Good afternoon lovely readers, I am currently snuggled up in bed nursing a little bit of a hangover. Tequila is never good for you. However I have a wonderful book to share with you today. This is a book that I only received a couple of days ago so I scheduled it in for a couple of weeks however I got a little curious and decided to give the first chapter a go. Three hours of solid reading later I was thrown into a YA dystopia that I couldn’t put down. I’ve read a lot of YA fiction in the past year and this is one of the best I’ve read so hats off. Hope you enjoy!
‘How about we pretend,’ he said, ‘just for today? I pretend I’m good and you pretend to believe me.’ Pearl is seventeen and bored. She wants a boyfriend, wants excitement, wants a life. When she meets Jack, cool, sexy and funny, she thinks she’s found it, but Jack has secrets, and Pearl finds herself drawn into the murky world of violent religious sect, Mesmeris. So the blurb doesn’t give to much away and it doesn’t sell the book particularly well because it is so much more than innocent childlike female meets sinister ‘bad boy’ with a secret because that is terribly clichéd and although yes, the book does revolve around their developing relationship the terrifying sect Mesmeris is the main feature. So to give you an idea, Pearl is an ordinary teenager who is dragged into a terrifying world which is ruled by a satanic cult due to her relationship with the tormented Jack. The cult have roots in the public sector authorities allowing them to continuously alter and tamper with evidence allowing them to control the streets with gritty determination and with dastardly acts of violence. Can Pearl and Jack outwit this sinister group unscathed or have they met their match with Mesmeris?
The characters are well thought out and have an ordinary feel about them which means the events that are happening to them feel so much more realistic.Pearl is innocent and naïve however as she starts to take risks she matures wonderfully. Jack I imagine is a total hot mess and I thought that his troubled storyline made him all the more exciting. The whole book revolves around the idea of good versus evil and you can definitely see that in the character profiles of the two main characters and their roles begin to change as they learn more about each other and try and live in the frightening new world that has been uncovered. The dialogue between them is written in a realistic and believable way; they squabble a lot which is actually rather lovely. The minor characters including her father and sister Lydia are very well written and add little bursts of sarcasm and typical family life which is needed to break up the terrifying events that are happening.
In terms of writing style it is at times harsh and coarse especially the scenes of violence however it turns this from stereotypical YA love story into a thrilling tale. I loved the details about the cult, with the different ranks of members and the way that they are identified. It is the little details that make a book and this one has definitely had some thought put into it. In terms of negatives, as with a lot of YA fiction the two characters fall in love incredibly quickly however once they embark in the relationship there are so many twists and turns. I kind of wanted that same build up before they fall for one another. The book is only 200 or so pages long so there was time to do it. Additionally I would have liked a little more insight into Pearl, although I was rooting for her throughout I thought that her actual personality could have been brought out more.
Overall this is a gritty book and I am delighted to say that I cannot wait to get stuck into the second in the series. This writer really approaches the street level gang culture in such a vibrant and fresh way. It’s not a typical YA and that’s what I loved most about it. It’s difficult to get over the real essence of the book without giving too much away so get yourself a copy and get reading!