Tag Archives: Young Adult Fiction

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children | Film Review

Please note the following review does not contain spoilers. 

“It’s time for you to learn what you can do.”

Another exciting film to hit the screens this year by none other than director Tim Burton. A great mixture of boy meets girl, wry humour, spooky elements, and most importantly the theme of self discovery – because in today’s society, who are you and how do you fit in, if you don’t know yourself.

The clash of fantasy and reality makes the journey of this film mesh so well with the self discovery and hero element. It also has a good blend of dark and light elements, that won’t scare the kids too much. The film is 127 minutes long, but time flies as you are absorbed into the storyline.

The visuals and effects will amaze, however the only downside I felt the film had was the unexplored history of Abe. It’s something the adults will pick up on but kids will wash over. I feel like it would give more of an impact and make the film far more well rounded in its story telling. Also majority of the characters are touched upon, and it makes you question what really is the point of having all of them.

However… Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a great all rounder film, for all to see. Escape the ordinary and check out the trailer below. Oh and stay peculiar people, life is much more fun that way… you’ll see.

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Book Review: The Lunar Chronicles

I have contemplated reviewing The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, time and time again but have always shied away at the last minute because I cannot possibly articulately express how much I love this book series. So if you are reading this, I have finally succeeded.

Fairytale retellings are one of my favourite genres so it was a surprise that I did not pick up this series until a week or so before the release of the third instalment. I admit that its  popularity kept me at bay because historically I have not felt the same way about hugely popular series like this. But mostly I just need to come to the decision to pick up and read a book independently and without undue influence. I do not know what finally made me pick up the series but once I did there was no looking back.

The Lunar Chronicles compromises of Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter, deconstructions of Cinderella, The Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White and the Seven Dwarves respectively. It is gorgeously constructed space opera which borrows from steampunk, dystopian and science fiction.

Needless to say spoilers may follow.

Cinder

In hindsight Cinder is probably the weakest of the quartet given that it is predictable despite the clever update Meyer gives to the classic tale. That being said, it is gripping none-the-less, because Meyer’s Cinderella takes place in a plague-ridden New Beijing  that is under the threat of invasion from the mysterious inhabitants of the moon, the Lunars. Her Cinderella, Cinder, is a gifted mechanic who is a little more than a slave to her  stepmother and stepsisters because she is a cyborg.

Both Cinder and Kai are wonderful characters, relatable despite the former being a cyborg and the latter the heir to a futuristic Beijing. Their romance was sweet despite its predictability and building intrigue behind the Lunars’ motives makes it an engaging and compelling introduction to the series. However, it is the follow ups to Cinder that makes The Lunar Chronicles one of the most beloved YA series of recent times.

Scarlet

Scarlet picks up where Cinder left off with our favourite cyborg imprisoned and plotting an escape with an unlikely ally: Captain Carswell Thorne. Meanwhile, on other side of the globe, Paris to be exact, Scarlet Benoit is searching for her missing grandmere with the aid of a mysterious street-fighter who goes by the name of Wolf. And all the while, Queen Levena is revving up her nefarious plans to bind Emperor Kai in matrimony and, like all good villains, take over the world…and the moon.

Scarlet is probably my most favourite instalment out of the quartet mainly because I adore the external and internal dichotomy of Scarlet and Wolf and the unlikely pairing of the two.

Scarlet, simply put, is fierce. A red-hoodie wearing, gun-toting red-head, she is all shoot first, ask questions later. Wolf, who is fierce appearance, is actually of a shy and quiet disposition. He is completely adorable if you ignore the little factoid that he may just rip your throat out.  Their hesitant/cautious meet-cute and slow-burning romance was brilliantly developed and rather swoon-worthy, despite its complexities. I must admit I enjoyed it far more than Kai and Cinder’s relationship which was rather conventional in the circumstances.

Where Cinder’s narrative was confined to her point of view, the multiple POVs in Scarlet made the narrative multi-faceted, the various vantage points creating a very wholesome reading experience. I was equally riveted by the all the characters journeys and found myself looking forward to when they’d converge.

Finally, the introduction of Captain Thorne, certainly spiced things up and bridged the second and third instalments cleverly, but more on Captain Thorne later.

