Review | Retellings: Lore Olympus

I can’t believe that the one story that gave me a total “book” hangover ended up being… a webcomic. 

Listen. I’m not a comic person AT ALL. Graphic novels are NOT my genre (though I love art.. go figure). 

Secondly, retellings are always 50/50 to me. Either they’re a hit or a miss. 

So to read a retelling of one of my favorite myths in graphic novel form and have it done so well is amazing. But to make a “non comic/graphic novel reader” become in love with it is talent, skill, and genius. 

I caved in after hearing about Lore Olympus all over the book community and being recommended to read it multiple times. And it did not disappoint.

Description Summary | A refreshing retelling of the notorious myth. Think the dysfunctional plot twists of Umbrella Academy mixed in with the highschool drama of Bratz.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Summary | Skip to Review

Told in multiple POVs, the highly original webcomic follows the Goddess of Spring Persephone and the King of the Underworld Hades as they navigate the tricky feelings of love in order to realize their destiny of being together. 

A chance encounter at a glitzy ballroom party in Olympus leads to an unusual meeting between the two. And from that night Persephone and Hades seem to always gravitate towards each other. Unfortunately like most love stories…it’s not that easy.

Persephone has a duty to become an active member in TGOEM (The Goddesses of Eternal Maidenhood); meaning a vow of celibacy forever… She’s torn between being loyal to her mother Demeter while also combating her ever growing feelings to Hades. Not to mention the Goddess herself has secrets; secrets that are deadly and secrets that are haunting. 

Hades is the third of his brothers who are notorious for their numerous affairs. And being a King might be great but being a King of the Underworld means that you are lonely because either people fear you, misunderstand you, or think you’re a mess (usually all of the above). So he’s not exactly a “catch”. Stuck in an on again off again relationship, Hades is struggling to find the love and peace he thinks he doesn’t deserve. But then Persephone enters his life and he’s forced to rethink everything.

Review
Review

I had so much fun reading this, and each chapter ended in such a cliffhanger you were begging to know what happens next. It captures the suspense of watching a tv show and clicking that “next episode” button straight away because you just couldn’t wait. I think the story started out fine but then as Persephone gets dragged into more plot lines you are swept up into a journey of deep laughs,contented sighs, blurry tears, intense anger, and victory dancing. I loved how we got side plots of other retellings in the comic, and it wasn’t just Persephone and Hades. Personally I like the retellings where Hades is more humane and actually makes those sacrifices out of love to Persephone.

Story

The author kept the main plot relatively close to the myth but how Smythe added serious topics of domestic abuse, sexual abuse, rape, and toxic relationships was seriously so well done. She managed to include relevant issues today within a retelling but still make it feel so “real”. I thought how she wrote about the trauma that a victim of sexual abuse faces is incredibly realistic and just so well done. You can tell that Smythe was careful and conscious when writing about it.

Art / Graphics

Seeing your characters visually is an element I had to get used to, and my comic obsessed sister had to point out delicate details of line drawings that I would have just skipped over but when reading a graphic novel made a lot of difference. I have yet another layer of appreciation towards artists and illustrators.

Speaking of artists…the art is gorgeous and highly unique. What’s even more beautiful is seeing the creator’s skill in artistry and writing grow and get better and better. The colors and drawings reflected the characters and settings greatly. Harsh lines and darker hues for the Underworld, and softer rounded lines for the green fields of the surface.

Characters

The characters were such a joy to read and get to know! (well most of them…) It was even a greater treat to see how another would envision these entities whom I knew for many years! (Percy Jackson fans anyone?)

Hades

It’s official folks, I need a Hades in my life. Love how he wasn’t your typical “scary bad guy”; I never got that menacing feeling that you usually associate him with. His dialogue was mainly internalized so what we saw is someone who believed himself to be a monster rather than someone who actually is one. I love the unraveling of his personality and backstory from chapter to chapter. There’s a line that stood out to me:  when he said “I want to feel loved and safe everyday….not sometimes”. That line broke my heart to pieces.

