Someone Like Me by M.R. Carey

Posted On 12 November 2018

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Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Woman wearing a red hoodie by a river

Someone Like Me is such a difficult book to review.  I don’t want to give away spoilers or ruin the read for others and whilst that might sound like a bunch of excuses I mean it most sincerely.  It would be like somebody telling you the ending to The Sixth Sense and completely spoiling the final reveal, you know that feeling, where you finish something and then you have to start casting back asking questions, looking for missed breadcrumbs or clues – that’s what this book makes you do.  I mean, in fairness, this isn’t so much a final reveal as a bunch of reveals – but still, the sentiment remains the same.  Check out the blurb for the book and the cover even – they’re a pair of sneaky suckers aren’t they?  They’re giving nothing away and neither am I.  I think the biggest clue that we have here is in the title – and I realise I’m being evasive and the title could mean a number of things but there is a clue in there – of course it’s easy for me to say that now, all superior like, with the benefit of having read the book, but that’s all I’ve got.  Read the book. Go on.  Do it.

MR Carey is such a great author.  I love that his books are never what you expect or more to the point they’re all so completely different that you actually don’t even know what to expect in the first place.  It would be difficult to ever put this author in any particular category.  I like that in my favourite authors – pigeon-hole immunity.  Mr Carey has that in spades.  Obviously it helps that his writing is excellent too but picking up one of his books is almost unnerving because you just don’t know what it’s going to be about and the sense of anticipation is quite delicious.

What I can say is I loved this.  It made for compulsive reading and I read it in two days which for a book that sits at just over 500 pages is some going.  I mean this wasn’t just compulsive, it was nail bitingly good.  All the cliches – name them – I couldn’t put it down, I read into the early hours, I was on the edge of my seat.  Yes, yes, yes.  All of those things and then some.

So, what can I safely tell you.

Well, the book follows two main characters.  Two characters with two things in common.  Firstly, they’ve both suffered traumatic events.  Secondly, they both share the same therapist.

Liz is a divorced mother of two.  Her ex husband is manipulative and controlling and he used to use Liz as his own personal punch bag.  She’s a likable character, her neighbours and colleagues rally around her and her two children adore her.  She can come across as a little bit weak but to be honest the gradual spiral into domestic violence that her relationship eventually took would be enough to wear anyone down.  Starting with mental abuse and eventually becoming physical it took a lot for Liz to finally walk away and in fact she really took the step to protect her children, not herself.

Fran is a teenage girl.  When she was a little girl she was abducted by a man named Picota and was missing for a couple of days before the police found her.  Her abductor is now held in a state facility after being deemed mentally unstable.  Fran still suffers a great deal from the attack experiencing nightmares and hallucinations.  She has an imaginary friend named Jinx, a protector and cartoon character from an old favourite show about knights and codes of honour.  I think everyone is going to love Jinx.  Trust me on this one.

There are a number of other significant characters.  Liz’s ex husband Marc for example, the children, Fran’s father, the therapist and what really worked for me is how well the dynamics are between them all.  They’re believable characters.  They’re relatable.  They’re imperfect.  They have typical lives, some of the time quite bland but they’re basically getting on with living – it’s almost like you’re reading about the normal lives of normal people but before you get too comfortable (aka just as you’re getting comfortable) Carey pops in a little seed of something different and before you know it it’s grown into something else that’s totally unexpected and chilling and you have to read more, you have to know what’s going to happen next, things have gone to hell in a handcart in fairly short order and you really didn’t see it coming – and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Send help.  And who is this other character who I shall not mention?

I’m not really sure what else I can tell you.  This is partly mystery, partly thriller, partly magical realism.  It’s subtle and unusual.  The writing is excellent, the pacing is good and the ending is tense.  I wouldn’t say the concept is totally unique, I’ve read or watched similar things but to be honest this one takes the idea in it’s own direction and one that I didn’t foresee.

I think if you’re expecting a straight up, no nonsense, no para-normal elements type of read then this might not be for you – although, I would say, cast aside any pre-determined notions and give it a shot anyway.  It’s a really great story and it defied my attempts at second guessing what was going on.  I  started out thinking maybe this was a look at mental health issues, I had a moment of maybe thinking it’s a ‘what if/Sliding Doors’ type of story but I eventually realised that whilst both of those have a part in the story they’re not the complete picture.