Cress

Cress opens with Cinder and Captain Thorne, now fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. The foursome are still vigorously pursing to overthrow evil Queen Levana. Their best hope: Cress, a lunar, imprisoned on a satellite since she was child, for the purposes of monitoring Earth and perpetuating Levena’s world domination plans. But there’s a catch, she has just been commissioned to track down Cinder and Thorne (for whom she harbours a major crush) by Levena. When a daring rescue plan for Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom but it comes at a high price.

Cress was surprisingly an improvement on Cinder and Scarlet, an arguably tighter narrative with a stronger focus on the development of the individual leads.

Cress is a technological genius and an adorable combination of sweet, naive, terrified, quietly brave and immensely lonely. For someone so disenfranchised, her belief in people is unshakeable. She did not allow the destruction of her preconceived notions to destroy her, instead she learnt from it and strengthened he resolve. She has a lot of growing up to do in limited time and I loved seeing her negotiate that mind field. I particularly enjoyed her reconciling her feelings for Thorne with the realities of Thorne. She is a hopeless romantic and while it was painful to see her dreams of a fairytale romance being dashed, it was also harrowing to see her deal with it so pragmatically.

Carswell Thorne is easily the most likeable character of the series, exuding all the charms of your favourite space cowboys, whether it be Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds or Peter Quill. For me, he was not dissimilar to Flynn Rider from Disney’s reimagining of Rapunzel, Tangled. Therefore, before I knew it Zachary Levi was delivering his lines in my mind palace. Carswell’s journey from a loveable outlaw/rogue is also not dissimilar to Flynn’s, in that he is forced time and time again to re-consider his materialistic priorities once his journey become inextricably linked to Cress’s.

In short, if you, like me, loved Tangled, you are already on the Cress/Thorne bandwagon whether you have started to read the book or not.

Scarlet is not present as much in Cress, mostly because she has a larger role in Winter. Her absence has a profound effect on Wolf. I initially found it unbecoming of him but ultimately I decided that it was sort of cute. That being said, there were times when I  just wanted to shake him and scream, ‘pull yourself together, man!’.             

Cinder’s efforts into furthering her efforts to overthrow Levena progresses simultaneously to Cress and Thorne’s journeys and further connections are revealed between the characters to solidify their intertwining destinies.

Introductions to Princess Winter and her loyal guard Jacin at the conclusion of Cress set the scene for Winter. 

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Sketches by lostie815 of Cinder, Kai, Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne and Queen Levena

Winter

Winter, if you have not guessed, introduces Princess Winter who is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness. Despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana. As Levana’s enviousness for Winter reaches a deadly fever pitch, she and Jacin join forces with Cinder and the gang to launch a revolution and win a war against Levena atrocities once and for all.

Winter probably was a slower read than than its predecessors in that it had its fair share of highs and lows. The highs were Winter and Jacin, Wolf and Scarlet, Cress and Thorne and Thorne and everyone else.

A GoodReads reviewer described Winter as ‘certifiably adorable’ and I have to agree. I loved her child-like playful personality, a contradiction to her abusive past and painful present. Her relationship with Jacin was so weirdly wonderful, both equally stubborn and equally loyal to each other.

It was nice to delve a little into Wolf’s past and Meyer certainly made his reunion with Scarlett worth the wait.

Cress and Thorne’s relationship continued to evolve and it was brilliant to see Cress blossom into a more confident version of herself and outgrow her crush on Thorne. Equally brilliant was the marked change in Thorne feelings for Cress.

Thorn’s interactions with the rest of the ensemble was also quite precious, especially Jacin. I loved their dynamic so much that I wish Meyer had written a spin-off featuring the two of them as leads in a buddy-cop kind of storyline. Sigh. I girl can dream.

The lows: Kai continued to become less crucial to the revolution while Cinder’s repetitive doubts about leading the revolution got old, quickly.

The ending was slightly rushed and a little too convenient for my liking but deconstructed or not, The Lunar Chronicles was a fairytale at the end of the day and they all lived happily ever after.

