Who Needs A Thesaurus?- a RE-view of The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

This was the first series I read in its entirety. Granted it was out of order, so I thought it was time to give it another try from the start. And in order – the way it was meant to be read.

After the death of their parents in a house fire, siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny are put into the care of Count Olaf who immediately mistreats them behind closed doors. The three of them seek escape, but when adults don’t listen to them or care enough about them they need to take matters into their own hands to work out what the Count has planned for them in order to get their fortune, locked away.

This novel was introduced to me at age 8 by my teacher, who was a huge fan of the series. This was a particularly impactful series for me because it signified a coming of age for me, much like each character experiences gradually at some point in the series. For me, it was the abandoning of 50-page “chapter” books on fairies and unicorns.

This novel’s biggest strength is definitely its mood. It had a way with putting pessimism on things in simple ways. I feel like it could’ve been described more, but with it being middle grade it worked out fairly well in how the mood was set. This novel would scream dark academia if it was released in the past five years. Well, it still could, but that would be a huge marketing point for this novel if it was newer to shelves.

With it being a middle grade novel, it definitely embraced that side of things. At times it was charming and others it was annoying. Snicket definitely had his clever moments in his writing, but at times they were foreshadowed by how often he explained the meaning of a new word. This wasn’t that much of a deal to me when I read it at the appropriate age, but reading it as an adult I found it passively condescending. Ironically, so did Klaus when adults tried explaining things to him.

The interesting take this novel took was explaining tragedy, trauma and other mature topics to a younger audience. A lot of it is glossed over, but the parts that stayed were very impactful altogether. The parts that explained emotions and behaviours the children experienced, the shock factor of the abuse the Count put them through, how they care for each other. That’s what particularly drew me in – how it was never floury or joking over that aspect of the novel. It had the space to be quirky and eccentric, but knew when not to be.

I’m definitely not as into it as I was initially, but I think this series is one I’ll keep going through and rereading. Just to see what the whole story looks like.

The Bad Beginning gets a score of 3.5/5. Not a bad start for a bad start.

Yours in writing



Give ME Mercy – a review of I Am Mercy by Mandi Lynn

My plight to read more books by indie authors AND AuthorTubers continues. Historical fantasy is a genre I wanted to read more of, and this one was promising.

But do you know what’s worse than a promise being broken? When that promise comes from a book.

The Black Plague is ripping through Aida’s village. Death and hatred surround her as her near-white eyes brand her as a witch. To save her people, even when she is shunned, an actual witch promises her the power to do so – a trick. Aida is instead granted immortality and a slumber that leads has her wake up hundreds of years in the future in an unfamiliar town. Without the sense of touch to ground her to reality, she wanders the world in a pessimistic eternity.

Here’s the biggest problem with the book, and it isn’t even what’s written in it. It’s the blurb and the way it was marketed. I was promised a story about a girl becoming a witch and curing the Black Plague and I didn’t get that. I got a story about a girl becoming more or less a ghost and then coming to terms with it over the course of hundreds of years in hermitage. This is not the first time that a book blurb has fooled me, and I HATE when authors do this now. A blurb is meant to promise the readers that something will be happening, and the plague became completely irrelevant about 80 pages in. I was robbed of the story that hooked me in and that I wanted to read! That affects my opinion of it a lot in a negative way.

Now let’s move on to the actual content of the book.

The actual writing of the book was very nice, however. The writing style was very compelling and reflective, especially when considering the interesting lack of the sense of touch. That put a lot more attention on other senses that were absolutely beautiful when written out and described. It created a very visual experience. One filled with very beautiful language that draws you in and makes you keep reading.

But that thing to read was sketchy. Lynn clearly had no clue what the plot of this novel was going to be about. The main conflict felt like it changed every chapter and the book left more questions than answers – a literary sin! The premise of the black plague never being mentioned again is very obvious – but then there were characters that were never interacted with again, plot points left lose in the wind, and trajectories that were never once foreshadowed. While I recognise now that this was a prequel I didn’t read the original of prior, this is NOT how you write one.

