Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. White

Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. WhiteA Path Begins (The Thickety #1) by J.A. White
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 6th 2014
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Hand in hand, the witch's children walked down the empty road.
When Kara Westfall was six years old, her mother was convicted of the worst of all crimes: witchcraft. Years later, Kara and her little brother, Taff, are still shunned by the people of their village, who believe that nothing is more evil than magic . . . except, perhaps, the mysterious forest that covers nearly the entire island. It has many names, this place. Sometimes it is called the Dark Wood, or Sordyr's Realm. But mostly it's called the Thickety.
The black-leaved trees swayed toward Kara and then away, as though beckoning her.
The villagers live in fear of the Thickety and the terrible creatures that live there. But when an unusual bird lures Kara into the forbidden forest, she discovers a strange book with unspeakable powers. A book that might have belonged to her mother.
And that is just the beginning of the story.
The Thickety: A Path Begins is the start of a thrilling and spellbinding tale about a girl, the Thickety, and the power of magic.

I absolutely LOVED reading this book. It brought nostalgic feelings of being a little girl reading fairy-tales in the basement of my school library or under the covers in the comfort of my bed. At almost 500 pages long it could be considered a big book, but with its enchanting eeriness and creepy ode to the classic fairy tale you will want to finish it in one sitting while completely  enveloping yourself in the story.

My signed copy of The Thickety by J.A. White
My signed copy of The Thickety by J.A. White

I received this book at BEA (Book Expo America)/BookCon, where I was fortunate enough to meet the author and get it signed.  Mr. White was very nice, a fellow Whovian (Doctor Who fan) and lover of fairy tales. This book had been on our enormous spreadsheet for our BEA trip this past May, and it was a MUST have for me. The minute you place the word “fairy tale” in any summary discussing a new book/story, you usually have my immediate attention, also the cover art is GORGEOUS and that alone would have strung at the strings to my artist heart. Okay! Enough about that…let’s get back to the book! Continue reading “Book Review: The Thickety (A Path Begins- Book 1) by J.A. White”

four-half-stars

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah KentBurial Rites by Hannah Kent
on September 10th 2013
Genres: Fiction, HIstorical, Literary
Pages: 314
Goodreads
three-stars

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.
Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Here is my book confession:

Sometimes, I read books because I like their covers and I just dive right in without reading what the book is about. Though I did not read anything about the actual story, I did keep hearing people talk about this book and how great it was, which lead to me reading it.  It is possible that if I had realized this book was based on actual real tragic events and filled with injustice, I might have not read it. The subject matter is bleak. Agnes is charged with the murder of her former master and his friend. She is scheduled to be executed, and this is the story of her last days.

Let’s start with the good points

  • Brilliantly written from beginning to end was Hannah Kent’s debut novel, and I must say she is a lovely writer.
  • Set in Iceland- A gorgeous setting…who doesn’t love Iceland?
  • Meticulously researched – The amount of research that went into this book is simply incredible. The author really dug deep into the archives of the families involved and the language.
  • A good sense of place/time- I felt like I was there, and I love it when an author can make me feel the “period”especially in novels taking place in far off places, and times. You really get a sense of the hardship of the times and what people in that era had to deal with, some more than others.
  • The depiction of how unfair life was for women, especially those who were poor or born into servitude was done very accurately.

Here are my issues with the book:

  • Sometimes Agnus’s rantings (either to the Reverand Toti or in her own head) seemed to go on forever, which would depress even the most joyous of readers.
  • Though very well written, this book was very bleak, gloomy and hopeless.
  • Urine, dung, sweat, are mentioned…often.
  • The character development was just not there for me. I wanted to like Agnus, but I just couldn’t. I felt sorry for her, and for the injustices against her, but I could not really “like” her. The relationships between the characters seemed under developed.
  • The book started very slow, and sometimes dragged on, but closer to the end it picked up but then there was so much information “told” to you that it felt rushed.
  • The hype for this book did not match up to what I expected.

Overall the book was okay. I probably would not read it again. It simply did not hit me in the right spots. This does not mean that I have given up on this promising author. I would definitely give Hannah Kent another try, and I look forward to her next book.  Hopefully, it will be a more cheerful read.

 

**This review was originally posted on Reading In The Tardis**

three-stars