In summary, Marissa Meyer is my spirit animal. I have read copious amounts of re-tellings and none have given me as much pleasure and glee as devouring The Lunar Chronicles. Apart of the cleverly deconstructed tales the diverse characterisations and the intricate intermingling of the tales/characters are what makes this series such a winner. So, if there is only one overrated YA series you read these holidays, make sure it is The Lunar Chronicles.

Book Review: Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix

I have been in a bit of a reading slump lately, the risk of leaving a good book hangover untreated. And a severe one at that, because September and October saw and continues to see some fantastic releases. But there is nothing like being confined in a pressurised cabin, high above ground for a few hours to snap you out of it.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix was picked up at my customary visit to the local airport bookstore (the variety and quality of stock of which have been steadily becoming better) after a trying day at work. It is a YA regency romantic-comedy with a magical twist and more importantly it was just what I needed at that point in time: a charming and easy read that put a smile on my face.

Summary

Lady Truthful will inherit her family’s most valued heirloom on her eighteenth birthday. Until the Newington Emerald is stolen.

Lady Truthful, nicknamed “Newt” by her boy cousins, discovers that to her horror, the people closest to her have been framed for the theft. But Newt won’t let their reputations be damaged by rumors from a false accusation. Her plan is simple: go to London to recover the missing jewel. Despite her best intentions, a young lady travelling alone is frankly unacceptable behavior. So Newt and her aunt devise another plan…one that entails men’s clothing and a mustache.

While in disguise, Truthful encounters the handsome but shrewd major Harnett, who to her amazement volunteers to help find the missing emerald under the assumption that she is a man, Henri de Vienne. But once she and her unsuspecting ally are caught up in a dangerous adventure, Truthful realizes something else is afoot: the beating of her heart.

Truthful has far more than romantic complications to worry about. The stolen emerald is no ordinary heirloom-it is the source of the family’s luck and has the power to yield vast magic. It would be completely disastrous if it fell into the wrong hands. The fate of England depends on Truthful securing the emerald.

What I Liked

I appreciated the simple yet engaging plot and the alternate regency era was certainly fun. The world building is unremarkable at first glance but the magical element made it remarkable.

Truthful was a very easy character to like. If you like Jane Austen’s plucky heroines, you’ll love Truthful. What I loved most about her was that despite her various (and hilarious ) departures from what is expected of a lady in her era, she was a regency girl with the idiosyncracies of one.

Major Harnett was equally attractive, possessing all the qualities of an Austen hero with a little Flynn Rider-like flare. I think Nix balanced Harnett’s skeptical broodiness against the enthusiastic-adventurer very well.

Truthful and Harnett had great chemistry, both romantically and otherwise, which was much appreciated. They were a good example of the fact the relationships do not exist in a vacuum and as such their interactions with the supporting ensemble of characters were as interesting as their interactions with each other.

The supporting characters, lead by Lady Badgery and Truthful’s Newington-Lacy cousins, complimented the narrative well and made excellent comic relief.

What I Did Not Like
There was nothing seriously off putting about Newt’s Emerald, but if I am being overly critical, the charming simplicity of plot may irk some. That being said, it was succinct and entertaining, which is a hard thing to balance. The romance could have been a little more elaborate, that is, more interaction between Truthful and Harnett because whatever was there was so much fun!

In conclusion, If you are familiar with Nix’s work, Newt’s Emersld is a departure from his prior works, so if you, like me, did not particularly take to his other novels, Newt’s Emearld will surprise you. Newt’s Emerald is a fun little read of magic, mystery, mayhem and manners. It comes highly recommended, if you are looking for a light hearted read with a unique take on an established genre such as historical romance.

Book Review: Pivot Point & Split Second by Kasie West

Kasie West’s Pivot Point  has been on my mind for a while being one of those books that keep reappearing on Goodreads and Amazon recommendations. I recently picked up Split Second, the conclusion to Pivot Point, pop-up book sale thinking it was the first novel. Luckily, I discovered my mistake immediately and did not spoil the book for myself. It meant I had to patiently wait for the Pivot Point to arrive from BookDepository.com because I have developed an aversion to eBooks of late, having read consecutive paperbacks for a while. It was worth the wait, Kasie West’s fun and heart-warming duology about alternate realities was a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Summary

Pivot Point introduces us to a secret community of people, ‘the Compound’, that are living amongst us with special abilities that range from telekinesis, lie-detection, memory-manipulation, mind-reading, mass manipulation and precognition. Addie Coleman is a divergent, that is, when presented with a choice, she can search into the future and foresee the results of choosing either paths and thus armed with that information, make the correct choice in the present.

