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Fractured: Book 2: 2/3 (SLATED Trilogy)
Fractured: Book 2: 2/3 (SLATED Trilogy)
by Teri Terry
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even Better Than Slated!, 16 April 2013
I love when the second book in a trilogy is just as strong as the first book. I love it even more when the second book propels the series to a whole other level! Fractured jumps straight into the action and mystery of a slated Britain and whilst I loved Slated, I came to love Fractured even more which is such a rarity for a middle book.

My favourite thing about Fractured is that we get to find out a whole lot more about slating and why Kyla is different. Not only is all of this really cleverly explained but it's fascinating to read about. The book really tackles the subject of identity and how our memories are essentially the foundation of who we are. I loved reading about Kyla's layered character and finding out why she's so unique. I loved that straight away we are provided with some huge answers and that Teri Terry hasn't kept them all hidden until the big finale which was something I found hugely refreshing.

The plot in Fractured allows us to see a different side to Kyla and we get to find out about her life before she was slated as she unravels memories of her past self. We also get to find out more about Free UK (better known as The Anti-Government Terrorists) as we follow the build-up to Kyla being slated. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading this book. It was full of action and suspense and never lets up for a moment.

Another thing I love about this series is the complex characters. I'm never quite sure who to trust because all of the characters have both good and bad in them which brings them to life on the page and makes them totally believable. My favourite characters in this book were Kyla's mum, Tori and Katran whose own stories are just as interesting and developed as Kyla's.

Slated was about slated Kyla. Fractured is about Kyla's life just before she is slated and the way this book ends leads me to believe the final book to be about Kyla's life and family from when she was Lucy. I love that each book explores a new part of Kyla's memories and personality and how they shape and develop her as our heroine. I can't wait for the third and final book to find out what happens next! Fractured is one of the strongest sequels I've ever read, this series just gets better and better!


The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess
The Infernal Devices 3: Clockwork Princess
by Cassandra Clare
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler Review!, 28 Mar. 2013
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***THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM CLOCKWORK PRINCESS!!!***

A lot of people rave about The Mortal Instruments series and whilst I do enjoy those books The Infernal Devices is one of my favourite series of all time and so I was anxious and excited for Clockwork Princess and was literally counting down the days on my calendar for this final instalment. I raced through this 568 page monster in less than 48 hours and by the end my eyes actually hurt from all of the tears I had shed. Happy tears, sad tears and tears of pure grief over this series ending.

On Plot, Mortmain, and Links to The Mortal Instruments:-
Clockwork Princess is one of Cassie's more slower paced novels plot wise. Instead of lots of action and fight scenes the book is very emotionally driven and the focus is mostly on saying a final farewell to these beloved characters. I kind of wished the take down of Mortmain was longer, all of these books were building up to this twisted villain who in the end got snuffed out like a bug. However I was really happy that Tessa was the one to kill Mortmain it was so ironic and felt so right. When Tessa changed into her Angel I literally gasped, I didn't see that one coming at all and although I was expecting a bigger final battle it was a fitting end to Mortmain.

One of the things I love about this series is the foreshadowing Cassandra Clare does for The Mortal Instruments. In this book we find out that Henry and Magnus actually created the portals which I loved. We also find out how Church ends up in New York and Magnus's comment on all Lightwood's looking the same had me in stitches! One thing I did pick up on that I haven't seen anybody else comment on was how Clary's middle name is Adele. Clary and Adele (Tessa's mother) were both Shadowhunters who were brought up as Mundanes and I wonder if Cassandra Clare intended to give us a clue to the Adele story-line by the use of that name. Its little details like this that I absolutely love about the books set in this world. Cassandra Clare's world building is so rich and detailed.

On Characters, Relationships and Teams:-
It was so hard saying goodbye to the characters in this book; I love all of them so dearly! Charlotte was such a bad ass and I absolutely loved her strength. Henry was adorable and I loved his friendship with Magnus in this book - finally somebody who gets his genius! Sophie and Bridget were courageous and loyal and Cecily was a wonderful new character who reminded me so much of Isabelle! I loved Will and Cecily's relationship and how protective Will was of his little sister. I also grew to really love the Lightwood brothers in this book as they struggle between family loyalty and doing the right thing. I was so pleased with who everyone ended up with and that everybody got a happy ending - hurray to not killing anybody off! I'm really going to miss this family of the London Institute.

