes for me. The main character’s name is Teagan (my name!), it’s based on Celtic pre-history and mythology, involved plenty of Sídhe, and even made references to Peter Pan! No wonder my mum thought it would be the perfect gift for me. It was super weird reading about a protagonist with my name at first, but once I got used to it I loved the book even more. It was a good thing Teagan was a driven and likeable character. In fact, all of the characters were. A lot of Irish references and customs were incorporated, the characters were complex and interesting, and it was an all round really enjoyable read. I’d ordered Book 2 and 3 before I’d even reached the halfway point. I liked the incorporation of William Blake’s poem “The Tyger“, and I’m interested to see how the reference flows through into In the Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars #2) and When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears (Goblin Wars #3).

Of course, it wasn’t without its flaws. I wasn’t a fan of how the author chose to represent the Sídhe as “savage,” “evil,” and “wicked servants” of Mab, hellbent on killing the Irish for seemingly no reason at all. It’s more complex than that, and I think this depiction was a bit superficial, but that’s the artistic route the author decided to go down (and of course the Christian influence) so I can’t really complain (and she does have an author’s note at the end of the book that clarifies “please remember that this book is merely a single storyteller’s reimagining of what is, what was, and what just might be”). On the other hand, she did go on to almost eat her words later in the book, clarifying that not all Sídhe are so narrow-minded, attributing the idea of ‘devolution’ and a differentiation between Sídhe and goblins which I thought was interesting.

My biggest issue with this book was the pacing, and the four month time jump didn’t do it any favours. A lot of the book involved the characters walking somewhere, and this didn’t help with the pacing either. I just wanted them to get where they were going faster so the real action could begin! Yet, when they did finally get wherever they were going or to a key moment in the plot, those events were glossed over. I think the story would’ve worked better if the time jump was written out. It seemed lazy, meaning the author didn’t have to deal with certain tough situations in the plot, when dealing with those issues would’ve made the story so much stronger. The romantic subplot was written sloppily, and I thought the cousin element was awkward. This comes down to the pacing too. The author didn’t allow enough time for the tension to build! Nevertheless, I was rooting for them throughout the whole novel. It just could’ve been executed better.

The pop culture references (particularly songs) were a bit overboard at times, but fun. I mentioned the references to Peter Pan earlier, and I did pick up on a Peter Pan influence beyond these references throughout the book, particularly in the second half and with the character of Aiden. I have conflicting feelings about this, to be honest. There were some Peter Pan-inspired elements that I really liked, but a certain character’s cockiness wasn’t one of them. Luckily it seemed to be more of a passing reference than an enduring character trait. I’m just hoping it doesn’t develop further in the rest of the series and was just a phase.

I also thought it was interesting that the author decided to set this novel in Chicago. It gave a great excuse for info dump (don’t get me started on the amount of info dump in this book), with the characters not being raised in Ireland and therefore needing certain history and words to be explained to them, but I am hoping that they do visit Ireland at some point in the series. I also wished they would stop italicising Irish words! It interrupted the flow and I didn’t see any reason for them to be italicised, especially when it’s a word we encounter frequently throughout the novel. The reader can recognise that it’s not English well enough on their own.

These next three paragraphs include some low-level spoilers, so please skip straight to the final paragraph if you want to avoid them.

Firstly, it really annoyed me that Abby did a complete 180 on her belief in goblins. At the start of the book, Abby was the one trying to convince Teagan that she was in serious danger, and then just four months later she wouldn’t have a bar of it? This didn’t make any sense. I also really liked Abby’s dynamic with Finn, and I think she would’ve made a great addition to the team. I’m hoping she is incorporated more in the next books, which was hinted at at end.

I also liked that Finn made a point of not stealing. Travellers get a bad rap, so I liked this touch (although it wasn’t particular subtle). I just wish this author would show, not tell! I can see that she was aiming at growth with Finn’s character after the four month time jump, but outright telling us that he’s a changed man doesn’t do anything for me. I need to see it! The author heavily relied on dialogue to get her ideas across, but I would’ve liked to see it more through the characters’ actions.

There were a few instances when characters were called out for swearing in front of Teagan (“a lady”) or she was otherwise targeted for being a female. These instances didn’t seem relevant and definitely didn’t advance the plot in any way, leaving me questioning why they were there in the first place. Aiden also made a point of getting angry when Teagan tricked him into singing a princess song, and when Lucy put flowers in his hair. This male/female divide left me feeling confused more so than anything else.

