Tag Archives: dystopian

Recommendations Round-up: Revision Season Special – Escapism All Round

As GCSE and A Level students are starting to knuckle down to some serious study, I thought I’d offer you a selection of recommended reads that do not feature school and definitely do not include characters deciding their careers. I’m not promising no-one thinks about the future in any of these, but this is not the place for school-set contemporaries, ok?

These are reads to take you far away from classrooms and exams and the kinds of conversations about the future that you’ve been having or are having regularly at the moment. Just don’t get too carried away and neglect the study, alright? (My best advice – use a timer for both study and relaxation, so you’re fully doing both at different times, and not having to feel guilty about reading when you should be studying or, worse, only half studying because you’re resentful about having no time to yourself).

Fantasy Genre – to really get away from reality

I’ve got quite a lot of good recs here, including YA and adult titles.

Fantasy revision readsOne of the hottest new YA titles around is Alwyn Hamilton’s Rebel of the Sands, which swishes together aspects of the Arabian Nights stories with elements of a good Western for some sharp-shootin’ fun with a fab female lead (who, naturally goes undercover as a fella at first to enter a shooting competition). If a UK setting – however fantasy-enriched – is more your scene, I have two great (and completed) series for you: The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott is the first in her urban fantasy series using Japanese folklore for the fantasy elements. This one all kicks off with her heroine’s (ill-advised, of course) usage of her family’s treasured katana for a fancy dress party. The second UKYA possibility here is Liz de Jager’s fab fae-focused series which opens with Banished, in which Kit, her protagonist, works to protect people from magical and mystical creatures intruding into our world. Naturally, things blow up and Kit finds herself in the middle of epic battles. Another UKYA fantasy tip, a series with two books out and a third to follow next year is The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury. Said daughter was removed from her family to live as a pampered assassin, able to kill with just a touch – her bare skin is lethal to all except the royal family,

Grisha & Throne of GlassFinally on the YA front, if you enjoy high fantasy (stories fully set in another world like Game of Thrones) and you haven’t yet discovered them, two US YA series to immerse yourself in are Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha series, which opens with Shadow and Bone, and Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass. Both feature a kick-ass teen girl protagonist and offer complex characterisation and richly-imagined worlds. Bardugo’s series is complete as a trilogy, while Maas has 4 novels out and more to come.

For adult fantasy series, I have two quick recommendations for you (note: both have sexual content):

adult fantasy revision reads

  • The Jane True series by Nicole Peeler is a snarky urban fantasy in which Jane discovers that she is part selkie and meets other ‘supes’ (supernatural creatures) and ‘halflings’ like herself. Tempest Rising is the first instalment.
  • Undead and Unwed is the first in MaryJanice Dickinson’s very tongue in cheek series about a vampire. These are very light-hearted and funny books, somewhere between Sex in the City and Twilight.

Crime/Thriller genre – books set in our world but hopefully far from your reality…

crime recs for revision

For a great YA thriller, I recommend Tanya Byrne’s Heart-Shaped Bruise. Set in an institution, this tightly-narrated novel offers clear insight into a criminal’s journal. It’s a chilling and absorbing read.

Two recent adult-market crime thrillers that I recommend are In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware and Someone Else’s Skin by Sarah Hilary. They’re quite different, but both superb. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a standalone thriller focusing on a woman who has inexplicably been invited to the hen weekend of an old schoolfriend in a secluded cottage deep in the woods. The novel opens with the woman in hospital, unable to remember what has happened, with police outside her room. Someone Else’s Skin, however, is the first in a police series featuring DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake. Books 2 and 3 are also now out and are equally good. I love this series because it’s gritty, UK-set and you get a good sense of the detective characters as well as a strong mystery/thriller.

