An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen Quick Review

An Anonymous Girl - Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen Quick Review
An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen Quick Review

An Anonymous Girl – Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen Quick Review

Jessica Farris signs up for much more than she bargained for when she stumbles into Dr Shields psychological study on ethics and morality. She expects the transaction to be simple – questions answered and money received on the other end. But Dr Shields has another agenda altogether more twisted and Jess is in far too deep by the time the plans are revealed.

Told through two P.O.V’s, Jessica and Dr Shields. The former a personal first person and the latter in second person, giving an effect of clinical, coldness and watchful control. An anonymous girl is an unsettling, absorbing and addictive read throughout. Easy to get through and difficult to put down.

The premise of a psychological study turned cat and mouse game was what really enticed me to the book. The way it all slowly unravels piece by piece was riveting, feeling the sense of something being very off from the moment you read Dr Shields P.O.V.

Jess goes into the situation blind and unprepared. Understandably she’s nervous to answer personal questions but is assured by the legitimacy she thinks a psychological study holds and the promise of the compensation on the other side. The sense of the unbalanced power dynamic is unnerving as Jess sits vulnerably in front of a computer and is watched and analyzed.

The set up and even beyond that as Dr Shields pushes Jess into more vulnerable positions is palpable tension.

I will say though I that I did wish for bigger and better twists as I expected most of them and never really felt that surprise or shock I was looking for. At points the story could have done with being just a little faster paced though I did understand the need for that build up, it took away from the tight suspense.

Morality is a major theme throughout, brought up in many ways. Abuse of power, infidelity and withholding truths being some of the things the main characters exhibit and struggle with in different ways. Though it was a bit on the nose with little ways for the reader to interpret the subject or the questions brought up themselves.

The characters are intriguing and complicated though Dr Shields at times is a little too villainous villain. There are points later on as her P.O.V seems to shift into a more personal tone that you find yourself somewhat understanding her behavior and motivation more. But she mostly remains this kind of alluring, calculated and twisted, unrelatable person.

Jess is the relatable average young woman. Her flaws pave the way for a big portion of the trouble she gets herself into. Her motivation revolves around survival and she uses this as a means to pull through the things thrown at her rather than being particularly smart or skilled. I did kind of appreciate that. They didn’t pull back from making her a real person who does shitty things, makes mistakes and isn’t a perfect, mystery solving genius who can go toe to toe with an older psychology graduate with years of experience under her belt, money at her disposal and an esteemed reputation.

The books charm is mostly in the dynamic between the two women. Each capable and damaged in their own way. Each with their own kind of allure. The cat and mouse game between them creates a creepy atmosphere and suspense as you wait for characters to catch on, anticipating the reactions and consequences once it all really hits the fan.

The story is not as psychologically scary as I’d have liked. It’s twisted, dark at times and light on violence. But it’s definitely one of those easy to consume stories. Entertaining and short.

– 3/5 An alluring and engaging read about an average young woman caught in the web of a manipulative and twisted psychologist who pushes her slowly and surely down a calculated path of her own very personal study.

Buy it  – An Anonymous Girl

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The Dreamers – Karen Thompson Walker Quick Review

The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker Quick Review
The Dreamers – Karen Thompson Walker Quick Review

The Dreamers – Karen Thompson Walker Quick Review

People are falling asleep in the isolated town of Santa Lora. Falling asleep and not waking up. A virus is spreading, the town is locked down, and we follow the separate yet intertwined journey’s of a college student, two new parents, two little girls, a psychologist and a college professor through the unfolding events.

The dreamers is a thought provoking, insightful, dream like read with an edge of raw emotional dread.

The story, told in short chapters of third person, multiple P.O.V, is immediately reminiscent of Stephen King’s Sleeping Beauties though clearly not nearly as long. Its beautifully written prose and close inspection of characters in a chaotic setting lend it a surprising intimate quality.

What I expected before reading was a sort of short, sci-fi/thriller/horror. An outbreak in an unsuspecting town leading to mass chaos. A familiar concept. What I got was an easy to devour, melding of genres with a more tender and human take on that familiar concept. More tension and slow dread than horror. Though the pacing can lag in some places feeling a little slower when I wanted things to pick up and repetitive when I wanted things to move forward.

