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Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: BLACKBROOKE II: THE GUARDIAN by Emma Silver

Title: Blackbrooke II: The Guardian
Author: Emma Silver
Publisher: Crooked Cat Publishing
Publishing Date: June 7th, 2013

Synopsis: Liberty’s fight continues.

After she had discovered the truth behind ‘walk outs’ in her hometown of Blackbrooke and forced to sacrifice her best friend, Liberty Connor thought she was finally free.

But her nightmare was only just beginning.

Taken to the Institute, a research facility dedicated to Blackbrooke, Liberty finds herself under the watchful eye of sinister Blackbrooke guardian, Mr Jones. Things aren’t as they seem. Familiar faces provide little comfort, and she soon realises the Crits aren’t the only specimens under the microscope.

Determined to escape, Liberty is once again plunged into a world beyond her comprehension. The one thing she knows for certain is: trust no one.

Friends become strangers, but help is at hand from unexpected quarters. Forced to confront her real enemy, Liberty is left with one familiar choice.


A_TiffyFit’s Review: 4.75 stars and rounding up to 5. This is a sequel obviously as it is titled Blackbrooke II. If you would like to know what I thought of Blackbrooke, please CLICK HERE. Unlike my other reviews, this one is probably going to have spoilers. I will try very hard to edit this over and over to try and eliminate them, but I just don’t know at this point. I just finished reading this. And…Emma Silver – you broke my heart. Please, please tell me that you fix this in book three. PLEASE FIX THIS IN BOOK THREE.

This book opens the night of Gemma Jones’s walkout. It’s intense. It’s horrific. I don’t think the Crits are the true monsters; it’s Mr. Jones. He’s a monster. A total, unfeeling bastard of a monster. Reliving Gemma’s death with MORE information (I thought she was lying to her dad to try and garner sympathy but she wasn’t!) was harsh. But even harsher was moving to the Institute and the pain Liberty is going through emotionally, mentally, and physically at the hands of these bastards was just horrifying. Reliving Cassius’ torture at the hands of the Queens. The extreme guilt that Liberty is living with for handing over the boy she has fallen in love with. The claustrophobia torture Carl Evans puts her through. It is just horrifying.

The gory attacks of the Crits and Lurkers and Hunters and Queens do not compare to what these human beings are doing to other human beings. It’s disgusting, it’s heart-wrenching, it’s utterly f**ked up. We are along for the ride as Liberty worries over Cassius’s well-being while being interrogated daily, forced to see her ex-boyfriend be all smoochy-face with someone else even though she’s in love with Cassius, it’s still gross and uncomfortable. OKAY! I won’t tell you anymore as you have to read it yourself; I do not want to kill the suspense.

4.75 stars, rounding up to 5. If this book kept me up all night reading and I’m telling the author that she broke my heart, then why is it NOT a five star read fully? Really, dudes, just take it as a 5 star. But fine! If you want me to get all critical: My review copy had some grammatical errors here and there that threw me out of reader zone for a brief moment. Hopefully those will get fixed. Yes, I’m one of THOSE readers. And then…the real reason…look. Liberty Connor is a bad-ass heroine, right? For all intents and purposes, she’s a normal, 17 year old girl living in a tiny isolated town that just happens to have a monster problem. This girl decides to DO something about what is going on in her town. She picks up an ax, arms herself with a few friends who end up dying, GIVES THE LOVE OF HER LIFE OVER TO THE DAMN QUEENS, makes it to “the outside” and then is tortured and yet STILL fights again, right? So then…if she’s just learned she can’t trust her family, that Blackbrooke is seriously messed up, if she’s recognizing that she’s being interrogated by a good cop/bad cop routine, why the HELL is she so trusting of Dr Frank and Jeremiah? Why the HELL does she so easily believe that the Quadrangle is not bugged? DAMMIT LIBERTY. USE YOUR BRAIN. I KNOW YOU HAVE ONE…IT IS ONE OF YOUR GOOD QUALITIES. It annoyed me so much that I took a quarter star off. I hate having my heroine be stupid. I don't care if she IS just 17, well 18 years old now. 