Dystopian and Post-Apocalyptic

dystopian revision recs

Of course, another way to escape the here and now is to read about other societies, especially those with brutal regimes or those that are falling apart. Here are a few recs for those, all YA, and all UK. Do you fancy a creepy cult masquering as peace-loving earth-worshippers? Try Seed by Lisa Heathfield. Or a terrifying  post-apocalyptic world in which drugged-up supersoldiers have taken over? For that, read The Fearless by Emma Pass. Finally, you might enjoy a trilogy (2 books are out now) featuring a UK split into the pagan Greenworld (living in harmony with the environment) and the Redworld (exploiting the environment and being materialistic). Anna McKerrow’s Crow Moon starts with this premise and spins a magical battle there.

Whatever you choose, don’t forget: work AND rest!

UKYA Review: Red Witch by Anna McKerrow

Red Witch, Anna McKerrow, (Quercus, March 2016)

Sequel to Crow Moon (with a third in the series to come next year) – you might want to skip this review if you haven’t yet read Crow Moon, in order to avoid spoilers for the first book.

Red WitchGenres in the mix: Fantasy,  Dystopian

Age target: YA

Goodreads Summary: Seventeen, heartbroken, powerful; Melz has run away from home, run away from the safety of the Greenworld. In the cities of the Redworld, Melz discovers she’s special, desired. And not just for her magical talents.

When Melz meets the young but influential Bran, their attraction is instant and electric. In the Redworld, with Bran by her side, unrestrained by the customs of her former life, Melz knows she can reach her true potential. But the world Bran wants to give Melz is ravaged by war and violence. Oil is running out, and people will do anything to gain control of the remaining resources. Melz may be more powerful than ever, but even great power can be a curse when used against you.

Review-in-a-tweet: Sparkling, easy to engage with sequel to the fab Crow Moon. Magic, identity, power: a heady combination!

Hot buttons: Paganism, magic, environmentalism, responsibility

Narrative style: The first person present tense narration allows for close-up immediacy, plus we are treated to excerpts from Melz’s diary contextualising events with details such as moon phase and season. Each chapter is also headed with a quotation that also helps with the world-building.

The emotional ride: A real strength of this novel. After Crow Moon, told from Danny’s perspective, it was great to see Melz’s point of view as someone who’s always lived the Greenworld way more fully. As with the first in the series, there were plenty of ‘don’t do that!’ moments, so I was definitely gripped and rooting for Melz. It was a definite roller coaster of a novel, with plenty of emotional depth behind all the action.

Main character: Melz doesn’t get such a good press in Crow Moon and after her dramatic cursing at the end of that story, it’s great to see her perspective here. The close narration and opportunities to get a bit of her backstory made it easier to understand and ultimately sympathise with her, but it’s fair to say that she does a lot of growing and maturing across the two books. I personally prefer her as a character to Danny (not to say that I didn’t love Crow Moon, of course!) and have really enjoyed the first two instalments of their adventures. I can’t wait to read the third next year, with a different narrator again.

Hearthfire rating: 10/10 Smoking hot!

Speed Reviews (5-star UKYA Fantasy Edition)

Today in my speed reviews series, I’ve got two brilliant UKYA fantasy novels for you. Both are recently published, both open trilogies and, although their plots and characters are quite different, they both exemplify great world-building and plotting. And since I can’t resist it, I’ll also be linking to a couple of other fab UKYA fantasies that I’ve reviewed previously. I rate all books in this post 5 stars on Goodreads (“It was amazing”), as I feel they all represent top-quality examples of their sub-genres.

jkt_9780545810623.pdfThe Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

is one of 2015’s big UKYA novels. A classical high fantasy in many ways, this novel introduces the character of Twylla, who has been taken from her family and installed in the palace as an incarnation of the goddess Daunen. Like all deities, she is treated with a healthy dose of fear, due to her poisonous skin (only those with royal blood can touch her and live). Although the novel is clearly set in a traditional high-fantasy medieval-style society, the writing is very contemporary and the narrative style is very engaging and accessible. This is not a novel that requires a glossary or for you to keep checking who’s who due to all the names being unfamiliar.