One thing I’m always checking is how distinct characters are from each other. This was done very well. You could see it from characters who were there for a long time or just a chapter. They were each characterised very well, showed their purposes and flaunted them. Or… most of them. There wound up being a very large cast of characters towards the end that I wonder why they were given a name or introduced except to set up the original story this was a prequel of… I guess?

In summary, it once the betrayal of the focus on the Black Plague happened it was very difficult to discern was was worth remembering or not. I’m probably gonna forget about this book anyway, with pleasure.

Don’t break promises.

I Am Mercy gets a score of 2.5/5. If your novel is not about the Black Plague, then DO NOT say it is about the Black Plague. Simple.

Yours in writing



Legacy – a review of Blood and Tempest by Jon Skovron

I didn’t realise how strong of an attachment I had to the Empire of Storms series until I grew excited seeing this book come closer and closer to being next on my TBR list. Maybe it was the high that came from the end of the second book, Bane and Shadow, that made me want to read the final book in the series.

And yes, that means I’m rating the entire trilogy as a whole.

The biomancers and Vinchen are out to seek their so-called traitors threatening to bring them down; Bleak Hope, a secretly trained Vinchen and biomancer slayer seeking repent for her bloodlust, and Brigga Lin, a biomancer who broke the code and seeks vengeance on her mentors for shunning her actions. This comes as the biomancers seek to take further control over the empire, and Red has been recruited by the crown as a spy to help stop them. He must now seek to recruit Brigga Lin and his lost love Hope on his side, whom are deemed powerful allies in this fight.

The fight scenes and tensions were very well done. This was especially shown with how well Skovron writes each character’s perspectives and emphasises through each of them what is at stake. The plot also showed this perfectly as each character orchestrated their plans. Normally I find a large cast of characters weakens the plot, but this was not at all the case with Blood and Tempest. Every character’s purpose felt clear and their involvement was each significant in their own way, as unique as their personalities. As always I am a fan of Red – I may have a crush on him now – but I also love Merivale and Hope.

For this being the book in which Hope and Red finally united, there were very few scenes where they interacted together. Just the two of them, like they did in the first book. There were only two chapters where they significantly interacted, one of those being the final one. I was begging for scenes like this when they reunited, and I got none. It really bummed me out. Granted, most of the final third of the book happened within the same day, but it would have been nice to have more of that. This is personally peeving me and I’m trying not to make this bias rate the book lower because it was still good.

Furthermore, while the resolution was mostly done well – the two pivotal characters of the series were the two characters who didn’t earn their victory. They both literally just used their persuasive bargaining skills and their unique perspectives to fix the world in spite of both of them having fighting prowess. For everyone else, their work was very much merited and they struggled and used their cunning for it. Hope and Red, not so much. This is what takes down the quality of the novel the most for me. The ending always makes it a hit or miss for my opinion on the series.

And as always, fantastic worldbuilding. It was highlighted as so much about the entire world came together in its four demographics – peasant, nobility, biomancers and Vinchen. The political aspects of this novel showed those factions coming together not only for epic fights but to display the relationships and tensions between all the groups put to the test. And I think there was even a POV from a character from each faction. Having studied intercultural based papers, this was incredibly fascinating to see, especially as Hope and Red pulled these representatives together.

I think that’s what this book highlighted and why Hope and Red didn’t have an epic part, because they were the forces that brought everyone together. It was no longer about them, but the people in their lives. I really like that perspective and how it was shown in this novel. After pondering this and realising this in retrospective, I like this story a little bit more. I still wish that Hope and Red could’ve been a bit more romantic with each other though.

Blood and Tempest gets a score of 4/5. It’s no longer the story of Hope and Red, but more so their legacy.

Now it’s time for a series review!

Hope and Red – 3.5/5, though a slow start and with fight scenes glossed over, a very entertaining read.

