Review: The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman

18635092The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains Neil Gaiman | Illustrated by Eddie Campbell
Headline Publishing | Stand Alone | 4 Stars Source: Bookbridgr/Review | Fantasy 

Release Date: June 17th 2014
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

You ask me if I can forgive myself?
I can forgive myself . . .

And so begins The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, a haunting story of family, the otherworld, and a search for hidden treasure. This gorgeous full-color illustrated book version was born of a unique collaboration between New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman and renowned artist Eddie Campbell, who brought to vivid life the characters and landscape of Gaiman’s award-winning story. In this volume, the talents and vision of two great creative geniuses come together in a glorious explosion of color and shadow, memory and regret, vengeance and, ultimately, love.

. . . for many things. For where I left him.
For what I did.

Review:

I have never read a book by Neil Gaiman before, however, I have known of him for years. He is one of those people that you always hear something about. Whether it be his books that receive endless streams of positive reviews or his screen writing. When I saw this pop up for review on Bookbridgr, I just had to request it.

This novel stands at just 80 pages and took me just under an hour to read. I had some level of expectations but I still did not go in with hugely high hopes because as I said before, I have never a read a book by Gaiman. I finished the novel adoring it and in the end I was so glad I requested it.

I am not going to go into too much detail when it comes to synopsis. A man goes to see another gentleman about going to the Black Mountains to find hidden gold. Gold that comes at a huge price. The gentleman agrees to take him there and off the go on a journey to the Black Mountains. To say this is oversimplifying the plot would be an understatement. But I think that is all you need to if you are going to go in to this one without any kind of spoilers.

 

The Truth is Cave in the Black Mountains is so beautifully written. It has such an eerie and poetic quality to the writing. It probably could have took me less time to read this one but I wanted to take in every word. The plot was interesting to witnessing the plot unfold on top of the writing style made this such an enjoyable read for me.

This book is stunning. Inside and out. Eddie Campbell’s illustrations are just breath taking and at some points were even scary. I wish I could share them all. Especially my personal favourite ones. However, I will just leave you with these two as any more will probably spoil some things for anyone who decides to pick this one up.

I recommend this to people who are want to get in to Neil Gaiman’s work. As I said before, it is only short. What have you got to lose?

Goodreads Average: 4.16/5 (out of 208 ratings)

This was sent to me by Headline Publishing (Via Bookbridgr) in exchange for an honest review. 

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Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

When She WokeTitle: When She Woke | Author: Hillary Jordan Harper Books | Stand Alone | 4 Stars | Source: Review | 341 pages Adult | Dystopia
Release Date: October 4th, 2011

Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:
“Hannah Payne’s life has been devoted to church and family, but after her arrest, she awakens to a nightmare: she is lying on a table in a bare room, covered only by a paper gown, with cameras broadcasting her every move to millions at home, for whom observing new Chromes – criminals whose skin colour has been genetically altered to match the class of their crime – is a new and sinister form of entertainment. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.

WHEN SHE WOKE is a fable about a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future – where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed and released back into the population to survive as best they can. In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.”

Review

When She Woke is a dystopian novel set in the not so distant future. There are only a few changes compared to what we have in the world today.
It began with a great start, providing us with Hannah’s current situation (“red as a stop sign”) and in parts one and two flickering back in time and forward to the present day in order to discover why she is in this situation.

For me parts one and two (it’s set in to four) of the novel were a little slow – even though they were beautifully written making me experience the burning lights of the chrome prison and the sorrow of aborting her baby – they still seemed to drag.

However this aside part three is where the plot really began to take off! There were numerous ups and downs that kept me glued to the pages and finishing the final two parts in a matter of hours.
When it comes to character development, I adore what Hannah has become. She has gone from a quiet only-speak-when-spoken-to girl to a bright, opinionated woman that has no doubt in herself or her actions. 

All though I did have the initial struggle with the first two parts I would recommend this too all book lovers who want to try a new kind of dystopia. Be warned this is more adult than Young Adult. It drops the C bomb (in there right context, though. If there is one) and there is quite a bit of swearing in places. 

Goodreads Average: 3.68/5 (out of 14,078)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository

Review: Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

Title: Kindred | Author: Octavia E. Butler | Headline Publishing | Stand Alone | 5 Stars | Source: Review (Bookbridgr) | 304 Pages | Adult | Fantasy | Release Date: March 27th 2014
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis:

Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Rufus, the white son of a plantation owner, is drowning, and Dana has been summoned across the years to save him. After this first summons, Dana is drawn back, again and again, to the plantation to protect Rufus and ensure that he will grow to manhood and father the daughter who will become Dana’s ancestor. Yet each time Dana’s sojourns become longer and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not her life will end, long before it has even begun

Review:

On Dana’s 26th birthday, while she is moving in to her apartment with her husband Kevin, she suddenly disappears and finds herself in a lake saving drowning child and thousands of miles from home and in the early 19th century. This is her first visit back in time and it won’t be the last. Each of her visits get longer and longer and it becomes more and more.

I have had quite a few surprise reads this year in terms of how much I enjoyed them and this is definitely one of them. As much as I saw the rave reviews, praise and recognition that Octavia E. Butler has revived from all of her books, I went in to this with quite a level head and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Even though the plot was fantastic and really enjoyed how Dana try to discover why she is going back in time and how they are linked to her, the characters themselves and the themes shone through for me.

When Dana travelled back in time, she went back to a time where slavery was in abundance and few batted an eyelid when it come to beating someone for stepping out of line. I found some of the scenes quite gruesome as well. Even though I am not hugely informed on slavery, the setting and occurrences seemed to be well executed and thought out. Race and racism is a constant theme throughout the novel. Dana is an incredibly well spoken and powerful woman. She out of place in this world and everyone can’t help but tell her that. She is discriminated against by the characters who are and are not the same race as her as they believed that she was trying to act a white.

One thing that I found interesting was how Dana and Kevin as an interracial couple are discriminated against. They suffered from it while they were back in time and also present day because their parents disapproved of their partnership. It showed how the concept of race was still an ongoing issue over 150 years later!

One of our other characters, Rufus was one of my favourites. He is described perfectly in the book as “a product of his time”. I loved seeing how growing up with beliefs placed upon him affected his initial innocence and character development. We meet him he is barely a toddler and the last time we see him he is nearly 30 so he changes an awful lot and I loved seeing that unfold.

I can’t recommend this enough. This novel packs a punch even though it stands at only just over 300 pages. It is very insightful when it comes to slavery, race and gender, well written with good pacing which never dragged and I thoroughly enjoyed it. As someone who reads very little adult fantasy/sci-fi, this has definitely been a gateway book for me. I will be sure to check out the rest of her books!

Goodreads Average: 4.12/5 (out of 21,350)

Want to buy it? Amazon UK | Amazon US | The Book Depository