I’m sorry if this isn’t helpful.  All I can hope that you take from this review is that I thoroughly loved reading this and I hope you will too.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

 

 

 

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Weekly Wrap Up : 11th November 2018

Posted On 11 November 2018

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Howdy everyone.  Hope you’ve all been having a good week.  My plans have kind of gone out the window in many ways but it really doesn’t matter does it?  Plans are like rules – made for breaking? I’ve read four books this week, which sounds like a lot of reading but in fact I did start two of these books the previous week so I was just finishing things I’d already started – although I now need to do some more catching up with reviews of course.  I’ve had some very good reading.  I went off plan a little although I did read three of the books on my list so I’m not going to beat myself up.  I loved the second Heartstone book – it was great.  An Easy Death was very easy going and what I’ve come to expect from Charlaine Harris and Shadow of the Fox was a great Japanese inspired fantasy quest.  MR Carey’s Someone Like Me – I couldn’t resist picking it up and it was compelling indeed.  So, my books this past week:

  1. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
  2. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
  3. Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White
  4. Someone Like Me by MR Carey

Next week’s reads:

  1. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean
  2. Songwoman by Ilka Tampke

Upcoming reviews:

  1. Starborn by Lucy Hounsom
  2. Envy of Angels by Matt Wallace
  3. Noir by Christopher Moore
  4. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  5. The Tethered Mage by Melissa Caruso
  6. In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
  7. The Winters by Lisa Gabriele
  8. An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
  9. Dragonshadow (Heartstone #2) by Elle Katharine White
  10. Someone Like Me by MR Carey

I’d love to know what you’re reading this week.

Friday Face Off :   ‘All right! They’re spiders from Mars! You happy?’

FFO.jpg

Here we are again with the Friday Face Off meme created by Books by Proxy .  This is a great opportunity to feature some of your favourite book covers.  The rules are fairly simple each week, following a predetermined theme (list below) choose a book, compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – the list has been updated to help out those of you who like to plan ahead – if you have a cover in mind that you’re really wanting to share then feel free to leave a comment about a future suggested theme. This week’s theme:

  ‘All right! They’re spiders from Mars! You happy?’ – A cover featuring a critter of the eight legged variety

I had two or three books this week but eventually went for : Skitter (The Hatching #2) by Ezekiel Boone:

I’m not overly keen on the top three covers to be honest and I have no idea what the idea behind the third cover is at all.  It certainly stands out in this bunch as the odd one out.  I like the bottom two covers.  I like the purple and black but on balance my favourite is:

Skitter2

Like last week I’ve added  a Mr Linky here so that you can leave a link if you wish or please leave me a link in the comments so I can visit and check out your covers.  Thanks

Next week – a scary cover

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ of one of your favourite covers)

16th November – There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.’  – A scary cover

23rd November – ‘The child is in love with a human. And not just any human. A prince!’ – A cover featuring a mermaid/man

30th November – “..the children of the night. What music they make!” – a cover with a vampire

7th December – ‘I am Aragorn son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will.’ – A cover featuring a hero

14th December -“Heavy is the head that wears the crown”  – A cover featuring a crown

21st December – ‘ho, ho, ho’ – A seasonal cover

28th December – A freebie – choose one of your favourite titles and compare the covers

2019

4th January – A cover that is fresh – New beginnings for a New Year

11th January – ‘I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king’ – A cover that depicts a novel set in the Tudor period

18th January – A cover featuring an Amulet – either in the cover or title

25th January – ‘Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.’ – A cover featuring a monk/priest/person of the cloth

1st February – A comedy cover

8th February – ‘Hi little cub. Oh no, don’t be ssscared.’ – A cover with snakes

15th February – A heart – for Valentine’s day past

22nd February – “Woe, destruction, ruin, and decay; the worst is death and death will have his day.” – A cover with abandoned building/s

1st March – ‘who will buy this wonderful morning’ – A cover featuring a shop or market

8th March – ‘Two little fishes and a momma fishy too’ – A cover featuring a fish/fishes or other sea creatures

15th March – ‘Beware the moon, lads.’ – A cover with a shapeshifter

22nd March – ‘A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse’ – A cover featuring a king

29th March – “I thought unicorns were more . . . Fluffy.”  – A cover featuring a unicorn

5th April – ‘nomad is an island’ – A cover featuring a desert landscape

12th April – ‘Odin, Odin, send the wind to turn the tide – A cover featuring a longboat

19th April – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – A cover featuring a school

Shadow of The Fox (Shadow of the Fox #1) by Julie Kagawa

Shadow of the Fox is Japanese inspired fantasy that completely exceeded my expectations.  It’s full of exciting action, cram packed with intriguing demons, myths and folklore, the characters are heart warming and on top of that it’s a quest style story which just really appeals to me.

