23 Nov 2011

The double shadow - Review

The double shadow by Sally Gardner
Available now

What's it about?
Arnold Ruben has created a memory machine, a utopia housed in a picture palace, where the happiest memories replay forever, a haven in which he and his precious daughter can shelter from the war-clouds gathering over 1937 Britain. But on the day of her seventeenth birthday Amaryllis leaves Warlock Hall and the world she has known and wakes to find herself in a desolate and disturbing place. Something has gone terribly wrong with her father's plan. Against the tense backdrop of the second World War Sally Gardner explores families and what binds them, fathers and daughters, past histories, passions and cruelty, love and devastation in a novel rich in character and beautifully crafted.

My review
You know when you agree to review a book you wouldn't normally read, then you get worried starting it that you'll hate it and have to go back and say you couldn't read it? Yeah, I got a little case of that when I started this, I feel silly now though! Literally within a few pages I was engaged in the book, before I knew it I was 130 pages in and it was 2am! I really was swept into the book and had no trouble getting into the era it was set into or getting used to the way the characters talked. I've never read any book set in a different time, not a real one anyway and I know little about WWII but I felt Gardner eased me into it really well and her descriptions were very thorough, she gave a great sense of how terrifying it must have been to live in that time, what life must've been like, whilst at the same time telling a neatly woven, imaginative story.
She also gave the book an extra dimension when she added some real science into it which I found really interesting, there were times it could have gotten complicated but the author took her time to explain properly within the story so it didn't feel like a school lesson, so I didn't struggle to keep up.
She also dealt with a lot of different issues really well and again gave the impression of what it was like for people.
I enjoyed all the characters, even the bad guys! But my favourites were defintiely Tommy treacle, for his innocence and vulnerability and Ezra. Whilst the book starts around Amaryllis and what happens to her, I felt we saw Ezra grow the most throughout the span of the book, from a naive teenage boy into a handsome young man. He's extremely brave a number of times and I was on the edge of my seat for him at the end.
Though she's more a side character, one more person I want to mention is Nancy, Ezra's mother who also endures a lot throughout the book and stays strong.
The book seamlessly flows between characters and past and present as we see the memories that help set the scene for the present and gives the reader a real understanding of all the characters and everything ties together nicely to make for a very rounded story that left me staisfied.
The writing was absolutely beautiful and gave a great description of places and emotions, I really cared for the characters and about what happened to them.
I'm so glad I was offered the chance to review this book because I'm sure I'd never have picked it up otherwise and I just loved it. I'd certainly consider reading something else like this in the future and would defintiely read more by the author.

My thoughts on the cover
Going in I didn't really think much of the cover if I'm honest, after reading the book I see how it fits in and even which part it's related to. It suits the mood of the book to a point but not the teen genre it's bee put into. So, yeah, a nice cover but not something that would catch my eye.

Favourite quotes

Home was in the memory machine. 

Ezra fell to the ground, Orpheus returned from the underworld to a bluebell wood.

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1 comment:

  1. i have just borrowed this book and from what ou havae said has given me a closer insight to what its about :)


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