Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Book Review | The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

"Ori's dead because of what happened out behind the theatre, in the tunnel made out of trees. She's dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me."

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices - one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there's Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls' juvenile detention centre, there's Amber, locked up for so long she can't imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls' darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber's story and Violet's, and through them Orianna's, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we beging to get the whole picture - which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other." (synopsis and cover from (x)

When I saw that Nova Ren Suma had a new book coming out, I clicked the request button without even reading the premise. That is how big a fangirl I am about Nova Ren Suma. Unfortunately I was left with very mixed feelings.

Violet is a ballerina on her way to Julliard, her whole life ahead of her. Amber is in jail for allegedly murdering her abusive step-father. She also happens to be dead. The two are linked by one person: Orianna. Violet's best friend, and Amber's cellmate. But Orianna shouldn't be in jail, and only through Violet and Amber are we able to learn why.

The Walls Around Us opens with a bang and it took me a fair few chapters before the shock would stop. Ok, I will admit that perhaps I should've read the premise. But the cacophony of words left me with a lot of lingering confusion.

I'll start with the one thing I utterly adored. The writing. This comes as no shock to anybody who knows me. Suma's style is remarkable and her writing still manages to make me speechless, even after three books. Its lyrical quality is something I very deeply aspire to. If there's anything you should read this for, it's the writing.

And this is where the positives end, unfortunately.

Pacing-wise, The Walls Around Us was something I found very easy to put down. It just didn't capture my attention, and I think it's in part due to my detachment towards the characters.

I wasn't a fan of them. Violet in particular, I found nasty and wholly unsympathetic. This isn't usually an issue for me, but it unfortunately didn't work in this book.

As I mentioned above, I also found the book mildly disorientating. It certainly didn't last the entirety of the novel, but it did last as long as it took me to properly read the premise.

It really pains me that I didn't love this as much as I wanted to. While the writing was a stand-out element, I found everything else to be lacking. 2 stars.

Rating: ** (2 Stars)
Publication Date: 24th of March 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Want to buy this? You can get it here:
Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC.

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