Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings: Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

I won this title in a giveaway from Penguin Teen Australia, thank you so much Penguin Teen, I am still shocked that I actually won something!

As always with my review and ramblings posts, here is your disclaimer that this post does contain spoilers. If you haven’t read this book and you don’t want to have it spoiled, my spoiler free review is up on GoodReads and can be found HERE!

Okay, lets get to it!

39024318.jpg

 

Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes

Published January 3rd 2019 by Penguin Random House Children’s UK

Book Depository

GoodReads

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly, the language used in this book is throwing me off a little bit. It is very… I’m trying to write this without offending anyone, how movies tend to show hillbillies? I don’t know how else to describe it.

I love how we are just thrown into the story, no lead up, just bam, straight into Ele and her Others. I’d love to know how old Ele is, she seems quite young, maybe 10? And what in the world are these Others? With their pointy fingers that are great for picking locks!?

Ele continually makes sure the reader knows that she isn’t an ‘Other’, that she came from the outside, which makes me think that she was kidnapped? Along with Zeb? Was Zeb her brother? All I know about Zeb so far, is that he died and I am assuming it was from a gun shot because we have just learned that his brain exploded all over a wall. Wow, graphic!

I’m back to a point about the language, it is making it hard to read as quickly as the pace is encouraging me to do, I am often finding myself having to go back and re-read pages to fully understand what has happened. I am slowly getting used to the style, but it is a little off-putting. I love how fast the pace is, it really keeps the pages turning, throwing you deeper into this creepy tale!

Well, she finally made it outside. The others must have killed Him for her to be able to escape, but I still am dying to know who the Others are? Did ‘He’ kidnap them too? I have so many questions that need answers to make this book make more sense. I am still struggling with the language style, but I am keen to read on and see how Ele goes now that she is outside. I am a little worried because we are only 60ish pages into a 270 page book, so this can’t be the peak. What else is going to happen to this poor messed up girl.

I have also learned that maybe Zeb isn’t dead. I previously thought that he was shot in the head, but now I’ve learned that he was carried out of the room? Maybe he meant more to ‘Him’ than the others. Maybe Zeb and Ele are his own children!? Who knows!

So, Ele escaped… But what gets me is that the family she runs into, takes her in, and asks no questions. Willow has an incredibly interesting relationship with his father. He is upset because Ezra (his father) is growing a relationship with Ele, a relationship that he wishes he has with his father. I am wondering how much longer Ele will stay with Ezra and Willow, will they let her stay? Will they talk to the police and try to work out where she came from? Will the Others and the ‘him’ be saved or prosecuted? I want to know! But I am at page 190 and I don’t know how this is going to wrap up?

I am still confused about this book. Yes it is emotional and moving to see a young girl have no idea about the world because she has been held captive for as long as she can remember. It is confronting and shocking, but nothing else has happened, we saw the ‘inside’ now Ele is outside with a family, and they have taught her so much about what life is like. But what now? There is barely 80 pages left, so I am a little worried that this nothing-ness will continue through the rest of the book…

Sooo somehow Ezra (the dad) knew exactly where Ele came from, and that alone is shining some horrors on this book. It turns out Ele is the daughter of someone called Colt. Colt is the ‘him’ that Ele is scared of. The ‘him’ that took off his clothes and layed on top of her and made her hurt. The ‘him’ that has her locked up with the ‘others’. It actually is making me scared to think that perhaps the ‘others’ are his children as well? If he is willing to sexually abuse one daughter, why not others. But why does he have them all locked up? Another thought I had, was maybe these ‘others’ aren’t live people at all, Ele describes them as having pot bellies and no lips, that they sleep in a pile, what if they are pigs or some other animal like that? I am almost too scared to read on to find out.

This book is finally going somewhere, I have 25 pages to go and I am trying to prepare myself to find out the truth about Ele. The writing style is unique and free-flowing and making the chapters shorter makes this book much easier to read, as I am struggling with the language a little (I now know that it is set in Scotland). It is so different to anything I have read recently, it is refreshing, but also terrifying. It gives me hope to see kind people like Willow and Ezra, kind people whojust want to help. Even if they did seem a little naïve to trust blindly and take her in, but it is wonderful to see that people still want to help those who are less fortunate.

The spam breakfast scene though! Poor Ele, she just wants to apologise and to make things up to them for getting angry and running away!

Oh wow, poor Ele, there were no others, there was only her and her brother. Her father, Brian Colt murdered their mother and then locked the twins up in the stables. What a horrific tale. But how brave and strong was Ele, to keep on, to manifest the ‘others’ in a way to keep her sane.

 

I found this book to be something so completely different from what I have read before. I struggled with the language style, the cadence of it also, but the writing style was fantastic, keeping me on track and keeping the pages turning. I also loved the shorter chapters. They were just long enough to give you what you wanted, but short enough to not overwhelm you.

Being overwhelmed happens easily within this book. You can tell from the first few pages that something isn’t quite right and your mind just keeps spinning to work out what it is.

I also found that this book didn’t really take off until the last fourty pages. Once Ele escaped from the Inside, nothing really happened until the final few chapters. It felt empty and hollow. But Maybe that was the point, to show us how differently Ele would see the world.

