REVIEW – The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart

Back in 1982, five friends chose sacrifices to put into a mysterious box and vow to never return at night, never to visit alone and never to take their sacrifices back. Flash forward four years, the friends no longer speak and someone has broken the rules. Strange and eerie events keep happening, people are dying and the five must band together again to stop it.

Firstly, yes..there are lots of similarities between IT and The Sacrifice Box. They both follow a group of predominantly misfit kids/teens as they try to solve a horrifying mystery and it’s also set in the eighties. Stewart also takes seemingly innocent, and non-scary things and distorts them into something very unsettling.

Sep was a charming lead and I really began to care for him as the novel progressed. The other four in the main group were good characters, but unfortunately I don’t feel like they had enough of a focus, believing for once that this could have benefited from dual perspectives. There were some strong foundations for characterisation there, but it didn’t quite reach it’s full potential on that front.

Martin’s overall writing style is beautiful though. His descriptions are mesmerising and he has some of the funniest dialogue I’ve read in a YA novel for quite some time. The plot was a tad predictable and I could have done without the flashbacks, but it was a fun, spooky read. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t live up to my personal expectations, but I know a lot of people who will enjoy this book more than I did and I can’t wait to recommend it to them!

Thank you to Netgalley, Martin Stewart and Penguin Random House for giving me a review copy!


REVIEW – Everless by Sara Holland

Without further ado, here is my long overdue review of Everless by Sara Holland! Now, I’m sure if you’re an active member in the book community, you will have heard of this by now. I think it’s safe to say that the plot (which I will get to in a second) has intrigued the minds of plenty. If you have been living under a rock, the story follows a girl named Jules, in the kingdom of Sempera – a land where time is currency. The time is extracted from blood and made into coins. It is then consumed to add that time to one’s life span. However, politics and the hierarchy play a massive part in Everless, and the rich are keeping themselves alive for years, whilst the poor are dying because their time has run out due to their blood extraction. Unfortunately, Jules and her father cannot afford their rent and she must travel to work at an estate owned by Sempera’s aristocratic family in order to preserve her fathers remaining time. But is everything quite what it seems? DUN DUN DUN!

In all honesty, I haven’t felt this strongly about a book in a long time. It wasn’t perfect by any means, but it was so easy to read, and the world building left nothing to be desired. Right from the get go, you’re thrust into this land and you know exactly the way the world works. For such a complex story line, Holland’s execution was flawless. I could probably even give you a guided tour of the Everless estate and be pretty confident about it!

As a debut especially, the characters were very well fleshed out. Jules and her father were delightful, and their relationship reminded me a lot of Belle and Maurice from Beauty & The Beast. She would occasionally pass over into the whole ‘I, and I alone, must save the world’  stereotype, but predominantly she was just trying to solve a mystery, and remained down to earth and relatable.

The supporting cast of characters were equally great. I originally thought I was going to hate Ina as I expected Holland to make her the ‘bitchy blonde’ stereotype, but she veered well away from it thankfully and ended up being lovely. The two brothers Roan and Liam reminded me heavily of the Salvatore’s from The Vampire Diaries. This wasn’t necessarily a negative, but it didn’t feel particularly original. There are also hints of a love triangle and a hate-to-love trope in there too, but these weren’t fully fledged out…yet.

Unfortunately, there was just something stopping me from giving this a full five out of five. The writing was very stereotypical of a YA fantasy, which despite the fairly original plot, was disappointing. The genre is clearly HUGE right now amongst this age group, but almost all of the releases are starting to blend into one another. There was also a very small dip in excitement towards the end of Everless. So many things were happening at once, and I think it all wrapped up too quickly, especially given how much of a slow burner the story could be at times.

Overall though, this could potentially be one of my favourite books of 2018! Perhaps lacking in originality at times, but an excellent debut nonetheless.

Thank you to Netgalley, Sara Holland and Orchard Books for giving me a review copy. I have already gone and purchased a physical copy and it’s so beautiful!