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18 Jun 2010

Book Review: The Dead - David Gatward

"The Dead envy the living. It consumes them. They will do anything to take what you have, for even the briefest of moments, to experience life again." p.45

Lazarus Stone is about to turn sixteen when, one night, his normal life is ripped to shreds by a skinless figure drenched in blood.
He has a message: The Dead are coming.
Now Lazarus is all that stands in their way. To fulfil his destiny, he must confront not only the dark past of his family, but horrors more gruesome than even Hell could invent. And it all begins with the reek of rotting flesh...

Hell is coming... and David Gatward means business!

All his life Lazarus has been a fairly ordinary kid - causing mischief at school, playing computer games and hanging out with his best friend Craig. With his father constantly away at work, Lazarus has had a great deal of independence. So when he first learns of the world of the Dead and his dad's role with them Lazarus is naturally very confused and scared; wanting to do whatever it takes to get back to the 'normal' life he had before.
But even through all of the chaos and horror, Lazarus still remains switched-on and has a very commanding presence about him that gives the reader a glimpse into the person he must become if he is to find his father and prevent the Dead from crossing over into the real world...

I feel quite privileged to have received a proof copy of The Dead as it is not quite like any other horror novel I've read before. David's writing is so sense-driven that it wasn't like I was just seeing the story like a particularly gory horror movie but also living and smelling it! Yeuch! It was SO much fun (though far too short for my tastes) and I will be hanging out for book two - The Dark - due in October 2010.

Published by HodderChildren's Books - July 2010

17 Jun 2010

Book Review: Forbidden - Tabitha Suzuma

"We can't do this... If we start, how will we ever stop?"

Sixteen-year-old Maya and seventeen-year-old Lachan have never had the chance to be 'normal' teenagers. Having pulled together for years to take care of their younger siblings while their wayward, drunken mother leaves them to fend alone, they have become much more than brother and sister. And now, they have fallen in love. But this is a love that can never be allowed, a love that will have devastating consequences... How can something so wrong feel so right?

Some people find it tough to talk or read about difficult subjects - rape, disease, incest - but I suppose it is something of a fascination with me. I like to explore how other people see the subject, and how they approach them in fiction. If there is a list of 'forbidden' or 'taboo' subjects - incest would be at the number one position, without a doubt. This also reflects the lack of fiction around it... Then in comes Tabitha Suzuma. I know from her reputation that she normally writes about the hard-hitting issues of teens, but only after reading Forbidden do I now have a desire to read her previous titles.

Told from both Lochan and Maya's point of view, Tabitha gives the reader a real and raw insight into each characters reasoning's and thus connecting you in a very personal and intense way. And although the novel is laden down with darkness and despair - the passion Lochie and Maya have for each other shines so brightly it hurts, but it's a hurt you want to endure right till the very end.

When people ask me why I love this book so much I can only tell them to read it, because while the subject matter is still one of taboo, it's stories like these that really make you appreciate literature in it's every form.

Published by Random House Children's Books 'Definitions' - May 2010