Persephone

One of the characters that truly grew in persona but never changed in an ideal sense. Despite the horrible things she’s been through, Perse chooses to be kind and optimistic. Keyword: chooses. Honestly one the most wholesome characters I’ve ever read and her and Hades are perfect *sigh*

Eros

Easily my favorite side character and I just had to write about him. If you want a definition or a criteria for a friend, just refer to Eros. How he became the support system for the abuse victim (don’t want to spoil anything) is a terrific representation of how to be there for the victim correctly. Also he has a wicked sense of style, applies makeup perfectly, and knows how to cook!

I could honestly go on and on about the characters but I just wrote about honorable mentions instead 🙂 

Do I recommend? Yes 100%

Where to read? Webtoon


My next Music for Books post will feature Persephone and I can’t wait for you guys to enjoy the latest mixtape!

What do you think? Have you ever read Lore Olympus? Have any other Webtoons you recommend!?

Top Ten Tuesday | 10 Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

Hello my lovelies, hopefully Monday didn’t treat you too badly. In other news, I’m finally pushing myself to learn how to drive! Super nervous yet super excited!

Today’s post is actually my first Top Ten Tuesday post, I’ve seen these around the bookish community and it looked like a really fun idea! For those like me new to TTT, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book tags/lists that follow a certain theme; it’s curated by theartsyreader so I’ll link up this post to her page if you want to know more or participate.

I wanted to give these posts a go and see how it works out. It may/may not be a permanent thing or I could do some sort of spin off on it 😍

Since I’ve only had my Goodreads a little over a year and my blog is not even a month old, listing books I’ve loved and never reviewed is an easy top list.


Top 10 Books I Loved but Never Reviewed

Last Chance by Sarah Dessen

This is my go to if I needed something light and positive to sink my mind into. My confidence was not an all time high during Middle School so having an MC who had similar struggles to me have a happy ending made me cling to this book immensely. It’s just fun, warm, and ultimately a happy book.

TW : Eating disorders, bullying, fatphobia

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Childhood and a favorite read of mine. If I had to choose one book so I could stick with the post “rules” it would be Prisoner of Azkaban. It was intense, dramatic, a bit darker, and HELLO!? SIRIUS BLACK!

TW: Violence, death, loss of a loved one (family)

Revenge by the Living Dummy (Horrorland Series) by R.L. Stine

Again this is a series but Horrorland is my first ever series that I’ve completed. And I was 10 ten years old when I first got introduced to R.L. Stine and his books. Thus a never-ending love of reading began. If you have or know a child who has a taste for the creepy and horror then R.L. Stine is probably the best in this genre!

Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

A muslim read written by a muslim author! As someone who wears the hijab this book is the first representation of a muslim hijabi that I’ve read. And to see someone on an international book cover with the same headscarf as me really made me delighted!

TW: Islamophobia

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

 I LIVED for this book, you don’t know how many homework essays I’ve spent creating an allegory to life through The Hunger Games 😂. Team Peeta all the wayyyyyyyyyy.

TW: Death, violence, murder, torture, PTSD, depression

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

 I never read a YA book with a schizophrenic MC before this book. It’s fantastic that Zappia utilizes her craft to normalize mental health in mainstream books. I loved how the book did not refrain from showcasing the good and the ugly of schizophrenia.

TW: Mental health issues and anxiety

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

  It’s been awhile since I read this and though I can’t remember the plot lines clearly what I do remember is that this book unhinged me. This is perfect if you’re looking for that romantic angst YA romance that’s messy yet beautiful.

TW: Rape, physical assault

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

  Okay stop judging me… Listen, it gets me in the feels and I never fail to cry when I get to THAT chapter and I’m hooked till the last page.