Of course this series wouldn't be what it is without our beloved trio Will, Jem and Tessa. I've never been purely Team Will or Team Jem. I wanted both of them to be happy and loved both boys so much. I always wished that there was a way for Tessa to be with both of them but couldn't see how that would work so I was mighty impressed that Cassie found a way to make that happen. No matter what team you're on I feel like both sides have their share of heartbreak and happiness in this book.

What blew me away about Clockwork Princess and what made this book so phenomenal in my opinion was the complexity of our trio's relationship. Will and Jem are like two halves of a whole - literal soul mates. Their relationship was really well explored and described to us in this book and I consider their friendship up there with the greats like Harry, Ron and Hermione and Frodo and Sam. Cassandra Clare made me feel and understand their relationship and what it means to be Parabatai. To my surprise Jem and Will's relationship became the most important relationship to me in this series. Their heart to hearts was the source of most of my tears over Clockwork Princess.

On THAT Epilogue:-

I know that the epilogue is causing a lot of conflict between the fandom especially for Will fans but you know what guys? No one would be happier with that epilogue than Will. It's that simple. I personally LOVED the epilogue. I LOVED that both boys got to be happy with Tessa in their lifetimes. There is NO WAY that Will would want Tessa to live out eternity a lonely, grieving, widow and he would be so happy that Jem and Tessa had each other. And I'm sorry but if you think otherwise do you really know Will Herondale at all!? Have we even been reading about the same character!? I can seriously imagine him doing a little jig and singing a song about it up in Shadowhunter heaven. I, unlike a lot of readers, didn't feel like either love belittled the other but instead created something special, something greater. I think that Tessa, Will and Jem's circumstance is a unique one that required a unique ending I don't think a lot of authors could have pulled that epilogue off but for this story it worked beautifully.

Overall Clockwork Princess was a phenomenal if bittersweet ending. I usually hate love triangles but Cassandra Clare has created the ultimate triangle in The Infernal Devices one of respect, love and loyalty that runs from angle to angle between all three characters. I'm now going through a mourning period over the end of what has become one all my all-time favourite series. Clockwork Princess was a masterpiece of a conclusion and The Infernal Devices will always hold a special place in my heart.


The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris
by Jenny Colgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chocolate, French Men, Romance and Paris what's not to love!?, 14 Mar. 2013
Jenny Colgan is back with another indulgent treat of a book and this one really caught my attention as not only is it about my favourite vice, chocolate, but it is also set in one of my favourite cities, Paris. As soon as I heard what this book was about I knew that this one would be a winner and I wasn't disappointed! Chocolate, French men, romance and Paris what's not to love!?

This book follows two wonderful women Anna and Claire and their lives and loves in Paris. The book begins with Anna in a freak accident at work that leaves her in hospital where she reunites with her old French teacher from school Claire who is receiving treatment for cancer. Through their stay the women strike up a friendship and with Anna now out of work Claire sets her up with a once in a lifetime job working for world famous chocolatier Thierry in his chocolate shop in Paris.

The book is told in alternating parts between Anna whose story is set in the modern day and Claire's which takes us back to Paris in the seventies where Claire goes to work as an Au Pair for the summer. There are similarities in both girls' stories as they start out as insecure women and you watch them both blossom in Paris and find love along the way. I loved both ladies and their stories so much but Claire's was my favourite. I was just dying to know what had happened between her and Thierry and if they would get reunited before it was all too late.

Jenny Colgan's descriptions of the chocolate in this book were mouth-watering to read and I'd definitely recommend reading the book with some chocolate on hand like I did! The way that Thierry made his chocolate with such love and care really made me realise what an art form being a chocolatier is and how hard it is to get right. I definitely have a new found respect for the profession and will never look at chocolate in quite the same way again!

The chocolate wasn't the only thing about this book that made me hungry, Jenny Colgan completely brings Paris to life on the page and made me hungry to travel there and have an adventure like Anna's and Claire's. The French certainly know how to enjoy their food and not only the chocolate but all of the meals Anna ate in Paris sounded to die for. I fell in love with the descriptions of the food and the Parisian life style so much that I'm now really eager to travel there myself.

However this book wasn't all romance, food and adventure. At its heart The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is really quite a bittersweet read with the lovely Claire fighting cancer. I felt that the author got the recipe just right as there is enough fun and sparkle to balance out the sad parts so that this didn't become a completely heart-breaking read.

Once again I was totally enchanted by Jenny Colgan, her books are amongst some of my favourites, she is a must read author in my opinion! The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris is a novel you'll want to savour but you'll end up gobbling it down in one single, satisfying, bite. Bon appetit!


