I allow Lacerde to dress me without turning to examine myself in the mirror. I don’t want to see how I look, how they’ve fashioned me. In my mind, I already see stains of blood on the muslin fabric of my skirt, dotting the white leather of my gloves. Lacerde adjusts my skirt and smooths my hair. Then, with a grunt, she bends down and buffs my new shoes to a gleam.
She opens the door for me so I don’t get my gloves dirty and leads me down the dark corridor. My dressing room is the only one in use. All the others are boarded up, so that no one will use them to hide.
I imagine what the Opera Hall must have been like years ago, when so many singers performed here together for more willing audiences. The corridors would have been filled with the sounds of laughter, rustling taffeta costumes, and a chorus of warm-up scales. Above, the audience would be straining to get inside the house, clinking glasses together at the theatre bar, speculating on the wonders to come.
If I strain my ear, I can still hear the echo of their merriment in the walls, obscured by the more recent cacophony of despair and pain. The smell of thousands of spellsongs, layered atop one another for centuries, lingers in the musty air. It’s been eight years since this place functioned as a real theatre, but the Opera Hall remembers.
We climb the stairs up onto the stage. Elene and Lord Durand, her newly elevated pet footman, stand together on the edge, shouting instructions down to the conductor in the orchestra pit.
Elene glances up and nods to Lacerde, who positions me at center stage without releasing me. It’s as if they think I will run, even though there is no where to go.
No one has dimmed the gas lamps that line the theatre’s aisles yet, so I have a full view. The theatre is much grander than our replica at the academy. The ceiling bears a centuries-old mural of Adela gifting the first mage with magic. The singer kneels beside the sacred pool, and the goddess rises from the water, her mouth open with song and her arms spread wide. Musical notes surround them, each flecked with real gold leaf.
Portraits of the three other goddesses border the mural. Odetta, the goddess of spring and renewal, wearing a silver mask that covers her eyes and cheeks, and holding a sparrow’s skeleton in her cupped hands. Karina, goddess of justice and winter, thin and draped in a linen sheath, with her arms wide. Marena, the autumn goddess of war, chin lifted proudly, staring down with her hypnotic purple eyes, bejeweled with human teeth.
Beneath, row upon row of tightly packed red velvet seats stretch back to the imposing black doors at the rear of the theatre. They’re made from mageglass, a material designed by the elementals: sand spun, dyed and hardened so that not even diamond bullets could shatter it. Hundreds of people will fill the house tonight. Dame Ava, the queen’s former principal, told me that sometimes there are so many that folk have to stand along the walls.
My knees start to shake at the sight. My mouth goes dry.
All these seats. All these people. My unshed tears blur the rows of red seats together, like a smear of blood.
"They believed Daeios would be a safe haven.
They were wrong."
With a tagline that grabs the eye rather aggressively, 'Daeios: 140 Feet Down' by Colleen Eccles Penor is a dystopian thriller I couldn't pass up.
Apocalyptic weather conditions have reached a peak and the 'Elite' at a million dollars per spot minimum, are fleeing the Earth's surface. After a harried search for her drug-addicted brother Jace, Shea and her family barrel along the roadways in an RV trying to reach shelter before the storm is out of control.
Arriving at the underground stronghold moments before lockdown, they expect to survive only about a year with the supply levels.. and that year will be spent in a cave-like vault as protection from the climate above.
Soon after settling in, they start to realize everything is not as it seemed. Though Shea and her dad visited many times leading up to the lockdown so they'd easily remember the drive and have an idea how things worked within the community, once everyone is trapped inside.. things change and not for the better.
Daeios Elders who run the community claim direct instructions from God and roll out a forced 'repopulation' program for all fertile females amongst them. Little by little, the men who aren't Elders are beginning to disappear, and soon.. others start to go missing as well.
Heavy handed punishments such as light deprivation and music torture are just the beginning.