I’m far better at pointing out weaknesses than strengths, so just know that I really enjoyed this book! However, I doubt I would have felt the same way had it not been for my love of all things Irish. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series and see where The Goblin Wars go!


Have you read Tyger Tyger? Do you want to?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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Interview with YA Contemporary Author Cheyanne Young

Cheyanne Young is a native Texan with a love of coffee, collecting nail polish, and writing books for young adults. Her compulsively readable breakout novel THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE offers abiding friendship and forbidden romance, and is set for release on October 2nd, 2018 from KCP Loft.

I’ve never come across a scavenger hunt quite like the one in THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE. Where did the idea for this book come from?

The idea came to me all at once in this crazy epic brain explosion of ideas that will probably never happen again, sadly. I knew I wanted to write a book about two very loyal best friends who would never hurt or betray each other. But, two friends with no drama doesn’t make for a good book.. So sadly, one of them had to die. As soon as I realized that, the rest of the story just hit me. I don’t even remember how I knew there needed to be a secret boy and a scavenger hunt, I just did. Honestly, that never happens! Every book I’ve written before and after this has been like pulling teeth.

Raquel goes on a lot of little adventures in THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE. Have you ever been on a little adventure in the name of writing?

Not on purpose, although I would love to travel for story ideas. Most of my adventures start out as regular adventures and halfway through them, I think, “This would make a great book idea.” Then I’ll spend the rest of my day looking at everything in a different, more inspiring light.

Have you always been a fan of the YA contemporary genre? What makes it so special to you now? Have you ever considered writing in another genre?

Yes! I was an avid reader as a kid and as a teenager. I often feel like I never really grew up because I still prefer YA books over everything else. I’ve read several “adult” books with adult characters and storylines and it just doesn’t give me the same wonderful feeling as reading a YA book. I kept thinking that as I got older, I’d change, but I’m 32 now and there’s no end in sight for my love of YA. As for contemporary, it’s where I feel most at home. It takes a lot for me to like a fantasy YA book, and every time I read something other than contemporary, I feel a little out of place. (The exception being Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo which is the BEST BOOK EVER.)

THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE deals with a lot of difficult topics. What was the hardest part about writing it? What was the easiest?

The hardest part was the crying. Seriously. Buckets of tears. I will cry right now if I think about certain scenes. These characters are completely made up, existing only in my own mind, and yet they feel so real to me that having Sasha die and then writing about her memories with her best friend was very painful. It was unlike any other writing experience I’ve ever had. I often cried over my keyboard while writing. On the flipside, this book felt so real to me that I wrote the entire thing in only 27 days. That was the easy part – letting this story fall out of my fingertips. I think I really wanted to get to the ending where everything would be a little better and less painful.

Memories are integral to the plot of THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE. What’s your favorite memory as a writer?

This might sound crazy but – my favorite memory as a writer is back when I started writing my first book. It was about 10 years ago and I was bright eyed and bushy tailed and just really really excited to create my own story after reading hundreds of books in my life. There was no pressure, no deadlines, no expectations, and no knowledge of the real world of publishing. I had no idea how hard it would be, how much my first attempts would suck. That was the beauty of it. I was unaware, and totally ecstatic to be writing. Now, it’s a lot different. I’m more judgmental, more of a perfectionist, and more aware of how very hard it is to get a book deal. I often wish I could go back to those beginning days.

I love Sasha’s taste in movies. Did movies like Ever AfterThe Princess BrideMean Girls, and Harry Potter inspire or influence THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE in any way?

Thank you for saying that! I seem to remember a certain professional book review that skewered my choice of movies, so.. yeah. Thank you. Sasha’s favorite movies are, simply put, my favorite movies. They’re “classics” in Sasha’s world, movies she would have watched as a kid that stuck with her throughout her teenage years. I think they show her romantic side, and how she loved being in a fairytale, which probably influenced the great gift she left behind when she died.

Readers are left with a lot to think about after reading THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE. Did you learn anything from writing it?

