Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch

Red Sky in Morning

Rating: 3 Stars

Spring 1832: Donegal, north west Ireland.

Coll Coyle wakes to a blood dawn and a day he does not want to face. The young father stands to lose everything on account of the cruel intentions of his landowner’s heedless son.

Although reluctant, Coll sets out to confront his trouble. And so begins his fall from the rain-soaked, cloud-swirling Eden, and a pursuit across the wild bog lands of Donegal.

Behind him is John Faller – a man who has vowed to hunt Coll to the ends of the earth – in a pursuit that will stretch to an epic voyage across the Atlantic, and to greater tragedy in the new American frontier.

Red Sky in Morning is a dark tale of oppression bathed in sparkling, unconstrained imagery. A compassionate and sensitive exploration of the merciless side of man and the indifference of nature, it is both a mesmerizing feat of imagination and a landmark piece of fiction. (Retrieved from Goodreads)

I received this book through NetGalley in return for an honest review, and that I am very grateful for this opportunity to broaden my reading experience. This is a very different book to what I would usually read, with a different style of writing and plot development. Nevertheless, I did find it somewhat enjoyable, even if it was lacking in a couple of places.

The story follows the harsh life of Coll Coyle, a young Irish man struggling to keep his home for his family from a vile landlord. It seems things can only get worse as the saga progresses, with John Faller, a formidable gentleman, following him all the way around the world. Although he meets a good friend, his heart never truly leaves the loved ones left behind in Ireland.

Initially, this story is rather tough to get into, and that isn’t something that changes much over the course of the book. Written in a strong Irish brogue, at times it can be quite difficult to read, however this becomes easier as you go further through the book. It does help you feel more immersed in the story though as it strangely flows quite naturally when you’re reading.

The plot is something that, if I’m totally honest, needs a little work. It’s just rather plodding and slow at times, and even after finishing it, I don’t feel like the story really went anywhere and was never aiming for a conclusion. In addition, at times it was very depressing to read, and I had to put it down in favour of something a little more light-hearted.

All that as it was, there is one major redeeming feature in this book that had me reading to the end. The imagery is truly exquisite – Lynch really does have great skill at weaving the description through the story. This was a delight to read as the images just appeared with minimal effort from myself straight into my head.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but it probably wouldn’t be one I’d read over and over again. The description is by far it’s greatest feature but it is, on the whole, something I’m glad I’ve read.

Review first posted on my Goodreads account.

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King Hall by Scarlett Dawn

King Hall by Scarlett Dawn

I received an ARC of this book and I am so very glad I was given this opportunity as this book really is something else! I devoured it in no time at all, reading until I fell asleep on my kindle, waking up and reading some more. I honestly have not read a book this well written and gripping in a while, and it is most definitely a book worth adding to your to-read list sharpish! Here is the blurb, which got me excited immediately when I first read it:

“King Hall — where the Mysticals go to learn their craft, get their degrees, and transition into adulthood. And where four new Rulers will rise and meet their destinies.

Lily Ruckler is adept at one thing:  survival.  Born a Mystical hybrid, her mere existence is forbidden, but her nightmare is only about to start. Fluke, happenstance, and a deep personal loss finds Lily deeply entrenched with those who would destroy her simply for existing — The Mystical Kings.  Being named future Queen of the Shifters shoves Lily into the spotlight, making her one of the most visible Mysticals in the world. But with risk comes a certain solace — her burgeoning friendships with the other three Prodigies: a wicked Vampire, a wild-child Mage, and a playboy Elemental. Backed by their faith and trust, Lily begins to relax into her new life.

Then chaos erupts as the fragile peace between Commoners and Mysticals is broken, and suddenly Lily realises the greatest threat was never from within, and her fear takes on a new name: the revolution.” (As seen on Goodreads)

So I suppose you want to know why I find this book so wonderful? Well for once, I am actually rather speechless in an incredibly good way, as there is just so much good that it’s hard to know where to start. Perhaps the one thing I absolutely loved in this book is the plot. A different take on the typical YA Magical genre, the inclusion of Kings, Mys factions, heartbreak, mates and the friendship between these groups, it’s all so very different from the norm. But that is one of the greatest aspects of this book, it breaks so many of the standard rules and ‘norms’ of this genre. It is naughty in parts, funny in others and downright heart breaking at times as well. The plot is superbly paced to guide the reader through everything that takes place, without dragging it’s feet or rushing too fast – it is perfectly pitched for your enjoyment. The twists and turns in the plot is another huge advantage as it simply keeps you on the balls of your feet throughout. It’s rare to find a book that does this so completely so I have to give credit to Scarlett Dawn for developing such a wonderful plot development.

Something else that is amazing in this book is the dynamic between the characters. They are wonderful. Seriously, they gel so incredibly well with each other and with you as a reader that you feel like the 5th member of the Prodigy group. They are wonderful characters in their own right, but together they truly shine. Jack, a real Jack the lad, so untamed and playful; Pearl, a beauty with a mischievous side; Ezra, dark and mysterious, he exudes sex appeal; and Lily, well what can you say? She’s shorter than average, smaller than average, a fiery tempered Shifter which matches her fiery red hair. I love her to bits, mostly because she really reminds me of myself, but also because she is a strong heroine, and these types of characters are really missing from books. She’s inspirational and an absolute delight to read, sucking you into her crazy world and dragging you into all their mischief together. Equally, you also get drawn into her heart break, and my heart seriously ached with her with the tragedy she faced. She is an incredibly well written character, and one I honestly cannot wait to learn more about.

Another amazing aspect of this book is the humour which weaves its way throughout. It counteracts the dark undertones of sadness and tension throughout, meaning that although the darkness is there, there is always hope and happiness not far behind. This stops the story from becoming too angsty and helps the reader have a few good belly laughs along the way. The naughtiness of the humour is excellently written, balancing on the tasteful sexual humour rather than being crude. This makes it even more enjoyable to read as it just feels so natural. It’s like an old pair of jeans, the book just feels so right as you read it. Although there may be uncomfortable moments (King Kincaid and Venclaire feature in most of them), Scarlett Dawn makes them incredibly enjoyable by using a unique brand of humour to ease the tension, usually through Lily’s thoughts. I can only compliment this as it is something I know isn’t hard to write and balance correctly.

So I suppose I ought to wrap this on before I gush too much and end up repeating myself. IF you haven’t already guessed from reading the review so far, I absolutely, positively ADORED this book (yes, the capitalisation is most definitely needed). It has everything you want in a good read, emotions of all kinds, a fab pace and plot and excellent characters. There’s nothing more for me to say other than to tell you to get a copy of this book sooner rather than later and be prepared for a cliff hanger that is out of this world! Now all there is for me to do is twiddle my thumbs and wait very impatiently for the next instalment!

Rating: 5 stars


Review first posted over on my Goodreads account here.