TW: Cancer, depression, loss of a loved one, terminal illness

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

  Heartwarming, and you really feel and root for the MC. Again we don’t see similar MCs on the forefront of the publishing industry so it’s wonderful for the book to get all the hype and I’m so happy they made it into a movie. (The movie is good btw and Julia Roberts is in it).

TW: Ableism, bullying

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

  Just thinking about this book makes me want to ugly cry. You get a love story and a funeral…that’s all I’m going to say.

TW: Self harm, suicide


Hope you enjoyed the selection of books!

If you wrote a TTT link up your post below, I would love to check them out!

Review ARC | Alone Together: Love, Grief, and Comfort in the Time of COVID-19

I would like to thank Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions shared are my own personal thoughts

My first accepted request by Netgalley! Woohoo! So happy to have this opportunity and hopefully I’ll be able to snag more awesome ARCs and present them to you guys.

I love the idea and concept behind this book, and I think it’s a wonderful movement to help support the literature world that provides us with the much needed escapism we desperately need during these troubling times. So grateful and in awe that Haupt decided to donate the proceeds of this book to aid indie bookstores and booksellers. I wrote about more ways in which you can help in here.

Description Summary | A scrapbook of stories from the various people who give life to the literature world, heart wrenching in it’s brutal storytelling.

Rating

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Book Summary | (Skip to Review)

Haupt presents a series of short stories and poems that make up this aching real anthology about the raw truths that we individuals face in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gathered from multiple figures in the literary world, Haupt presents the collection of stories in 4 different parts titled:

  • What now?
  • Grieve 
  • Comfort
  • Connect

We are whisked away to hear tales of bustling cities coming to halt, Zoom funerals and weddings, reunions and goodbyes, protests and change, and the comfort a yellow canary can bring us with its song.

Review

Review

Truthfully this book hides nothing. It’s like tentacles and claws ripping out open your darkest fears and worries about the pandemic and putting them on paper. Albeit few pages are not so bleak but for the most part this book is intense. It is not an easy read but I feel some people (especially those who think this whole pandemic is a “hoax”) need to see this. I can’t imagine not feeling anything after reading about all the things that these people went through.

I am sure many connected and shared in the many grievances presented in the book but to me personally it didn’t help. I feel like the book enabled hidden anxieties and worries to spring back up full force, and at one point I had to put the book down because it was overwhelming. This was why I took such a long time to read this. This is why I am saying that to anyone who easily becomes anxious this is a warning : this book may be triggering. And I do not want anyone else to go through what I went through.

I get that these stories need to be told, but for me what worked was when I focused my mind on different things to nourish myself rather than loom about this invisible shadow that is devouring everything around us. This is how I handle the pandemic, and it is my own valid experience.

Story and Format

I liked how the stories were divided into four parts, I liked how we had a diverse range of authors and writings. I think Haupt could possibly expand this concept to include international authors and booksellers since it is not just American bookstores and authors that are suffering. It could be a wonderful way to create a sense of community by having a worldwide collection of these anthologies. 

It’s a nice addition to include after every piece a small bio of the author and not just their name. 

Do I recommend? Only if you are able to emotionally and mentally handle the stories in the book.

Expected Publication | September 1 , 2020

Publisher | Central Avenue Publishing

Jardin du Jasmine | Middle East in the heart of London

What? Jardin du Jasmine Cafe

Where? 1 Holland St, Kensington, W8 4NA, London

Highlights: Deli counter filled with Middle Eastern delicacies.

If you’re thinking of Middle Eastern hospitality and the beauty of the Damascene culture, than Jardin du Jasmine is the heavenly garden that incorporates the rich aromatic nature of Middle Eastern food underneath a bed of lights intertwined with subtle greenery that covers the ceiling. It’s like walking into a modern day garden of Eden.

I love the flexible nature of the cafe, you’ve got counter seatings, movable tables so whatever size your party may be the place should accommodate your needs easily. I also love how the Middle Eastern culture is celebrated and included in every nook of the place; the waft of rose water and jasmine in the air, Nizar Qabbani’s poetry written as a declaration on the wall, and the symphony of the nay instrument blessing your ears.