This book was about friendship, the real true kind of friendship that never leaves you. I learned that I could write a friendship and have it be just as emotional and heart wrenching as a romance. This was inspiring to me, because I often feel like romance is the only plot line a reader will enjoy, and that’s simply not true. It made me want to write more friendship books. (but of course, there will always be a cute love interest in them!)

What’s next for you? Are you currently working on any future projects we should be excited about?

My agent and I are currently trying to get a book deal for my next book, called BEFORE YOU WAKE. It’s another YA contemporary that focuses more on friendship and less on romance, but there’s also a swoony guy character that I loved creating. His character is a little bit like Sasha—not dead, but, not always present in the story. I really hope to share it with readers soon, and I promise it won’t make you cry like this book did!


Find Cheyanne on Instagram, Twitter, and her website.

You can order a copy of THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Indigo, and Book Depository.

Book Review: We Three Heroes by Lynette Noni

We Three Heroes (The Medoran Chronicles #4.5) by Lynette Noni

Published: 29 August 2018
Publisher: Pantera Press
Add it on Goodreads

Format: Paperback
Pages: 367
Source: Publisher
Australian RRP: $19.99
Buy it here

My rating: ★★★★☆


NEVER LET THEM BREAK YOU

Lynette Noni, We Three Heroes

Synopsis

“We all have to do our part if we’re to survive the coming storm.”

Alexandra Jennings might be the hero of The Medoran Chronicles, but she would be lost without her three closest friends. They are her heroes, and like all heroes, they each have their own story.

Meet the real D.C. in Crowns and Curses and discover how she becomes the princess Alex once despised but now adores.

Follow Jordan on his healing journey in Scars and Silence as he struggles in the wake of being rescued from his living nightmare.

Walk beside Bear in Hearts and Headstones as he faces an unspeakable trauma while helping his world prepare for the coming war.

D.C., Jordan and Bear are the heroes of their own stories.

It is time for their stories to be told.

My Review

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Confession: I haven’t really liked D.C. and Jordan since Akarnae. I mean, it’s not that I’ve disliked them exactly. It’s just, I don’t get excited about scenes with them in it. At least, not in the same way I do about so many other characters in The Medoran Chronicles.

I loved both characters when I first met them, but they haven’t quite met the mark ever since, and when We Three Heroes was announced I couldn’t help but think there were other characters I would prefer to read a novella from the perspective of.

Nevertheless, I was still really REALLY excited for We Three Heroes (and not just because of my love for Bear). Who knows, maybe getting to know D.C. and Jordan better would help change my outlook on them?

And that’s exactly what We Three Heroes did.

The first novella, Crowns and Curses, shows us what made D.C. the fiery, strong, independent girl we meet in Akarnae. It’s not hard to guess what might make a child become so guarded, but I hadn’t considered the way being raised as a royal might also play a role in this.

Crowns and Curses not only reminded me why I loved D.C. so much in Akarnae; it made me appreciate her growth and the person she becomes in the following books so much more. Seeing scenes through D.C.’s eyes was equally heart-breaking and heart-warming, especially those that took place at Akarnae Academy. It felt easy and natural slipping into D.C.’s mind, and her character makes so much more sense to me now. This was the novella I identified with the most, and it’s the one I most want to read again.

I thought there was nothing about Jordan’s novella, Scars and Silence, that could surprise me. I thought I already knew everything there was to know about Jordan’s past, and about his recovery from the events of Raelia and Draekora. I was wrong. In fact, this was the novella that surprised me the most. Even thinking about it now is making me almost tear up. My heart aches when I think about this novella, and I was so touched by the love I felt flowing through the pages as I read it.

These two novellas helped me re-find my love for D.C. and Jordan. On the other hand, I’ve always adored Bear. He’s quickly become my favourite of Alex’s three best friends, and every book in The Medoran Chronicles has left me loving his character even more. I long for scenes with him in it, so I was beyond excited to have a whole novella dedicated especially to him.

Needless to say, Hearts and Headstones was the novella I was most excited for, but it turned out to be the only one that let me down (just I little bit). That’s probably my fault though, because I had such high expectations for it (especially in comparison to the other two novellas).

I expected it to pick up immediately where Graevale left of, but it turned out to be the build-up. I really wanted to experience Bear’s recovery from the events of Graevale from his perspective (like we got to with Jordan in Scars and Silence), but instead I guess we’ll just have to wait until Vardaesia.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a GREAT build-up, and I think if I went into the novella expecting this, I wouldn’t have been disappointed by it in the slightest.