Bane and Shadow 4/5, an entertaining array of characters and a tonne of tension.

Blood and Tempest – 4/5, an insightful way to end the book that truly shows the impact of the pivotal characters.

This series has it all – engaging characters, tension-filled plots, impeccable worldbuilding… and that’s not even touching the tropes! Dark and twisted magic meets pirates and urban environments in this series. Skovron writes a series with so much character that I look past the occasional flaws this series has, showing a core around themes of redemption, belonging and community. Much like Red I am swooned by the charm of this series, and have been given the same insights that Hope has. I think this series will stick with me for a while.

The Empire of Storms series gets a score of 4/5. This one is a keeper.

Yours in writing



Just Watch Hadestown Instead – a review of Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Riordan was my inspiration to start creative writing, almost as soon as I finished Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief when I was 10 1/2 years old. His Heroes of Olympus series still stands as one of my favourites and shares a place of pride on my bookshelf along with the Percy Jackson series.

And then I picked up this book.

In this short story collection, Percy Jackson takes the tales of famous Greek Heroes into a modern lens and recites the tales of ones as famous as Hercules or as underrated as Atalanta.

I didn’t think I’d have big issues with any of Rick Riordan’s work, especially his character voices, but I for some reason did have a problem with Percy’s voice in this one. The modern lens he put things through was framed as the reality to what happened and it broke immersion way too much. The funny quips and dialogue between characters was fine, but I loathed every time he directly put something from modern society into the plot. We know there wasn’t an ancient greek walmart, and so every time I saw that I just blinked.

But the odd thing is, I was fine and thoroughly enjoyed Percy’s voice with the origin stories of the Greek Gods. I don’t know why it doesn’t translate well here when talking about Greek Heroes. Maybe it’s the fact that each hero gets stripped of the core of their stories as they get turned into what feels like Tom and Jerry episodes, making fun of violence and tragedy.

Orpheus was a key example of this one, and his tale was also told in my favourite musical Hadestown. It wasn’t told in a traditional sense either. Instead of having his story with 21st century twists in it, it took place during the industrial revolution. The medium of the industrial setting added more to the story than I can say in Hadestown, talking about how with music and artistic expression we lose our senses of self and love.

Percy Jackson’s take just turned him into a generic husk of a D&D bard. Like not even with emotion and character like all the best bards in D&D do have – this is the kind of bard that gets memed over being a douchebag with a guitar but on a battlefield. That is not Orpheus.

Few of these heroes seemed to keep their substance or their cores with the way that Percy referred to them, or if they are it is done so as a side note. This is to the point that I believe in some cases it genuinely disrespects the core of the Greek Hero. Rarely were the hardships key to the hero’s’ journey communicated as harrowing. Except perhaps a harrowingly long journey. This was fine with the Gods and their menial issues and the power they held, but the purpose of a mortal hero is within their suffering. And it is made a joke.

In the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus novels, Riordan and his narrative voice knew when to take things seriously and when to emphasise the suffering and the comedy within the tale of these heroes. There wasn’t anything of this nature present, as if the core of Percy Jackson had gone.

So yeah, this book stripped the concept of Greek Heroes INCLUDING Percy Jackson himself. It’s only redeeming quality is the dialogue quips between characters without 21st century product placement. Those were funny.

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes gets a score of 2/5. This was just a marginally funny classical studies shitpost.

Yours in writing



Diversity & Aster’s Coda: Exposure

You may be wondering what a straight white girl has to say about diversity. Frankly, more than you’d expect. I know I have my biases based on the privileges that I hold because of that part of my identity, but I hope to use that to uplift others.

One way is through a diverse cast in Aster’s Coda: Exposure, my debut novel. Let’s see how that came to be.

I grew up in a little corner in the world called South Auckland at a crossroads between three suburbs in the region. It was a newsworthy place for housing crises, criminal cases and COVID community outbreaks – that last part mainly because it houses the New Zealand International Airport. And when my high school met with other schools, the teachers would react differently to us within seconds as soon as we said our school was based in South Auckland. They’d consider us a threat, a blemish amongst the other students attending these events. Most people would want to get out of the area, many other white kids who lived in the area were enrolled in out of zone schools because of a reputation that wasn’t ideal.