So when Addie’s parents announce that they are getting a divorce, she is encouraged to search the future in order to decide she who wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the secret paranormal compound to live among the “Norms” in Dallas, Texas  or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. Not so much.

Her two potential futures essentially show her two different lives with two different parents, two different schools and two different boys but amidst the same mystery, a murder in the Compound investigated by her father.

With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through… and who she can’t live without.

Split Second deals with the aftermath of the choice Addie makes in Pivot Point. Addie shares the narrative with Laila this time round, who Addie entrusts with a massive task, that she struggles to complete in Split Second.

What I liked:

I was immediately weary of Pivot Point despite its intriguing premise on alternate realities/parallel lives, thinking it was yet another YA love triangle in a different packaging. However, once I cracked it open I was pleasantly surprised at Kasie’s unique treatment of the trope.

Addie is a very likable protagonist: awkward, witty, charming, smart, compassionate and refreshingly pragmatic. It was nice to read about a female lead who did not get caught up the melodrama and wallowed in teen-angst. She was very communicative and expressed her doubts and discomfort, which not only made me adore her all the more but pushed narrative forward at an even and interesting pace.

The secondary characters, Laila, Trevor, Duke and Addie’s parents were also quite well fleshed out and their different dynamics with Addie were delightful to read. I particularly enjoyed the the witty dialogue between this great ensemble of characters.  I must admit that I liked Laila a lot better in Split Second. She was a tad bit infuriating in Pivot Point but seeing things from her perspective in Split Second, definitely changed my opinion of her. Trevor was delightful in both instalments, a very understated yet lovable secondary character. Duke, for the insufferable bastard that he was, facilitated the narrative’s twists and turns well, mainly because Kasie made him quite unpredictable. Split Second introduces us to Connor, who was another great secondary character with a rich background that made Split Second as wholesomely entertaining as Pivot Point.

The respective overarching mysteries in the both books were well developed and gave the narrative structure, transforming it from a mere sci-fi high-school drama to a more widely appealing YA read.

What I did not like:

Like I said, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I found little to nothing of consequence that hindered my enjoyment.

In conclusion, Pivot Point and Split Second was a fun and easy read. If you a looking for a light-hearted yet a slightly nuanced and entertaining read, Kaise West does not disappoint.

Book Review : The Stars Never Rise by Rachel Vincent

Rachel Vincent’s The Stars Never Rise has all the makings of a promising series. It a wholesome and entertaining read that is a refreshing blend of dystopia and urban fantasy with a little romance to sweeten the narrative.

Summary

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America has been ravaged by demons, possessing humans and reducing them to zombie-like creatures, paving the way for the Church to become the paramount governing body, obliterating the separation of church and state.

With demon possession rampant, souls are in short supply. The Church has introduced a brutally strict regime dictating how one leads their life with a particular restriction on who can be a parent and thus be worthy of a soul for their new child.

Sins are prosecutable crimes, enforced by the Church’s army of exorcists. But sixteen-year-old Nina Kane is too busy trying to actually survive to worry about her immortal soul. She has to watch over her rebellious younger sister, Mellie, and scrap together food and money to hide the fact that their mother is a deadbeat junkie so the Church does not get control of their lives…more so than usual.

Just when Nina thinks she has found a way to end their daily struggles, Mellie reveals a shocking secret that puts them right in the centre of a demon attack. Suddenly, Nina is a fugitive, on the run from the Church…and the demons. Her only way out is to trust the green-eyed Finn and his rouge gang of exorcists.

What I liked:

Vincent’s take on dystopian fiction, a Puritan United States of America, was refreshing, considering how easy it is to imagine a dystopian future as one overrun by machines, aliens or oppressive technological advancement rather than soul-consuming demons. I found it quite plausible, that people would resort to seek spiritual shelter in apocalyptic times and their religious leaders taking undue advantage of this.