We learnt new and surprising things about D.C. and Jordan’s backstories in their respective novellas, but we didn’t get that in Bear’s. I would’ve been disappointed by this, if it wasn’t for the fact that we got an intimate look into another character’s backstory through Bear’s eyes. I’m not going to say anything else about it here because I don’t want to spoil anything, but just know that I’m really looking forward to seeing more of this character in Vardaesia.

We Three Heroes had me crying (both happy and sad tears) during EVERY novella, and I loved every second of it. D.C., Jordan, and Bear mean so much more to me now, and I didn’t think it was possible, but I’m even more excited (slash terrified) for Vardaesia. Fans of The Medoran Chronicles are going to love We Three Heroes.


Have you read We Three Heroes? Do you want to?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

How We Tried To Fake Our Way Through An Author Meet & Greet

At a comic con last year, my sister and I were lucky enough to meet the author of a #1 New York Times bestselling series turned Hollywood blockbuster. We’re both major fans of the movies (especially their leading actors) so we were super excited to meet the mind that inspired the worldwide phenomenon.

We eagerly queued up to meet him, copies of his book in hand, ready to be signed. We were full of anticipation and excitement, nervously contemplating what we were going to say when we finally met him, with my sister being particularly anxious because she hadn’t actually read the books.

To be fair, I’d only read the first one (I didn’t tell him that). And besides, I’ve met plenty of authors before (if ever) reading their books. In fact, meeting an author is one of my biggest motivators for (or deterrents from) actually picking up their books in the first place! I mean, that’s the whole reason why they do tours and go to conventions, right? To promote their book? In fact, I have discovered some of my all-time favourite at book signings.

Plus, there are plenty of reasons to meet an author besides being a fan of their work. I, for one, never grow tired of hearing about another author’s experiences with writing; their process, how they started out, where they get inspiration, their journey to getting published, their own biggest inspirations in the business. To be honest, most of the time the panel discussion or Q&A that generally goes hand in hand with these book signings is my favourite part of the event.

Nevertheless, my sister was nervous. She didn’t know what he would think. After all, she wasn’t a fan of him; she was a fan of the movies. Would he be offended? I reassured her – just lie. Solid advice, I know, but when it was finally our turn to giddily spiel about what big fans we were of the movies, she decided to come clean. And you know what he said?

Awesome! Great! Every positive, reassuring word you can think of. By whatever means a reader or a viewer had come to love and enjoy his story, he was grateful. It was so refreshing and reassuring to hear this.

And I realised, he was right.

Ironically, another author at that very same comic con was adamant that everyone should read all of the Harry Potter books at least once in their lives, no matter what, and they specifically clarified “not the movies”. They did acknowledge that the movies have, in their words “a time and place”, but “read the books” they begged. “Read the books”.

Well, I disagree.

I must admit, I do intend on finishing the series one day. Yes, you read right, I haven’t read all of the Harry Potter books yet. I’m in no hurry to, and I consider myself a Harry Potter fan regardless. I know what you’re thinking; “you’re not a ‘true fan’ if you haven’t read the books!” (if you weren’t thinking that, go you!)

Oh, how I dislike that term. ‘True fan’. Harry Potter is a franchise notorious for shaming fans who haven’t read the books and making them feel inferior and personally, I think that’s really sad. Not having read the books is nothing to be embarrassed about; “you do you” as the saying goes. I believe that if you genuinely admire or enjoy something, you’re automatically a ‘true fan’ of it, no matter the extend of your trivia knowledge on it or the amount of merchandise you own.

If your love the books? Awesome. The movies? Fabulous. Both? Amazing. The more the merrier, I say. You should never apologise for not having read a book, just as you shouldn’t apologise for having read a book. That’s what I should’ve told my sister that day at the comic con. Luckily, I had a #1 New York Times bestselling author there to tell her instead.

Even now I’m hesitant to admit this (and I definitely wouldn’t admit it to the author himself) but I am a far bigger fan of the movies than the books. Shock, horror, I’m sure.

The Godfather, Mrs. Doubtfire, Jaws, Forrest Gump, The Graduate, The Devil Wears Prada, Jurassic Park, Legally Blonde, The Parent Trap; all renowned movies. Well, did you know that they were all based on books? Maybe you did, maybe you didn’t, but would you say someone can’t be a ‘true fan’ of these movies if they hadn’t read the books? I don’t think so. So why isn’t this the case for so many movie franchises based on YA books?

