Book Reviews

Cascading Petals: A Review

(5 / 5)

Come into the world of Jewel Hart: a teenager with a beautiful soul who is experiencing ugly hardships. Within the pages of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady, we will learn just what the sources of these hardships are. It’s not easy to exist in high school, especially when you’ve been made the target of bullies for the majority of your life. With one year left, Jewel braces herself to get this final torture over and done. It won’t go easy for her, however. With the new transfer student Jewel finds her life flipped upside down. Enemies have the potential to become friends and acquaintances become that much closer. Is there love in Jewel’s future? Or is there only heartache?

Brady captures the torture of being a bullied high school student with such majesty; it was hard to put the book down. Anyone who struggled, or is struggling, in that time of their life will immediately identify with the way Brady portrays her characters. She also shows her antagonists as human, which can be difficult to do. When you’ve experienced bullying, the hardest thing, aside from surviving, is realizing that your tormentors are just as human as you are. It’s a very realistic approach and lends itself well to this book. Her depiction of how schools have been handling bullying in Canada was also very accurate. While there are good schools out there, the majority have been severely unprepared to address the issue, even when something tragic happens.

The only downfall of this book would have to be some of the descriptions that the characters use for each other. When transfer student Kaiden Carter describes how Jewel appears to him, it’s with very over-the-top imagery which can be hard to swallow. While this is a young adult novel and that language is expected, it’s a bit much in some places. As a teen reading the book, however, it might be easier to accept.

It is important to note that Brady does not hold back in the repercussions of her characters actions. There are events that take place in the book that may act as triggers for sensitive readers, so that should be taken into consideration before settling down to read. It’s heartbreaking for those who get invested in the lives of the characters to watch them struggle and go through such pain. By bouncing the book back and forth between different viewpoints, the full picture can be seen which can cause a larger impact on the reader.

For a young adult novel it was pleasantly surprising to feel so invested in how things turned out for the protagonists of Cascading Petals by Jane C. Brady. As a reader outside the target for this book, it was great to feel connected to the characters right from the start. Covering difficult topics and fairly crafting each characters personality and backstory, Brady does a great job making her book worth the read. By doing such a realistic job, all readers will find themselves swallowed up and eager for more.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments

Grond: The Raven High: Grond Book 1 Review

(3 / 5)

If you’re looking for a space-adventure that flies a bit outside what is usually expected, you’re going to find it in Yuri Hamaganov’s Grond: The Raven High: Grond Book 1. Our protagonist is a young girl, Olga, who is living on a space station far outside the realm of earth. Here, she is raised by an Android and begins preparing for work at the tender age of six. Olga, called Raven by her android nanny Arina and curator Mikhail Petrov, works tirelessly in her strange little bubble to be able to run a plant that produces water. We follow along her everyday life as she prepares for her occupation and demonstrates her higher than average aptitude. It will soon be clear to readers that Olga is not an ordinary six-year-old girl, at least by current standards. She is something more advanced that the human beings we are today. Where her life will take her is an interesting journey.

As the first book in an apparent series, it is up to the author to build their world. First installments set the stage for future books. They captivate the interest of readers and leave them wanting more. Hamaganov does write quite eloquently and it is clear that some amount of research went into creating this novel. The world is not too far in the distant future and the layout is somewhat believable. Olga is isolated on a space station and has video communication with Petrov on a consistent basis. As we learn more about her origins and the type of work required of her, we begin to empathize with Olga’s predicament. When she faces the greatest struggle of her young life, readers will find themselves hoping that she will come out victorious.

There are areas for improvement, however. Several times throughout our story the voice changes from past to present in the middle of sentence. This is confusing for the readers as we’re not sure what’s supposed to be happening. Not a lot of detail is given about the state of Olga’s world, why she’s referred to as ‘Raven’, and how exactly it became okay to use child labour. We know that Olga is not the only one, as there is reference to other children in the same line of work as she. We also know that Olga is not quite an organic human being, but it’s never clearly stated if she was born with her advanced capabilities or if her parents simply sold her off to be implanted and sent to work. The only things that are clear is that the Earth is in trouble, there was a war in space, Olga works harder at the age of twelve than most people do in their thirties and that she is seen as a tool by those who employ her. There is mention of a resistance group that would help her achieve freedom, but when her very life is threatened there is no sign of this group. Perhaps these are all things that will be explored in future installments.

If you can manage to ignore the few shortfalls of this novel, most readers who love a good science-fiction piece will enjoy the adventures of Olga in Grond: The High Raven: Grond Book 1 by Yuri Hamaganov. The tidy epilogue at the end sparks curiosity in the reader and the sneak peek at the next installment will have most readers looking forward to book two.

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments

Book Reviews

So I’m going to be writing book reviews and posting them on my site soon.

I’ve created a special section for them so that you guys can navigate accordingly.

I’m in the process of reading the first book that I’ll write a review of.

It’s pretty exciting! I’m going to play around with my themes too and see if I can do something fun.

Anyway, look forward to it!

Posted by Sarah Jayne in Book Reviews, 0 comments