Review of Ten Low by Stark Holborn

Ten Low is an ex-army medic, one of many convicts eking out a living at the universe’s edge. She’s desperate to escape her memories of the interstellar war, and the crimes she committed, but trouble seems to follow wherever she goes. One night, attempting to atone for her sins, she pulls a teenage girl – the sole survivor – from the wreck of a spaceship. But Gabriella Ortiz is no ordinary girl. The result of a military genetics programme, she is a decorated Army General, from the opposing side of the war to Ten. Worse, Ten realises the crash was an assassination attempt, and that someone wants the Ortiz dead…
The pair bury their hatreds and strike an uneasy deal to smuggle the General off-world. Their road won’t be easy: they must cross the moon’s lawless wastes, facing military hit squads, bandits and the one-eyed leader of an all-female road gang, in a frantic race to get the General to safety. But something else waits in the darkness at the universe’s edge. Something that threatens to reveal Ten’s worst nightmare: the truth of who she really is and what she is running from.
 

Ten Low is a wonderfully realised story, the comparison to both firefly and Dune is really quite accurate although there are not many laughs to be found on Factus, although Gabi’s scathing sarcasm often comes close. Its been a while since I have read a pure science fiction book and I had no idea how much I needed this.  The story is totally immersive and the narrative is so strong that I could almost feel the dust in my mouth as I was reading. Factus has a very mad max style vibe, forgotten about, making its own rules, yet a moon which has many of it’s own superstitions born out of being right next to the void. The presence of the “Ifs” was probably my favourite part of the story, how they changed and developed as an entity as Ten started to remember more of her troubled past was fantastic to read.

There were great dynamics in the book as well, I loved how Ten’s friendships played a huge part in the story, the unconditional support for what she was doing was beautiful to read along with the diversity contained within those friendships. Her relationship with Gabi was the star of the show, a back and forth of emotion and rivalries as bits about each of their histories gets revealed leading to a shift in their tentative peace each time, some much harder to reconcile than others

What I didn’t like about the book, and its a personal stylistic thing rather than any real failing, is the way it’s laid out. The book is split into parts but there are no chapters within those parts, it’s just a rolling narrative relying heavily on scene breaks to give a stop point. Ten Low is the second book I have read this month with this style of approach and it’s not one that I really enjoy unfortunately.

If you want a pacey and punchy sci-fi, full of great friendships and a twisting story that will keep you guessing, I really recommend Ten Low! Thank you to Titan books for sending me a finished copy for review.

4.5*

Review of Balancing Act (Battle Ground #6) by Rachel Churcher

Corporal David Conrad has life figured out. His job gives him power, control, and access to Top Secret operations. His looks have tempted plenty of women into his bed, and he has no intention of committing to a relationship.
When Ketty Smith joins the Home Forces, Conrad sets his sights on the new girl – but pursuing Ketty will be more dangerous than he realises. Is Conrad about to meet his match? And will the temptations of his job distract him from his target?

Balancing Act is a tie-in novel in the Battle Ground Series, revisiting the events of Darkest HourFighting Back, and Victory Day from Corporal Conrad’s point of view.

Balancing Act is a welcome return to the Battle Ground series and an interesting change of narrator. Corporal Conrad was the perpetual thorn in Ketty’s side and his side of the story is wonderfully told. The final 3 books are condensed well and the change of location for much of Conrads tale makes this book so much more than an companion point of view. Whilst Ketty and Bex played their game of cat and mouse, Conrad’s foray into the resistance began and it was both captivating and page turning, The way the stories wove together were wonderfully crafted and the momentum was steadily building throughout, if you’ve read the earlier books you’ll know whats coming but it still comes together in a wonderfully surprising way.

Conrad is not a likeable character, he is utterly conceited, so blinded by his own good fortune in the gene pool the idea that someone could get one over on him was unthinkable, the other side of his interactions with Ketty were interesting to read, I just wish I could remember more of Ketty’s narrative at that time. Despite making him a womaniser and all round awful human being, Rachel Churcher almost made me think to feel sorry for him at one stage, he was very well written in this book and his own overinflated voice and the confidence he projected in his power over women was a little consuming at times, because as the authors note says, sadly most women have experienced a David Conrad in their lives.

If you’re a fan of the series you will love this additional insight which really helps to round out the story and also gives us a bit more Ketty, which can only be a good thing.