This is really more of a dystopian survival/revenge story, like a sci-fi 'The Handmaid's Tale' version of 'I Spit On Your Grave.' So, beware.. lots of triggers here for anyone susceptible to violent assault, torture, rape, murder, gaslighting, sexual manipulation, suicide, and probably a few other things I'm not even thinking of. Mostly it's mentioned in passing as dreamed memories or after situation observations, but it still might be a bit much for some readers.
For me, despite all the relatively wild elements of the story, it was still incredibly dull. A lot of what was happening was very obvious and the strange style the author chose to use.. almost felt closer to stream of consciousness than standard storytelling.
Though everyone's in pretty dire straits, most characters slip in and out of their trauma with such ease it's like they're playing pretend with their emotions. While there were backstories present, with that manner of just shrugging them off, there was no investment for me and I really didn't care much about anyone which made the book feel like it was just filled with violence without reason. Instead of utilizing what happened along the way to connect to the reader, it was just so much background noise.
Pretty disappointing, overall.
Continue below to read my review of the book and be sure to follow this link - [TOUR SCHEDULE] to check out the rest of the stops on the 'To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl' blog tour brought to you by Storytellers On Tour and Benedict Patrick!
'To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl' takes place in Benedict Patrick's Yarnsworld universe and is referred to as a folktale, though it actually aligns more closely with Māori mythology.
I'm going to be very honest here.. it's not an OwnVoices story and that alone made me hesitant to read it because these types of tales specifically, are often incredible misrepresentations of the cultures being used in the settings. As a Polynesian woman, the Māori friends I have made over the years have thought just like my own people do. We see ourselves as brothers and sisters of the same origin.. despite the distance between our lands. We are all Polynesian.
Our beliefs.. our mythology.. our rituals are both different and still similar. One of the more interesting aspects of our cultural storytelling is the versatility. There can be many versions of a story without any being considered right or wrong.. and largely that's probably due to the fact most of our oldest tales have survived through a tradition of oral history.. but there's also a tendency to blend us all together, and that does happen a little here in my opinion. For once, it just wasn't a bad thing.
Kaimana is our main character, the Taniwha Girl who has defied the gods and won the freedom to spend her days roaming contentedly around the Crescent Atoll with her friend Rakau. Her tale, already becoming widely spread amongst the people of the islands, has also caught the attention of more powerful beings. Some of the islanders even pray to her and the gods aren't thrilled.
While the legend of the Taniwha Girl grows, made more real by the monster at her side, an ancient demon's plan for revenge is slowly advancing.. and a pawn follows her every movement. Ultimately, a choice is coming. One she cannot hide from. She'll either have to allow fate to play out for those who call the Crescent Atoll home while she continues to enjoy her solitude.. or she'll have to give everything up to save them. No easy decision.
Patrick does take quite a lot of creative license with the concepts of the gods and goddesses themselves, and in fact.. there are some characters that may exist for aesthetic purposes and seem to be taken more from other Polynesian cultures. But in this case, I'm okay with that.
Taniwha, monsters in the book, are specifically usually water creatures.. and though that's never mentioned here, the author does seem to hold to that theme based on those he includes. The approach the author uses is respectful of the cultures, his creativity unrestrained.. the tale seems to rather grow up and around the basis of the culture.. like a literary version of modern arboreal architecture. Co-existing with it, rather than tearing it down to build something new.
The work is deep, but not dense. Within the story itself, there are smaller tales of mythos about the gods and demons we're encountering. Some of those, such as the story of the Grandmother.. or the human wife of the sea god, are stunning even on their own.
I will say, it's an intensely emotional read. I love that Patrick did what felt right for the story, regardless of how I might feel about those choices as an invested reader. Much of it is deeply painful to experience. I spent so much of the book just.. angry. Angry at some of the characters. Angry at the situation. Angry at the writer for letting me feel so much anger.. and despair. And it was wonderful.
I'm not sure there has ever been another book that hurt me as much as this one did.. and I couldn't be more glad for it. I will absolutely be looking for more of the Yarnsworld titles, especially those involving Kaimana and Rakau. This wasn't just a story, it was an experience and a work of art.