Time and time again I’ve heard (and had) fears that watching a particular movie would ruin my love for the book it was based on. Well, have you ever considered for some it might be the other way around? I think these movies are a great example of when someone might feel this way.

Sure, there are things that movies offer that books don’t and vice versa, and I could probably rattle off a bunch of examples from now until eternity, but I don’t really think that’s the point. Or at least, it wasn’t this particular author’s point.

Bottom line? I think we should stop using the phrase “the book is always better”. Sure, I would generally agree that the book is, more often than not, better than the movie, but not only is that just an opinion, it’s an opinion we are allowed to change. And ultimately, I don’t think it matters which one is better.

What matters is what you get out of it. Movie adaptions of books have a unique ability to bring massive groups of people together in a way that movies or books alone cannot achieve. I think it’s time we took a leaf out of this author’s book and embraced it. What’s the use in fighting when we’re clearly fans of the same thing?


Have you ever tried to fake your way through an author meet & greet? Are there any books/movies you liked better than their counterpart?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Why I Crave More Failed Romance

I watch a lot of rom coms, and last week was no exception. I won’t tell you the name of the movie I watched because spoilers! and I won’t even tell you if I thought it was good or not. What I will tell you is how much I appreciated the ending.

The final scenes of the movie showed the high school sweethearts spending every last moment together they could before one of them left for college, leaving the other behind. They acknowledged that the distance would probably break them up, but then… they went their separate ways. That was it.

I waited for the flash forward scene where they were happily together years from now, but it never came. They didn’t necessarily end up together, or apart. It was just one big open ending.

And you know what? I loved it.

Because that’s what life is. We don’t know the ending, and we can’t be guaranteed that the situation we are in, or the person we are with, now is going stick with us forever. In fact, we’re almost guaranteed that we won’t be.

And often that’s a good thing. No matter how good (or potentially bad) a situation may seem, things can always get better, and that’s one of the main reasons why I loved the beautifully open ending of this movie so much; because it reflected that.

Don’t get me wrong, usually I shudder at the thought of a cliff-hanger, but this ending was nothing of the sort. It was like waking up on New Year’s Day, and I walked away from that movie feeling so refreshed. Not only was it a more realistic conclusion (especially for a contemporary teen romance), but it was full of so much hope, potential, and possibility that left me feeling excited and bubbly inside, absolutely craving more. In fact, a lot of viewers have been left begging for a sequel.

It’s silly really. I’d become so accustomed to happily ever afters that I found a happily ever now almost jarring at first. What do you mean their story isn’t over when the credits roll!? After I got over my initial shock, I immediately questioned why it was there in the first place. I mean, it’s not news that the odds of a high school relationship lasting forever aren’t good, and yet this is rarely acknowledged in young adult texts, movies or otherwise.

Honestly, the same can be said about the romance genre as a whole, an age-old example of unrealistic or even naive romance being Paris city, known literally as the city of love.

Well, my parents are in Paris right now and they were quick to inform me that the Eiffel Tower is nowhere near as romantic as it is painted in books and movies. They queued up for hours, people constantly tried to push in, they were surrounded by thousands of (sometimes swearing) people, had to walk up tiring stairs, and when they finally made it to the top in a cramped, cage-like construction they drunk expensive (arguably overpriced) champagne out of plastic flutes.

It doesn’t sound particularity romantic, and yet it was still one of the most memorable shared experiences of their lives.

Perfection doesn’t make romance. In fact, sometimes it’s the romance found in the most mundane, everyday activities that becomes the most special and heartfelt. This is the romance I want to see more of in popular culture. This is the romance I can relate to.

In real life, dating isn’t all true love and happily ever afters. Sometimes things go wrong, we embarrass ourselves, people say the wrong things, or the timing isn’t quite right, and sometimes the other person simply just doesn’t like us back. But that doesn’t mean the experience has to be unhappy, and it certainly doesn’t have to be reserved to a conflict in a larger plot; sometimes falling out of love and moving on can be the resolution in itself. Not every relationship is meant to last forever, and I think this should be celebrated, both in real life and in popular culture, but it rarely is.

