YA Review: The White Darkness

Title: The White Darkness
Author: Geraldine McCaughrean
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
5/5

What can I say about this book? Right from the start, the author casts a spell and draws the reader in. As the story develops, and an ordinary British schoolgirl finds herself on an increasingly strange trip to Antarctica, everything that happens feels entirely real, and absolutely possible. It’s an amazing achievement, given the extreme events of the story. The first-person narrative is immersive and convincing, and Sym’s level-headed storytelling keeps the reader hooked and entirely accepting of all the plot’s twists and surprises.

We also fear for Sym’s safety, as the uncle who brings her to the Antarctic becomes more and more obsessed with proving an unlikely scientific theory. As they travel together Sym begins to question his motives, and his role in her family’s story. As the conditions around her grow more extreme, Sym remains grounded and reliable, taking everything that happens in her stride however dangerous her surroundings become.

Sym has a secret, and it is the key to the book. She’s deaf, but she hears the voice of Captain Oates in her head – Titus Oates of ‘I am just going outside and I may be some time’ fame. Her narration is full of conversations with the long-dead explorer, and their relationship is wonderful – warm, truthful, and frequently heartbreaking as he reminds her of his death in an Antarctic blizzard.

I can’t do this book justice in a short review. It is a wonderful, magical story told by a down-to-earth narrator who speaks to a dead man in her head. It is an absurd but entirely convincing journey into the unique landscape of Antarctica. It is like nothing I have read before, and I adored it. Five stars.

Have you read The White Darkness? What did you think of the book? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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YA Review: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3)

Title: A Vow So Bold and Deadly (Cursebreakers #3)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Edition:
Paperback
Rating:
4/5

I’ve been waiting for the third book in Brigid Kemmerer’s Cursebreaker trilogy, and A Vow So Bold and Deadly did not disappoint. Following the story of Harper and Prince Rhen in the first book (reviewed here), and the story of Grey and Lia Mara in the second book (reviewed here), the third instalment pieced together chapters from all four characters to narrate the climax of the series.

War is coming to Emberfall and Syhl Shallow, with Rhen and Grey on opposite sides. The prize is the crown of Emberfall, and while both sides are willing to fight, everyone is looking for a peaceful solution. The story follows the leaders of both countries as they try and fail to make peace – between Rhen and Grey, and within their borders. Shifting loyalties, civil unrest, and futile attempts at diplomacy keep the characters and the reader guessing right to the end. It’s an exciting, engaging story, revisiting the people and relationships of the previous books, and pushing them towards a war no one wants to fight.

I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I enjoyed this exciting and fitting end to the trilogy. If you haven’t read the series, what are you waiting for? Start with A Curse So Dark and Lonely, and introduce yourself to Rhen, Grey, and Harper, and the curse they must break to survive.

Have you read the Cursebreakers series? What did you think of the final book? Click through to the full blog to access the comments section, and share your thoughts! No spoilers, though – you can post those on GoodReads!

Review cross-posted to GoodReads.


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