Twylla is a well-rounded character, reacting realistically to her bizarre life. I really enjoyed the ending of this one and was not initially sure whether there was going to be a sequel. As regular visitors here will know, I am not a fan of open/cliffhanger endings, and I am pleased to say that this closes like a standalone, but I definitely want to see more of Twylla.

The Sin-Eater’s Daughter is out now from Scholastic.

crow moonCrow Moon by Anna McKerrow

is another of 2015’s big UKYA releases. This is a much more contemporary fantasy, combining dystopian themes with the idea of magic. Protagonist Danny lives in the Greenworld, conceived as a Pagan utopia and consisting of Devon and Cornwall. Everywhere else is the Redworld, where capitalism, individualism and hate seem to be the ruling forces. Initially, Danny is sceptical about all this Pagan stuff, despite his Mum being an important witch, and is focused almost exclusively on chasing girls.

One of the things I love about this novel is Danny. He’s very representative of teen boys in terms of their sex drive, something  you don’t often see in YA novels. At times this tendency to be shallow and self-centred made me frustrated with him, but in a way that enhanced my reading because I was willing him to do better and notice what he needed to. I was certainly highly engaged in reading this book and will absolutely be reading the next in the series.

Crow Moon is out now from Quercus.

While I’m on the subject of 5-star UKYA fantasy, here are a couple more recommendations for you. Both of these are also trilogy-openers, and in both cases the second book is also now out (and equally good).

the night itselfThe Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

is an urban fantasy combining elements of Japanese folklore into a contemporary London setting. Her characters, plot and settings all contribute to a greater diversity in YA novels, and if any of the following appeal, you should definitely give this a go: a mysterious inherited sword, huge good-versus-evil battles, gorgeous toying-with-reader-emotions romance, fabulous fox spirits. Check my original review for more info.

banishedBanished by Liz de Jager

kicks off her urban fantasy trilogy focusing on a fae world. Her hero, Kit, is easily one of the most compelling YA protagonists I’ve read, and the world-building and use of folklore are superb. Read this one for lots of action, brilliantly-realised characters, a healthy dollop of snark and cynicism and (yes, I’m saying it) hot boys. Check my original review for more info.

UKYA Review: The Fearless by Emma Pass

fearlessHaving greatly enjoyed Emma Pass’s first dystopian thriller, Acid, I was very keen to read her second book – and I was not disappointed.

My initial thoughts on reaching the end:

Thrilling UKYA dystopian/post-apocalyptic combo with very scary zombiesque creatures, a worthwhile (but highly dangerous) quest and some brilliant characterisation (including a lovely hound). Definitely recommended for lovers of YA thrillers, dystopias and the post-apocalyptic.

The Fearless is another sci-fi thriller, with more of a post-apocalyptic vibe than a dystopian one. In this terrifying version of the UK, people are being infected with an agent that renders them fearless (and rather like zombies – strong, bloodthirsty and utterly pitiless).

Again, a strength of the work is its grounded realism – emotional, psychological and linguistic – despite the highly imaginative plot. It was extremely easy to get lost in the adventure and root for the characters, especially Cass, Myo and the fabulous wolfhound Lochie. Lochie may just be my favourite dog in a book of all time – but I do have a soft spot for hounds 🙂

I particularly appreciated the UK setting and loved the inclusion of Meadowhall as an important site – so nice to have an urban UK setting other than London. As noted above, the dialogue was entirely realistic to me as UK teen speech, which is important to me, and which helped me get lost in the plot. Although obviously being able to believe and get lost in the plot is a good thing as regards a well-written book, there were times when it would have been nice to remember it was fiction. Aspects of this story are, while not horror-film creepy, certainly high on the tension scale. I may have jumped or called out once or twice…

All in all, if you enjoy well-written UKYA, with interesting characters and a convincing dystopian/post-apocalyptic plot, I would definitely recommend this novel. And you might well want to give Acid a go as well.