Though the interiors might be white and crisp, the warmth and coziness just oozes out of the place. The cafe is a family run business where all of the food is home made and it has that authentic taste of eating a meal at grandma’s.

Fresh mint tea
Deli box specials / All 3 pics courtesy of Jardin du Jasmine Instagram
Jam preserves available instore

My favorite way to order is just going up to the deli counter and seeing today’s specials. These include hummus, baba gnoush, mixed salads garnished with pomegranate seeds, and vine leaves drizzled with a yogurt sauce. You can also opt for takeaway if you’re looking for a quick lunch to pick up!

Though I am a coffee person, I like the flavored teas the cafe offers. Fresh mint or peppermint leaves is the way to go if you’re looking for something light. Alternatively the apple and ginger tea is perfect to spice things up.

What’s fabulous is that they have a shop where you can purchase their tea selections, jam preserves, and cookbooks celebrating the Syrian cuisine.

I could totally imagine myself reading The Wrath and the Dawn here; I would totally get immersed!.

Available Online? Yes-ish. They do provide delivery or pick up options for those residing in Locally; order here.

COVID Update: They have just reopened last month, July 2020. Here’s their instagram and website for more info.


Have you ever been to Jardin du Jasmine? Will you be adding it to your “must visits”?

Sign up to get the latest!

Google Map Location

Diversify That Shelf Readathon | TBR

A change of theme is required since I’ll be participating in one readathon I’m particularly excited about! Created by this lovely book blogger : ThePerksofBeingNoura (Click on the link to go to the original page of the readathon). The challenge aims to put diverse books and authors on the forefront.

As a reader and blogger I believe that books should showcase an authentic reflection of all different and diverse experiences that individuals go through. I’m always trying to educate and open myself to the plethora of stories that document the wondrous cultures and people of far off corners of the world. And that is the beauty of storytelling and books : it makes the world smaller and brings us closer to one another.

Right! Here are the prompts for the reading challenge, tweaking it and not completing them all is okay. The point is to challenge yourself as a reader (or a blogger) to read books you wouldn’t normally venture to in order to read about genuine books and discover genuine authors.


TBR

Woven by Moonlight By Isabel Ibanez

Genre | YA / Fantasy

Description | “A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history” I got sold with magic and romance, but I’ve never read anything related to Bolivian history or culture so I’m really looking forward to this 😍

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Genre | Poetry

Description | “A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.” This has been forever on my TBR, Rupi’s poems never fail to empower and break me all at the same time.

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

Genre | YA / Fantasy

Description | “One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.” Japanese folklore that includes dragons, ancient treasures, and a samurai? Count me in!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Genre | YA / Sci-Fi

Description | “The tale of a teenage cyborg who must fight for Earth’s survival against villains from outer space.” If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings within the YA genre chances you may have already came across this book. This spinoff of Cinderella follows a teenage cyborg in futuristic Beijing where she gets caught up with a secret love to a prince and her city falling into an intergalactic battle…no big deal right?

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Genre | YA / Fantasy

Description | “When a hidden prince, a girl with secrets, a ragtag group of unlikely heroes, and a legendary firebird come together…something wicked is going down.” This kind of reminds me of Once Upon a Time ( I LOVED that show), so hopefully I’ll like this one too though I have a feeling I won’t LOVE it.


Extra!

If I’m able to I’ll definitely grab a pic or two! Just keep an eye out on my twitter. I’ll do a post challenge blog post after the readathon.