As for breaking my heart, NOOOOOOOO. WHAT THE HELL? NOOOOOOOOOO. (edited a lot out here with specifics re relationships and conversations because you’ll hate me if I leave it in there.)

Alright. I need book 3 now. My heart aches. I’m not a writer; there just can’t be a good outcome for this. Can there? PLEASE?

I'm thankful that this is only going to be a trilogy. I don't know if my heart can take more. <3

Guest Post --- Liberty Connor's Journal Exercise...

I don’t know why I’m writing this. When Dr Frank offered me a pen and paper to scribble instead of the usual session where I get asked the same inane questions, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been in the Institute for what feels like weeks now but it’s probably days. Or is it weeks? I don’t know. It’s not the Institute I want to write about, I think about little else as it is.

I want to talk about my friends. Or the lack thereof.

I’m worried about my mental state because I believe they’re still alive. One I thought was dead, is actually alive but it’s the others I can’t deal with. I know they’re dead, I was unfortunately privy to their demise, but a huge part of me still believes they’re out there somewhere, waiting for me.

I hate the Crits. But above all, I hate myself. I can’t help but wonder whether, if I hadn’t have started poking my nose into Blackbrooke business, my friends would still be alive. I might be dead, but having been faced with a fair amount of time to myself in the Institute, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

My love for my friends and my brother is the only thing that makes me remotely interesting. Is being fiercely loyal enough of a reason to still be around when I’ve lost some amazing people? I don’t know.

When it all feels desperate, I think about Denzil. His demeanour hasn’t changed since I first met him as a twelve-year-old brat. Easy-going, funny, caring, he’s been the butt of my teasing as much as I’ve been on the receiving end of his. Some days he royally pissed me off. There were days I thought he was pathetic because he never left Tales from the Crits, seemingly satisfied to see out the rest of his days behind that counter.

I suppose I wanted him to want more for himself.

But the information I learned in the last few days in Blackbrooke about Denzil has been playing on my mind. I mean, Denzil lost everything. It turns out, he did care for people. He cared for his parents who walked out when he was a teenager. He cared about his grandmother, who became his guardian but then tragically became very sick. And he cared about Marie Picton, of whom I can’t even think about right now.

I remember Gemma being so sure Denzil had a crush on her. I’d baulk and tell her not to be so disgusting, but there was a part of me that didn’t like the way he couldn’t meet her eye and seemed embarrassed when she fluttered her eyelashes at him. It worried me that my thirty-something boss may have feelings for a young girl and I’m ashamed to say, I spent the last few months trying not to be alone with him once the shop was closed.

Now, I get it.

Gemma looked so much like her mother. Every time she came into the shop and pulled herself up to perch on the counter, he must have thought of Marie. It must have been a knife through the heart. Suddenly, the averted looks and nervous muttering makes sense.

I’d unintentionally added to Denzil’s torture by befriending the one pupil at Blackbrooke Academy he really didn’t need to see on a regular basis. Why didn’t he tell me? I would have understood and told Gemma not to visit Tales from the Crits. She wouldn’t have cared or asked questions, she hated the shop anyway. But that’s not Denzil’s style. He would have never told me to keep my friend away from the shop because he wouldn’t have wanted to hurt me.

Because, after losing everyone in his life, I now realise I was all Denzil had left. And now I’ve disappeared. The guilt I feel is palpable. I’d do anything to get a message to him to tell him I’m okay and that I’ll do my damn best to see him again, but I can’t. I’m rapidly coming to the understanding I don’t have any say in the Institute.

That’s why I want out. I want Cassius with me and I want to get out.

Is this the kind of stuff you wanted, Dr Frank? Is this what you wanted me to write? Will you help me, Dr Frank? Or will you continue to sit behind that stupid Perspex desk and tap more nonsense into that electronic pad of yours?

I hope this makes you happy, because I’m certainly not. 

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