. Sunday, 28 August 2022 .

Dark Earth by Rebecca Stott

★★★★.5  / ★★★★

This fantastic book set in the decades after the fall of the Roman Empire in Britain and before large swathes of Viking Invaders took hold of the islands.  It tells the story of two sisters fight for survival against the society that turned its back to them and their father several years previously all due to an attack that was caused by a Lord's son in disguise. The narrative is based upon a singular piece of Saxon jewellery was found within the ruins of Londinium when the Saxon's as whole found the ghost town that was Londinium a bit of a no-go area due to a large amount of suspicion and paranoia.  ('We thought the Saxons didn't go into the city. Looks like one of them did.')

I absolutely loved this book. For a start, the relationship between the two sisters is complex and rich, with both of them trying to protect the other whilst doing things that would not have been legal (having the sight for one of them in a time where it was considered witchcraft in a burgeoning Christian nation, and being a smith for the other in a time when it was illegal for a woman to be able to use the forge for anything).

I loved all the little historical tidbits, particularly everything about the Sun Kings and the mentions of the Iceni and of Bodicea's rage and fight against Roman oppression. Also, another mention of a Temple of Mithras. (I'm a sucker for any mention of the Cult of Mithras in any media and this made me super happy.) The twists and turns throughout the plot make it really easy to follow, despite how slow in pacing it can be at times and how the narration of certain characters goes almost towards monologue territory.

If you're interested in a character driven narrative set within the British Dark Ages and siblings who stick tight together when things get tough within a found community, then this is for you. 

TW: gore, blood, threat of rape & the death of a parent 

One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke

★ / 

So for a start, the massive plot twist at the end? I did not see that coming. The intertwining with each of the characters and how they relate to each other, despite at first them seemingly not being connected at all apart from being friends with the Bride to Be? Absolutely brilliant. And admittedly I did initially pick this up because it is set in Greece, but the murder mystery made that an even easier decision.

The character who we are led to believe is the murderer, at least for me, actually turns out to be the murderer. But, she doesn't end up killing the person (or people) that it seems like she will. That was what got me. 

'We all had different reasons for being there. But one of - well, she had a very specific reason for saying Yes to the hen weekend. The problem was, none of us realised until it was too late.'

The complex relationships between the characters, and how each of their relationships develop, devolve and evolve over the four days that the main plot of the book takes place allows for the development of complex and interesting characters of different backgrounds, sexualities and ethnicities. The pacing of the book is quick, making the reader (me especially) keep their interest (so much in fact that I read this in one sitting). 

TW: implied infidelity, implied past rape, threat of rape, suicidal thought & manslaughter

. Friday, 26 August 2022 .

It's been a while, pretty much an entire year, since I've actually posted anything on here. And a few things have changed.

For a start, I graduated from my undergraduate degree in late April with a major in Ancient History and a minor in Writing. I submitted a proposal and application to get into an Honours year, but unfortunately that didn't work out, despite this I was instead offered a place in the Master of Arts (Ancient History) program which I accepted. (I still can't believe that I'm doing a Masters degree!!!) 

Another is that I have a miniature pop-up exhibition happening in September at FEAR in Ballarat that will last for a month. I'm so incredibly excited for this, and in between assignments at uni and lectures I've been making new works to display and sell. I've also been revamping both my art instagram and my little bookstore on instagram, too! You can find them both @bleucrowstudios for my art, and @renewed.saga for my little online bookstore! (There will be future store updates for both of these very soon!)

So be on the lookout in the future for posts about that, as well as book reviews and updates on my Masters projects!

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