Seeing romance tested and ultimately fail not only makes it more realistic or believable, but it makes it all the more satisfying when things finally do work out. The more a character struggles, the more I’m rooting for them to succeed. And besides, it also helps to create drama and climax, so an overall more exciting and engaging romance for our viewing or reading pleasure.

I’m not saying I don’t want happily ever afters; I love happy endings! However, sometimes I don’t think characters need to end up together for all of eternity for an ending to be happy, especially when it comes to young adult stories, and the rom com I watched last week proves that.

The heroes didn’t necessarily end up together, but they didn’t necessarily end up without each other either. They were content living in the moment, taking each day as it comes. Whether they eventually started a family together or went their separate ways, both characters were left forever changed for the better by their relationship, and I can think of nothing happier than that.


Do you crave more failed romance?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Book Review: Whisper by Lynette Noni

Whisper (Whisper #1) by Lynette Noni

Published: 1 May 2018
Publisher: Pantera Press
Add it on Goodreads

Format: Paperback
Pages: 332
Source: Kmart
Australian RRP: $19.99
Buy it here

My Rating: ★★★★☆


Your words can change the world.

Lynette Noni, Whisper

Synopsis

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

My Review

I didn’t intend on reading Whisper by Lynette Noni yet, but as soon as it was in my hands I couldn’t put it down! I often complain about books having slow starts, but Whisper was the complete opposite. I was propelled straight into the story, and I almost wished for a more substantial setup (although I came to regret this thought later when there was a lot of backstory info dump).

I loved the concept behind this book! The idea of words and ‘Speaking’ have so much power really appealed to me, as I’m sure it would any book lover, and I would recommend this book to any reader on this premise alone. I also really appreciated its consideration of personal identity and the importance of names.

Whisper was fast paced and just what I needed to inspire me to read. I love Noni’s writing so much! It reads so naturally and is easy to get lost in. Her writing style is always a highlight of everything I read by her, and this book was no exception.

Whisper has been advertised as YA sci-fi; “Stranger Things meets Divergent“. Whilst I loved this book, on that front it didn’t deliver. Honestly, this really disappointed me because I adore both of those texts and a combination of them had me really excited!

If I was to compare Whisper to anything it would have to be the Trylle Trilogy by Amanda Hocking (although I wouldn’t say it was quite up to that standard). I saw a lot of parallels between these series when it came to a certain two groups and a nickname. I know that’s really vague, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers! Let me know if you’ve read both texts and know what I’m talking about.

I would also say that this book is more YA fantasy than sci-fi. I’ve been hoping to read some more sci-fi novels lately, but sadly this book didn’t quite do it for me. A range of sci-fi aspects did come through briefly towards the end, but it was basically just buffet of sci-fi clichés and tropes. In fact, I found a lot about this book predictable, but I didn’t mind. It was written in a way that I enjoyed, and to me that’s often the most important thing. Besides, there were still a few twists and turns that really surprised me!

I ultimately picked up this book because I’m a fan of The Medoran Chronicles (also by Noni), and as it turns out the exact same thing that bugged me about that series, bugged me here. We have a strong female lead, surrounded by male authority figures. They train her, clothes her, teach her, harm her, help her. Ultimately, they’re in charge, and having a ‘strong female lead’ almost became obsolete. This isn’t to say that there weren’t any other strong female characters in Whisper, because there were. It’s just that most of the characters in roles of leadership and power (specifically over the protagonist) were male.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book; I wouldn’t have read it as fast as I did if I didn’t! However, it did draw on a lot of overdone clichés, and that’s really what let the book down for me. But I cannot stress enough how much I adore Noni’s writing! I could read anything written by her and probably love it, and her characters are always swoon-worthy. I haven’t gotten into the characters much in this review because it’s hard to so with out spoilers, but trust me, you’re going to love them!

Whisper sets itself up perfectly for a sequel (it leaves us with a lot of loose ends), and I’m so excited to read more of this story! Based on The Medoran Chronicles, I can only expect it’s going to get better and better.

I would definitely recommend Whisper to anyone who wants a quick, easy, enjoyable YA fantasy read (with a tiny touch of sci-fi). On a side note, I even like the minimalist, clean look of the cover – it matches the book so well! Also, brownie points for being set in Australia!


Have you read Whisper? Do you want to?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.