Some interesting titles this week, as I try to read a few ARCs to compensate for the stuff I just received, and now I’m back to 80% rating! Success.
Hide by Kiersten White
Pub Date 24 May 2022
Hide is Kersten White’s adult debut and I was ecstactic to receive this ARC! I loved And I Darken, but ended up not finishing the series because I was in the process of falling out of love with YA at the time, so this horror/thriller was way up in my list of most anticipated reads for 2022. And it didn’t disappoint!
This new(ish) wave of social horror works really well for me, and Hide is no exception. It has the very cool setting of an abandoned amusement park, and it’s about fourteen people competing for a prize on a potential reality show. I really liked how we got insight into every cahracter and, although with such a huge cast it’s impossible to really get into each one very deeply, I never felt like they were treated superficially, not even the first ones to leave the contest. It feels to me that White’s writing has matured a lot since the last book I read from her, and not only because she’s writing adult fiction.
This made me stay up way too late, not only to finish the book but because it terrified me SO much, which does not happen often with books at all. I had a great time reading this and hope she will continue to write horror and thrillers!
The Club by Ellery Lloyd
Pub Date 31 Mar 2022
I am not really sure what to say about this book – it was an entertaining read but after finishing it a couple days ago, it didn’t quite leave much of an impression. I had a bit of trouble telling the three narrators apart, and something about the storytelling didn’t quite work for me. I had fun reading this – the intrigue, the over-the-top drama, trying to guess who got murdered. It just didn’t quite hit the notes I was hoping for, the celebrity gossip didn’t feel juicy, just, predictable and dark and awful. There was no one I really rooted for. In any case, if you’re looking for a fun thriller about celebrities, exclusive clubs and dark secrets, I do recommend it! It just didn’t blow my mind but it might work better for other readers.
Devotion by Hannah Kent
Pub Date 3 Feb 2022
Devotion is a beautiful, lyrical love story between Hanne, a Prussian girl who has a wild spirit in odds with her small, religious community, and Thea, a newcomer to the community. It is set in 1830s and starts off in Prussia, where Hanne and Thea’s village members live as old Lutherans but are unable to worship openly, and so they set off to Australia in search of a new, free life.
Hannah Kent’s gorgeous writing style is both haunting and evocative – sometimes bordering on too much, in my opinion. The sentences are so lovely and so carefully crafted they can make you cry (“If the earth one day burns out its charge, you will find me in the ash. If the sea dries, find me in its sand.”). This is a slow, quiet book, more love story than adventure or social commentary of the colonization of Australia. If you love sad, romantic stories (and don’t mind a supernatural touch) this is the book for you.
That being said, there was something about this that felt a bit lacking, which is why I’m giving it 4 stars. The gorgeousness of the writing can’t really make up for the slightly superficial look into immigration, colonization. I was also found a bit uninspired the “wild child in a historical setting” trope. Things moved so slowly that I was bored a few times and occasionally missed a few minutes of narration when my mind wandered. I don’t think doing something political was the objective with this novel, and it did what it set out to do, which is telling a story of love and devotion. I highly recommend this for fans of The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone.