Friday Face Off : Framed – more meanings than one.

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:

Framed – more meanings than one.  A cover with a frame, a picture within a cover or a murder mystery set up??

So, I’m back.  I had such a good time with the family but now I have lots of catching up to do.  I’ll be blog hopping and seeing what I’ve missed slowly but surely over the coming week.

I had a few different books that I could have used this week and the eventual one I’ve chosen has a few covers that all fit perfectly.  The Death House by Sarah Pinborough.  Here are this week’s covers:

These three all fit the theme in more than one way:

The first has a series of windows casting light over the bed frames lined up against the wall.  The second appears to be a doorway, framed by windows and the scene itself set within what appears to be branches.  Third has is a cover edged in a frame of black with a doorway/frame.

My favourite this week:

DH5

Do you have a favourite?

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 – White – a cover that is predominantly white

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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31st July – White – a cover that is predominantly white

7th August – Action – a cover that depicts action of some sort

14th August – Glasses or spectacles – “One could mention many lovable traits in Smee. For instance, after killing, it was his spectacles he wiped instead of his weapon.”

21st August – Potions –  hubble bubble

28th August – Dark road – ‘the road goes ever on and on’

4th September – Cold and crisp – any cover that gives you winter vibes

11th September – A cover with a pattern

18th September – Minimalistic and 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.

Death, Flex and Clakkers

Art it Up.  This is a meme hosted by Tabitha over at Not Yet Read.  The idea being to see if you can come up with some inspiration for a little sketch or doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. My recent reading includes Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz, The Death House by Sarah Pinborough and I’m currently reading The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis.  This weird little picture is a strange mash-up!

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The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough is an emotional and dark story.  A story that puts the focus on life and death and how people cope when faced with their own mortality.

I won’t deny that this is a difficult review to write and I’ve been mulling it around in my brain some.  Firstly, I’m aware that I won’t be able to do the story justice and, secondly, given the nature of the book I don’t want to portray this as really gloomy and put people off. It is undoubtedly a dark book and just a look at the cover alone gives you an idea that it’s going to be somewhat bleak, however, it’s so much more than that.

The story is set in the future although as a reader we find out very little about the time or lifestyle. We really only catch glimpses into the world when Toby takes a trip down memory lane, and these are only snippets designed to give us a small insight into what is going on.

Okay, this is my take (and I have been wrong on occasion). In this particular future it seems that children are given blood tests up to the age of 18.  Up to that age, if they’re going to develop a defective gene, it will show up in the blood.  After that they’re clear.  Not many people seem to have this defect and that would explain why all the children are so relaxed about the regular testing.  However, if the defect appears, well, the child is removed, immediately!  It’s very odd.  What is this defect. Well, I can only think that disease has been almost eradicated, however, maybe sometimes it rears it’s ugly head and it seems to manifest in all sorts of different ways – it could be worse than that but we don’t really find out! Anyway, defect equals incarceration. Why, not really sure – maybe there’s a great fear of disease once again taking a hold.

So, Toby, has been taken from his family and taken to a remote island where he now lives with a number of other inhabitants in an old mansion known as ‘The Death House’. This is a pretty horrible existence.  To a certain extent the boys and girls live a sort of boarding school existence with lessons in the morning and other activities that they can take part in to pass the time.  The problem is – they all know why they’re there and what could possible be worse than counting down your own existence never quite knowing when the grim reaper will show up. On top of that, you could call this a care home – except nobody really cares about their charges – it’s just all a means to an end. Cold and sterile and actually a little bit forbidding in the shape of Matron!

Okay, you’re probably thinking where’s the good.

Characters: I know I’m always banging on about characterisation but I do love good characters when I’m reading and this book has good characters in spades.  I mean, they’re not all as well developed as each other but we pretty soon get a good idea of the dynamics and different groups.  Toby, has become almost like a carer to the younger boys on his ward.  Jake is the tough guy and seems to have attracted the wannabee toughies.  Ashley turns to worship and given how scared they all are he also develops something of a following.  Then we have The Matron – everybody is trying to stay under her radar.  She is over starched to say the least.  Nurse Ratched could take a few lessons from her!

Plot: well, it’s all like a mystery and it’s compelling to read about.  You feel in the dark as a reader – which is somewhat ironic as Toby does like to spend most of his time wandering around by himself at night alone.  This is until the latest new additions to the house which include a young girl who is about to upset the tentative status quo. Clara.  She has an undoubted love of life that not even being brought to the Death House has squashed.

Setting: A dilapidated mansion on a remote island with lots of unfurnished, unused rooms.  It could be incredibly creepy but Toby relates the story in an unaffected manner.  He doesn’t believe in ghosts and is happy to spend time alone at night in what really could be a bit of a spooky setting.

The unexpected.  I sort of spent most of the novel gagging to find out what was going on.  What was the Sanatorium where the sick children disappeared to.  What actually happens there.  What I actually received instead was a captivating tale of love.  The love and care that some of the inhabitants found for each other in spite of such dire circumstances, the love that some of them managed to find in the most simple things – such as snowfall, and then the relationship that developed between Toby and Clara.

I will say that this is an emotional read.  I’m not going to lead you astray on that point.  But, it’s also intriguing and mysterious. You start reading and you don’t want to stop.

Pinborough has a way with words.  She’s the word master!!  I’ve read quite a few of her books now and she defiantly manages to evade genres skirting around on the edges of contemporary and speculative fiction. I love it!