4*

Balancing Act is out today and you can grab your copy here: http://getbook.at/BattleGroundBook6

 

Review of The Cottingley Cuckoo by A.J. Elwood

Captivated by books and stories, Rose dreams of a life away from the confines of the Sunnyside Care Home she works in, until elderly resident Charlotte Favell offers an unexpected glimpse of enchantment. She keeps an aged stack of letters about the Cottingley Fairies, the photographs made famous by Arthur Conan Doyle, but later dismissed as a hoax. The letters insist there is proof that the fairies existed. Rose is eager to learn more, but Charlotte allows her to read only a piece at a time, drawing Rose into her web.
As the letters’ content grows more menacing, Rose discovers she is unexpectedly pregnant, and feels another door to the future has slammed. Her obsession with what really happened in Cottingley all those years ago spirals; as inexplicable events begin to occur inside her home, she begins to entertain dark thoughts about her baby and its origins.

As a person who was captivated by the story of the Cottingley Fairies growing up I was excited to start reading this book and I’m grateful to Titan books for sending me a copy for review, however, this was a book that wasn’t a great fit for me.

The book is split into two parts both are interspersed with one sided letters from a Mr Fenton who is corresponding with a representative of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle which are used as background to the main plot and serve to drive the story forward as the tale unfolds. The first part I enjoyed the most, the start of the unsettling ability that Charlotte Favell had to get under Rose’s skin, but Rose sadly was a character that I was unable to really warm to. She was deeply unsatisfied with her life and therefore ripe for the twisted fancies of a bitter old woman, I was surprised at how easily she became ensnared but that fed into Rose’s desperation to be something more. The story did well at maintaining an air of menace and unease, playing off the plausible fantasy of someone who wants to believe.

However for the second part I just felt mostly confused, the lack of post natal care troubled me and whilst it worked to serve the purpose of the story, as someone who personally suffered from PND I felt that lack of accountability perhaps poorly researched. This sadly distracted me from the story as Rose became more and more frantic and pulled into the story Charlotte Favell had woven, she worked in a place filled with health care professionals who were seemingly oblivious to her erratic behaviour. Thinking about it the second part felt more like one woman’s struggle to survive an illness whilst caught in a web of cruelty.

I enjoyed the writing style for the most part, the subtle way the letters show a spiral descent was well played out and it managed a creepy feel throughout, I just struggled to get on board.

3*

Review of The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Hello hello everyone

Today it’s my stop on the Titan Books Blog Tour for the wonderful The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec!

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.
Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.
Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.
With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.
 

The Witch’s Heart is wonderful story of Angrboda, it’s woven into 3 interestingly laid out parts, each with their own distinct feel. The first has a loneliness to it as Angrboda starts to make a life for herself outside of Asgard, despite the often solitary existence though she makes a comfortable life for herself until it is turned upside down by the presence of Loki turning up mainly whenever he wanted something from her, but whilst he is not there Angrboda is joined by the wonderful Skadi and what starts as a reciprocal relationship born out of necessity turns into a wonderful friendship. The story progresses into one with a lovely homely feel to it as Angrboda and Loki’s dynamic develops into one which is more and their children and members of Skadi’s family come into the fold.

What really made the book for me was the opportunity to see a different side to Loki, whilst he is still the trickster, its the softer and more vulnerable side to him that he only lets slip outside of Asgard that was wonderful to read. His dynamic with his children was so interesting, even though I felt that often his attitude towards Angrboda left a lot to be desired in my mind. This then leads me onto Skadi who is probably my favourite character in the book, she is stalwart in her relationship with Angrboda, their friendship built over many years of respect and reciprocation, I adored how their characters developed together.

The story was so cleverly written that it went from being a wonderful, if not a little unconventional, family existence to one where a sense of unease began to be woven within. It snuck up on me, the feeling of apprehension as we got closer to the time of Angrboda’s visions, I had spent so long with these characters going about their daily lives that I suddenly wasn’t ready for what was inevitable, I felt a joy with being with them and they had been so carefully wrapped up in their world that I was troubled by the underlying tone. The cruelty that Angrboda suffered is still present in Asgaard and it starts to seep into Angrboda’s existence through unwelcome guests, troubling dreams and ultimately betrayal. I was so emotional at what she then goes through and how the story changed again to one still of loneliness but also one of redemption and forgiveness.

As the story hurtled towards it’s inevitable cataclysmic conclusion I was also left feeling uplifted by how in a way whilst one cycle was broken, one started anew but this time with a new hope and an ending that felt comforting and as it should be.

If you are are a fan of Norse mythology but are looking for a different take on an old tale then I really recommend that you pick up The Witch’s Heart.

