Book Review- All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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SPOILER ALERT- References to the plot that cannot be unread.

I have read an uncountable amount of novels in my 22 years, and in that vast selection, one can find a rather varied range of literature surrounding mental illness and suicide. If you are new to my blog, then you  won’t be aware of my own debilitating mental  illness. But it is because of my own experience with Borderline Personality Disorder and my mothers experience with Bipolar disorder that I am so intrigued by the troubled mind and the literature that can come from it. Something I undoubtedly do when reading these types of novels is compare my own experiences and emotions with the main characters that possess the mental health problems. I am constantly in search of a novel with a protagonist/antagonist that feels and sounds like myself. All The Bright Places‘ Theodore Finch is by far the closest I’ve come to a reflection of myself, and because of this, it is now in my top five favorite novels of all time.

The story surrounds seventeen year old’s Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. Although they had previously never really crossed paths at school, they meet quite unexpectedly on the top of their school bell tower, both in the mood to jump. Violet is suffering the horrendous grief of losing her sister in a car accident less than a year previously and Theodore is both suffering and enjoying the strange places a mentally ill mind can take you. After Finch saves Violet from becoming another suicide victim, they strike up a chaotic and often beautiful friendship which later becomes more romantic in nature. The more time Violet spends with Finch, the more she starts to see the world through his eyes, taking another brave step each day. It soon becomes apparent that Finch is saving Violet from herself, re-awakening her will to live, meanwhile suffering the blows of his own abusive father and neglectful mother. As time passes, Violet starts to see that she is not the only one in need of saving, but is clueless on how to stop Finch burning himself on his own fiery soul. In the end we as a reader realize that Finch’s story is not going to go on as long as Violets and it does eventually come to a watery end, leaving Violet once more alone in the world, now missing the two people she loved the most.

All The Bright Places is written in two points of view, Finch’s perspective and Violets. In my opinion, Finch’s is by far the most intriguing. His view upon the world is far different to that of Violets who still lives a relatively normal existence. But in comparison, shows up just how different Finch’s mind really is and in turn, reminds me of how different my own thought processes can be to that of other individuals. Finch has a unique perspective on the world which is both gothic and inspiring. He sees and understands all that is bad and cruel within the world, but because of this, has a better understanding and penchant for all that is good. He lives to experience the world in all its chaotic wonders. Violet is drawn to him because of his ability to feel, the way he is in touch with himself and the things around him. This novel is written in such a way that it is both brutal and honest. Jennifer Niven has not written this novel with judgement in her tone, only honesty and understanding. She highlights the good, the bad and the ugly sides of life living with or beside someone with mental illness, something many authors neglect to do, often creating only one perception of this life. I recommend anyone that lives with a person with mental illness to read this novel, if for nothing other than trying to understand the thought process of someone like us. It may be hard for someone who has the illness discussed in the novel (Bipolar) or of similar symptoms to read, I myself have felt my mood deplete somewhat at the realization of what could’ve been and what is lost in the death of a person similar to me. But for those with simply curious minds, this is the novel for you, to see and understand a whole new perspective on the world.

 

 

 

 

By Lauren Victoria Noding

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Oh my Rysand. Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin

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Well, well, well. I was not disappointed.

This is supposedly the last of the ACOTAR trilogy by Sarah J Maas although she mentions at the back of the novel that more will come in the land of Prythian. I’ve avidly followed Feyres journey in the world of Prythian, but this novel undoubtedly tops the lot of them.

A Court of Wings and Ruin surrounds the beautiful and powerful High Lady of the Night Court, Feyre Archeron. In the first we met our protagonist as a young human who trades her freedom to protect her family. Finding herself on the other side of the mystical wall in the land of the Fae, she meets Tamlin who later turns into quite the pain in everyone’s backside. In this novel, the finale, she plots with her mate Rysand to bring down the King of Hybern who, using a mystically powerful cauldron, has waged war on Prythian. She helps her mate and High Lord of the night rally allies, bringing the courts together and a few creepy beasties to slay the dreadful King. In doing so, she nearly breaks herself once more to save those she loves. But with the help of her newly turned Fae sisters, a beautiful and powerful being from another world named Amren and some super hot Allyrian men, Hybern doesn’t have a chance….or does he?

I couldn’t stop reading from start to finish, I was dragged into the world of Prythian and was not allowed to leave until I had finished the entire novel. Needless to say, I read it rather quickly. The thing I have loved about this series from the beginning, is that Feyre is not a perfect person. She is beautiful, sure, but she does bad things and she makes many mistakes. It’s why I personally connect with her so well. I find her intriguing and multi-dimensional, filled with anger, hate, love, jealousy, anxiety and all the other things that make up a human being (even if she’s now Fae). And I love that in her chaotic world, she still knows what’s important, family and your friends. No matter what, she sticks by those she loves and it’s a commendable trait that we could all learn from. Rysand is also such a multi-dimensional character, I love that no matter what, he gives Feyre the choice to be and do as she wishes, regardless of his fear for her safety. He loves her enough to respect her decisions and back her to the end of the earth, instead of forcing her to be something she’s not. Swoooooon.

The characters are by far the strongest point within these novels, they are all so well characterized and just so damn lovable. The plot itself is filled with twists and turns, there were many moments I stopped breathing and thought I might need an ambulance by the end of it. Well done Maas, you succeeded in giving me a cardiac arrest. I now have a vein pulsing from my forehead that will not leave, I am that shaken by the entire experience.

Love

Lauren_V