Further Vincent’s philosophy behind souls, demon-possession and exorcism is fascinating, particularly her wonderfully warped version of reincarnation.

Nina was a very likeable character. Flawed, beaten, traumatised and way in over her head but unflinchingly fierce. Her supporting characters, the gang of rouge teen-exorcists, were equally entertaining. The various dynamics between them were interesting, humorous and heart warming.

The narrative is a pulse-pounding ride, full of action, witty dialogue and well-placed twists/turns to make you gasp. It features one of the most uniquely interesting romantic sub-plots I have ever encountered and I am intrigued to see how Vincent develops this.

Finally, I liked how the book concluded, in that it was not exactly a cliff-hanger but rather a promise of frighteningly new possibilities. It certainly made deeply invested in the sequel(s).

What I did not like:

While I did not fall madly in love with The Stars Never Rise, I was hard-pressed to find aspects of it that I did not like. Ultimately, I decided I was more invested in seeing how the seeds Vincent has sowed in this instalment will fructify in the sequel(s) rather than marvel their origins, thus explaining my less than ecstatic feeling for The Stars Never Rise.

In conclusion, The Stars Never Rise is a thoroughly enjoyable read with the potential to become a great series. I eagerly await to resume this action-packed ride in 2016.

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

I binge read Sabaa Tahir’s debut, An Ember in the Ashes, within hours of its release, but it has taken me a while to compile my thoughts on this brilliant read that is at once frightening, infuriating and heart warming.  I doubt I have done justice to the multitude of feelings this book evoked in me but here it is nonetheless:

Summary

Laia is a slave.  Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy, Blackcliff.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

What I liked:

An Ember in the Ashes not only features a complex and fascinatingly scary setting/world building but also a complicated web of relationships that goes beyond that of the leading narrators’, Laia and Elias. Every character is well-drawn and multi-dimensional and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, to define/simplify them into the usual YA relationship tropes.

Laia and Elias share the alternating narrative. They have very distinct voices, distinct struggles and distinct relationships with the secondary characters, which makes the convergence of their narratives all the more exciting and thrilling.

Laia is not your typical YA heroine, in that most of the time she is scared beyond measure with no amount of resources/skills to ease her predicament. What she does possess is a fierce determination that overrides her instinctual doubts and fears and forces her to accept to spy on the brutal and feared Commandant from within Blackcliff in exchange for assistance to free her brother.

Elias is Blackcliff’s poster boy, the son of the brutal and feared Commandant of the academy. He is expected to be a violent brute and uphold the family legacy but Elias is disgusted with the violent and barbaric lifestyle and wants to escape it. Elias struggles are of an existential nature and his battle of conscience is almost palpable given some well-penned philosophical musings by Tahir.

The dark and gritty setting is infuriatingly compelling without being overly graphic. Torture, abuse and rape are rampant to the point where it is expected, entertained and encouraged. The evil Commandant is at the helm of this hell mouth.  She is a stomach-turning sociopath and one of the most horrific villains I have encountered.

Finally, there is nothing like a good prophecy-plot to confuse and confound characters and readers alike and An Ember in the Ashes has a very gripping one at its core that facilitates and shapes the larger narrative into a compelling read.

What I did not like:

While I found Elias struggle between his feelings for Laia and Helena understandable, I found Laia’s similar predicament with respect to Elias and Keenan slightly less so. I might even go so far as to say it was unnecessary, because the foundation on which Elias’s and Laias’s relationship developed was far more superior to that of Keenan’s and Laia’s. That being said, An Ember in the Ashes is hardly about these triangles, they are but sub-plots to the greater narrative and aptly interwoven so at to not be overpowering. Ultimately, it was not as bothersome as I expected.

In conclusion, An Ember in the Ashes is one the most compelling YA reads of 2015 if not, YA history. It is a stunningly imagined high fantasy with an evocative narrative and well crafted characters. Get yourself a copy now! You won’t be disappointed.