This is easily one of the best titles of the year, not just amongst the indies either.. and if his other work is consistent with what I saw here, Benedict Patrick is a best-selling author just waiting to happen.
Benedict Patrick is from a small town in Northern Ireland called Banbridge, but has been living and working in Scotland since he moved there at the age of eighteen. Tragically, that was quite a while ago.
He has been writing for most of his life, and has been reading for pretty much all of it (with help from mum and dad at the beginning). Benedict's life changed when a substitute primary school teacher read his class part of The Hobbit and later loaned him the book – he fell in love with the fantasy genre and never looked back.
"She drifts on the breath of the stone, through halls and rooms and then out to the streets, running like channels of a river down to where the lake waits, cold and ancient and eternal. Water always finds a way back to itself."
Late last year when 'The Guinevere Deception' by Kiersten White was released, I was enamored first by the beautifully unique cover style and then immediately afterward by the concept of the story. I was excited to get a copy in a subscription box, but already at that point I had a long list of commitments to fulfill before getting to any casual reads and by the time I was able to fit one in.. unfortunately it had gotten shuffled around out of sight.
So, needless to say.. with my penchant for jumping into series specifically on book two.. and I don't know why this has become a thing with me.. but it absolutely has, I jumped at the opportunity to read an ARC of the follow-up.
'The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising Trilogy Book 2)' boasts an equally beautiful cover design and sounded, if possible.. even more exciting than the series debut.
Generally speaking, I enjoy the idea of reinvention. Be that in reference to cover songs, remixes, film franchise reboots, or retellings.. I love to see what a creator might choose to do with inspired source material. Obviously, sometimes that has really disappointing results.. other times.. something truly special happens.. and entirely new life is breathed into that older work.
This is one of those situations.
Like many, I love the tales of Camelot. Merlin and Morgan.. Arthur and Guinevere.. the Knights of the Round Table.. these are the kinds of stories that continue to inspire throughout time. Though the legends of Tristan and Iseult (Isolde) are believed to have influenced the Arthurian tales, here.. in White's tale.. they find a place alongside the legends of Camelot.
"It is more valuable to anticipate a blow than to avoid it. If I know which direction a blow is coming from, I can move with it instead of against it."
In this book, King Arthur and Queen Guinevere have defeated their enemies once and are expending their efforts on ruling Camelot. Arthur, already comfortable in his role as King and Guinevere seemingly going through the motions while trying to find her place. Despite the evident closeness between herself and those around her, she continues to feel apart from everyone.
With her dreams swallowed up by visions of darkness and power.. familiarity in unfamiliar places.. and a deep sense of foreboding, Guinevere is constantly looking over their proverbial shoulders in expectation of an attack. Each little discovery seems as if it should make her feel more secure, but something still feels wrong. Nothing appears to be quite when she was taught it was, but she questions her own judgment and it seems the threat could be coming from anywhere.
Guinevere and Arthur are exceedingly kind, caring, likable characters. I find it interesting that a premise could be built on such polarizing lies and contain no feelings of negativity toward those carrying them out. Despite their secrets, they truly only want to do as much good for as many people as they possibly can.. and who can fault them for that?
Sure, along the way.. some pretty bad things go down.. but it's difficult to feel sorry for those on the receiving end, when all they do is ask for it.
"Do not imagine us whiling away our days in foolishness. Imagine us as the adder, curled and coiled in anticipation of the strike."
I loved the gender flip of Lancelot and how it's handled. It was impressive to see it both addressed in how the female night might be challenged by her role at the same time that she never seemed to be held down by it. She's as strong and able, more so in most cases.. than any other knight. Unlike Brienne in Game of Thrones, there's no great inner-conflict about who she is. There's no struggle to be as tough as the men and still soft enough to carry a love story.. and I genuinely applaud the author for that.
Other than the obvious small-minded comments of the occasional side character that imply the way she's viewed is more stereotypical.. her gender is never actually an issue for her when it comes to carrying out her duties. She's a knight first and does no worrying over finding a partner as if not having one in some way makes her anything less.
"She is movement and chaos, brightest life and sharpest death. There is no patience in her, no sense of the power of performing the same action over and over and over until eventually a different result is achieved."
The story is rich visually, has an intriguing.. if not unfamiliar.. magic system, and has plenty of page-turning events to keep you from putting the book down. The author's prose is elegant, without being overdone. Not unlike the dreams Guinevere is subjected to.. it flows like water itself.
I'm desperate to read book 3 already and hopefully get more of Mordred.. who has definitely caught my eye.. so I'll be making my way back to the first book soon as well. Don't miss out on this wonderful retelling. You'll be so glad you gave it a chance.
'After All I've Done' by Mina Hardy, alternate pseudonym of author Megan Hart, is billed as a "thrilling new psychological suspense" title.
Though while the story is captivating, it's really not particularly thrilling or suspenseful. I find it interesting really and a testament to the author's writing chops that regardless of the fact I felt like there were zero surprises anywhere in the book.. everything being thoroughly telegraphed as I read, I still really enjoyed the experience. I was definitely invested enough to want to witness it all first hand and even read through the last 75% the second time I picked the book up.
"She's lost her best friend, her husband--and possibly, her mind."
Told from the perspectives of three people, Diana, Val, and later.. Cole, the story opens during Diana's recovery from an accident that left her broken.. both physically and psychologically. She has a huge gap in her memory from the summer around the accident and she isn't wholly convinced that the recurring nightmares she's been having aren't actually memories of some awful thing she's done.
Her former best friend Val has been sleeping with her husband Jonathan, but strangely enough Diana isn't the one who's angry. Val practically spits venom at her when they cross paths and won't speak to her at all by phone.
Then there's Cole. He's younger and attractive.. and pays attention to her at a time she seems to need a friend, but the closer they get.. the more she wonders how even he might fit into the puzzle.
Honestly, I think one of the biggest reasons I kept reading was validation. I had a very solid conviction as to what was happening and why.. and I guess I wanted to see if I was right.. or if Hardy might throw me a curveball somewhere. She didn't, but I was just as satisfied upon finishing the novel either way.
Choices made amongst the involved parties, certainly made for interesting dynamics. The personal interactions between all these people are so strained and only one of them feels truly genuine, that one.. coming late in the book.
I felt Hardy did an excellent job creating that tension between the characters. All the underlying moments that are plain to see around us if one is looking for them, small manipulations, personal slights, the things people hide or project with intent within relationships.. it's all here and it's actually brilliantly played out. Having lived some level of these types of behaviors myself, I spotted them immediately.. but the thing about seeing them is.. you're not always in a position to do anything about them, even when you're aware.
Which brings me to the other aspect Hardy played so well. The frustration and.. not really helplessness, but.. those moments when for whatever reason you're bound from acting in your own best interests. Those moments are vividly on display here.
There are a couple of moments in the conclusion where of course you're not sure of the outcome. You have all the pieces.. but they're up in the air and you're not sure where they're going to land. I must say, I was very happy with the way everything wrapped up.
If you enjoy a good dark, family drama.. this is well worth a read.. just don't be expecting it to catch you off guard.
Omg.. it's cover reveal time for one of my most anticipated reads of 2021!
I'm thrilled to be participating in the reveal for A.J. Vrana's 'The Echoed Realm,' book two in The Chaos Cycle Duology! If you haven't read 'The Hollow Gods' yet, you've still got time.. but you're missing out on all the snarky fun.. so you better get to it!
'The Echoed Realm' will be releasing on June 8th, 2021 through Parliament House Press! You can get a gorgeous signed paperback through the author's shop or an e-book on Amazon -- both links can be found below!
Also, be sure to head over to Goodreads and add it to your TBR list, so you don't forget! You won't regret it if you tend toward dark series like I do!
If you want to learn more about the author or this great series, follow I'll include their links below as well -- that way you won't miss out on any of the updates!
"Hope is for poetry," said Agramon. "War is despair."
'The Lost King' by Frazier Alexander is a really ambitious, epic saga type of tale, billed as being for fans of Eragon and The Odyssey.
Now, I haven't read Eragon.. I remember the film vaguely, but I did enjoy it.. and I do like The Odyssey and other kinds of lengthy stories of that ilk. I genuinely can't say they're wrong in their suggestion, as it's an enjoyable story.
King Athan of Antaranis, after leading attacks of vengeance on neighboring peoples, faces an unexpected turn of events when Arkastaros .. a magic star filled with True Light, becomes lost to them. Having been created by the Ethirians and bestowed upon the top of Mount Vilastra, it's essentially the center of everything for his kingdom.
Upon embarking on a sea voyage in search of the great star, hoping to restore it.. the King and those loyal soldiers who accompany him on the quest.. go missing.
As the kingdom falls apart, his children Prince Thalos and Princess Thara follow diverging paths. The prince clings to the past.. proceeding with his learning to take over his father's mantle.. but only as an eventual last resort.. even as he hopes to locate his father and bring him home, while the princess' resentment of the King festers and she focuses almost solely on the future.
In the void of power left behind by the missing King and the royal siblings focused more on themselves than their people and their duties, a beautiful enchantress snatches the throne from them. Enslaving Thara and their people, when Thalos returns home from his teachings, he finds himself exiled to the edge of the known world.
Cast onto an island and left to die, Thalos happens across an old friend of his father's. Together, they take up the search for Athan as Thara finds a way to free herself from the new queen's thrall.. and seeks out a band of creatures still loyal to her father.
As I said before.. it's an incredibly ambitious undertaking. There are times when the story fumbles a little, when it's slightly clumsy as events unfold.. but I genuinely believe this is largely because the author packed so much content into the story. Though it isn't a long book, it's a bit of a dense read.. simply because there's always so much going on.
Alexander did a good job with Thalos, though Thara is a bit annoying in spots.. I suppose that's probably the nature of the average princess. They are both determined to impact their situation though and so those small things can be forgiven. There's no just lying down and letting the new queen walk over them here.
The supporting cast is great.. Nasiros and Ruan are absolute favorites of mine. There are fun elements like a sassy dragon, a giant sea turtle (though the initial scene reminded me a little of Pandaria in World of Warcraft), and some titan-sized enemies. Sundra, the enchantress, and her Red Phantom.. make excellent villains.
Ever changing settings like ghostly ruins and tunnels through the mountains that hold surprises of their own, keep everything very fresh visually and the battle scenes while rather extensive in spots, are easy enough to picture as you read them.
This might be an author to watch. I know I'll be keeping an eye out to see what else they have up their proverbial sleeve.
If you like epic journeys and underdog stories, this is probably the book for you.
'Goblin King; A Permafrost Novel' by Kara Barbieri is the follow-up to 'White Stag,' a story that had intrigued me from the get-go.
Janneke is our main character. A human girl who was a thrall, one of the slaves of the previous Erlking, that has become the new Stag.. a magical, liminal creature.. meant to maintain the balance of their world. With the previous Erlking defeated, if not quite dead.. her partner Soren rules the kingdom. The two are meant to connect with each other through the mantle of the Stag, making them a natural team as well as a romantic couple.
Unfortunately, all is not well. Lydian, the previous Erlking, isn't really gone. In fact, he's lingering in Janneke's mind and driving her a little nuts. Not unusual I suppose, since he was a madman himself.
In attempting to deal with his presence, however, Janneke discovers some truly disturbing truths about his madness and the actions he paid for with his life. While she can't forgive him for the ways he chose to go about things, she begins to at least understand his intentions. Their world is in jeopardy and in his own twisted ways, he was trying to protect it.
If I'm being entirely honest, between the cover and the synopsis for both books.. the story came across as something dark and ethereal. I never got to reading the series debut, but I'm good about picking up partway into a series, adapting quickly to the story, and going from there. So, it certainly wasn't confusion that kept me from connecting with this one.
