book reviews

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review
43453718._SY475_The Deathless Girls 
by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Rating: XXX

Published September 19th 2019 by Orion Children’s Books

Gothic, intoxicating, feminist, darkly provoking and deeply romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

A few months ago now I heard about a new feminist teen YA series from Hachette Children’s Group, called Bellatrix with an aim to “engage readers with stories, voices and characters that demand to be heard in the modern world”, said the publisher. Then at YALC I saw that one of the first titles would be The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, the gorgeous cover pulled me in and when I read it was a feminist retelling of the brides of Dracula I was giddy with excitement! As such, I requested it on Netgalley as soon as I was able and I finally read it this week (my backlog is immense people).

First off, I would like to say that The Deathless Girls is well written. I enjoyed the narrative style, the world was, although hugely similar to a lot of fantasy YA books has great potential as did the characters who I think I could have grown to become attached to but it was just..missing something? (slight spoiler incoming) If you had asked me what that was at around 60% I would have said, Vampires. It was missing vampires. “But”…I would have said, “don’t worry they’re coming soon, I know it!”

There are mentions and tidbits spread throughout a lot of the book that kept edging me on and thinking “the vampire stuff can’t be far off now, stuff is gonna go dooown.” As a result, I read this fairly quickly but in reflection, it feels like this was because the plot was effectively a carrot on a stick, teasing something that, in my mind at least, it just failed to deliver.

The Deathless Girls is not inherently a bad book and I’m not sure if it is purely my own expectation that ruined it for me because it sounded amazing and I did enjoy it as I read it, I almost felt invested and but it just ended up falling short. I feel it really needed to elaborate on that ending.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave is out now and although I didn’t enjoy quite like I thought I would plenty of other people have and maybe it will be your thing too? If you enjoyed The Deathless Girls, sound off in the comments and tell me what you loved about it!

 

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday – September 25th 2019

www wednesday

My reading has been stagnant for a few weeks now while I’ve been reading Darkdawn but I’ve finally finished it now and so I can move on! I was excited to get a lot more reading done but it turns out I’ve got a horrid cold my husband brought home last week and so I’ve just been moping around feeling sorry for myself while occasionally playing animal crossing to cheer me up in between looking after Nate who has also caught it! I’m still making progress though and so I invite you to check out my fortnightly WWW Wednesday post and hear about what I’ve been reading and what I plan to read next.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading The Deathless Girls by Kiran Milgrave Harwood. I’m only about 20% of the way through at the moment and I’ve enjoyed the writing style but nothing hugely interesting has happened yet although there have been little hints here and there of what’s to come possibly. In case you haven’t heard of The Deathless Girls before it’s a tagged as a feminist retelling of the story of the Bridges of Dracula.

What did you recently finish reading?

Obviously Darkdawn but since then I’ve also finished NPC Tea – Vol Six by Sarah Milman (Issues one – six available here). “NPC Tea is about Cardiff’s least popular tea shop, Y Ddraig, run by a perfectionist elf and a disgruntled fire summon. When a magicless human discovers Y Ddraig’s secret and a type of banned magic rears its ugly head, caddies upon caddies of rotting tea become the least of their worries as the entire city of Cardiff is threatened with destruction!” I think volume six may have been my absolute favourite issue so far! There were some lovely sweet moments, much blushing and a nice healthy dose of danger too! Things are really hotting up with the penultimate issue seven out imminently, ahh I don’t want it to end!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Unless NPC Volume seven turns up before I finish The Deathless Girls then it’ll almost certainly be Angel Mage by Garth Nix. I’m really excited to read this new dive into adult fantasy AND it’s a standalone novel which I’m so here for right now. I’ve seen some describe the book as a cross of The Three Muskateers and Joan of Arc which sounds very much up my streets (I was obsessed with The Man in the Iron Mask and The Messenger: Joan of Arc when I was a teenager) so I can’t wait to get stuck in, plus I’m taking part in the blog tour towards the end of the month!

Have you read any of the books featured today? What are you reading at the moment? What have you read recently? Let me know and I’ll reply from my sickbed as much as I can. Keep an eye out for a new book tag coming tomorrow!

spoiler free, WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday September 11th 2019

Another fortnight has come and gone and I’m underprepared as usual (7am on a Wednesday morning instead of 8am is an improvement though neh? (Gone are those days too as now little man is at school 8am is a much more frantic time and leaves no room for panicked blogging! On the bright side, WWW Wednesday is a fun, easy post as I just talk about what I’ve read and what I want to read next and is probably one of my favourites.

If you want to join in with WWW don’t forget to send over a big thank you to Sam at Taking on a World of Words for keeping WWW alive and kicking.

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

As I’m sure you’re sick of hearing about now, I’m currently reading Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff (still). I’m making pretty slow going with it, not because I’m not enjoying it as it definitely as the least draggy start of all three books but I’m just so short on time to read at the moment and I defintley don’t want to rush this one, I feel like it needs to be savoured.

What did you recently finish reading?

I actually managed to squeeze in The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill and, much like it’s predecessor, it’s an absolute work of art.  I think it may actually be my favourite of the two! It comes out next week and my spoiler-free review will go live on the same day. Prepare for more tea dragon cuteness!

What do you think you’ll read next?

Probably The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave. I’m on a big vampire kick at the moment and have honestly just been rewatching Moonlight (slightly angsty vampire TV show from the 00’s and one of my favourites) in between battling the urge to read fanfic for the past week so I think some a fresh vampire story can only be a good thing, I’m so glad they seem to be “back in” for YA now!

What are you reading at the moment? Is anyone else still currently reading Darkdawn or is it just me now? Have you read The Deathless Girls? If so let me know what you thought! Feel free to link me to any spoiler-free reviews about it as I’d love to check them out. Have a great Wednesday!

 

spoiler free, tbr thursday

TBR Thursday – September 2019

tbr Thursday.png

My little boy started school yesterday and although granted, I do spend most of the time he’s there (he’s only doing short days for a while) I spend most of it doing housework at the moment to help our poor flat recover from the six weeks holiday I’ve realised I’ll have time to READ and listen to audiobooks and eventually I might even be able to go swimming again!! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, I’ve planned a suitably (hopefully) achievable TBR for September which will see my kindle getting a good amount of use as I try to get through my NetGalley backlog! Also, did I mention…

DARKDAWN by Jay Kristoff
IT IS HERE I HAVE MY COPY AND IM READY TO VIBRATE ONTO ANOTHER PLAIN OF EXISTENCE I’M SO EXCITED.
(The third and final book in the Nevernight Chronicles. I am not ready).

The Boneships by RJ Barker
You might remember that I got very over-excited about a new project RJ Barker told us about at the MCM Blogger Brunch back in May, this is it and I’m lucky enough to have received an early finished copy to dig my teeth into. I’m hoping that the Darkdawn hangover isn’t too great and I can get right into this as soon as possible.

The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Another book I’ve been excited about for a while, The Deathless Girls is the untold story of the brides of Dracula and a concept I’ve been interested in since the cheesy Van Helsing film with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckingsale in from way back when. I can’t wait!

Imaginary Friend by Stephen Chbosky
The new novel by the author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower promises to be different, unnerving and spooky from what I’ve read of the sample I’ve already read, just in time to be a perfect creepy Autumn read!

Hex Life Anthology by Kelly Armstrong, Rachel Caine and many more
Hoping I’m not being too ambitious with five books for this month but would really love to get stuck into Hex Life, a witchy anthology including short stories from some of my favourite paranormal romance etc authors!