This book is well written and engaging, it does take a little while for anything of interest to start, and is incredibly strange, until you get used to the theme and the language use. I did enjoy it and I am so grateful for the chance to have won it!

This book was hard for me to give a star rating to, all the way through I was feeling a solid 3 stars and at the end, I wanted to give it more. But for me, the whole thing felt a little underwhelming, as I mentioned above, I did enjoy it and I will recommend it, but it isn’t a style of novel that I would usually go for, and I had to really work on reading it, when the language style got a but much for me.

 

As always, thanks for reading!

 

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

Reviews & Ramblings

Review & Ramblings. WildCard by Marie Lu

Okay before I start, as always with my review and ramblings posts, this will be riddled with spoilers so if you haven’t read Warcross or Wildcard, look away, get out before everything is ruined!

29386918

Wildcard – Marie Lu

Published September 18th 2018 by Penguin Teen

My GoodReads review is HERE for any of you who want to read a condensed version of this post, or if you want a spoiler free review!

Also please note, there is some mild coarse language in this review.

 

To be completely honest with you, I hardly remembered what happened in Warcross… other than it was awesome… So here I am, starting WildCard and woah is it amazing.

I forgot how much of a bad-arse Emika is, but I think in this book, we see her a little more lonely and isolated, she still has her friends from the Phoenix Riders, but to save the world she has to hurt the one person she cares more about than life itself, only she doesn’t realise that her feelings run that deep. Emika is definitely being put between a rock and a hard place in this book, stuck between doing the right thing and breaking her heart. Stuck between two brothers who are chalk and cheese, one who is doing this for his baby brother, and the other who doesn’t remember his big brother enough to recognise the blood-tie and wants to kill him to make the world a safer place. What a horrible place to have to be, in-between Tanaka’s.

I also love the way that Marie Lu has incorporated the real world into her books and encompassed so well, the Japanese style, cities and way of life. Of course there are some fictional liberties, but I like that if you wanted to, you could go to some of the places mentioned in the book – Even if they looked nothing like the fictional ones… But hey it is still cool!

Marie Lu has done some super incredible world-building in this book. The time it must have taken to plan out the technologies alone would be immense. You go girl! The technology in this series is crazy advanced, but at the same time, how amazing would it be to see the world that way? To have a friend say, I’m here, follow the gold trail to find me, to be able to see your friends in a holographic way while calling them. Of course it has it’s downsides as well, being scored and ranked on every activity you partake in, being controlled remotely by Hideo Tanaka….

YES! Finally some Emika/Hideo time! Yaaas I love them, they complement each other so perfectly!

Also I am loving this Emika/Jax friendship, an honest to heck girl friendship is what Emika is missing, yes she has friends within the Phoenix Rider’s, but Jax has been through some shit, just like Emika has, like Emika and Hideo, Emika and Jax complement each other. Jax has spent her life being manipulated into protecting a woman who is un-ethical, cruel and will do anything in her power to get what she wants. Emika has spent her life running from a childhood that she would do anything to forget and hunting criminals for money to get by. These two crave what the other can give, Emika can give Jax a life without manipulation, one without the constant need for her to kill. Jax can give Emika stability a feeling of protection and a friend who knows what it is like to live a secret life.

Can we all say plot twist? What the actual heck!? What do you mean he died years ago and his mind has been replicated and turned into an AI capable of influencing a suit made of steel!? Can anyone else see what is wrong with this picture! Oh what about poor Hideo!? His whole life work has been for nothing! My heart is literally breaking for him!  What else could possibly happen to this man!

Holy shit. I spoke (well typed) too soon… What the hell is going on! Zero, as well as being the manifested mind of Hideo’s dead brother is also the mastermind behind all of Taylors evil-doings!? I can’t…. He literally manipulated Emika into convincing Hideo to save what little humanity Zero or Sasuke had left, then manipulated Hideo into killing Taylor and then he comes out on top with all of the power, control of the algorithm and control of Hideo and Emika. Shit is getting hectic, and there is under 90 pages left to go.. I’m almost too scared to keep reading.

The last 90 pages sort of blurred together, the pace was incredible, but some of the content, left me feeling a little unsure, like it was rushed and that what happened to the Neurolink wasn’t totally needed. I get that without its destruction and the conversion of Zero into the evil mastermind, then Emika could never redeem herself or find any direction for her future life. Nor could she begin her life with Hideo and start to help him rebuild his business. But it seemed a little fake almost?

All in all, I really enjoyed this book, not as much as Warcross, but I think that is because when you start a new book, the world building is so surreal and amazing, that in the sequel, it isn’t as awe-inspiring. Fantastic writing as always from Lu, great characters, I still love Emika and Hideo. Both of their characters are so multi-faceted, I still feel as though there is more to know about Hideo though… I would love more from his point of view, maybe another book that goes over the time of Warcross and WildCard, that over laps but shows us everything from Hideo’s point of view! I would be down for that!

I am a little disappointed that I didn’t love this as much as Warcross, but I find that happens with most sequels, all the marvel of the world building and technology we learn about in the first book, doesn’t seem as fancy and amazing in the second because we come to expect it.

A great read, definitely a set of characters I would like to see more of.

Have you read WarCross or WildCard? What are your thoughts?

 

Thanks

Julie