Thank you for reading 😊 Are you participating? If so, I would love to see or discuss each other’s TBRs! I’m always looking for ways to expand my bookshelves 😍

Iconic Places | The British Library

I’ve been very lucky to check off a bucket list item last summer which ended with me visiting the largest library in the world! (in terms of catalogued items). Thousand year old books sit in shelves, amazing architecture, and great instagrammable photo spots for your bookish self to indulge in. Pretty neat 😍

I wanna tap one three main things: Space and building , Sightseeing, and Research facilities. You can click on either one if you’re looking for something specific to skip right to that part 🙂

Space
Space

Albeit I’m not an architect nor an expert on the subject, there is a reason it’s called the National Library of the UK. The outside piazza is vast and is reminiscent of American football fields and those outdoor squares you see in front of their schools. What blew me away though is the inside. When I say breathtaking I mean SUCKING YOUR BREATH AWAY FROM YOUR LUNG CAPILLARIES

The lobby area of the library
The unbelievable glass tower of books

A talk glass tower stacked bottom to top with books upon books, all looking very old and very beautiful in a mothy-dusty aesthetic way. The stairs and twists of the building are layered like lego bricks and interesting like a maze. The blending of a swirl staircase across tall block- like columns may seem vastly contrasting but it works! The white washed paint coats the space like vanilla glaze; makes everything soft and easy on the eyes.

Perfect Spots to Instagram

With an amazing building like this, not getting a chance for that “aesthetic” pic is a huge opportunity missed! Here are some perfect places to get that pic 😉

Rounded staircase: stand at the bottom part and allow the pic to be taken from the top steps.

Courtesy of The British Library Website

Alongside the balcony (I think that’s what its called): You can either take it front view with the balcony behind you or standing on the side with the balcony on the right/left side of it

Courtesy of Access Website

In front of the displays: On the lobby area, the library puts up murals or displays by various artists throughout the year so it’s a great way to promote diverse artists while also scoring a fabulous pic!

Courtesy of Angela Jooste

The book bench: Okay you can’t miss this sculpture. The book “bench” is an iconic piece and speaks true to any bookworm out there! It’s a fun pic to share the bookish side of you 🙂

Courtesy of Reddit

The Outside! The piazza hosts William Blake’s bronze sculpture titled NEWTON. For non artists out there, the varying angles and stair heights leads you with different options to get that glow ✨

Courtesy of at The British Library Website
Sightseeing
Sightseeing

The fun part! Here’s a list of things you can do:

  • Sir John Ritblat Gallery : Open 7 days a week, free of charge this gallery will astonish and delight you with the various manuscripts it holds. These include: Lewis Carroll’s Adventures of Alice in Wonderland, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and multiple religious manuscripts of different time periods.
  • Exhibitions : The library hosts multi themed events and exhibitions on various topics, some are are free of charge and others are not.
  • Corridor Art: I found this by chance! While walking around the library, some corridors would feature wall “galleries” with different forms of art (mainly photography). Some feature a small story to accompany the art or a note from the artist themselves. Super cool.
  • Gift Shop: Of course any visit is not complete without a stop to the gift shop. They sell everything from apparel to jewelry to food. I loved their classic book cover postcards 😍
Research (and the other serious non tourist things)
Research (and the other serious non tourist things)

I can’t think of a better place to study and work if you’re either a student or a researcher. Just looking at all the people there, sitting on their desks, drawing out their destiny through their work and powering through like an engine. It’s hard to not be motivated. Apart from being a very abundant resource for anything really, they boost wonderful facilities.

However it’s hard to do that without a Reader’s Pass, these passes allow you to take advantage of many services, authorization to make use of the Reading Rooms (spaces designated for that matter specifically), as well as access to many manuscripts or catalogs that are not open to the general public.

That doesn’t mean though you can’t work at all if you don’t have one! The cafe at the library is a perfect space to get some work done, grab a bite, and still not get disturbed (the people who go there generally know that everyone might be working or studying so you wouldn’t find obnoxiously loud or snoopy persons). Oh and FYI they have good coffee 🙂

Courtesy of The British Library Website
Covid 19 Updates

The library has opened its doors again but there are restrictions to the utility of the facilities, however they do provide digital catalogs and online services to help you with whatever it is you may need as a reader or researcher.