Sever (The Chemical Garden, Book 3)
Sever (The Chemical Garden, Book 3)
by Lauren DeStefano
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning if Brutal Conclusion, 12 Mar. 2013
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After reading Sever, the third and final book in this series, I can say without a doubt that The Chemical Garden trilogy is one of my all-time favourites. Every book has direction and is incredibly strong and each book I've enjoyed equally so much so that I couldn't pick a favourite if I tried. One thing I will say for Sever is that Lauren DeStefano is at her best in this book, in a word her writing is glorious.

Characters old and new are reunited in this final instalment and I felt like every single character became fully developed and we saw a different side to them. Cecily has come on leaps and bounds and has developed into a loving mother and wife and a headstrong, brave, young woman. After the events in the last book Linden finally sees his father for who he is and finds the courage to stand up to him.

The villains in this book Vaughn and Madame are also shown in a new light as we see a more humane side to them. Vaughn in particular is so emotionally complex and I ended up feeling a wide range of feelings toward him by the end of this book. I love a well-developed villain and Vaughn has got to be one of my all-time literary favourites.

The only issue I have with this book is one I've always had with the series and it's that the romance isn't great. I've never really been a fan of Rhine's love interest Gabriel - I was hoping that something would happen to make me love him in this book but with him not making an appearance until the end this didn't happen. Needless to say if you're a fan of Gabriel you might not be impressed by the lack of him in this final instalment. The love story to this series could have been so much more than it was especially when you read the gorgeous love stories between Cecily and Linden and the beautifully described memories Linden shares of his late wife Rose whose memory is brought up often in this book and is very cherished. I just don't understand why Lauren DeStefano didn't take the time to develop Rhine and Gabriel in such a way.

I don't want to talk about the plot too much in this review as it is so easy to spoil what happens. But rest assured that everything is resolved and tied up nicely with plenty of shocking twists that I didn't see coming at all but now that I look back the clues were there all along. I also really loved how DeStefano went into how the world ended up this way in detail something a lot of dystopian authors brush over - if discussed at all.

Overall I thought that Sever was a stunning if brutal conclusion to what has become a beloved series of mine. I loved that the author wasn't afraid to make harsh decisions in the name of staying true to the heart of this series and the book ends on a hopeful and beautiful message. I'm not ashamed to say I wept several times whilst reading this book and stayed up until the early hours to finish it. I'm so sad to say goodbye to this world and its characters and will be picking up anything that Lauren DeStefano writes in the future without hesitation.


Shadows: Book 1 (Rephaim)
Shadows: Book 1 (Rephaim)
by Paula Weston
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars! Gorgeous, Mature, Aussie Angel Romance., 8 Mar. 2013
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I love Aussie authors and settings, and I love paranormal Angel stories so when I heard about Shadows a book that features both I knew it would be a match made in heaven *cheesy pun totally intended* and so Shadows automatically became one of my most anticipated releases of 2013.

What surprised me with this novel was how mature it read. Our heroine Gaby is eighteen, lives with her best friend, and is out of school and working making Shadows appealing to an older YA/ New Adult audience. This wasn't something I was expecting and was a really pleasant surprise as I enjoyed the mature writing style and characters.

I've read a lot of Angel books over the years and I think with so many of them out there it's a tough genre to keep fresh and so I was really impressed that Paula Weston managed to add something new to the genre. Gaby thinks she is a normal girl, well normal regardless of her dreams about her killing demons every night with some hot guy she's never met ever since the accident that killed her twin brother. When Gaby meets Rafa the guy from her dreams she discovers that she's a descendent of fallen angels, a skilful demon fighter and holder of an important secret if only she could remember what it was. Her memories were altered on the night of the accident and she is in the centre of a war between the Rephaim who need her secret for either savour or destruction. Although Shadows covers themes that can be found in other Angel series I did find the overall plot to have a refreshing twist on the Angel legend.

What I loved most about Shadows were hands down the amazing characters and banter between them. I liked that Gaby wasn't a helpless heroine and I loved the chemistry between her and Rafa. Rafa was protective of Gaby but also gives her space to do her own thing. Their relationship was fiery but also very grown up and respectful and I felt like Paula Weston got the romance spot on. There was also a great cast of secondary characters like Maggie and Jason who I loved just as much as Gaby and Rafa.

Shadows was consistent throughout but the last part of the book really amps up the action and is full of twists that sets things up nicely for the sequel. A lot of questions have been raised in my mind and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next in Haze.


Delirium Trilogy 3. Requiem
Delirium Trilogy 3. Requiem
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Paperback

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Moving and Fitting Conclusion, 6 Mar. 2013
Lauren Oliver manages to break my heart every time with the endings to her books and after the HUGE cliff-hanger at the end of Pandemonium with Alex's return I was so anxious to read this final instalment to the trilogy and find out who Lena decides to be with and how it all ends.

