The Isobel Journal
I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review so here I go:
The Isobel Journal is a great mix of ideas, art and feelings. So many things these days that are aimed at teenagers are made with no teenage input at all and while this obviously does work in some cases, a lot of the time it just doesn’t. This is where The Isobel Journal stands out, it’s a teenager writing for teenagers and the result is awesome!
The art style was very engaging and is sort of like the artistic love child of Laura Dockrill and Noel Fielding that grew up listening to indie music and went to vintage clothes shops. It was funny and refreshing and is one of those things that you can just read in one enjoyable sitting (which I did). It was sort of a jumble of messy thoughts and feelings which is really just what being a teenager is.
In terms of the format I really enjoyed it, I don’t often read books with pictures (unless I’m behind with my GoodReads reading challenge, then I am known to read a Neil Gaiman kids book) but this has really inspired me to read more art orientated books (any recommendations feel free to leave in my ask box). It also read well as an ebook I would recommend it if you only have a black and white based e-reader however I can say that reading it on my iPad was great. I do intend to pick up this book in hard copy though just because its the sort of thing thats just nice to own. I can happily give this book five stars as everything in it just felt so genuine and great. (If you were in any doubt about how much I loved this book just count the positive adjectives in this review, spoiler alert its 13 it could have easily been a whole lot more).
A GREAT AND TERRIBLE BEAUTY
This is the first book in Libba Brays Gemma Doyle trilogy,
historical and fantasy are two of most loved genres of all time and Libba Brays writing weaves them together so seamlessly that you almost believe it really happened. Set in a victorian boarding school for girls the trilogy follows sixteen-year-old Gemma Doyle as she comes to terms with her place in her own world of corsets, carriages and curtsies, while simultaneously trying to find her place in the mysterious ‘realms’.
My personal favourite thing about this book is the characters and their relationships. It is rare for books set in that era to have particularly strong female characters however Bray writes interesting women with goals and aspirations outside of just landing a good husband. My only bad note for the series is i wish there had been more world building inside of the ‘Realms’ as readers we spent a lot of time there but I came away feeling like I didn’t really know much about the place.
Bray has a wonderful way of making her characters so real and vivid and giving them complex emotions and so many adversities to face. When I started this series I hated felicity and was sure I would up for the whole series but the character development just blew me away and I now feel obliged to say she’s one of my favourite fictional characters of all time.
Over all though the book was well written and even if I was a little disillusioned by the lack of detail in the ‘Realms’ that doesn’t take away from the amazing narrative. I’ve given it 4 stars on good reads but honestly a little more of the realms and it would have been 5.