Their shop has recently opened up for online orders! Yay! They do ship internationally but expect some delays.


Hopefully I’ll get to go back someday; libraries are one of my favorite things in the world! Do you love libraries too? Have you ever been to The British Library?

Umbrella Academy Book Tag

In celebration of the second season of Umbrella Academy coming out on Netflix, I’ve decided to create a book tag based on the main characters on the show!

The series is one of my favorites 😍 If you like dry sarcastic humor, supernatural anti-heroes, secret government projects, and dysfunctional families then you’ll love it.

Klaus is the BEST hands down. Fight me.


Number One : A book that is under-appreciated

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

This book is amazing in so many ways. The friendship between Julian and Adam is so wholesome and one that I do not see much of in contemporary YA.

Number Two : A book featuring an anti-hero

AIDAN – The Illuminae Series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

“I am not good. Nor am I evil. I am no hero. Nor am I a villain.”

AIDAN is one of the most complex characters you may ever read about. You’ll find yourself questioning your morality the more you get to listen to his rationale!

Number Three : A book featuring opposites attract trope

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Will and Louisa are as different as Fearless-country-Taylor and Reputation-era-Taylor.

Number Four : A book with a sassy character

Celaena Sardothien – Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J Maas

This woman breathes sass, eats sarcasm for breakfast, and washes it down with a glass of wit before flexing her comebacks.

Number Five : A children’s book you’d still read as an adult

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

It’s been established: my spiritual animal and childhood fav is Winnie. No matter how many times I read the book or watch the Disney movies it never fails to put a smile on my face.

Number Six : A book you wish had a sequel

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The concept: Imagine a more present generation where Coraline is a grandma now and for old time’s sake they visit her old house and her grandchildren unlock the evils of “The Other World” again.

 Orrrrrr “The Other World” escapes and infiltrates the devices of the grandchildren just like Anonymous.

Number Seven : A book with a twist you didn’t see coming

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

THAT ENDING

Cha-Cha :  A book that features a badass female villain

The Wicked Witch of the West – Wicked by Gregory Maguire

If you read this version of World of Oz, you would come across a great dynamic of one of the most iconic villains of all time. I loved how the author reimagined her.

Not to mention the musical soundtrack is to die for!

Hazel :  A book with a different cover than the actual story

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A pack of dominoes on a cover did nothing to convey the wretchedness that would envelop my heart at the end of the book. Thanks Zusak 🙂

Pogo :  A book/series you made yourself complete even though you didn’t really like it

The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I had so many issues with this series, literally cannot believe I wasted my money on this.

And Mare Barrow is one of the worst heroines in YA history. There I said it.


That’s it for the book tag! If you decide to do the book tag ping me, or tag me with an @ or #umbrellaacademyxnecblog. As always, happy reading!

Privacy Policy

Hello my loves, this is a boring bit but this is to protect you and myself. In compliance with the law, the stated privacy policy basically says I’m not a data thief who’ll go on selling your info to the highest bidder or smuggle them to a pirate.

“I’m committed to retaining the trust of my readers and visitors to my blog and want you to know in full confidence that I’m not in the business of trading, selling or distributing any personal data stored through this website – for marketing purposes or any other. Here is some more detail about the specific pieces of data which are stored on this website:

Signing up to The Never Ending Chronicles (jawahirthebookworm.com) via email: your email address will be stored on my statistics page on my WordPress account. This email address will not be used for anything other than sending you an email whenever I have a brand new, awesome post go up on my blog, which is done automatically. To opt out of this, please unsubscribe.

Leaving a comment on The Never Ending Chronicles: By leaving a comment on any of my posts on my blog, your name and email address will be stored on my WordPress account. This information will not be used for anything at all other than for me to see which
amazing person has left me a comment.