I've said it before and I have to say it again, in hindsight.. I've discovered this author is from Wattpad and if I'd known that before I decided to read the book, I wouldn't have done so at all. It's not that I have anything against Wattpad writers in general, but rather that every Wattpad author I've read has been a huge disappointment. They're consistently underdeveloped as writers and in this case at least, the shoe fits.
This story could have been fantastic. The elements are interesting, from the Stag which is pretty much just the 'Spirit of the Forest' from Princess Mononoke, if less purely benevolent.. to the Goblin patriarchy, there's a lot to work with here. The problem it runs into is lack of real writing skill. Plot points are relatively few and far between, as pages and pages pass by filled with fluff you don't need or care to read. Dialogue is bland and unimpassioned, characters are cartoonish stereotypes, and the language overall is just severely lacking.
While the basic 'structure' of a novel is there.. and I do mean the very basic.. minimum expectations, it reads like someone with 6th grade vocabulary and complexity wrote the book.. and it failed to invest me on any level. Sadly, I will be avoiding this author in the future.
"With salt in air and water in veins
I call the pale rider to loosen his reins
I call for death to loosen his chains
I call for air to return to the breast
I call for fire to ignite the rest
Let what was earthside return once more
Restart the clock, and settle the score
Reanimate the dead flesh of man
Render Phillip Deville alive again."
When I happened across the synopsis for 'Dead Rockstar' by Lillah Lawson, it just seemed like a rather unique premise and though it didn't necessarily seem like the kind of title I'd typically read.. I was fascinated by the concept.
The novel is about a young woman named Stormy who has had a pretty rough life overall and when we meet her at the opening, she's still spiraling ever downward. She's divorced and living in a rundown trailer out in an isolated part of the town, she's really just barely making it and she's got one good friend to help her stay sane, Sloan.
After getting lucky and finding an old copy of a super rare vinyl record from her favorite band.. the Bloomer Demons, a group she has lived for since she was just a teen, Stormy digs out a set of lines.. buried in the album cover artwork and as a 'joke' she attempts the impossible. She tries to resurrect the long dead rockstar and sexy, enigmatic lead singer.. Phillip Deville.
Answering a knock on her door a day later, she finds herself staring into the turquoise eyes of the beautiful undead rock god himself. But the act has put other things in motion too and in order to keep herself and her newly resurrected boyfriend safe, she's going to have to go to battle for them both.
"This isn't a new style."
"This is the same shit grunge kids were wearing when I was alive in the 90s. The only difference is instead of JNCOs the jeans have skinny legs, but otherwise it's the same."
Honestly, in the first few pages.. I thought the writing was really light-hearted and almost simplistic. But as I continued to read my perspective evolved and it began to seem more like a representation of the life Stormy was leading. She's a small town girl living a small restricted life and she feels like she's adrift. Her loneliness is not raging and loud.. it's not that kind of.. fill the void cacophony that her best friend exhibits. It's muted.. filled with anguish and the quiet fracturing of a soul.
Once Phillip shows up, all that begins to change. The texture of the story seems to almost adapt with the highs and lows of the characters. He's the kind of tortured artist that draws us in.. with his carefully crafted outer image and his fragile, loyal heart.
This story just resonated with me on so many levels. Growing up as I did.. I was in high school around the same time as the main character.. going to see the same bands she was listening to and already living and working in the industry. Nearly every legitimate performer mentioned in the book is someone I knew or met along the way and subtracting the obvious supernatural elements and the plot, the story could have been pulled from the pages of my own lifestyle.. which made it really grounding for me.
"I was almost at the dunes that mark the entrance of the trail, and I turned one more time to look at the water. I've always liked the way it churns during a storm, bringing all the debris onto the shore, all dark and frothy."
"Like a purging," Phillip said thoughtfully.
