Review

Review: After the Silence (Amsterdam Quartet #1) by Jake Woodhouse

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1 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I may not read the genre that often, but I do enjoy a good crime novel. Sadly, After the Silence is not one of these.

I picked it up initially because it was set in Amsterdam, and I’m always eager to read more books set in the Netherlands. However, the setting here is completely inconsequential: it could literally be set anywhere else in the world and it would make zero difference. We get some Dutch names, a few well-known locations in Amsterdam but otherwise you could just transport it anywhere else, which was a real shame. Not as much of a shame, however, as the absolutely atrocious characters that After the Silence contains, every single one a horrible, horrible stereotype:

  • The main character is a cop who had a career changing tragic moment pre-book, which we get to see in badly timed flashbacks. Since then he left the force, went to Japan and ‘found himself’, and came back.
  • The main female cop is constantly objectified by her colleagues, her soon to be boss makes lewd suggestions about how she might rise through the ranks and SHE DOES NOTHING ABOUT IT. This is so infuriating. She’s clearly a tough lady, judging by what she’s been through and what she does for a living, so why does she put up with this crap?
  • There’s the cocaine addicted, homophobic, racist and misogynistic cop who I’m supposed to somehow feel sorry for?? Er, no. No thanks.
  • Literally every policeman (and I say man, because Tanya is the ONLY female cop in the Netherlands apparently) is racist and homophobic and misogynistic and it made me SO ANGRY.

 

I can’t even really comment too much on what happens. It wasn’t a particularly special crime novel, there were no stunning twists or big reveals, and I was mostly just distracted by how disgusting these characters were, these people who were meant to be protecting society. And if it’s not bad enough, of course Jaap and Tanya hook up, because how on earth could a male and female cop work together without that happening? I spent the entire duration of this book feeling very angry, and the only positive was that it was at least quick to read, and needless to say I won’t be searching out the next one in the series.

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Review

Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

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1 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Me throughout most of this book?

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Yeah. Where to begin? First of all, let’s address the fact that NOWHERE is it explained why Kitty’s society is like this. The people are ‘ranked’ on their seventeenth birthday, given a number from I to VI, with VII only applying to the President and his family. If you’re anything below a III, then it pretty much means you disappear from society in ~mysterious circumstances~. GEE I WONDER WHAT THEY COULD BE? Why does no-one question this?!

The only background information that we get for why this system is in place is because the economy crashed. Sorry, what? Did the people turn feral the moment Wall Street went down? How did everything get built back up? Why are the ranks the best solution? Why can people only have one child? Answers on a postcard, please.

Major issue #2: the ranking system is a big con and NO-ONE REALISES IT. Seriously. If you’re a higher ranking member of society, you’ll be able to access better facilities including healthcare and education. So if you’re raised in a Rank IV environment, you will receive a worse education than those raised in Rank V and VI, meaning you’re more likely to get stuck in that system, then repeat with your children, their children, etc. How has no-one in this society worked this out? That was my immediate thought as soon as I read about the rankings. Kitty is later told this is how it works and is all like ‘Oh yeah that explains it!’… really Kitty, really. No wonder you were marked a Rank III.

And major issue #3, the thing that SERIOUSLY pissed me off and made me want to slap some sense into Kitty?

She would rather become a prostitute to stay near her boyfriend than be given a safe job and be sent to another state.

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I just… yeah. That should have set off the alarm bells really. At first I thought their relationship seemed okay, Benjy was someone Kitty had grown up with so it wasn’t insta-love, she wasn’t all despondent about the idea of them being different ranks and it seemed she was thinking more of Benjy’s feelings than their romance. And then she does a complete 180 and makes this ridiculous decision and I just immediately gave up on her as a character.

Oh, there were so many other reasons… Kitty’s virginity is being sold off after she makes her truly awesome decision of becoming a prostitute to keep her teen romance alive, and she is bought by the President. He needs her because she has the same eyes as his niece – who died a week before in a skiing accident. Apparently they can do all this ridiculous surgery to completely transform someone, but the eyes can’t be changed! Contacts? What are they? So yeah, Kitty is ‘bought’, smuggled out of the brothel and wakes up a week later completely transformed. And she really doesn’t seem that freaked out by the fact that these people have abducted her and utterly changed her appearance into that of Lila Hart, the President’s niece, without her consent. Cool.

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AND THEN OH GOD THERE’S MORE.

Lila has a fiancee. A fiancee that Kitty now has to marry, as Lila. A fiancee that I can see her eventually falling in love with and then oh no LOVE TRIANGLE. Towards the end of the book she also has to do something really big in order to save her life and those of whom she loves, and she chickens out halfway – where is her sense of self-preservation?! It really frustrates me when people talk big about how they will protect their loved ones, but they can never go through with it. And one final thing – I am expecting the next book or somewhere in the series to reveal that Kitty’s parents were VIs or even VIIs and therefore she is ~special~. But I won’t know, because I won’t be reading book number two, no thank you.

Review

Review: Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

I had read reviews of this book on Goodreads, and as I’m a sucker for YA paranormal romance, I thought I’d give it a try – and the next day, found it in a charity shop for 80p. 

My first thought when looking at this book was Twilight – the cover, the font, the plot. Little list of similarities:

  • Nora and Patch meet in Biology class
  • he wants to kill her AND seduce her
  • she finds him dangerous, yet attractive
  • Patch has to ‘rescue’ her from a trip to the nearest big town/city where she cleverly went off by herself

And there are a lot of other similarities, but also some differences.

For one, Nora isn’t as annoying a character. She’s not a Mary Sue, but it almost feels like the author was trying too hard to make her ‘quirky’ – writes poetry in secret, plays the cello, only listens to baroque music. She is however, plain stupid. And is apparently applying to Stanford, Harvard and Yale. And then of course there’s the token annoying best friend, who is a ‘typical’ teenage girl (although I don’t actually know many teenagers who act like these typical teenage girls…).

Patch was a seriously disturbing character. If you thought Edward Cullen was twisted, wait until you meet this guy. He is manipulative, abusive and just plain nasty. I’m not sure what it is with these paranormal romances, but when did treating someone like that equate to caring for them? There’s looking out for someone, and then there’s… that.

Then there was the situation in Biology class near the beginning, where Nora’s teacher essentially puts her on the spot and asks very personal, humiliating questions, and Patch plays along. I’m not sure what teacher would ever think that sort of thing was okay, but I’m sure if they actually did it, it would result in their dismissal.

I did notice a couple of mistakes. There is one point where Nora is in Patch’s Jeep, and decides to look through his glove compartment for more information on him. She mentions how even just his cell phone number would be good enough – but she already has it. He wrote it on her hand on the first day.

Overall, no the book was not original. It’s a very overused format, but instead of vampires or whatever we have fallen angels. Cookie cutter characters, very simple writing – yet honestly, I just kept reading. I’m not sure if it was because it was simple and therefore a quick read, because I just wanted to get it over and done with, or because I actually enjoyed it despite all the wrong moral messages it sends out, but I finished this book in just a couple of hours.

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