Friday Face Off : A cover with a pattern

FFO

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 (this doesn’t have to be a book that you’ve read), compare a couple of the different covers available for that particular book and choose your favourite.   Future week’s themes are listed below – 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.  I’ve also listed events that take place during the year, that I’m aware of, so you can link up your covers – if you’re aware of any events that you think I should include then give me a shout.  This week’s theme:

A cover with a pattern

I can’t wait to see what everyone came up with this week – I’m thinking that there has to be a few possibilities for this theme.  I’m pleased this week to be able to return to another one of my more recent books.  An unusual tale based in Australia and filled with unusual folklore : Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings.  Not a lot of covers for this one but both are perfect for this week’s theme:

My favourite this week:

flyaway2

Both the covers are similar and I like both but I prefer the cleaner look of this one and the font appeals to be more than the all capitals approach on the dark cover.

I’ll be updating the list in order to include forthcoming events that I’m aware of so that you can perhaps link your themes up where possible (if you know of an event you’d like to share then let me know in the comments).  As always, if you wish to submit an idea then leave me a comment – or if you’d like to host a week then simply let me know.

Next week – Minimalistic, lacking clutter

Future themes: (if you’re struggling with any of these themes then use a ‘freebie’ or one of your favourite covers) (I’ve added some new themes – some of these are slightly different, in order to avoid too much repetition I’m trying to make the themes more of a suggestion that everyone can interpret how they like.  

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18th September – Minimalistic, lacking clutter

25th September – A very busy cover full to bursting with detail

2nd October – A standout font

9th October – Mist/fog – “A thin grey fog hung over the city, and the streets were very cold; for summer was in England.”

16th October – Spider web – “Farewell, Aragog, king of the arachnids, whose long and faithful friendship those who knew you would never forget!

23th October – Ripped/torn – interpret it as you wish

30th October – Forest/jungle – ‘None of the Jungle People like being disturbed.’

6th November – Planets – “You’re on Earth. There’s no cure for that.”

13th November – Bright – ‘The future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades’.

20th November – Words only – “Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.”

27th November – Modern sci fi

4th December –  Fae – or fairy??

11th December – Lake – the mysterious lake

18th December – Highly Stylised

25th December- Freebie – or day off.

Flyaway by Kathleen Jennings

Posted On 30 July 2020

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My TL:DR Five Word Review : Fairytale-fuelled-small-town-creepiness

FlyawayFlyaway is a book of family horror intertwined with fairytale elements told in an extravagant fashion and set in the searing heat of small town Australia.  Similar to fairy tales, at the heart of Flyaway lurks a mystery, family secrets and a dark and sinister outcome that quite belies the flowery prose and beautifully illustrated cover.

In a nutshell, this started off rather slowly for me and in some respects, and being fairly short in nature, I’m now tempted to go back to the beginning and read it over to see how it pans out on a second airing, but, in spite of my initial reservation I have to confess that I felt compelled to read this and once I became a bit more familiar with the author’s style and the mystery began to open up I had no problems devouring this in one sitting.

In terms of plot, I’m not going to elaborate too much here.  In fact, if I was to sit down and summarise this story  I suspect I wouldn’t have much more to say than this is a family mystery with a little more to it than expected.   Basically, Bettina Scott is a young woman who lives in a strange state of lethargy or fugue.  Relentlessly conditioned by her prim and proper mother she’s almost like a ghost character unable to function without the constant echoes of her mother’s voice inside her head telling her how to behave.  One day, Bettina receives a strange note that sets her off on an even stranger journey to try and discover why her brothers and father disappeared.

What I really liked about Flyaway are the strange allusions to various fairy tales – none of them quite as they were originally told.  There are hints of Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty and the Pied Piper all tied together with a much darker version of the Wild Swans tale.  Underneath the whimsy and poetic prose lies one family’s very own horror story created by parental favouritism and cloaked over the years by a conspiracy of secrets and lies.

In terms of the writing.  The story is related in a series of tales told by various characters along the way that eventually come together to create a bigger picture. The writing itself is really quite beautiful, but, at the same time, it took me a little while to get used to it and at first I found myself backtracking to discover the true meaning of the sentences. Again though, upon finishing the story I found myself loving the way Jennings uses such flowery terms to retell a story that is actually quite grim.  It all feels like a play on original fairy tales and the way they have adapted over the years to become more palatable tales to tell to children at bedtime.

The setting really plays into the mystery and is actually a little better described than the characters to be honest.  Small town, dilapidated, sun soaked, curtain twitchers, people with their own versions of stories that have become fantastical over the years taking on a life of their own.  There is a sinisterness to the place itself that really feeds into the strange gothic air being drawn here.

The characters are probably the most flawed part of Flyaway.  It’s difficult to latch onto any of them, they’re neither likable or unlikable really, although, again, this also reflects fairy tales to some extent.  I would say this is the one thing that was lacking for me and the biggest criticism  because I do love character focused stories where I can really latch onto someone.  In fact Bettina herself also felt a little strange to me.  I never really understood why she seemed to stumble through life as a pale reflection of herself.  Clearly, there was some kind of trauma that initiated her own amnesia but I think the reader is expected to join up quite a lot of the dots themselves in that respect.

In terms of criticisms.  Well, as mentioned, it took me a little while to get used to the style here and none of the characters really worked their magic on me.  I wouldn’t say that this would be a book for everyone, it has a real ‘marmite’ feel to it.  It won me over as the story progressed but if flowery writing, dissected fairy tale retellings and stories that really do need some teasing out to get to the real events are not your thing then be warned.  This once upon a time may not conclude happily ever after for all readers.

As it is, I enjoyed this and what I liked even more is the way it stayed with me afterwards and kept giving me further food for thought.

My rating for this keeps changing, sometimes it’s 3.5 and sometimes its 4 out of 5 stars.  I’m still undecided so in conclusion let’s say 3.5-4 shiny stars.

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy which I received through Netgalley.  The above is my own opinion.