The Fearless is out now from Corgi. My grateful thanks to Random House Children’s for allowing me a review copy via NetGalley.

If you’re interested in Emma’s work and UKYA in general, look out for more news on this.

UKYA extravaganza

So far, I know it’s at the fabulous Birmingham Waterstones that does so much for great YA novels, and it’s in February and 34 authors are involved…

Review: Riot by Sarah Mussi

Riot

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair – the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won’t.

It’s time for the young to take to the streets. It’s time for them to RIOT:

OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.

(summary from Goodreads)

Riot rev aag

Having both loved and been terrified by Sarah Mussi’s Siege, I was keen to read her next near-future dystopian, Riot. While Siege is set in a school and deliciously claustrophobic in its tension, Riot mostly takes place outside and features uprising, rioting and an extended on-the-run sequence. Both are well worth a read if you enjoy fast-paced and gritty teens-against-the-system dystopias.

Riot’s narrator is a hacktivist, whom we quickly learn is leading a dangerous double life, protesting against the government’s new forced sterilisation bill. The bill would see all teens with low prospects sterilised due to overpopulation. Riot opens right in the thick of things, violence kicks in quite quickly, and the pace rarely lets up. As a result, the narration uses a lot of simple sentences and has a breathless quality that some Goodreads reviewers have been quick to criticise, but which I feel perfectly suits the urgency and pace of the situation in which the characters find themselves.

There are themes of friendship, commitment and connection running through this novel, underscored and heightened by the extremity of the plot’s events. I feel many readers will be able to enjoy and appreciate the novel’s keen moral core, and will be prompted to think about the ways the characters behave and the choices they make.

Despite its somewhat far-fetched premise and technology in advance of our own, the events of the novel rang true sufficiently that I was quite frightened of the possibilities suggested. As a teacher of teens, I can definitely see this book helping to politicise some of its readers – never a bad thing – and would love to introduce it to a school reading group. I think it would spark really interesting discussions. There is less strong violence in this novel than in Siege, and the dystopian elements feel slightly closer to reality in this one to me.

Overall, I’m recommending this for its action, its morality and its investigation of relationships forged in extreme circumstances. If all this appeals to you, definitely give it a go (and Siege too!).

Riot is out now from Hodder Children’s books. I am grateful to have received a proof for honest review via NetGalley.

Review: Acid by Emma Pass

Exciting new dystopia for the YA market 

This is a thrill ride of a book, which hooks the reader quickly and fully delivers on its promise of excitement.

I’m sure some of you who are YA readers are going “I’ve done the dystopian thing; I’m over it now” but I would urge you to give this one a go. Yes, there are elements which you’ll have read before (but I would strongly argue that any story which works is constructed using familiar elements) – the main character against the system, dark forces moving against her, mystery and uncertainty about characters’ motivations – but it’s also tightly written and refreshingly different in some (to me) indefinable way. Perhaps it’s in the way it’s put together, perhaps it’s the UK setting; I’m not sure, but it is an excellent novel, recommended even to the dystopia-weary. Those of you concerned about sameness in YA novels will definitely want to know that Acid is love-triangle-free.
Our protagonist, Jenna, is tough and smart – as the only female prisoner in a high-security facility for murderers, she’s had to be. It’s clear from the start that the crime which saw her incarcerated here is problematic, but we are drip-fed these details adding to the tension. The story starts on its feet, all action and  no pulled punches, and this is the pitch we operate at pretty much throughout. It helps that Emma Pass knows her world intimately and leads us through it effectively. We learn exactly what we need to, precisely when we need to with her perfectly judged world-building. I hate things being over-explained or the dreaded info-dump – there isn’t a whiff of that here.
I warmed to Jenna quite quickly and found it easy to be on her side. The swift-moving first person present tense narration helps this along, of course – we’re right in her perspective, so can’t help but understand how she sees things. There are points in the story where things are clearer to the reader than they are to Jenna, which further adds to the tension as those twists and turns keep coming. She’s established quickly as someone to admire and not as a victim, holding her own against male inmates.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this one as a pacy, tense read which is extremely difficult to put down.