So many of my friends from major late 80's-early 90's groups were lost in similar ways to those in the book. Some of them are still falling from those proverbial pillars. There's nothing like discovering they come to their broken ends in the news. The pain on display felt so familiar it was jarring.. but moving.. and I found myself deeply invested in the future of these two people.
It's a roller coaster ride of emotions and a whirlwind of events to follow with both Phillip and Stormy trying to do everything in their power to protect one another against odds the likes of which they have no real understanding. There are some surprises which you may figure out as they get close to conclusion, but in no way are they laid out early and I love the way the author invoked certain familiar elements, such as one from a particularly legendary story.
Do yourself a favor.. if you like music.. love stories.. and some serious underdog appeal.. pick this book up and give it a read. You won't regret it.
'Loveless' is the fourth novel by Alice Oseman, a contemporary YA author that everyone seems to know, but me. In my defense, I don't read a lot of contemporary. I don't dislike it, I just don't run across a lot of blurbs for contemporary pieces that sound interesting to me and more often than not, I rarely even get past the covers which I tend to find bland artistically.
This book though was a bit of an exception. When it first popped up on a friend's Instagram feed, I found the cover to be compelling enough to read more. There's something about the design, even before paired with its title.. that is both hopeful and hopeless.. simultaneously and there's little I love better than a clever use of contradictions.
Still, I likely would have added it to my ever-growing TBR list and maybe gotten to it in a year or so unless my interest in it became eclipsed by other things until I forgot about it. Luckily for me, that same friend (bookworm_panda) decided to host her first group read using this book for Ace Week and I decided it was a perfect time to participate in something else I'd never done before.
The author, known widely for her series 'Heartstopper,' which I'm now wondering if I should be adding to my list as well.. tells the story of a young woman named Georgia at the pivotal moment between the end of high school and the beginning of university. She's never been in love, never kissed anyone, and never even had a crush, but she loves fanfic romance and she's beginning to wonder if she's missing out on finding hers.
Along with the rest of her bestie triad, Pip and Jason, they're about to venture into uni life experiences in a city far from their comfort zone of home. While at first it seems unfortunate that they don't get roomed together, Georgia discovers her new roommate is not only outgoing, she's kind of a social tour de force.. which is perfect since she sees herself as the shy, awkward type. Personally, I found her endearing and witty and she's completely someone I'd have hung out with in and out of school.
As she attempts to find her match, a chaotic chain of events begins to impact those around her, especially her closest friends and she starts to wonder why it seems so easy for other people, but not for her. Along her journey, she starts to learn about the Aro/Ace Spectrum and becomes even more uncertain about her feelings than when she began.
Admittedly, I was especially interested in this book because of the subject matter and how it may or may not intersect with those in my personal life.
I've always been a bit of a self-educator, so the terms themselves and the meanings are not new to me. The vastness of the spectrum.. however, was still an eye-opener. There is far more gray area than I expected, which of course makes sense. It's a complex spectrum within an already complex framework of the human design.
I feel like in addition to getting to read a really great story though, I learned a lot more experiencing Georgia's journey in story form.. than I ever had just reading analysis, definitions, and breakdowns in more clinical presentations. Plus, I was so invested in the happiness of every one of the characters I got to know in this novel. Jason, Pip, and the new uni friends are all the loveliest, warmest people.. deep down. I was a little mad about how frequently Oseman left me crying happy tears as I read, largely because I have always prided myself on not being very emotional.. and like some of those characters I love here, I'm a bit overly proud about not crying in front of others.. but that's my only real complaint, so.. probably still a win for the author. Haha.
Interestingly enough, while the book answered a lot of questions I didn't know I had, it also left me asking a lot of new ones about myself and those around me. And any story that can inspire that much introspection is a gift. I love the reboot Oseman gives the concept of love, romance, and relationships. As a person living what some might consider an unorthodox lifestyle myself, I saw much in their circumstances that translates into my world seamlessly and felt a bit more secure in my decision to build my ideal home setting.
For that, and so much more.. I'm deeply grateful for the experience of 'Loveless' and look forward to exploring more of the author's works.