Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review: Long Lankin, Lindsey Barraclough

Publisher: Bodley Head Children's Books
Pages: 448
Release: April 2011
Source: E - book bought by me

A chilling, beautiful debut novel inspired by a haunting folk song about murder, witchcraft and revenge. Beware of Long Lankin, that lives in the moss ...When Cora and her little sister Mimi are sent to stay with their elderly aunt in the isolated village of Bryers Guerdon, they receive a less than warm welcome, and are desperate to go back to London. But Auntie Ida's life was devastated the last time two young girls were at Guerdon Hall, and now her nieces' arrival has reawoken an evil that has lain waiting for years. A haunting voice in an empty room ...A strange, scarred man lurking in the graveyard ...A mysterious warning, scrawled on the walls of the abandoned church ...Along with Roger and Peter, two young village boys, Cora must uncover the horrifying truth that has held Bryers Guerdon in its dark grip for centuries - before it is too late for Mimi. Intensely atmospheric and truly compelling, this is a stunning debut.

Unused potensial

I like the idea of basing a novel upon a scary folk song, but this novel is unfortunatly not that scary.

The year is 1959. Cora and Mimi are sisters, and are spending the summer at their aunts place in an old village. They soon discover that they are not welcome here, and their aunts wants them to leave. Her house is not that friendly either. The stairs creak at night, there are chilling paintings on the walls, and the house appears to be haunted. Cora and Mimi get to know two local boys, Roger and Peter, and together they discover something scary on the cemetery. They discover that the village is home to something very special...

I first heard of Long Lankin when I was at the London Book Fair in April this year. The publishers said that it was one of their best titles this spring, and it was supposed to be very, very scary. That triggered my curiosity, and back at my hotelroom I bought the kindle version of the book.

The book starts with the old folk song Barraclough based her story on. A scary song, that is not sutable for the youngest kids:

So he pricked him, he pricked him all over with a pin,
And the nurse held the basin for the blood to flow in

Then th story continues with Cora and Mimi, who are on their way to their aunt. We are told, through Cora's eyes, that they are poor.

The perspective in the book changes between the main characters. Sometimes I liked this, because it made the story progress more rapidly. Other times I found it tiresome. But my main objection about this book is that I didn't find it scary. There is too much time passing before anything thrilling happens, the first 200 pages were a bit slow. I was constantly waiting for something to happen. And when the story really takes off, there is too much going on at once.

There is no question that Barraclough knows how to write a scary story, when we eventually gets to the scarier parts. Those pages would have scared me when I was a child. Maybe the book would have been better if it had been shorter.

I am going to read the next book from this author, but Long Lankin didn't quite do it for me.

Other reviews:
Cively Loves Books
Book Chick City
Writing from the tub

Lindsey Barraclough on Goodreads

The Booktrailer:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Review: Uglies, Scott Westerfeld

Publisher: Schibsted (Norwegian publisher)
Pages: 367
Release: First published in 2005, this edition in 2011
Source: Review copy
Good to know: Uglies was awarded the prize Best Books for Young Adults, when it came out. Fox has optioned the film rights

The tyranny of beauty

Uglies is a thrilling dystopian about what may happen when society gets to obsessed with beauty and good looks. Even though this is a made up story, it may serve as a critical loook at where out society today is headed, if we are not there already...

Tally is looking forward to turning 16 years, because that is when she will get cosmetic surgery and become pretty. Tally's best friend have already had the operation, and she is eager to meet him again in the city where all the beautiful people live. Whilst waiting for the operation, Tally spends her days doing pranks and going out on adventures. One day she meets Shay, and her life will never be the stame. Soon Tally is presented with a dark view on the world she lives in.

Uglies is a pageturner, written in an effective language. The chapters are short, and a lot of them ends with a cliffhanger. This makes the book a read I believe a lot of teens will enjoy. The story is not very obvious, and there is a lot of surprises. The characters are two - dimensional, and has depth.

Uglies is a coming of age story about finding your place in the world and in your own society. It is a book about growing up, and realising that your innocent view on the world has been just to innocent. The book talks about what happens when you leave your childhood behind, and see the world with different eyes. It is a book about friendship and loyalty, and the main character, Tally, is confronted with a lot of difficult choices.

Uglies was written because Westerfeld wanted to help teenageres love themselves. He also wanted to show what may happen if we just tag along and don't ask questions. The extreme reality that is Tally's world, is a harsh reminder of what may happen in a society that favors beauty before other qualities, and where no one can be different. Is that the place our world is going to in the future, or are we already there? The truth is that we live in a world where people can order babies from spermbanks, and where the intelligence and looks of the donor is important. A world where we are able to terminate a pregnancy if there is a prognosis that the baby will not be born healthy.

Our society loves beauty, and the more beautiful you are, the more sucessful your are likely to be. If your are skinny and beautful, you have succeeded in life. But if you are fat and ugly, you are look upon as lazy and as a loser.

Uglies makes us reflect on important questions, and that makes the book, not just a thrilling read, but also an important story well worth spending some time with.

To change the world, we need to start with our selves. Maybe this book can make you take one step in the right direction.

Other reviews:
Rhapsody in books
Teen Reads
25 Hour Books

Scott Westerfeld's website
Westerfeld on Goodreads

Monday, July 4, 2011

Music Monday, Scandinavian Version (4)

Welcome to Music Monday, Scandinavian Version, where I share some of the Scandinavian songs I listen to at the moment.

Darin: Lovekiller:

Darin is a Swedish artist, and this song is from his latest album. The woman in the video is not Angelina Jolie, even though she resembles her a lot.

Here is a coverversion of Darin's song, song by Mo:

Atle Pettersen: Shine

Atle came in second in last years X - Factor here in Norway. This is his new single.

Have a nice week everyone, and happy 4t of July America!
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