And wasn’t entirely true.

Housing crises are happening everywhere. Crime happens regardless of location or class. The rest of Auckland wasn’t exactly a utopia.

But we had something a little different. I’d be willing to be that South Auckland is one of the most diverse communities in the world.

My schooling life alone exemplifies this. White people made up less than a quarter of the population of all my schools I went to in South Auckland. I encountered far more people with roots in Asia, Polynesia and Maori culture. And each of my schools took time to embrace these various cultures and educate us about how even cultures not present at our school lived. There was a strong sense of cultural pride and later rainbow pride when I went to high school.

I didn’t connect to culture like others did in their experiences at school. My mother called it “being a minority”, but that phrasing doesn’t sit well with me. I more so had pride for what others had and the gratefulness that they could express themselves in such a way. I was fine for being “without culture” and an observer of these incredible cultures.

But few saw what I saw outside of that community. Some people feared to set foot in South Auckland while I feel like a fish out of water in a crowd of white people. And that’s all I saw in the media, just another group of white people saving the world, typically lead by a guy.

So I knew when writing Aster’s Coda – the whole series – that I’d present these cultures and people in a contemporary/fantasy setting. I’d present the people, the customs, the settings with inspirations from various cultures to create something fantastic and welcoming for everyone. I’ve got characters from all walks of life and all different societies, some which will be explored within the series.

But I do understand that it is not my place to tell the story of another culture directly. I am in a position of privilege where I haven’t experienced what others have. So while I will not tell the stories of people of colour and queer people, I can hope that my writing can at least bring characters like them into the spotlight.

Did this convince you that my story is worth reading? You can preorder Aster’s Coda: Exposure here!

Yours in writing



Betrayal, Betrayal Everywhere – A Review of The Savior’s Sister by Jenna Moreci

This one is a special one folks. Those of you who have stuck around long enough might have spotted my first review on this blog, The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci. One of my writing idols, I must say.

So yes, I was in fact close to tears when I got emailed an Advanced Reader Copy of The Savior’s Sister, the next book in the series. So first off, you might want to read its predecessor. Important stuff happens in that book that leads into this one.

This is the review of an advanced reader copy (ARC) of Jenna Moreci’s novel. I was given a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

We’ve heard Tobias’s story about him fighting in a tournament to win the heart of The Savior he never loved. Except, the real Savior of Thessen was the healer girl he had fallen for instead, Leila. Now we follow Her side of the story, fighting for Her own life in Her own home against Her own father. And the tournament She knows is what will kill Her. It’s up to her to fool the competitors, of which her assassins are among, find whom in her home she can trust, and keep her newfound love safe from the target she never meant to put on his back.

Sound familiar? Well, it is. It’s a companion novel. It happens at the same time as The Savior’s Champion, in roughly the same place, just through Leila’s perspective instead. The same coin, but a different side. Initially I thought it was going to deter my engagement in a lot of scenes, ones I had already read before but through Tobias’s perspective.

I was wrong. I never should’ve doubted Jenna.

Leila’s perspective of already mentioned scenes became very insightful as Her feelings were put into perspective before me. They never made those scenes one I could just gloss over. Her powers and what they do to Her made for a very unique perspective and a literal emotive way of talking, how She sees emotions in colours. God, that was beautiful.

What’s also interesting was the contrast between Her powers and Her personality. It definitely felt deliberate considering how She was brought up; Her hard and cold exterior shielding Her light and warmth which both offered their strengths and weaknesses. That’s one of my favourite tropes, but it was interesting to see it from a main character for once. Also I’d like to add the retorts She made to her father were probably making him want to kill Her more, and I loved that but at the same time felt scared for Her.