Curiosity regarding the sleeping sickness is definitely a driving mystery but the personal experiences are the main focus. It felt less like it was about the virus or events or even the specific characters but instead the different relatable experiences of characters from all different places in life. Within that intense setting, highlighted under that kind of panic and urgency, drawn out and caged in with few options and everything important to lose.

The virus provides this opportunity and insight. The meaning and value of things are questioned vulnerably; dreams, life, death, love, loss, how unstable and fragile normalcy and order can be and how easily pulled apart. The weight of these things when the threat of death is so close.

It’s the similarities in the personal experiences of characters, that on paper are so different, that reminds you of the connectedness of the human experience.

Though short, I felt quite a lot more for the characters than I thought I would. Walker did well pulling me closer much sooner than I usually would, using the seriousness of events to fully illuminate characters. Despite the fact that the book often read a little removed, a step away from the story like watching a movie. The experienced thoughts, fears and pains evoked will stay with me (more so than the characters).

You don’t get a whole lot of answers in the end though for me this was not an expectation. The virus and the events surrounding it in the end are left mysterious and dream like. Reality and delusion remain a little blurry throughout.

– 5/5 A beautiful discussion and exploration of the human experience, highlighted by the chaotic events following after a virus is unleashed on an unsuspecting town.

Buy it – The Dreamers

 

The Magic Order Vol. 1 – Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel Quick Review

The magic order vol 1. - Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel Quick Review
The magic order vol 1. – Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel Quick Review

The Magic Order Vol. 1 – Mark Millar and Olivier Coipel Quick Review

A dark, graphic, adult fantasy/horror comic. The Magic Order Vol. 1 though a little derivative, gives enough to hold and entertain you.

A secret magic order that holds the monsters at bay from the world is threatened by a wronged villain. Madam Albany is out to take the magic order protected evil tome and turn the way of things on its head. Cue magic, graphic murders, monsters and an angsty family full of tropes. Set within beautifully dark art (that is kind of the biggest redeeming quality of the whole thing).

I won’t go into the frustration of that consequence erasing ending because ugh, that really ruined the magic for me.

But I loved the art, was interested in the world, the magic, artifacts, monsters, even some of the characters. Say what you want, I am always into the girls like Cordelia. Dark, self aware, powerful, slightly on the crazy side packed into a “fuck it” attitude. There was the making of something there that I could easily love. God, I just wish there was a little more detail put into it than what was given which was a little sparse and rushed, TBH.

– 2/5 I would totally read more (if there’s more – I never know with these things) but that ending…

I have received a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 

Crowded – Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Rachel Stott Quick Review

Crowded - Christopher Sebela Quick Review
Crowded – Christopher Sebela Quick Review

Crowded – Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, Rachel Stott Quick Review

In the future anyone with a grudge, money and backers can use the REAPR app to put a hit on anyone else. Average girl, Charlie Ellison finds herself targeted by a REAPR campaign with a million dollars on her head. She turns to the DFEND app to hire the lowest rated bodyguard, Vita. The campaign unfathomably climbs, assassination attempts fly out from every corner and Vita, the surprising badass, drags Charlie through, often times self imposed, danger to safety.

Highlights –

  • Fun
  • Action packed
  • Intriguing world, premise and characters
  • Colorful art and interesting character design
  • Vita
  • Diverse characters

Lowlights –

  • Charlie, while she has her charms, can be more than a little irritating.
  • After 6 issues both main characters are still somehow almost a complete mystery. We get to know the two main antagonists inner workings more than we do Charlie and Vita.
  • Speaking of Antagonists inner workings, from where it all ended, Trotters whole story line felt a bit pointless. Especially after going into so much detail about him (though I’m sure more will come out of it in future issues?).
  • The ending was sort of flat. I was expecting to learn more about Charlie than that one big reveal at the end after so many issues. I wanted a little more facts than she works a hundred jobs, has evidently self destructive and flaky behavior and, the almost understandable fact, that everyone she’s ever come in contact with hates her guts and she doesn’t feel great about it.

 

– 3/5 Crowded was a fun, intriguing, action packed and colorful read, full of diverse characters but left things, at the end of the first volume, at a kind of anticlimactic place.

I have received a copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.