From the Back Cover

ACID – the most brutal police force in history.
They rule with an iron fist.
They see everything. They know everything.
They locked me away for life.

My crime?
They say I murdered my parents. I was fifteen years old.
My name is Jenna Strong.

*********************
Published 14 May by Corgi Children’s/Random House
Visit the author’s website for more information
My grateful thanks to the publisher for a review e-arc via Netgalley 

Review: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Engaging and exciting dystopian YA set in an oxygen-deprived world

I was excited to read this, despite there being so many dystopias around now, and I wasn’t disappointed. Controlling oxygen seems such an absolute way to keep control of the people and, as with all good dystopias, there is a clear hierarchy and social control through people knowing their place and being unable to break out of it. There is also clear danger at all times, ensuring that we are gripped and committed to finding out where it will all end.

The novel is told through three different and converging perspectives: Alina, a rebel, who opens the novel with “Breathing is a right, not a privilege, so I’m stealing it back”. Her voice is lively and strong from the outset, as she prepares to take action. Bea comes next, an Auxiliary (i.e. second-class citizen) who is bold and clever. The final voice we follow is Quinn’s – a Premium who has a lot of privilege in the novel’s world and isn’t always aware of this. The narration is all first person present tense, which works well for this kind of novel, creating uncertainty and tension and removing the possibility of hindsight. We are pulled along with the characters on their adventure and it’s never quite certain who will survive or succeed.

Having two female and one male protagonists is effective in offering different perspectives and likely to widen the novel’s appeal. There is a degree of romance but never as more than a sub-plot – survival and rebellion are far more important ideas here, which feels realistic despite the novel’s extreme scenario. Sarah Crossan writes with an emotional and psychological realism which makes the story compelling, and allowing the novel to effectively combine being an entertaining read and raising questions about commitment, bravery and privilege.

The pace of the novel is a key strength. Although Sarah Crossan has created a world that is in many ways entirely unfamiliar, she succeeds in conveying the oddities of this world without heavy exposition or backstory. In some cases, we find out the society’s history along with the characters, but always in a way that works with the plot and feels natural. This is book one in a trilogy, and I will definitely be taking the first opportunity to read the next book, as the ending of this one raises the stakes even higher and leaves you wondering what on earth can happen next (yet without leaving you unsatisfied and feeling cheated, as series books can sometimes).

Overall, I would absolutely recommend this to YA readers (who don’t have to actually be young adults, of course) who enjoy dystopian novels and/or thrillers. I think those who aren’t necessarily keen dystopian fans will enjoy this too, as it is such a good example of the genre.

From the Back Cover:

Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.

Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?

A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

****************************
Published in October by Bloomsbury
My grateful thanks to the publishers for providing a review copy
Check out the Breathe page at Bloomsbury for more information or go to Amazon UK

Review: The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers

Emotionally intense dystopian focused on fertility and childbirth

Comparisons are being made to The Handmaid’s Tale (which I love) and Children of Men (which I haven’t read), largely because this is a near-future dystopia in which fertility and childbearing is the focus (as well as it winning the Arthur C Clarke, which Handmaid’s Tale also did). The difference here is in the voice, as Jessie Lamb is a 16 yr old girl sharing her story with us in the hope of being understood. She writes in an audience-conscious way (as can be inferred from the title) and her thoughts and feelings are utterly convincing as those of a 16 yr old girl under considerable pressure.

