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Tag Archives: 3 Stars

Book Review: We All Ran into the Sunlight – Natalie Young

We All Ran into the Sunlight

This book was another of the ‘Spring Sale’ Books I picked up as bargain reading over the Easter Bank Holiday. Having read the reviews, I was looking forward to a mysterious but relaxing ‘holiday read’ – with an average ‘star rating’ on Amazon of almost 5/5 stars at the time of purchase (April2011), I was expecting this to blow me away.

Unfortunately, it didn’t blow me away. It was an enjoyable read and Natalie Young’s writing style has captured beautifully this slow and laid-back village in the South of France, but the story felt like it was lacking something. The novel is based around a chateau in a rural French village. We learn that something terrible happened here on a Summer’s night years ago and as the story unravels we are introduced to the people who used to live in the house. They are all held together in this story by the secrets that they all share about the events up to that night.

Each section of the book is a new point of view, following a different character as they are pulled back towards the chateau. I loved this style of story-telling as the reader is introduced to each character individually and we learn how they were affected by the old chateau. While the novel was beautifully written and pulls the reader into this sleepy village, the story itself was a little flat. We know from the beginning that there are secrets surrounding the family who used to live in the house and I was excited to follow the story to find out what exactly had happened all those years ago. But, as the secrets were revealed to us and we learn more about what still haunts the people of the village, I felt there were still unanswered questions and no real closure for the characters.

I feel I am disatisfied with how the characters seemed to ‘move on’ without really dealing with their past and the hold that the chateau had over them, seemed just to tail off towards the end.  However, It’s a beautiful and haunting novel, jumping from characters and periods of time. Young has created a sinister, eerie house, set in a seemingly perfect part of the world. With gossiping villagers and secrets locked up inside the house, it’s easy to become drawn in and want to learn what really happened on that summer’s night years before.

3 Stars ***

We All Ran into the Sunlight on Amazon

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Book Review: Once Bitten – Stephen Leather

Once Bitten by Stephen Leather

Reading the synopsis of Once Bittenby Stephen Leather, I anticipated this to be a crime fiction novel. Jamie Beaverbrook is an English psychologist helping the Police Department in LA. His knowledge and experience has enabled him to create a software program that can help decide if a murderer is sane or insane. The story follows a case where a girl is discovered standing over a body with it’s throat ripped out and blood all over her.

While the crime scene and it’s prime suspect seem to obviously hint that she’s not human, I expected this to be a serious crime book, where Jamie Beaverbrook has to disprove a Vampire theory. While the story was well paced, well written and intense in parts, I was disappointed to discover very early on that it was more of a fantasy book and it seemed a bit of a let down when Terry, the murder suspect, was in fact not-human and there was no twist.

Although I enjoyed Stephen Leather’s writing style and found it to be an entertaining read once I’d accepted that it was a fantasy Vampire story rather than the crime fiction I hoped for, the story and characters were a little unbelievable. Jamie was described as being a little worn and exhausted by his divorce and death of his newborn baby, looking significantly older and worse for wear than he really was. Terry, however, was described as young and beautiful, as well as being immortal, wealthy and with special abilities. While we’re supposed to wonder if Terry’s feelings are genuine or if she has ulterior motives, the whole relationship seems a little far-fetched. Terry seems too willing to spill the details of her lifestyle and her Vampire community to someone employed by the LA Police Department.

The story itself was easy to read and, despite my criticisms, I read continuously from start to finish. The major downside for me, and many others judging by reviews, was the ending. It was so anticlimactic and although it leaves you wondering what might have happened, it seemed a bit of a cop-out by the author. It was an average read – while it had excellent potential, it just didn’t seem well executed.

3 Stars ***

Once Bitten by Stephen Leather on Amazon