Audience: Young Adult
The most important email that Darcy Patel ever wrote was three paragraphs long.
- first sentence
Darcy Patel's parents think she is going to college, but she has other plans. The young adult book she wrote during her senior year is going to be published and she is planning to live in New York on her own for a year and see if she has what it takes to be a "real" author. The advance Darcy received for her book is substantial and her sister helps her create a budget. But this is only half the story. In between Darcy's story, we find her novel, the story of Lizzie who escapes a terrorist attack by pretending to be dead. But while "pretending" Lizzie travels to the Afterworld and meets some very interesting people.
So, we see Darcy trying to survive in New York, manage her relationships and money, and going through the doubts and struggles of a young writer. The story is very real and touching. We grow to love Darcy and root for her success. We see her through all the ups and downs a young girl first on her own might experience.
We also see Lizzie in a story filled with danger, supernatural beings, and the power to travel to the world people go to after death. We watch Lizzie struggle to figure out what her life is now and how she can survive in it and try to figure out her new powers and what they mean.
This book is fabulous and I really enjoyed it - not what I expected at all from looking at the cover. It was fun to watch Darcy grow up and hear her doubts about her novel. Then we get to read her book in between Darcy's story. It's like two amazing and completely different stories in one book.
I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #55. Is more than 500 pages long. I was worried it would take me too long, but I had a hard time putting it down.
The story presentation was okay. The pacing was odd at certain parts of the books, and the plot is told in a non-linear kind of way. The manga held no punches of what life is like for a courtesan in red-light districts. I strongly remember the lectures the lives of girls sold to brothels (in Japan and abroad) during my Modern Japan class I took last year. The book captures the unglamorous and challenging parts of these women's lives well. Reading about Kiyoha's hardships makes me appreciate that I live in a place where I don't have to go through what she went through and remember the girls who are in Kiyoha's shoes out in today's world.
The artwork was expressive but it was difficult to tell which character was speaking or doing what. I had to re-read some parts to figure out which one is Kiyoha or Mikumo. I eventually figured it out the characters by looking at their eyes, but sometimes that trick doesn't help me all the time. The layout of the word bubbles in a few spots also makes reading difficult due to not telling which character is speaking. It might not be an issue in Japanese because you can tell the characters apart by the way they speak. But in English, the characters sound identical most of the time. I wouldn't be surprised if there were any other readers like me that double check to make sure they got the character right.
The manga gives an unflinching look at the life of oiran with bold artwork that shows off the characters' emotions well with a few hiccups in the story.
Whoa, was this book a wild ride.
I had difficulty getting in the story due to rushed pacing, and it threw me in the middle of Dani's first meeting with the drug dealers. Once the details about how Dani got into contact with the drug dealers and her mom trying to have Dani marry to the king, the story becomes a lot easier to understand.
I thought the world-building was beautiful. It had an excellent balance of providing the right amount of information without rambling on for 10+ pages or having little to none explanation. An example of this great world-building was when Saber explains the war that happened in his home country, how he became Reginald's slave and the way slave system works in the Glitter universe. The way it was written felt natural and didn't sound awkward. However, I wish there was a more detailed explanation of Versailles court etiquette. The map of Versailles in the book was useful to give an idea of how big the building is and compare room sizes. So, I am a little disappointed that there was no similar chart made about the futuristic Versailles court rules and the meaning of the French words. Fortunately, there was enough context in the sentences to get a better idea of what the French words mean.
At first, I thought I was going to dislike Dani. Surprisingly, she has become one of my personal favorite YA main characters. Dani is a complex character compared to a lot of YA characters I've encountered in the past. She has good qualities like caring for her friends and being competent at math. However, Dani has a fair share of flaws like being selfish at times and underestimating a few of her enemies. The story shows why she sometimes does some questionable actions, but she remains a sympathetic character throughout the entire story.
What I also liked about this book was that unlike most recent YA books that are available everywhere, the main character's actions have serious consequences that affect her hard like how she unintentionally kills her mother and her best friend, Molli to name one example. Not to mention, Dani learns the hard way about why she shouldn't put a lot of trust in an immoral drug dealer like Reginald.
I can't believe the book ended at a cliff-hanger. The story was getting to the meaty parts. Fortunately, the sequel is out. So, I will check it out as soon as possible.
Is it safe?
- first sentence
No surprise - it's not safe. At least not for the couple picking up their diamond ring. This is a Lincoln Rhyme novel after all, so there will be plenty of what you might call "unsafe" situations.
Nothing surprising here. This is a well-written crime story with a few twists I didn't see coming. I recently read the first Lincoln Rhyme book and this is the 14th, so things have changed a lot. In the first book, Lincoln consults with the NYPD for the first time while he is considering how to end his life. In this one, Lincoln and Amelia are married, he is a well-known consultant, and he gets around in his wheelchair. The killer in this book is obsessed with diamonds or with engaged couples. We aren't exactly sure at first.
I enjoyed the book and might read another Lincoln Rhyme novel in the future, but there are so many books out there with new ideas and my tbr is overflowing...
I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #43 Characters involved in the law.