Requiem is told in a dual narrative between Lena and Hana. The book picks up only a few days having passed since the events in Pandemonium and so things are still unresolved between Lena and Alex who have avoided one another since. I really enjoyed reading from two perspectives and thought that it worked really well for this book. Lena and the invalids are in the Wilds plotting a rebellion and Hana is in Portland soon to be married to the Mayor - a powerful and sadistic man. Surprisingly I actually preferred reading Hana's chapters the most, I've always loved her as a character and it was great to be back in Portland to find out what has happened to the people Lena left behind. Hana's storyline was also really interesting and intense to read as she discovers the skeletons in her future husbands closet and finds herself in even more danger when it seems as though her procedure might not have left her cured after all.

Like all of the books in the Delirium trilogy Requiem broke my heart. Early on in the book Alex and Lena have the talk they so desperately need and it hurt my heart to find out what had happened to Alex and to see how hardened he had become. Lena spends most of this book caught between both boys and although I'm firmly Team Alex I do love Julian and my heart went out to both of them in this impossible situation.

A lot of Requiem is slow moving and it's not until the last 70 or so pages that things really kick off with the rebellion and at times I felt like Hana's chapters were all that kept the pace moving. It's within the last few chapters that Lena and Hana's stories finally collide and the girl's reunion was beautiful and brought a tear to my eye. The ending to this book is left very open and I know a few people who've been annoyed by that but enough was resolved to leave me satisfied and I found the way it ended reflected the message of the story about taking a leap of faith, not being able to predict where life will take us, all we have is now.

The final paragraph has Lena talking directly to us the reader and what she said really resounded with me and once again left me in tears. Overall I think that Requiem is a final book that readers are either going to love or hate but I found it in theme with the message at the heart of this series making it a moving and beautiful conclusion.


The Indigo Spell
The Indigo Spell
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars My Favourite of this Series So Far!, 26 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Indigo Spell (Paperback)
Reading any book set in the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world is like coming home. After years of reading and loving these books the characters are so familiar to me that it's like catching up with old friends and so each new novel brings a lot of excitement because I can't wait to slip back into this story.

Straight off the bat I want to say that The Indigo Spell is my favourite of the Bloodlines series so far, and it had a very different feel to it than the previous books in the series. This book takes a step back from the vampire world and that whole plot line and instead focuses on witchcraft and magic as Sydney caves in to her magical calling and starts practising alongside Ms Terwilliger. Sydney's power brings unwanted attention from Ms Terwilliger's magic hungry sister Veronica who sucks the magic and life out of her victims leaving them in an aged comatose state from which they never awaken. This book is all about Sydney's character growth, her coming into her magical abilities, and finding Veronica before she finds her.

With Sydney breaking so many alchemist rules in this book she's also looking to find a way to get from under the alchemists grasp and so is hunting down a guy named Marcus Finch an ex-alchemist who can help Sydney break away from them and shed light on some of the secrets they've kept hidden from her. When I first heard about Marcus I was really worried that a love triangle would develop in this book so I was happy to find that there wasn't one because I really don't like love triangles and also couldn't stand the thought of Adrian being in another one. I'm glad that Richelle decided to give the poor guy a break and I just hope that one doesn't develop in future books.

What made The Indigo Spell stand apart from the other books in the series was Sydrian. Adrian and Sydney have grown so much since their Vampire Academy days and both characters are at their best in this book. There are so many magical moments between them which would just make my heart melt. This is by far the most romantic book of the series and Sydrian fans will not be disappointed!

Overall although the plot is still not up to the standard of Vampire Academy's the romance certainly is and that's what made this book my favourite in the Bloodlines series yet. I can't wait to see what's in store for one of my favourite book couples in the next instalment!


The Lost Girl
The Lost Girl
by Sangu Mandanna
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Unique and Moving British Dystopian, 18 Feb. 2013
This review is from: The Lost Girl (Paperback)
The Lost Girl is a dystopian with heart and is so emotionally complex and developed. It still has a fascinating futuristic plot, life or death action, and the twists that make dystopian fiction so popular but it's definitely an emotionally driven read which perhaps will make it appealing to contemporary lovers as well as the dystopian crowd. Being a fan of both genres made this book a winner for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Eva is an Echo. A man made human being who has been made in the image of Amarra a girl she's never met who lives in India whose parents have had Eva made because they can't bear the thought of losing their daughter. All her life Eva has been fed information and updates on Amarra so that she can live out her life in a mirror image all in preparation for if Amarra dies an untimely death and she should be called upon to take her place, which is of course what happens in this book.