Politics was quite the focus for this book. Not my thing in real life, but it sure was here. A lot of it was very palace and family focal, but it was still engaging to see the corruption sweeping through the court. And even out of it. Seeing relationships established with the common folk of the palace and other realms was enlightening.

Now I need to mention my favourite character from this book. Hylas. God, there was this one scene that absolutely made me love him. I won’t say what it is, but just know something amazing is in store for him. I would personally like to protect Hylas. He’ll be safe with me.

Now a minor flaw I would like to mention. There has been action in this book for Leila almost as much as there was for Tobias. I prefer what Tobias had faced over Leila’s fights and battles. It was mainly because all the fights that She got into felt the same, just harder every time. I’ll give it credit for having her struggle, for using environments well and for setting stakes, but each time those fights didn’t have the distinguishable sparks like Tobias had faced. They did feel a tiny bit “here we go again”.

But don’t let that one little thing discern you. I’d say you should pick it up when it’s released. The Savior’s Sister comes out on September 29th 2020. You can preorder it on Amazon or through this link here. You can also enter her presale giveaway while you’re at it.

And now the verdict.

The Savior’s Sister gets a score of 4/5. Same story, fresh-as-a-peach perspective.

Yours in writing



The Tale of the Misguided Edgelord – a review of Spirit by Brigid Kemerer

Bit awkward. I’m reviewing book 3 of this series when I haven’t reviewed books 1 and 2 on this blog.

Granted I did read them before I decided this blog was going to be a thing. Don’t expect me to backlog every single book I’ve read. #sorrynotsorry

Actually most of the books backlogged would wind up being Rainbow Magic books, so I won’t apologise for that. Be relieved I won’t be reviewing the tonne of books I no longer have.

Anyway, the Elementals series! This series follows a family of four brothers, each controlling a different element. But there’s one kind of elemental not in the Merrick family; a Fifth, the spiritual elemental. One Fifth is Hunter Garrity, whom the Merricks can’t decide if he was on their side the whole time or betrayed them. We follow his story as one of his former friends, a fire elemental, threatens to burn down the town if the Guides, hunters of elementals, don’t come and cause chaos themselves. Little does Hunter know that the new girl who caught his interest has an agenda with the fires around town too.

Okay, first thing I have to say is that Hunter needs a hug. Like right now. One weary thing that can happen with characters as tragic as Hunter is that they won’t do anything about it and become very passive characters. I absolutely loathe pivotal characters who remain inactive in their sorrows for their entire lives and waste their lives away. Hunter wound up being very active and turbulent, making much of the things that happened to him very powerful. It was never a matter of his emotions in the moment for long, he would always lead on to ways to fix the problems in front of him. His emotions rarely made him passive to the problems faced in front of him. I admire that in characters like him.

Emotion was actually a huge core to Kemerer’s writing, which I find absolutely excellent. Especially in third person writing, at times emotions are glossed over. Emotion is a core to the storytelling presented. I really engaged with the story through emotions alone, how each action was presented at the base of a feeling. It became almost effortless to get into the characters minds and understand what was going on.

That being said, some moments were placed off and drew me out of the story. The strongest (or I guess weakest) example was the climax. It was a very short lived chapter, thus the emotions and the stakes felt more like ripping off a band aid instead of tearing down a wall. This was odd when compared to the depth of other scenes target felt so long, so real. Like the midpoint, very well executed. But with such a big deal as the climax being so short, it made me doubt whether the storyline being resolved was actually important or not. This was especially when the previous climaxes in the series were built up and expanded upon so much more.

Perhaps if Kemerer put more emphasis into those final scenes I would have given this book a perfect score.

Spirit gets a score of 4/5. There was passion put into the characters and the very emotive writing, if only the same could be said for the ending.

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50 Cents Payoff – A Review of The Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce

Admittedly this was a long time coming. My reading was interrupted, first by a terrible book before this I did not finish and then by an overwhelming amount of crucial assignments. Thus this next book was a much slower one to try and finish.