4.5*

The Witch’s Heart is available now through Titan Books

Review of The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

Only men are affected by the virus; only women have the power to save us all.
The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland–a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic–and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien–a women’s world.
What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus’s consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the male plague; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal–the loss of husbands and sons–to the political–the changes in the workforce, fertility and the meaning of family.
In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird creates an unforgettable tale of loss, resilience and hope.

Firstly I would like to thank Borough Press and Tandem collective for the gifted copy of this book for a read-along. You can check out my Instagram story highlights to see my thoughts as the book progressed.The End of Men, as you would think is going to be a difficult read, not only in that it describes a virus that doesn’t care age but may also brings home the stark reality of grief and how that impacts on the human psychology when there is no support around because the world is collectively grieving.

The End of Men was very much a book of 2 halves for me, the first was so captivating I absolutely loved the pacing and the different point of views. I found it interesting to follow some of these characters from the start to the end but others we get a tiny glimpse. My favourite of the glimpses was a lady in Russia who discovered an empowerment that many of us, I’m sure, could get on board with. Amanda made the book for me though she was stoic and knew how to get the job done, even when those around her refused to admit that a job needed doing.  The description of society as the virus took hold was stark and for a book that started to be written in 2018, what would have seemed far fetched a year ago felt strikingly realistic.

However, the second half faltered. Whilst there were many individual elements that I really took pause on, such as trying to fill traditionally male dominated roles in society and how to protect male newborns, there were many parts that I felt were over laboured. I glazed over most of Dawn’s chapters and Maria’s journalistic articles just didn’t work for me as they didn’t stand out from the general writing style in the way a news article should. Her “edgy” journalism just felt careless. It just think it didn’t achieve what it set out to in the closing stages which is a shame as the first section was so fantastic.

Some parts of the social commentary though were well done, I especially liked the way that those left with nothing reacted to those who had blessedly had escaped with their lives relatively intact and the small lights of hope and normality peppered throughout. However, I can’t deny that I spent a lot of the end just waiting for it to, well end, so I think that this will round out with a 3.5 for me.

BBNYA Blog Tour – Review of The Lore of Prometheus by Graham Austin-King

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.
It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.
Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2020 competition and/or the BBNYA tours organised by the @The_WriteReads tours team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the 2021 BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website (https://www.bbnya.com/) or our Twitter account, @BBNYA_Official. If you would like to sign-up and enter your book, you can find the BBNYA 2021 AUTHOR SIGN UP FORM HERE. Please make sure to carefully read our terms and conditions before entering. 

The Lore of Prometheus has a fantastic opening vibe and John Carver an instantly likeable anti hero. Like so many of our special forces returned from Afghanistan he has a heavy dose of PTSD and is struggling to get back to any semblance of a normal life. Its desperately sad that the guilt he feels about managing to keep a roof over his head has him turn away from other veterans less fortunate living on the London streets. One things for certain, he has not lost his training and after a particularly brutal street brawl he finds himself with no choice than to return to the place that broke him. I think it really helped me that I was a huge fan of the show Homeland because I could really visualise where he was and the streets and markets he found himself in. These opening pages were great, I loved how he became sharp, in his element, and honestly I could have read so much more of this stage.

The introduction of Mackenzie was unexpected and their eventual shared incarceration came together well as is the reason for it. I’m not sure I would describe their abilities as magics in the traditional sense but more like powers, think Umbrella Academy here, some that are discovered are easily concealed but others are truly terrifying. I did find that this middle stage of incarceration was a little repetitive and it was actually Mackenzie’s chapters that shone through here, the small taste of freedom that was snatched away being the ultimate tipping point. I liked how the story became about balancing humanity with self preservation and the murky waters in between.

The closing stages picked up the pace again and, in places, and when the depth of the facility and the depravity of those behind the programme becomes clear it really becomes quite horrifying. I liked how everything was a challenge but also how after just a short time together John and Mackenzie clicked into to place with each other, to work together in unexpected ways. I struggled a bit with the comic book style super villain I have to say but that said the ending was satisfying and the measure was right given what they faced.

I ultimately enjoyed the Lore of Prometheus, I think I would have loved it more if the middle section was pared down as it felt like a long read at times. But the characters are great, falling on the darker end of morally grey, their psychology becoming their biggest help over the hindrance they initially seemed, hopefully we’ll get to see more of them in future as they certainly deserve to be on the page again.

4*

If you are a book blogger or reviewer, you can apply to be part of BBNYA 2021 by filling out this form (also remember to read the terms and conditions before signing up)! 

BBNYA is brought to you in association with the Folio Society (If you love beautiful books you NEED to check out their website!) And the book blogger support group TheWriteReads.

