Monday, 7 September 2015

What Lies Within - James Morris

Yo Guys!

Just a quick note to ya’ll!
I am so sorry I’ve been so distanced from the blog lately I’ve been in one of the most stressful predicaments of my life  - I’ve move to Uni! :D
So far in in my first few weeks and it’s going great! London has really been one of the kindest cities I’ve visited so far J
This is mostly the reason why I’ve been so preoccupied and had such little time to read/review.

But now I’m slowly getting settled and I am getting a good reading vibe back!

Thank you so much for being so considerate with us being so terrible at putting up reviews for books! We are still doing them just life becomes priority number 1 sometimes.

Anyways! Back on with the show:
Today I’m here to review What Lies Within by James Morris.

Now if you’ve heard of James Morris; then you will know that he is originally a Scriptwriter most notoriously known for his episode of Smallville ‘Static’.
So you could imagine my excitement when I opened an email from him!
I generally read and re-read the email about 5 times haha just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

Here’s an excerpt from the blurb:
Shelley Marano is an ordinary, unexceptional high school senior…until the day she receives a cryptic text message, and her world tilts sideways. Now she’s in real danger, although she doesn’t know who would want her dead, or why. As she starts to unravel the mystery, the truth about who she really is proves to be more frightening than she ever imagined. With the lives of her and her friends hanging in the balance.
***Disclaimer – Going to be a little bit of swearing in this one***

I did enjoy this book; though I enjoyed it for reasons I normally wouldn’t enjoy a book for.

The main reason I did like this book was because it felt episodic.
Every chapter felt like we were picking up a brand new episode and it was very freshly done! The story was enticing and was very well developed.

The first third of the book was kind of lacking in the writing department, which made it fly by. The writing was so simple and static that I did just fly through it, now that necessarily isn’t a bad thing – but looking at it from a readers perspective it was really struggling to push myself to continue it, wanting the writing to become a little more solid and plot focused which would make me think more.

Two thirds of the way into the book and we finally started to see the more plot-heavy, thick writing that every reader enjoys from a Crime/Thriller book!
The settings and the descriptions of people, places and scenarios were very well detailed and described even more so than characters emotions. This was something that grinded me a little; as much as I enjoyed the detail, I felt like we were missing a crucial connection with the characters and this made them more wooden and just characters instead of these people we need to care for.

After a few more chapters (still within two thirds of the book) we finally start to see some awesome character progression.
I finally started to grow slightly attached to the characters and their problems, especially Winston!

During the last third of the book is when everything became a great build up it became both super intense and super dramatic.
The writing became much more chilling and gruesome during this final third, I did like the subtle switch from a teen-y styled crime book to a full out gore-fest! :D

The ending was very obvious, I guess?
Like I generally expected and called everything that happened, which made it a little anti-climactic.

Okay so the main reason why I enjoyed the story is because even though the author is originally a Scriptwriter, he handled his first novel well and he created a nicely crafted world, which in my opinion, he moulded greatly.
The writing and descriptions were amazing and the detail put in to actually give you a nice imagery for your mind was really full and filling.

The characters, to me, were a very mixed bag.

In the beginning of the book, the characters to me were just that; Characters. There weren’t any outstanding traits or qualities that made them jump from the pages.

The first three characters we are introduced to are Winston, Shelley and Shelley’s Dad.

Winston is the lovesick, comic relief of the book; he is in deep love with Shelley but she doesn’t know it or acknowledges it. He’s a little bit of a wimp at heart though.

Shelley is a feisty and brave 16/17-year-old woman, She is also the protagonist of the story!
I liked Shelley but she was so wooden and wound so tightly that she was literally a puppet to the authors will.

Shelley’s Dad is your typical Dad, caring, comforting and always there.
I did enjoy his character as he kind of served as the buoy in Shelley’s storm.
As we progressed further into the books and as the madness within unwound upon Shelley, we start to see new characters emerge and the two older characters become slightly different.

Winston is still the comic relief just this time creating more of a ‘macho’ persona for himself; he becomes more confused about his feelings and is more drawn to work with her in fear of her getting hurt.
I do like Winston as he reminded me of me, weird, witty and just downright paranoid about everything!

Shelley on the other hand though seemed to not know how to control her emotions. Which I really liked?
The nature of the story sent her spiralling out of control, I mean if you found out you were adopted for some sort of experiment you would too be all over the place with thousands of thoughts blasting through your mind.

Shelley’s Dad pretty much stayed the same honestly.

A new character that really pissed me off was Remy.

I literally have nothing nice to say about him. How he used his own broken childhood to get to Shelley and then to just use it to have sex with her… cold man.

And in the final third we witness a few more new characters.
First off though:

I like Winston, he’s cool :) he’s your typical ‘good-guy’ character who is madly in love with the main girl, I don’t normally fall for that cliché, but with the way the author has written Winston it makes it bearable and quite enjoyable to read.

Shelley starts to hit breaking point at this moment and I really enjoyed this huge change of Shelley’s demeanour, from being this confident – cool woman to becoming this frail, paranoid lady who was always looking over her shoulder.

When Shelley and Winston talk now has become one of my favourite parts of this book, as to when they did back at the start.
The character progression for Shelley and Winston, it felt like a real teenage discussion with all the right emotions and the right speech patterns.

Remy though… Fuck Remy man; I really thought he’d be more of a careful soul, a reassuring person; not some sex-driven eighteen year old who thinks getting laid is the best excuse to cure Shelley’s problems by ‘Making her feel better’. Arsehole.

Shelley’s Dad, you arse; I really liked you!!! You were kind and sweet and funny and caring…. You changed man… you changed.
Again I understand why he thought she was crazy or deluded, but the first instinct for a parent is to help them, not have them locked up in a psych ward, which could loosen their brain more.

Overall, the characters were good – just they began very wooden like and then slowly progressed.

In the end; I did enjoy this book, though there was a few flaws, as it was a quick read and I enjoyed the detail that the author included to everything.

Thank you all for reading this review! :D

And again, sorry for lack of communication and blog posts – been super busy!

See ya on the flip side guys,

Another quick little add-on; I’m going to Gollancz fest in London in October; it’s going to be awesome!
I’ll be posting a small review of what it was like, what I got and what authors wee there!
If any of you are coming to Gollancz then I hope you enjoy it!
I went to the one last year and it was such a great day! Patrick Rothfuss certainly became one of my favourite people while reading his review of Esio Trot!


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