I’m back again, with another two mini reviews to share today. They’re both gripping mysteries, ready for these darker nights!
First off, it’s the beautiful Blackbird by N.D.Gomes.
My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.
On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.
Now her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?
Blackbird was everything I’d hoped it would be: tense, well-plotted and addictive. N.D. Gomes’ debut novel, Dear Charlie, had already piqued my interest with her deft handling of tough subjects and Blackbird surpassed my every expectation.
This is a pure YA thriller; there was little in the way of romance, which was a nice change to insta-love romances that pretend to be other genres that make up the bulk of YA. I loved the mystery and raced through it, desperately trying to work out whodunit. As an Agatha Christie fanatic, I’ve seen a fair few tricks but Gomes managed to fool me. The twists were razor-sharp and didn’t seem rushed, unlike other YA mysteries.
It was full of atmospheric and slightly lyrical writing, which I love. So for me, it was absolutely brilliant and the narration was surprisingly poignant.
The other book I wanted to discuss today was the amazing Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody.
Daughter of the Burning City Review:
Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.
But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.
Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.
It’s simple. I completely adore this book.
Every character leaps off the page; they are so engaging and Sorina’s family of illusions really feels like they could live down the street. They made it impossible to put the book down.
Also the plot is simply spellbinding. It’s everything you want from a YA thriller: gripping plot, shocking twists and nail-bitingly tense scenes. You can never really tell who you can trust, which is just how I like my mysteries.
Foody just weaves a brilliant world that blends the futuristic time period and the vaguely creepy, magical atmosphere of the circus. To be honest, I could happily read about this world for another book, but the plot is wrapped up well by the end that anther book may ruin it.
Daughter of the Burning City is an awe-inspiring and thrilling dark fantasy from a bold new voice in YA. What more could you ask for?
Over To You:
Have you read either of these books? If so, what did you think of them?