 

Review of The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

I finished The Prison Healer yesterday and that ending has still absolutely rocked me! I loved this book so much, the characters, the story, the way it made me feel and that cover is fantastic too! Lets dial it back though, and start with the characters. Kiva was a great protagonist, a survivor bound by her oath to help those in need no matter what. I loved her focus and determination and that despite the looming trials she had to solve a mystery shrouding the prison at the same time, this girl is the queen of multitasking. She is supported by a great case of side characters, some more on the morally grey side than not, it is a prison after all and not everyone is falsely imprisoned! I have to address the half star docking in the room though as the romance was enemies to lovers style, which is not my bag at all and whilst I admired Kiva’s stoicism with keeping her head down and focusing on the work I did have to eye roll when she started inner monologuing about Jaren’s dreamy eyes and cheekbones – I get that there is a market for romance but I feel that it wasn’t really necessary to drive this story forward.

And drive forward it does, for me there were no lulls at all, Kiva moves from task to task methodically, I read the second half of this book in one go as I just didn’t want to put it down.  The prison was an epic backdrop to all that was happening and was a character in itself with so many areas both displayed and hidden, the sinister Abyss and the dank aquifier each one with its own sense of foreboding every time Kiva left the sanctuary of the infirmary. Whilst the story does follow quite a few of the traditional YA tropes it does them well and the diversity of the setting breathes new life into them. That is what makes The Prison Healer such a great read though, it takes a story that you think you know and simply just does it better.

It does get dark though, Kiva is met by a relentless tirade of verbal and physical abuse and there is a TW for self harm here although its discussed in retrospect rather than the act being carried out. There are parts that I didn’t think I could bring myself to flip the page to read what I thought was coming but the brutality is thankfully always brief but it is impactful when it happens really showing the power of fade to black.

I think I’m going to leave it there because whilst there is so much I want to say, it is such a unique story that I don’t want to spoil anything and also I’m struggling to articulate all the ways this story made me feel. Its a mid paced read which somehow manages to feel like an electrifying faced paced page turner. Also Tipp is adorable and I want to wrap him up in a giant blanket and feed him milk and cookies. So yes, please read The Prison Healer, you won’t regret it!

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the e arc to review.

4.5*

Review of Vulture by Bex Hogan

We are all one misstep away from being the villain…
Marianne has passed the ultimate test required to be a Mage. She is finally powerful enough to reunite the Twelve Isles.
But having exposed herself to the darker side of magic, Marianne is struggling. The magic within her is nearly impossible to control, and she becomes cruel and violent, mercilessly pursuing those who have harmed her in the past, ignoring the pleas of those closest to her to remember what’s really important: saving the islands.
Everything she’s fought for has come down to this. Will Marianne be able to fulfil her promise to bring peace to the islands when she can’t even bring peace to herself?
Conquer the darkness. Control the magic. Save the Isles.

There is nothing more immensely satisfying than a series ending just as spectacularly as you hoped it would, Vulture was everything I hoped it would be. Action packed, emotional, exciting, exhilarating, heartbreaking and uplifting – I can think of so many words, none of which can do this series justice. I had absolutely no idea on the direction this story would go after the astounding ending of Venom and truly the first part of the book is so dark I was so scared for Marianne but I really enjoyed the difference in her narrative voice, she is not the same girl left to die on the beach and its incredibly well written almost like old Marianne is having an out of body experience watching the carnage unfurl below her, Bex Hogan has a truly terrifying imagination at times.

This doesn’t mean that Marianne has an easy time of it though, far from it, her enemy knows her too well and even I had no idea who to trust, as she became more reflective and more resolved as so many catastrophes struck – be prepared to shed more than a few tears. As each part of the story unfurls we see a new and different Marianne each time and this is what made the book so exceptional, her character grows more in this one story than most characters do across a whole series, her support network more important than ever and every friend she has made across earlier books helps bring her together to be what she must become.

The finale can only be described as epic, breathtaking in its scale and impossible to stop reading, I loved every second of it. Had I had the chance, Vulture could have been a book I would have read in one go, I honestly did not want to put it down because I knew that the end of my time with these characters was coming. All I can say is bravo, Bex Hogan, an amazing ending to a fantastic series!

5*

Review of The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd

Ana is a rebellious young woman, a gifted writer with a curious, brilliant mind, who writes secret narratives about the neglected and silenced women around her. Raised in a wealthy family in Galilee, she is sheltered from the brutality of Rome’s occupation of Israel. Ana is expected to marry an elderly widower to further her father’s ambitions, a prospect that horrifies her. A chance encounter with the eighteen-year-old Jesus changes everything: his ideas and his passion are intoxicating.
Taking Ana on a journey she could never have imagined, The Book of Longings is a glorious evocation of a time and a place where astounding events unfolded, and of one woman’s fate when she fights to make her voice heard.