I do not store information we collect about your visit to this blog for use other than to analyse content performance through the use of cookies, which you can turn off at any time by modifying your internet browser’s settings. I am not responsible for the republishing of the content found on this blog on other web sites or media outlets without our permission

This privacy policy was reviewed on July 29 , 2020 and is subject to change without notice.”


Disclaimer

“When working with brands on my blog, I am always enthusiastic about discovering and promoting brands that I like and are passionate about. If I am sent products to feature and/or review on my blog, all will include a disclaimer in the post itself. If some posts featured on The Never Ending Chronicles are sponsored in return for payment from brands a disclaimer will be present in the post, to indicate it was a sponsored post.”

Thank you my loves, have a great day and stay safe 😊❤️

Review | The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

Few books allow you to feel the anguish and despair that makes up this life, while also lingering in the triumphs and spurts of happiness that warms the human soul and makes everything okay even if it’s for a little while. Zentner excels in playing with the reader’s emotions in delivering raw storytelling. The Serpent King is a prime example of that.

Description Summary: An equally harrowing yet comforting tale of friendship, first loves, and the courage to step out of the shadows. Ethereal, contemporary, and haunting.

Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Summary: Skip to Review / Goodreads

 In their final year of high school best friends, Dill, Lydia, and Travis aim to figure out where life will take them after graduation; well mainly Lydia. You see Delilah “Lydia” Blankenship has her life figured out, her blog Dollywould is quickly a national rising star in the making in the world of fashion and pop culture. Lydia can’t wait to get out of small town Forrestville to head to NYU, the city of opportunities and haven for aspiring creatives like her.

Travis Bohannon is a 6ft giant that has the softest heart. He never cared much to where he’ll end up being and what he’ll end up doing, as long as he can escape reality by indulging himself in the epic fantasy world of Bloodfall where he likes to think of himself as a glorious warrior who is deemed worthy. Especially since his father thinks he’s worthless.

Dillard “Dill” Early Jr is like a young version of Snape from the HP series. Cast as the town’s shame and outlaw after his father was arrested and sent to prison for church related scandals, Dill doesn’t look at the future with the bright prospect that Lydia has nor does he have the wild imagination to escape like Travis. Figuratively and literally he is stuck. 

How was it possible for love of a place and hatred of it to exist so comfortably side by side?

As the school year nears to the end, their friendships are put to the test, harsh conversations will be spoken and bitter truths will come out. Hidden true loves will be exposed and a second chance at life will be provided. But first, Who is the Serpent King? And why is he attached to Dill like a bloodstain that cannot be wiped?

Review

Review

I am completely torn, broken apart, stripped down by this book. And.I.do.not.mind.one.bit. 

I cannot believe that this is Zentner’s debut book. Zentner’s ability to present something that’s achingly real despite that personally I did not experience the same circumstances that these characters had nor did I even believe in the same religion. He has successfully made me feel exactly what they’re feeling and thinking through. Thus I came to understand the characters and their journey even though we didn’t have much in common.

Characters and Development

I’m hugely impressed with the character development in this book. You can see that the characters came to actively change by themselves and by help from others. I think it’s important to take note of this because sometimes change doesn’t happen by oneself and that is what Zentner exhibits in his story and through his characters. All this attributed to a well crafted plot and better written characters.

Themes

A lot of times YA books demonstrate the “need” to go out and make it big. And in the mainstream case, usually they’ll be like Lydia: achieving high grades, goes to fancy school, has even fancier friends, makes money, and gets a status worthy career. What I like about this book is that Zentner showcases the unconventional ways to achieve what is “success” to different characters. He even provides living a quiet simple life can be enough, and equates the happiness that others might find standing in an expensive penthouse overlooking downtown city lights. So I appreciate Zentner for highlighting that in his book. A lot of teens would surely be encouraged to view life in a highly different way after reading this.

This is one of the few books that made my heart ache, like really ache. The kind where you feel the muscle is constricting itself and it’s being twisted like a rag towel.

Do I recommend? Absolutely, this is one of the best YA novels.