Tag Archives: Sian Thomas

Review Devine Intervention Martha Brockenbrough by Sian Thomas

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There are a number of ways to describe Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough. I think odd is good, and hilarious, and different! Different is a great one. It’s not every day your female protagonist becomes a dog, which is, I suppose, the simplest (and best) way to explain the situation.

It’s wonderfully intertwined (and thinking about it, The Game Of Love And Death by the same author was also wonderfully intertwined. Maybe it’s a theme? Either way, it’s something I adore). The writing is fun, deep, relatable, meaningful. The writing alone is an abundance of amazing things.

The story was a thrill to experience, while also dually being funny and even a little sad (maybe bittersweet, too, is a good word to describe it). Towards the end of the book (spoilers!) we see our first main character, Jerome, be reborn after his trials and tribulations of protecting our other main character, Heidi (the girl who kind of turned into a dog). I’ve always loved the idea of reincarnation/being reborn as a story idea, and this played perfectly into my open, excited hands.

This is, hands down, a great book, with a riveting story, fantastic characters, and amazing jokes. I loved every line.

Review The Game Of Love And Death, Martha Brockenbrough by Sian Thomas

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Upon reading The Game Of Love And Death by Martha Brockenbrough,  I dare say I’ve found my new favourite book! My previous one had been The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, which still holds a very special place in my heart, however I was barely ten chapters into The Game Of Love And Death when I realised I loved it just as much, and very, very possibly, more.
It is a story in which Love and Death, personified as people (who can also transform into other disguises and animals) choose two people for their “game”. It is somewhat reminiscent of The Book Of Life, however is much more intriguing. It begins in 1920, and takes place properly throughout 1937. Death, back in 1920, chose Flora as their player, while Love chose Henry as their player. The game is that Flora and Henry have to fall in love before a certain date (July 7th). They must “have courage and choose each other above all else”, and if they do that, Love’s prize is that they can live on, while Death’s is that they will claim the life of their player.
I have never read a book before where the characters have been filled with so much emotion and charm that I had to stop and take a breather. I have never quite experienced how passionate and loving a person could get like I have reading this book. The way a character would babble and sputter, or just think. I have never felt my heart swell through the written word like I have reading this book.
Henry, seeing as he was chosen by Love, is a character filled to the very brim with passion and appreciation and love. I have never seen anything even remotely akin to it before. He is poetic in a way that I find hard to describe, but it is such a beautiful and ethereal way that I wouldn’t want to tarnish it by trying. The way he moves, and talks, and even thinks is just so perfectly flowing to me, and it all falls right into place, comfortable and sound. As a person who is big on reading, and writing, and imagining, I have never ever come across a character quite like this in anything before. Flora, because she was chosen by Death, is much more realistic and grounded, but this also comes from dealing with many social issues around the time. She has a much more guarded heart, but it is filled with just as much passion as Henry’s. While Henry loves music, Flora loves fixing planes and flying them. They are hardly similar, but you, as I certainly did, still wholeheartedly vouch for them.
Since it is set in 1937 in Seattle, there are a lot of historical references and racial tension, which definitely plays into the importance of The Game, and the story as a whole. Flora is a person of colour, while Henry is white. The odds, in terms of this fact, seem to be against them if they are to win for Love. But who can say what the outcome is? Their different skin colours at the time period prove quite the challenge to overcome, and it is hard to watch them go through it. It is hard to see two characters you love so dearly be so harshly separated by something that shouldn’t be an obstacle at all.
The story is intense, and there is always something happening. It’s the kind of story you wish you could reach into and move the characters around so everything will end happily. The story draws you in from the very, very first word until the last, and it is exceedingly difficult to tear yourself away from the pages. There is so much to feel as you read it, so much worry and exhilaration, so much love and hope. It’s a miracle my own heart didn’t beat right out of my chest as I read it.
The writing is stunning. It’s beautiful, poetic, and portrays such clear, vivid images in the reader’s mind, so they feel like they are right there as part of the story. I always prefer finding writing that is nice, and makes me feel something in my gut, and I found just that in this book. I really love, among all the books out there, when I find one with the perfect style of writing that makes me wish I could do something as amazing as that. I am drawn to pretty words and intricate stories, and upon finding one, I know I’ll never really let it go, and this is how I feel about The Game Of Love And Death. With all the literature out there, I feel so fortunate to have found a book like this, and I don’t think it will be an action I will ever be able to repeat.
I am rather melancholic over the whole story. With the racism and the pressing view that someday, good things come to an end, living things will die, things will go wrong – Someday, someday, someday – it feels heavy, and sorrowful, but there is always another side to the coin, a shinier side, one that feels much more joyful. Love exists because death exists, and you shouldn’t be afraid of someday. If you constantly worry over the end, you’ll never experience the middle, and what happiness the middle could bring you. You shouldn’t be afraid to love.
I would recommend this book to anyone. It is such a thrilling read, and such a heartfelt one, that I’m sure anyone would enjoy it. It was the most beautiful book I have ever read, and it will linger in the back of my mind for a very long time.
 