So this is a weird one for me to review as Women’s fiction is one of my review criteria that I wont go for. Something about the synopsis for this one really stood out to me so I requested a copy of review. I usually get annoyed with people who review genres they don’t like and score low so I’m going to be as balanced as I can. Honestly, I started off really enjoying this book, I flew through the first 100 pages and I loved Ana as the protagonist, trailblazing her own style of feminism with her acts of defiance and disobedience. She is selfish within her own wants and needs, but really when those wants reflect a want to read and write and the need to not marry an old man who will likely offer her violence, these selfish moments can be forgiven. The writing is beautiful and to be savoured, it is not a book to speed read or picked up and put down. I especially loved Ana’s interactions with her Aunt Yaltha and to a degree it’s more of Yaltha’s story that Ana’s at times and Yaltha’s story felt more satisfying, which I think is down to the pure fiction of it. Ana’s was intrinsically linked to Jesus’s and that has set ending in theology.

So what happened to make me waver. Unfortunately the story, which had up to that managed to convey so much through senses of dread and fade to black became graphic in the depiction of still birth. Child loss is such a huge trigger for me and I struggled so hard to move past it for the rest of the book. The story took liberties with the depiction of Jesus having a wife so it didn’t really strike me initially as unreasonable that he could also have had a child in this depiction. Whilst Ana made a choice thereafter, it did mean that a book that I had initially found a joy to pick up became one that I struggled to come back to. Had it not been that from this point on the intensity of Yaltha’s story built so wonderfully I may not have continued. This is no flaw of the authors writing, just a real lesson in how an unexpected trigger can ruin a readers experience. Had I known it was coming I could have prepared myself or skipped those pages.

The sections in Alexandria were some of my favourite I think because they had a feeling of a historical fantasy at times and it also brought in more and interesting characters and developments which gave the book, a by that point, much needed change of tone and direction. I have to be fair to the writing when reviewing but I also have to be fair to myself and the unexpected shock of that scene left me in a bad place so the writing deserves a 4 star, however, I will bring that down to a 3.5 as I nearly didn’t come back to it because of that.

Thank you to Tandem Collective UK and Tinder Press for sending me the readalong copy.

3.5*

 

Review of Birds of Paradise by Oliver K. Langmead

Many millennia after the fall of Eden, Adam, the first man in creation, still walks the Earth – exhausted by the endless death and destruction, he is a shadow of his former hope and glory. And he is not the only one. The Garden was deconstructed, its pieces scattered across the world and its inhabitants condemned to live out immortal lives, hiding in plain sight from generations of mankind.
But now pieces of the Garden are turning up on the Earth. After centuries of loneliness, Adam, haunted by the golden time at the beginning of Creation, is determined to save the pieces of his long lost home. With the help of Eden’s undying exiles, he must stop Eden becoming the plaything of mankind.
Adam journeys across America and the British Isles with Magpie, Owl, and other animals, gathering the scattered pieces of Paradise. As the country floods once more, Adam must risk it all to rescue his friends and his home – because rebuilding the Garden might be the key to rebuilding his life.
 

What happens if you were born before death? This the premise behind the immortality in Birds of Paradise and it fits perfectly. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this is a religious book but other than the odd mention here or there, Birds of Paradise is a story of greed, revenge, megalomania and brutal violence. It was a book that took me by surprise from the very first page, the prologue very much setting the tone of what was to come with both beauty and pain poured across the page.

Set mainly in present day UK there was seemingly very little need to world built and having personally visited a few of the mentioned areas it helped me to visualise the scene, the story is descriptive when it needs to be which really enhanced the discovery of each piece of Eden. These parts shone as we really got to understand the simplicity of their beauty which stood out against the bleak backdrop of the flood. This is, however, very much Adam’s story. A man of few words, he approaches everything with a weariness, a bone tiredness which is only undone when he is given the opportunity to help things grow, the reverence in which he holds a single seed is such a juxtapose to the hands which are so often used for violence.

The villain is pure caricature but it works so well with the story as they need to be larger than life to overtake the morally grey fine line that Adam and the other exiles tread. The exiles also enhance the story, joining alongside Adam at opportune times helping him get to where he needs to be and finally to remember what he has shielded himself for so long.

I found Birds of Paradise to be a surprising and compelling read, one which shocked me with its brutality but also left me in wonder in its creativity. Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a finished copy of this book for review.

4*