That’s not to say the third instalment in Tamora Pierce’s Wild Magic series was bad. Not at all.

In this book Wild Magic user Daine travels South to Carthak. There she tends to the Emperor’s animals and explores the culturally different atmosphere the realm has to offer. Meanwhile, her royal peers try to resolve conflicts the Emperor might start. Then Daine is told by the gods looking over her that she must be weary for what else is in store, more importantly their wrath.

An improvement from the last book in the series, the already introduced characters were mentioned and suitably active. Although it sounded like the events in the previous book a lot of the time were insignificant, aside from Daine learning her shapeshifting abilities. This seems to be a problem across the series, where many of the events don’t appear to correlate across books. This book had less problems occurring with that than the previous ones though, with characters from book one returning with purpose, even if it is minor.

The world building and character interactions linked together well in this book, granted it was one of those “new land” kind of storylines. I have to give props for the variation in settings used to build the world, taking on Eastern cultures to inspire the land of Carthak. There were a handful of moments where it felt like whitewashing was about to take place in the book, but the way that Daine and Kaddar handle it and discussed it as the book progressed wound up sensible, with Daine suggesting societal improvements without depriving Kaddar’s culture. The way these two altered each other’s perspectives worked really way, making me enjoy the chemistry between the two.

The plot was the strongest it has been in the series yet. It was engaging to work out the various mysteries and how they all connected, from the Graveyard Hag to the Emperor’s suspicious behaviour. The buildup was incredible and had me hooked each time, by far Pierce’s strongest plot type compared to her journey and infiltration plots in previous books.

Now comes the biggest issue, the one addressed in the title. Daine ends up in a rage over an event that happens in the climax, a very rare occasion for her. She creates an army of animals to storm the Emperor’s palace in vengeance with the intent to kill him it seems. She does a fantastic job of wrecking the palace, but then she gets to the Emperor. Does she cause any form of physical harm to the Emperor herself? Nope. Other characters do it for their own personal reasons. Then is turns out the event that Daine thought happen didn’t happen due to an illusion? And all she does is get embarrassed for her rage? No. I’m not happy with that. Nothing paid off for Daine in the end. It didn’t feel like a victory despite how obvious it was because her goal was not fulfilled.

You know what they say about an ending making or breaking a book? That applies to me.

The Emperor Mage gets a score of 3.5/5. A filling book with a bad aftertaste, so let’s just imagine that Daine actually resolved the plot herself.

Yours in writing



Captured My Heart – A Review of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

There are very few books I would describe with the phrase “I couldn’t put it down.”

Where do I begin with this book? I guess I should tell you what it’s about first.

Steelheart is the first book of the Reckoners series, which combines action, science fantasy, and dystopia together to create this alternate version of earth. Superhumans known as Epics have taken over the world, each claiming a city or region as theirs to dictate. The one ruling over New Chicago, Steelheart, has killed David’s father, and since then he has devoted his life to working out how to take this epic down. For he’s the only one who knows his weakness. David seeks out to join the Reckoners, a group of underground rebels, their mission aligned with his. They seek out Epics across USA to kill, to give the people hope. If David wants to take Steelheart down, they’ll need to join forces.

A plot and story very reminiscent of Marvel movies, if you ask me. But GOD this was so much greater than them.

First off let’s talk the main character, David. When I first read him, one thing went into my mind. There wasn’t much to him. He started off as a very everyman kind of character, a relatively blank slate. All he had to him was his goal to kill Steelheart. But as I continued to read into the story, that was the point. He was realising how cold his blood had been running. He was so geniusly written! His character arc wound up brilliant as he ultimately became more and realised there was more to the world around him. I wasn’t sure if I would like him initially, but I absolutely did by the end.

Let’s actually take a moment to talk about that world. The way it was politically built felt incredibly real, even when the world is ruled by superhumans. Every aspect of it was shown as it was relevant, barely any information felt forced. From the socio-political status of Newcago’s citizens, to revealing technology and powers, none of it was ever shoved into my face. The way it combined various aspects of fantasy, science fiction, and dystopia into the story felt seamless. I could imagine it so vividly. I guess part of that was the unique imagery of an entire city made of steel, but it had so much more character than that.

