As you probably know by now if you’ve been following my reviews, I mark out of 10, then explain how this translates to stars on Amazon and Goodreads, who only allow 5. This is because I do not feel that 5 stars allows for enough differentiation. So, that’s the boring bit done.
The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters
This book nearly killed me! I was getting up in the morning feeling anxious. I was worried during the day without knowing why, until I realised it was this bloody book! I was anxious because the characters were anxious. It is that insanely good. Every feeling and emotion is so well painted I was actually living it, which meant I was immensely relieved when it was over, but also a little sad that I wasn’t able to immerse myself in it any further.
Everything is set up beautifully. The characters are real, perfect in their imperfections. Nothing is romanticised, but every situation is intricately described, so you feel as though you were there with them. You share in their excitement, love, heartbreak, guilt and anxiety. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a book quite so intensely. I don’t want to retell the plot, as that would spoil it. I went in with no idea what it was about and experienced it as though I was living it. I would go as far as saying it is the best Sarah Waters novel I have read so far, but I have a few to go yet, so watch this space.
Obviously it gets 10/10 or 5/5
Jill, by Rose Montague
This was the final book in the trilogy, and it did not disappoint. This time, rather than one point of view, we jump between Jade, Jane and Jill. Usually I am not a fan of perspective switches like this, but here it worked. I think because we already know the characters from the previous books we don’t need to spend as much time on development, so the switches aren’t so jarring. I really liked the jumping between realms, and the world building involved in creating the new worlds. This one almost had a sci fi twist in places, and I hope to see some of the worlds developed further in future books.
It felt a bit rushed in places, and I think I would have liked a bit more description, or maybe conversation to break through the non-stop action, but this is a personal preference and not a criticism of the style. My only real criticism is that there were more typos in this one that the others, and in places they were quite distracting, but it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the book, and it was a good way to wrap up the series.
Over all, fun read. 8/10 or 4/5
Darkly Dreaming, by Chloe Hammond
This is not your usual vampire novel. It deals with female relationships, and is as much about friendship in the face of adversity as it is about vampires. It was so compelling that I wasn’t able to put it down, and whilst it spent a lot of time on back story, I found I didn’t mind that, as I wanted to know what happened in the lives of these characters. Their friendship was so warm and real that I wanted to be a part of it, and the back story allowed me to do so.
Chloe Hammond has managed to create a novel that is tense, exciting, emotional, scary and funny. She deals with issues like divorce, and child abuse, which might make some readers uncomfortable, but it is clearly well researched, and it makes the situations more real for the attention to detail. In this book, the humans are the monsters, and the vampires are the most human people. I would highly recommend it, whether you’re into vampires or not.
10/10 or 5/5
Voopyre, by N C Stow
This beautiful little short story is inspired on Russian Folklore. I’ll admit that not having any knowledge of the subject, or area, I felt a bit lost at the start, as the short story jumps right in with no time for scene setting or character introductions. That said, I was soon swept up in the beautiful imagery and the stylistic writing which absolutely screamed “fairy tale”.
If you are interested in learning more about Russian Folklore, I would say give N C Stow’s short stories a chance. In her own words she “use[s] elements of it in a fictional Slavic setting to make something new.” It was a quick enjoyable read, and a good introduction to Stow’s other works.
9/10 or 4/5