Tag Archives: fire sermon

[Review] The Alex Crow – Andrew Smith

Book Title:                 The Alex Crow (Standalone)
Author:                         Andrew Smith
Number of pages:  336


The Alex Crow - Andrew Smith (Cover)Skillfully blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, award-winning Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith chronicles the story of Ariel, a refugee who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel’s story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century . . . and a depressed, bionic reincarnated crow.

 (re: Goodreads @ The Alex Crow – Andrew Smith)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

— A multilayered story filled with stark humour, intrigue, and unhinging pathos to deliver a witty tip of the hat to a world run amok by testosterone
— Follows four perspectives, each with a different time period, style of writing, and tone. The juxtaposition in narratives doesn’t immediately pay off until later in the story
— A diverse, weird, satirical YA-read exploring boyhood through a migrant experience (Syria) to an American society of “boys being boys
Trigger warning: there are a lot of sexual innuendos to last a lifetime but they are completely in character. Teenage boys are keenly represented in this novel
— Rating: 3.8/5


Initial Thoughts

I’m really unsure how to review a book like this. (I am also so, so sorry that it has taken this long to fully flesh out my thoughts considering this was an ARC I received for early review. Ahh.)

Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of The Alex Crow through Goodreads First Reads. I extend thanks to Dutton Books via. Penguin Random House Canada for providing me the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: Limited-to-no spoilers in this review (only to describe the basics of the premise). Other pertinent analyses holds no spoilers.

Continue reading [Review] The Alex Crow – Andrew Smith

[Review] The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig

Book Title:                 The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon, #1)
Author:                         Francesca Haig
Number of pages:  384


The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig (book cover)Four hundred years in the future, the Earth has turned primitive following a nuclear fire that has laid waste to civilization and nature. Though the radiation fallout has ended, for some unknowable reason every person is born with a twin. Of each pair, one is an Alpha—physically perfect in every way; and the other an Omega—burdened with deformity, small or large. With the Council ruling an apartheid-like society, Omegas are branded and ostracized while the Alphas have gathered the world’s sparse resources for themselves. Though proclaiming their superiority, for all their effort Alphas cannot escape one harsh fact: Whenever one twin dies, so does the other.

Cass is a rare Omega, one burdened with psychic foresight. While her twin, Zach, gains power on the Alpha Council, she dares to dream the most dangerous dream of all: equality. For daring to envision a world in which Alphas and Omegas live side-by-side as equals, both the Council and the Resistance have her in their sights.

(re: Goodreads @ The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig)

Should this book be picked up? the tl;dr spoiler-less review:

— Haig paints the world with nimble clarity but there are conceptual holes in plotting likely to be revealed in later installments
— Reads like a game of cat-and-mouse but with limited consequence for the protagonist. Solid twists and revelations support the narrative with the right moral questions being asked
— A love triangle is hinted but the romance itself isn’t developed
— Protagonists don’t experience much self-growth. Most of their development comes from assimilating themselves back into the world while coming to understand the environment around them
— Cited as being YA despite the protagonists being 20+ in age. (Only the beginning 20% was backstory—when the protagonist-twins twins were 13)
— Rating: 2.75/5


Initial Thoughts

Oh look, another blurb via “the next Hunger Games!” From the first novel, there isn’t that much that’s similar. A heroine who is “special” but doesn’t realise their specialness—in the grand scheme of plotting—does not result to being Katniss. An almost-not-really love triangle does not result to Gale/Peeta. A government-ish tyranny with plenty of propaganda is silly compared to Panem forcing children to kill each other. The YA formula for dystopian fiction is so watered down that the likes of my stomach rumbling out of hunger is—dare I say—the next Hunger Games too.

Please, blurb writing…

Full disclosure: I received an advanced reader copy of The Fire Sermon through Goodreads First Reads. I extend thanks to Gallery Books via. Simon and Schuster for providing me the opportunity to review this book.

Disclaimer: Potential spoilers inherent to this review from here onward.

Continue reading [Review] The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig