Tuesday, 17 April 2018

REVIEW: Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda

Pages: 384
Format: ARC Paperback
Publisher: Crown Books
Topics: Mystery, Missing People
Release Date: January 16th 2018 (US)
Buy The Book: Book Depository - A Great Read

Jessa Whitworth knew she didn't belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb's room. But she couldn't deny that she was everywhere: in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the butterfly necklace in his jeans pocket . . . the one she gave him for safe keeping on that day.

His mother asked her to pack up his things, even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.

But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb's life, they trigger memories that make Jessa realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered. And she starts to question whether she really knew Caleb at all.

Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb's accident. What really happened on the storm-swept bridge?

Well, this was quite a rollercoaster of a story. With it's twists and turns leading me all over the place, I was never sure exactly which direction it was going to take, leaving me constantly growing suspicious and pointing fingers at almost every character.

Fragments of the Lost takes place after the disappearance of Caleb Evers, and follows his ex-girlfriend Jessa as she clears his room away for his family as they prepare to move. A lot of the story is set within Caleb's bedroom and told through memories that the two of them shared. But the more things Jessa discovers in his room, the more she starts analysing the parts of Caleb's life that she was allowed to see.

I'll be completely honest, at first I thought this book was going to be my cup of tea. Whilst I do love a good thriller, I don't read them too often, and this one didn't manage to draw me in straight away considering it was mostly Jessa's memories of their relationship for the first quarter of the book. But the more Jessa tore apart Caleb's room, the more hooked I became. Instead of getting answers, we're given more mysteries, and Jessa starts to realise that she only got to see a small part of Caleb's complex life.

Jessa was a character who I didn't feel too connected to at the start of the story, but I grew to like her more and more. She was just a normal girl who happened to get swept up into a very complicated world. I enjoyed seeing her interactions with those around her change as the story progressed.

There wasn't one character who I wasn't suspicious of at some point or another. In fact, for quite a big chunk of the story, I was absolutely convinced that a minor character had something to do with Caleb's disappearance, when it turned out they were actually just a perfectly innocent minor character. I really thought I was cleverly on to something, but I couldn't have been more further from the truth!

Whilst the overall story isn't scary, there were certain scenes in this that left me chilled. Especially as Jessa investigated parts of Caleb's past. There were moments when I really didn't know who to trust, so I had no idea whether any of the characters were potentially going to bring harm to Jessa, and it definitely had me on edge! That feeling of unease was what kept me turning the pages of this book, and it made for a brilliantly atmospheric read. 

Royal Rating:

Monday, 2 April 2018

EVENT RECAP: An Afternoon With Holly Black

Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past few months, you'll probably have noticed a lot of people discussing Holly Black's latest novel, The Cruel Prince. I've been desperate, and I mean desperate, to get my hands on a copy, but my very broke self hasn't been able to purchase any new books lately. So when I saw that the wonderful Waterstones in Liverpool was hosting a competition for a free ticket to Holly's event, including a copy of the book, I hit that retweet button so fast. For once, luck was actually on my side and I WON.


Literally two hours before the event, I found out on Twitter that I was one of the two winners, so I had an hour to throw some clothes on and make myself look presentable because I WAS ABOUT TO MEET HOLLY BLACK. Somehow I still managed to get to the store super early, and bagged myself a seat at the very front. I always try to arrive early to get front row at these things because my short self would spend the whole time craning to see over not-short people the whole time otherwise.

On my way in, I was given this absolutely gorgeous goodie back containing a copy of the book (!!!!!!!!!) and some very exciting swag, which I had a nosey at whilst waiting for the talk to start. 

The goodie bag from the event!
Look at this beautiful character art!
Black heart lollipops. I'm always down for free food.
An adorable bookmark and a candle? This goodie bag is definitely for me. Also: HELLO SEQUEL TEASER.
A super cute fairyloot badge!
Holly kicked off the event in dramatic style with a reading of the prologue from The Cruel Prince. After that, she did a short interview with the host of the afternoon, the wonderful Simon from Savidge Reads, talking about all things Faerie. He questioned her about the story revolving around Jude instead of Vivi, whom the prologue seems to focus on more. Holly told us that whilst Vivi seemed to tick all of the right boxes for a classic YA protagonist, in her mind the story had always been about Jude. She wanted to tell a story about a human growing up in an 'other' world, like a reverse-changeling story.

After the initial interview, the event was handed over to the audience to ask questions. When quizzed about writing a series, Holly's advice was to be careful not to close too many doors too early on in the story because they might be needed further down the line. She was also asked about how she knew a book would end when there is a sequel, and she confessed that The Cruel Prince had originally supposed to finish at another part.

One of the final questions of the night was about where she got her folklore when planning her stories set in Faerie. She told us that she read books that contained write-ups of people's encounters with faeries. Whether they're real or not, they contain some fascinating information!

Once the questions were all finished, we were allowed to queue up for the book signing. There was originally someone in front of me in the line, but they left to go and get something, and before I knew it, I was at Holly's table! Not expecting to be first up, I definitely had one of those good old Moments of Panic where I forgot every word that ever existed. My anxious self likes to go over what I'm saying approximately one million times in my head beforehand, so I felt exceptionally Unprepared. Luckily I composed myself enough to tell her that I was super excited to read the book and that I'd seen my fellow bloggers give it so much praise.


And that was my tale from a very unexpected book signing! This was actually the first book event I'd been to in almost two years, since my anxiety prevented me from going to the last signing that I planned to attend. I'm proud that I managed to make it this time and only mildly freaked out. I need to say a huge thank you to the team at Waterstones Liverpool for the fantastic opportunity, and to Holly for a wonderful afternoon. I'm beyond excited to finally read The Cruel Prince!

 
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