I could also imagine the action scenes so vividly. Not only was everything so clear and vivid in my mind without having to write stage directions out like a script, but the emotions and sensations felt so real too. This is what I live to create in my own fight scenes! Seeing it through David’s thoughts, emotions, and logical ways of thinking made it feel very real and personal in my eyes. Not to mention the backdrops they were placed upon felt very cinematic and thematic.

So much of this book was engaging. Honourable mentions go to the first quarter of the book and the last third. That’s not to say this book had a sagging middle, it was still very entertaining. But I read the first quarter and the last third in one sitting. Each. Now that’s what I call engaging. There are very few books that can do that to me outside of the climax alone. And there are very few books where I get close to crying. I won’t say what made me get there, I’m kind like that, but I will say well done for cracking my emotional core.

And yes, this book is now one of my all time favourites. Also I heard that there’s a freaking board game based on this book. HELL yes.

Steelheart gets a score of 5/5. A book that’s impossible to put down will forever be a winner.

Yours in writing



Lived Up To Its Name – A Review of Nowhere Fast by Kevin Waltman

Contemporary. Big hit or miss typically in my eyes. There’s either a concept I fall in love with or one that I would never touch.

Well I finally found a middle ground book.

Nowhere Fast follows Gary, a teen in a small town in the US. He finds excitement being towed by his rebellious best friend Wilson and comfort from his girlfriend Lauryn, all to distract himself from an abusive father. Gary doesn’t have a life of his own, though. All he wants is a break from his life, a chance for something new like moving out of town. But things get a little hectic when Wilson encourages him to “borrow” a suspicious man’s car overnight.

The language used in this novel was absolutely stunning. The descriptions were very vivid, very personal both inside and outside of Gary’s head. That was really the highlight of reading this book, how such simple concepts were described so divinely in such a short space of time (this book just surpassed 200 pages). I could really connect to Gary through these emotions he saw his town through.

But let’s talk about Gary for a second. I mentioned that he wasn’t his person. That’s literally all that can be said about him, even after his character arc was “complete”. Everything about him is that he’s attached to this person or does as this person says, making him an amalgamation of all the people in his life. For me that just makes him devoid of character. Just a reflective shell of himself. I was expecting him by the end of the book to become his own person, but he’s just that same shell after all he went through.

Speaking of which, this novel had the most hollow ending ever. It was a negative resolution, but that’s not bad if there’s some message that comes out of it. But I genuinely can’t find it. Gary has mildly changed, it feels like the start of his character arc if anything, his wants remain exactly the same, and he hasn’t pinpointed what was wrong in his life. The story feels pointless. Not to mention how many unanswered questions there are. I feel like something more needs to be there to establish the change that happened to Gary.

But if there’s one thing that redeems Gary it’s his relationship and the way he treats it, or at least tries to. I wouldn’t call him and Lauryn my one true pairing, but the relationship they endorsed was one of the healthier and more consent driven ones I’ve seen. Gary is an incredibly respectful boyfriend, and he is aware of making sure Lauryn is comfortable and is embarrassed when he takes a step a little too far. It’s fantastic to see a relationship like this that is also romantic, a couple that goes out instead of just sticking to themselves making out and getting heated. It was great to see that kind of rep in Young Adult fiction.

That being said, this plot didn’t know where it was going for me a lot of the time. When one direction or outcome was established, the story changed so it established something else. Gary wanted a change of pace or scenery, her never got it or realised to love his home. Wilson said he might end up moving out of town, nothing was done to stop that happening. Many things felt disjointed and unresolved as a result. This book was a stand alone and there were still so many loose ties.

Dare I say it, this book went nowhere fast.

Nowhere Fast gets a score of 2/5. You were written nice, but finish the damn story!

Yours in writing