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    • Hayley

      Something Wicked This Way Comes...   10/09/2019

      The Autumn Supporter Giveaway!       Welcome to the very first of the seasonal BCF supporter giveaways! This month also marks one year since I took on the forum, so I want to say an extra huge thank you to all of you for keeping this place going. I have a little bit more to say about that later but, for now, let's get to the giveaway!     The Autumn Giveaway winner will be getting two Penguin Little Black Classics, The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe and To Be Read At Dusk by Charles Dickens. Both of these little books contain three atmospheric short stories, perfect for autumnal evenings. The winner will also get Mary Shelley tea (a lavender and vanilla black tea) from Rosie Lea Tea's Literary Tea Collection (https://www.rosieleatea.co.uk/collections/literary-tea-collection) and a chocolate skull, to really get that spooky atmosphere .   and...   A special treat for a special month. The winner will choose one of the following recent paperback releases from the independent bookshop Big Green Bookshop:       The Wych Elm by Tana French A House of Ghosts by W.C. Ryan Melmoth by Sarah Perry The Familiars by Stacey Halls  The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White   The winner will be chosen via the usual random selection process in one week. Patreon supporters are entered automatically. If you aren't a patreon supporter but you'd like to join in with this giveaway, you can support here: https://www.patreon.com/bookclubforum.   I really hope you're all going to like this introduction to the seasonal giveaways. It's been a lot of fun to put together. Other chocolate skulls may have been harmed during the selection process…     
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Michelle

The Dark Gifts Trilogy by Vic James

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Although this is being classified as a YA book, I wanted to post it under Fantasy, as I feel it has plenty to offer all readers, and isn't specifically YA.

 

Gilded Cage
This is the start of a trilogy and I fell in love with the world. For me personally, I loved the world building from the author.. often I find there can be a certain amount of jarring until you settle in, but this alternative present-day England immediately felt real to me, and I dived straight in.

It tells of a world where there is a small ruling class, the Elite, but their power comes from the magic they hold. All other citizens live normal lives, aside from the fact that they have to give up ten years to become slaves, many in heavy industry, some serving the Elite.

The Elite live in their own blinkered world, with their own power struggles, whilst the decade of slavery turns out to be worse than could be thought, with many being affected by it for their whole lives.

The other great thing for me was that the author doesn’t focus on just one of these groups, leaving the other ignored, but she shows us the depths of both, with fascinating characters throughout.

Abi, a citizen, makes a decision to try to keep her family together during their decade of slavery, by getting them all into the service of an Elite family – something she almost achieves. Most of her family are sent into the service of a powerful family, and her and her younger sister find themselves wrapped with the families world in ways they didn't expect. Her brother, however, is separated from them, and sent to a brutal factory town, where he starts to believe in revolution.

Meanwhile, the three brothers within the Elite family have their own stories, struggles and relationships, and they are more complex than you would expect.

This first book moves at a fast pace, and it certainly has plenty for both YA and older readers. It wraps up this particular story enough, whilst opening the way to the next volume. Thankfully the gaps between books is short, but also far too long, because I’m excited to get back into this amazing world!

 

A contender for my book of the year!

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Tarnished City
So, finally I got my hands on a copy of the second book, Tarnished City. Obviously it's hard to review content with a second book, but for those wanting to know if it's worth containing the series - absolutely! This goes straight back into the story, with the same main characters. The power of the Elite is even more ruthless, and there's an overall darker feeling to this one. 

 

It does have the feel of a 'middle book', but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Characters are explored in more depth, and their changes often surprise. The magic used by the Elites also develops in rather interesting ways, and I can not wait to see where the final book is going to take us with that.

 

Thankfully there is a fairly short gap between the three books, which means I still had lots of memories of the first - Vic has a way of writing which managed to tease these memories out, without being too jarring, which can be a difficult step in a sequel. The last one still feels too far off though...

 

Deeper, darker, twister  - just the way I like it! 

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