Review Unspeakable, Abbie Rushton by Sian Thomas

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I recently read a book called Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton. The book was wonderful and compelling, and quickly entrances the reader in its words.
The biggest thing I noted about the book was the fact that it involved LGBT(+) characters, and LGBT(+) struggles. Living in an age where more and more people are becoming more and more tired of the basic “boy meets girl, girl meets boy, they fall in love,” kind of plot, it is always refreshing to find an author who writes LGBT(+) characters, as they do need a lot more representation in anything, really. Media, books, movies, TV shows, and so on. Seeing the LGBT(+) struggles in the book would be wonderfully relatable for LGBT(+) people, who would be thankful to see that they aren’t alone, even if they need to connect with book characters to see so, but that’s fine, too. It’s probably harder to find LGBT(+) books than a , heteronormative one, so I am very glad that this book was written. The two LGBT(+) characters are the main character/s Megan and Jasmine.
The writing is exquisite, and flows very well sentence to sentence, paragraph to paragraph, and chapter to chapter. Since the book is in the point of view of a sixteen year old girl, the writing really shows the character through it, which made it much easier to conform with, in my opinion, since I am also a sixteen year old girl, but I think many other teenagers (or even young adults) would agree. The writing is simple, and good. Relatable, and beautiful.
Throughout the book, there is usually lines of bold text, which is in a different font, and serves the purpose of our main character’s (Megan) darker thoughts. However, I saw the “darker thoughts” a bit deeper. I thought, that perhaps, the resembled something akin to anxiety or depression. People with anxiety or depression usually have thoughts like those I have seen sprinkled throughout the story. So to top it off, not only was there LGBT(+) representation, but also representation for those who may suffer from mentally illness, too. It does not end sourly, Megan gets her happy ending, so I believe this could show the simple message of: Everything gets better. Because it does. It does get better.
The characters are varied, and complex, and mysterious. Our main character, Megan, can’t speak. She is mute. After an incident us readers know very little about as it is hinted at more and more as the story progresses, we start to understand with every passing page why Megan is the way she is. I, especially, became particularly attached to Megan. She is a very lovable character with a past that you wish you could fix for her. You hope that her problems get resolved, and that she is okay. Her life seems to be filled with more downs than ups, and you see how those events take their toll on her and her well-being. She has a secret involving the “incident”, not the best of family situations, and not the greatest school situations, either. You hope beyond hope that she is okay.
Another character, Jasmine, is a mysterious girl who moved to Megan’s small town, and once again, us readers are left in the dark as to why, only being able to latch on to the hints given and speculate beyond what we really see. She is very bubbly and talkative, and easily befriends Megan, who is very much the opposite of her, but they get along very well. Her and Megan’s dynamic is lovely, and surprising. She moved from Cyprus, and loves to tell wonderful stories about the place, and loves to tell Megan just how beautiful it is there.
Another character I really liked was a character named Luke. Luke knows Megan’s secret involving the “incident”, but they are still friends against the rest of the world. He has a dreary family situation, but is still able to smile. However, he is complicated, with emotions that the readers can’t really, well, read. He seems to change suddenly, laugh it off and apologise, and go back to how he was. He has a big secret of his own, and his entire character is wonderfully mystifying, crucial, and massively remarkable.
Another character I really like was a minor character called Callum who we only ever saw as our main characters were waiting for the school bus. We only ever saw him getting bullied for his sexuality, that as far as I have seen was not confirmed. We see Megan (who also got bullied a few times in the story) sometimes giving him small bouts of reassurance, which I really took a shine to. I, while feeling bad for him because he was bullied, really enjoyed the mutual reassurance from both Megan and himself as a dynamic.
Megan’s home life was also an interesting one. Her mother had her when she was about sixteen, and there is little to no mention of the father. However, grandparents were around, which made things all the better, until they passed away. As a new mother, Megan’s mum often got things wrong. She would say the wrong things at the wrong time, or do something wrong at the wrong place, or just generally mess things up. It was difficult to see the relationship be strained by easy mistakes, and I’m sure it was something both parents and teenagers could understand.As a mother with a mute daughter, obviously life is stressful. It shows how stressful communication between a mother and a daughter is, and whether one is mute or not, it envisions the struggle as very real, and very true. Many readers like myself would understand the struggle very personally.
The plot execution was grand. With suspense to match the scene in such a perfect way, as if they were holding hands. The characters thought process is perfect to your own, leading you down the perfect path of the plot.
The plot twist is otherworldly. I was shocked, and couldn’t stop reading until I had finished the book. (At 1am, no less!) It was beautifully executed in a way that turned all the facts I was sure I had known completely on their heads, leaving me to read, and read, and read, until I was sure again. It was wonderfully suspenseful, brilliantly climatic, and amazingly addicting.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is into romance, and mystery, and suspense. I believe it would be a wonderful read to many teenagers and young adults, too. It’s a brilliant book with a brilliant story, fantastic characters and lovely writing.
Unspeakable has been nominated in the Edinburgh International Book Festival, First Book Award, which  celebrates the wealth of new writing included in the Edinburgh Book Festival programme. You can vote for your favourite at the link below
https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/first-book-award