Book Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

Michele Jaffe’s Minders was a great follow up to S J Steiger’s Mindwalker and now I am struggling to find another read that is just as psychologically thrilling and stimulating and failing miserably. Please do not hesitate to give any recommendations.

I had previously read Jaffe’s Bad Kitty series and was thoroughly underwhelmed but after Minders I will undoubtedly be adding Ghost Flower and Rosebush to my to-be-read list.

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Summary

A high concept, cinematic read with a surprising twist, MINDERS asks the question: who is really watching whom?

Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?

Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She’s been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him.

Q: What if the crime is murder?

Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.

Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?

Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford’s life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.

 

What I liked:

Minders is set in a futuristic, and to an extent dystopian, world and revolves around new science but Jaffe spends minimal time on world building. I could complain about not knowing the year and the series of events that lead to Minders’ dystopian-like condition but ultimately it made little difference to me as a reader. When reduced to its core elements, Minders is basically a contemporary novel within a sci-fi/dystopian concept. And that is part of the reason why the little/absence of world building/setting did not bother me.

Jaffe’s narrative is like no other, her depiction of Ford’s mind, as witnessed by Sadie, unbeknownst to him, is unique and fascinating. I found her description of Ford’s thought process, his sub-consciousness, repressed trauma, memory recall, and day-to-day experiences to be quite impressive. Further, her emphasis on the dichotomy between reality and internal perception was brilliant. It is apt to describe it as a cinematic read because the imagery Jaffe employs to bring Ford’s tumultuous head of emotions to life is nothing short of outstandingly creative.

The reader gets a surprisingly immersive experience into the life of 19 year-old Ford Winter and for this reason I could not decide who the lead of the narrative was, Sadie or Ford. I loved them both, albeit for different reasons.

Ford

This observation of Sadie’s succinctly sums up Ford:

one moment he has you swallowing back a lump in your throat, the next he’s making you roll your eyes.

He comes off as stupid, impulsive and evasive most of the time but as Sadie delves into the grief, hurt and insecurities underpinning his decisions/actions he suddenly takes your breath away.

Sadie

In contrast, there is very little to know about Sadie that is not relative to Ford. We know her life is planned to clinical precision, filled with passionless ambition and pretentious affections of her supposed loved ones. She is perceived to be cold and driven but is harbouring feelings of loneliness, abandonment and self-doubt. As the reader accompanies her journey within Ford’s mind, you discover she is deeply compassionate. She is moved by Ford’s predicament and quickly resolves to empathise with him and aid him against her better judgment.

I initially decided that Sadie’s feelings for Ford developed rather rapidly, but then realised that maybe getting front row seats to his inner-psyche would do that to you. Ford compels her to feel as well as think, an attribute that she severely lacked before descending into his mind.

Aside from Ford and Sadie, the plot is intriguing, entertaining and compelling. The mystery of Ford’s brother’s death and the criminal underbelly of his city is edge-of-the-seat stuff.

What I did not like:

I did not dwell much on the fact that the resolution of the mystery was predictable, but I found Sadie’s knowledge of how events/facts connected to the ultimate culprits was unnecessarily rushed and borderline inexplicable. The clues were definitely set throughout the narrative and Sadie at some point collated/connected them but this was never demonstrated. Sadie simply communicated her conclusions and that was that. At the end of the book, I found myself thinking, well, she must connected those two dots, and in light of her being aware of this piece of information, she must have come to that conclusion and so forth. Needless to say, I was a little disappointed that Jaffe did not spend some extra time (a chapter at the least) on tidying up her conclusion, particularly when the rest of the book was so well done.

I also felt that the culprits were not sufficiently dealt with at the end. That being said, it was certainly refreshing to have a battle of wits as the climax and a less-naive conclusion to the good v/s evil dynamic.

In conclusion, Minders is an un-put-down-able read. After a while, my body simply went into over-ride mode and shut down without my knowledge (literally, I would be reading and then I am waking up with a sleeping iPad next to me, now that I have mastered how to position it so it does does not fall forward on my face and split my lip) because I kept reading it when I should be sleeping. It is a stunning psychological thriller, equal parts heart-pounding and heart wrenching. If you are looking for something that is just that little bit out of the ordinary, look no further than Michele Jaffe’s Minders.