In Jessie’s world, women die if they conceive. Everyone carries the illness MDS (maternal death syndrome), which activates in pregnancy, creating a form of CJD (or mad cow disease) and ultimately killing both mother and child. Society is trying desperately to find a way to prevent humanity dying out, allowing the author to raise questions about scientific research, genetic modification, the treatment of women and how teens become involved in politics. For me, a large part of Jane Roger’s theme is about the involvement of young people in politics and how relatively easy it is for people to manipulate a cause, although I know from the Amazon reviews that some feel her portrayal of the various political camps in the novel is too one-dimensional. I would argue that this is necessary, as she features several different causes in the novel, all of whom want to make use of Jessie in some way (and would you really want that much of the novel taken up by rounding out the secondary cast?), and also that there is accuracy in this representation, as those who are fanatical make themselves one-dimensional. There is also, I feel, something of the allegory to this novel, and simplified characters are part of this tradition.

I greatly enjoyed this novel and found myself gripped to see how Jessie’s tale would end. Again, I would take issue with those who claim the novel is predictable and would suggest that it has an inevitability to it, in the same way that classical tragedy does, but this isn’t really the same thing. Any other ending wouldn’t be as satisfying, but that for me says that a different ending would be a failure. The various obstacles that Jessie faces, together with the many opportunities for her to take a different course, are what make up the plot.

Overall, I would recommend this novel, although I find categorising it very difficult (it seems to be marketed as literary fiction). Again, a debate exists about whether it is YA or not (although some irritating reviewers on Amazon are using this as a criticism of the book – it’s YA because it lacks depth/weight, they feel). For me, I would recommend it to a YA audience: the narrator is 16 and is facing issues centred on what she believes and who she is. I would also recommend it to adults (although that’s often true of the sold-as-YA novels I review…) and feel that it offers plenty to think about in an accessible package.

[deleted rant here on how wrong it is that inaccessible ‘should’ = literary…. 🙂 ]

From the back cover:

Winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award 2012
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011

Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God. As she watches her world collapsing, Jessie Lamb decides she wants to make her life count. Would you let your daughter die if it would save the human race?

The Testament of Jessie Lamb is the story of one daughter’s heroism and one father’s love.

*****************************
Published July 2012 by Canongate books
My grateful thanks for the review copy via Netgalley
Check out The Testament of Jessie Lamb at Amazon UK

Review: The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Atmospheric and lyrical dystopian steampunk YA

This is a book to savour, if you can bear to hold yourself back enough. Bethany Griffin’s writing is tight and often beautiful; rich and evocative without self-indulgence. Araby’s plague-infested world is easy to picture and enter into, despite its otherworldliness.

This plague-infested world, in which the rich are free to move around thanks to anonymising porcelain masks, was inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s short story of the same name. In Poe’s tale, short enough to be effectively just a couple of scenes, the Prince has locked himself and all the nobles away to dance and indulge themselves while the plague ravages those outside the palace walls. This image of decadence amongst the chaos is central to this new tale, which develops the core idea into a complex plot asking questions about morality, identity, progress and risk.

Araby’s place in this world is as one of the privileged – in the first chapter we see her attending the Debauchery Club with her friend April – and yet, as she is aware, she has not always been wealthy and has far more comprehension of the big picture than those she parties with. Araby’s consciousness is as easy to enter as her world, thanks to the first-person-present-tense narration, which lends immediacy to the story. We get a clear view of Araby as somewhat detached from the world around her, at least at the novel’s opening, which makes her a great observer. Her past is also intriguing, drip-fed through the book at just the right pace to keep us guessing and reward reading.

The plot is twisty and involved, and sets us up well for the next book. Generally, I prefer series books which have a clear plot arc (which is resolved) in each volume, so each is like a complete episode of the story, with a kind of over-arching story to continue through the series, but the writing here was so gorgeous that I forgave it pretty quickly. I will certainly be looking out for book two, and I would definitely recommend this gorgeous, involving read to YA readers, particularly those who enjoy steampunk, dystopian, historical and/or romance novels!

From the back cover:

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

**************************
Published August 2012 by Indigo
My grateful thanks go to the publisher for sending a review copy
Check out Masque of the Red Death at Amazon UK