Written by Estelle Laure
Published January 12th 2016
Thank you to Hachette Australia
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How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend's admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend's unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is holding it together, just.
A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.
This Raging Light follows the story of Lucille, who's mother left she and younger sister Wren for an emotional reprieve and neither daughter has heard from their mother since. The bills are mounting and Lucille only being seventeen, needs to put her life on hold and become a parent at such a tender age, or risk losing the only family she now has. I felt for Lucille, shouldered with more responsibility than any child at her age should bear, their mother hadn't been the same since their father walked out after breaking down, resentful that his family relied upon him and had ruined his carefree life. Lucille knows she can't ask for help and risk intervention from the authorities, especially with Wren believing their mother will eventually return.
Lucille is in love with Digby, having grown up together as children. But Digby is in a long term relationship and even with Eden warning her friend not to become involved, she ignores Eden and pursues him. Digby is nothing short of an asshole, he not only continues to encourage Lucille's feelings but also reciprocates, barely mentioning his long term girlfriend who seems to be conveniently absent while he becomes Lucille's chauffeur. Deception aside, I couldn't invest in their connection. Having known one another for years, he chooses when Lucille is at her lowest point to confess he has feelings for her? Nothing a swift kick to the testicles won't fix. If your mother walks out making you an instant parent, the last thing you'd be thinking about is wrapping yourself around anyone, never mind this asshole.
There is no doubt that Lucille is struggling with her new found parenthood, I loved her determination to take the financial reins of their situation and ensure that Wren would be able to remain in her own home with a sense of normality, even when their predicament was anything but. But I found aspects of Lucille's personality infuriating. Her deception, but also that she was incredibly irresponsible at times with leaving Wren in the middle of the night after often falling asleep distraught just to meet Eden. To talk. Honestly, I wouldn't ask this girl to take care of a house plant while I was in the next room.
Wren was absolutely gorgeous. Obsessed with the Food Network, she was such a lovely character and I would have loved to have seen the storyline as told through her thoughts.
While I did enjoy it, the storyline, was far too busy. A father that was institutionalised, a missing mother, a complicated romance, the mystery surrounding a good samaritan that was helping Lucille out in her time of need and an accident that really wasn't necessary. It was a little too much and created excess drama which I felt stunted character growth.
This Raging Light was a light and quick read, even given the seriousness of the storyline. Although I couldn't connect with Lucille or the romance between she and Digby, Wren was the shining light in an otherwise morally murky storyline. Much more suited for the younger teen audience, I did enjoy glimpses of Estelle Laure's often lyrical and fearless style of writing. Sometimes less really is more, but with an incredibly open ended final page, I am looking forward to seeing what happens to Lucille and Wren. But hopefully Digby will go missing and never to be heard of again.
The Final Verdict
Contains spoilers for Splintered, Unhinged and Ensnared
Written by A. G. Howard
Retelling, Fantasy, Romance
Published January 1st 2016
Thank you to Thames and Hudson Australia
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Alyssa Gardner went down the rabbit hole and took control of her destiny. She survived the battle for Wonderland and the battle for her heart. In this collection of three novellas, join Alyssa and her family as they look back at their memories of Wonderland.In Six Impossible Things, Alyssa recalls the most precious moments of her life after Ensnared, and the role magic plays in preserving the happiness of those she loves. Alyssa’s mother reminisces about her own time in Wonderland and rescuing the man who would become her husband in The Boy in the Web. And Morpheus delves into Jeb’s memories of the events of Splintered in The Moth in the Mirror, available in print for the first time.This collection expands upon Ensnared's epilogue, and includes some deleted scenes to provide a 'director’s cut' glimpse into the past and futures of our favorite Splintered characters.
I absolutely adored A. G. Howard's Splintered series, an Alice in Wonderland retelling where Alyssa finds herself in the role of a new and edgier version of Alice Liddell, who is also incidentally her grandmother. Imagine a Wonderland where the White Rabbit is rabid skin and bones, where Queens reign and battle for supremacy while children are taken, and only Alyssa can regenerate the dying landscape and take her rightful place as Queen.
Untamed is a companion novel featuring three stories to transport readers back into A. G. Howard's reimagined world. The Boy in the Web is Alyssa's mothers story, sharing how she met her husband and Alyssa's father, her mental health and being placed within an asylum and protecting her only daughter. She's now enjoying life again, but fears for Alyssa's well being and the wicked that Wonderland can create. The Moth in the Mirror follows the rivalry of Jeb and Morpheus, as each battle for Alyssa's affections. Told in alternating points of view, the two alpha males bond over past memories and Jeb's muse to resurrect Morpheus' dying Wonderland.
But by far the most engaging story is Six Impossible Things, the story readers have been waiting for. It tells the story of Alyssa's eternity and it was nothing short of lovely to revisit the dark and magical landscape... And Morpheus. It's the finale I wish had been explored for Ensnared, the Queen taking her rightful place beside Morpheus and together, ruling over Wonderland. The two still share a familiarity, with Morpheus having prepared Alyssa for her rightful reign within her dreams while her waking hours were devoted to Jeb and the life they had shared with one another. As Alyssa recalls a long life of love and contentment, we learn more about what happened after the final page of Ensnared was turned, her family, her life and the moments that defined her as a devoted daughter, friend, wife and as a mother herself. It was poignant and emotional, but I loved each moment she shared with readers.
The Final Verdict
MORPHEUS. Like previous installments, yet again the world building is vivid and delicious and although I couldn't connect to Alyssa's mother and her story, I appreciated how each character within the series felt complete. There are a few unexpected surprises woven throughout, which only added to my anticipation of what I was waiting for... Morpheus and his own happy ending.
Kelly is a part time crime fighter, a dairy connoisseur and possibly the best dancer the world has ever seen. She's also combining a few reviews into one post, to clear her backlog of reviews in draft.
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