faber and faber publishing

Book Review: The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child (Mortal Gods #3) by Francesca Simon – Paperback, 320 pages – Published December 1st 2016 by Faber Faber

I finished this on Tuesday but have had some technical problems, which is why I’m posting it now. (Sorry.)

Apparently this is book #3 in the Mortal Gods series – but I read it believing it to be a standalone novel and really enjoyed it like that. It’s another short, new YA book, which a pretty large font to fill up more space. I never used to like short books, but I’ve found some I’ve really enjoyed recently, including this one.

One of Loki’s (monstrous) children is Hel, a girl with a perfectly normal human body… except her legs are deadLike, full-on decaying dead. Still, she’s a goddess, even if she’s never treated as one.

Hel has learned to just deal with what she’s got in life and carry on. But when she’s kidnapped and taken to Asgard – the home of the gods – she finds an unexpected light of hope. His name is Baldr, and he’s the only one who’s ever treated her like she’s normal. The only problem is that he’s married.

And then, just to make matters worse, Hel is literally thrown into the underworld, sentenced to be the queen of Nifelheim for all of eternity. It’s cold, smelly, and soon enough, full of dead people. She’s alone, plotting her revenge on the gods, with no chance of escape – but at least it’s hers. She can build her own fortress without anyone guiding her; she can order the dead around however she pleases. And she can have a high seat ready, beside hers, for when Baldr inevitably comes for her.

What she wasn’t planning was a third seat…

Anyway, Hel has created Hel for the dead, the End of Days is drawing nearer, and dear old Dad has dropped by for a favour. All very… fun. 

I thought this was a really different kind of book. The narrative voice is really sarcastic and youthful, pretty funny too, as well as still sounding like a Norse goddess. She also sounded somewhat modern, too – which I suppose would be the case if you were immortal. Sometimes I found her to find a little too sarcastic and bitter, a little too chatty and “different”. I don’t know, it just didn’t sound all that natural sometimes.

The whole Norse theme was refreshing – not some paranormal YA romance that you see everywhere – and really well told. Hel was a really interesting character, too; modern enough to relate to yet still believably a Norse goddess.

As I said, I read this without realising there were other books before it in the series. I didn’t realise that at all while reading – I didn’t feel like I was missing anything and still enjoyed it plenty. I’m going to say 3.5 to 4 stars for The Monstrous Child. I’ll have to look out for the other books.

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Book Review: Highly Illogical Behaviour

Highly Illogical Behaviour

Highly Illogical Behaviour by John Corey Whaley – Paperback, 249 pages – Published May 26th 2016 by Faber and Faber (first published May 10th 2016)

This is only a short book, but there is a huge story between these pages. I personally found this book amazing because I related so much to one character, Solomon, due to my own personal experiences with mental illness. (Hah! You’ll get that reference if you read the book.) But I still think that anyone will enjoy this book, and gain a deeper understanding of the mental health issues that are discussed.

Lisa seeks out Solomon, the “crazy” kid who jumped into a fountain three years ago, in hopes of writing a scholarship-winning essay on him. Solomon hasn’t left the house in three years. Not even to go in his own back garden. Every time he tries to, or even thinks about it, he has severe panic attacks. So instead of trying anymore, he gave up and made peace with a life inside four walls.

As an aspiring psychologist, Solomon’s case is perfect. But they become close friends, and eventually, Lisa even brings her boyfriend, Clark, to meet Sol. One thing they never expected was Sol falling in love… with Clark.

I have had times where I have been unable to leave my house. I used to have my school work sent home, and would avoid seeing anyone for as long as I could. It never got as bad as Sol’s case, but I would happily stay inside my house 24/7. (My mum won’t let me, though.) So I really did relate to Solomon. The descriptions of his behaviours and thoughts were really accurate in my opinion. It was quite inspiring to watch him slowly emerge from his shell and start living again.

Of course, there’s also the topic of homosexuality in this. I love how Clark remained so friendly even when he knew Sol was gay – not doing the whole “ew he might fancy me” thing that a lot of guys tend to. They were best friends. But Lisa was fed ideas by her friend, Janis, that made her worry Clark was cheating on her with Sol. Yeah. Awkward.

Overall, I just thought this was fantastically written. There are aspects for everyone to relate to, I think. And hopefully, it will help people understand why some of us may seem so “crazy”.

I can easily give this book 4.5 stars. I really enjoyed it, and loved the characters and their relationships. Even when Lisa was using Sol, I could see how she had good intentions. It was so well written.

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Book Review: Butter

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Butter by Erin Lange – Paperback, 352 pages – Published March 7th 2013 by Faber and Faber

I remember my friend talking about this book a while ago, but I didn’t know anything about it. But then I saw it on Goodreads and decided to check it out of my library.

‘Butter’ is big. Like, 423 pounds big. He has no friends, unless you count Doc Bean or the Professor.

Despite spending many summers at FitFab – a summer camp for the slightly -ahem- larger population of kids – he just can’t seem to shed the excess weight. In fact, all he ever seems to do is gain more.

Butter also has a crush. But he knows he doesn’t have a shot with the gorgeously skinny Anna, so he talks to her anonymously via the internet. Under the handle “SaxMan” and with the alias of JP, Butter promises Anna that they’ll get to meet each other on New Year’s Eve. Little does she know, Butter has a more deadly plan ready for the last day of the year.

After launching ButtersLastMeal.com, Butter is swamped with new friends, asking what’s on the menu for Butter’s last night on earth. The popular kids are suddenly inviting him to parties every weekend, and even Anna is talking to him in real life.

But as the deadline draws closer, Butter can’t decide whether to go through with his plan or not. Is he really ready to leave this life behind? Is he really willing to stay?

This novel is written in a very accurate teenage voice. As an incredibly obese teenager, Butter suffers in the social department. A lot of his problems are relatable to those of us who aren’t quite society’s idea of perfect. I can’t say I know much about this, but I’m sure there are lost of people who could also relate to his weight and dieting issues.

Butter’s real name isn’t revealed until the last page, which I thought was a great touch. I didn’t even notice at first; he was just Butter. But it makes a big point about how he decides to shed his old identity and move on, making a positive change to his lifestyle.

This could be a bit triggering to some people, with mentions of weight problems, dieting, eating disorders, and suicide. I did find it a bit hard to read at times because of these aspects, but none of it was talked about too much.

I raced through this, reading half of it just this morning. It’s a really good read, and although it hasn’t quite made its way into my favourites, I think Butter deserves 4.5 stars.

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