The story is told through three characters.  My favourite is Yumeko, a half human/kitsune whose love of mischief quite often results in her being in trouble with the Monks of the Silent Winds Temple where she has been raised since the day she was left at the entrance.  The monks have told Yumeko that she must hide her true nature from people who would treat her differently if they knew of her Yukai (half demon) nature.

Kage Tatsumi is an assassin for the Shadow Clan.  He bears a demon possessed sword and runs the constant risk of the demon taking over his own mind.  Subsequently his clan have raised him to withstand pain without showing emotion.  He’s had a fairly brutal and cold upbringing without any sort of affection as emotions are believed to weaken the resolve.

The final character is a young serving girl named Suki.  Her story is so sad and in fact we read about Suki before we meet the other two characters.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Suki meets a shockingly brutal end and returns as a ghost – a rather timid ghost if I might say so.  She trails her mistress watching her actions from the shadows.

I loved having the three POVs.

Yumeko and Tatsumi cross paths fairly early in the story.  Basically, and I’m not going to go overboard on the plot but there’s an ancient artefact – a scroll in fact.  Every 1,000 years the bearer of the Scroll will be granted a wish by the Kami Dragon.  The time is approaching and so you can imagine a number of different people are interested in it’s whereabouts.  The Temple where Yumeko was raised is attacked by demons searching for the scroll and Yumeko is the only survivor.  On the run she herself carries the scroll, her quest to take it to the Steel Feather Temple for protection.  This is when she literally runs into Tatsumi – who was himself heading to the temple in search of the scroll on behalf of his master.  The two make a tentative agreement, based on untruths if you will.  Tatsumi needs Yumeko in order to find the location of the temple and Yumeko needs Tatsumi to help protect her on the journey.

I loved the world created here.  It’s just so full of creativity that I couldn’t stop reading.  Every new chapter brings something fascinating to the page and it was like a breath of fresh air.  There are angry ghosts, blood magic, demons, curses, forest spirits, witches and Samurai – I don’t know how anybody could fail to be impressed to be honest.  I just loved it.

The story is told as a quest.  Basically, Yumeko is travelling across country in the hope of finding the location of a secret temple.  Along the way she will meet with many side adventures and mishaps, usually of the quite deadly sort.  Her naivety and simple goodness eventually starts to break down Tatsumi’s carefully constructed barriers and clearly the two begin to share a certain chemistry.  However, there is no romance involved, at this stage anyway.  Yes, the two are clearly becoming attached but they’re both keeping secrets and so neither one is keen to completely relinquish control.  I loved jumping from one pov to the other.  It helped to show how they both felt about each other, their frustrations along the way and just the way that they are so very opposite in nature, one very light and fun, one very dark and brooding.  They almost balance each other out.

On route they gather a couple of other characters.  In particular a rogue Samurai (ronin) and a member of the nobility to name but two.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, obviously this is a set up for the two main characters to become attached.  In fairness though, I really didn’t mind that aspect of the story.  It’s a slow burn and even now nothing is guaranteed.  This is also a quest style adventure – think Lord of the Rings style.  So it’s really less about the scroll and more about the journey.   I think my main criticism is the actual quest itself.  Carrying a secret, highly sought after scroll across the country, involving the revealing of a secret Temple where another part of the scroll is also hidden – what could possibly go wrong?  I can picture the ‘baddie’ stepping in at the end and thanking them for bringing the two scrolls together so perfectly.  And Suki’s part of the story is a little weak and feels very much like an obvious way of getting us a pov perspective within the Imperial Palace.  Maybe Suki will play more of a role in the next instalment though.

As it is, I thought this was wonderfully entertaining, the pace was perfect and I fell for Yumeko.  She’s a wonderful lead character and one that just pulls you in with her innocent and trusting nature.  I defy you not to like her.

I can’t wait to read more.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

 

Can’t Wait Wednesday : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder

ScifiMonth

I’m combining today’s Can’t Wait Wednesday with Sci-fi month, an event being hosted by One More and  Dear Geek Place (check out the #RRSciFiMonth hashtag to keep uptodate)

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Can’t Wait Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : Navigating the Stars (Sentinels of the Galaxy #1) by Maria V. Snyder

NavigatingNavigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

Due for publication November 2018

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