What makes The Lost Girl such an emotional read is that I felt sorry for every single character in this book. The family that brought Eva up who have to let her go, Amarra's family for their grief, Amarra for having to share her life and the thought of her being so easily replaced and of course Eva for having to spend her entire life acting like this person when all she wants is to be allowed to be herself. Even though I was always on Eva's side throughout the book I could understand the other characters actions and felt bad for them too. The laws of the Loom created a lose lose situation for everyone and I loved exploring the issues raised in this book on what makes a person who they are, humanity, the fine line between love death and life, and what remains of a person after they're gone.

Eva was such a strong heroine who wants so much more from life than living in somebody else's shadow. The things she had to endure and the way she soldiered on was really admirable making her a fantastic heroine. There are so many characters to love in this book but Lekha, Sean, Nikhil, Mina Ma and of course Eva were my favourites. I especially loved that I loved Matthew - one of the bad guys, I do love a good villain especially one with a soft side!

The Lost Girl is set in both Britain and India. I love reading books based in my own country and Sangu Mandanna's descriptions of India had me fully imagining the country. The only thing I found a little odd about this book was that England was so advanced as to make actual humans but nothing else about the book was very futuristic at all. It read like a modern day Britain and I found it a little hard to believe that whilst we were reading about a time where man can make people that nothing else seemed to have evolved at all. However I loved everything else about this book so much that this didn't bother me too much and was more of a niggle than an annoyance.

Overall The Lost Girl was an incredibly moving and thought provoking debut. Although the story wraps up well enough to be a standalone, I loved these characters so much that I would love a sequel if Sangu Mandanna ever wanted to revisit this world.


Just One Day
Just One Day
by Gayle Forman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She went looking for him and along the way she found herself, 12 Feb. 2013
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This review is from: Just One Day (Paperback)
"She went looking for him and along the way she found herself." This sentence sums up the plot pretty well for this novel. Throw in travel, Shakespeare, art, identity, love, heartbreak, self-discovery, Paris, theatre, romance, goodbyes, fate, chance, mistakes, friendship and adventure plus the utter beauty that is Gayle Forman's writing and you've got Just One Day - one of my new all-time favourite books. Ever.

I'm a huge fan of Gayle Forman's If I Stay and Where She Went so I had the total first date feels about Just One Day. I was nervous and excited and had no idea how it was going to go so I put off reading it until I couldn't resist any longer and I wish that I wasn't so scared to pick it up and that I read it sooner because this book was everything I hoped it would be and more.

I loved everything about this book and I did the thing were I went and liked every quote from this book I could find on Goodreads which I only ever do with those extra special books that I deeply connect with. If you're familiar with Gayle Forman's books you'll know how beautiful her writing is. Her turn of phrase is so honest and raw sometimes that it hits me right in the gut and I get all chocked up and emotional without really knowing why other than that I've just read something true. Once again her words set the scene for my eyes, and the feelings of the characters for my heart so that I was completely invested in this story.

Whilst Just One Day has a heart wrenching romance it's so much more than a love story. I'd even go as far as to say that above all it is a book about taking a leap of faith into the unknown and going on such a once in a lifetime journey that you can't help but come out the other end changed. Allyson starts off as a quiet, anal, stick to the rules kind of girl and by the end of the book she has grown into this strong, independent, adventurous young woman.

I loved that Just One day was a mature YA/ New Adult book and dealt with themes like growing apart from high school friends, figuring out what you want to do with your life and discovering who you want to be. I felt like Gayle Forman really got the thoughts and feelings of an 18 year old girl starting out in the world for the first time and discussed these feelings in her book.

Just One Day was in my opinion a complete masterpiece that made my heart thirsty for adventure and travel. I'm so happy that the companion novel Just One Year is out this October because I can't wait to get Willem's version of events. After all, there are two sides to every story.


Undone
Undone
by Cat Clarke
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get this story out of my head!, 7 Feb. 2013
This review is from: Undone (Paperback)
There is something about Cat Clarke's writing that is so honest and raw that you immediately connect with her characters and dive head first into their lives, thoughts and feelings. Cat had me captivated once again with Undone and had my attention long after I actually finished the book because I couldn't get this story out of my head.

Undone is a book about grief, revenge and all-consuming rage. Our heroine Jem has been in love with her neighbour and gay best friend Kai for as long as she's known him. Only Jem and Kai's family know that Kai's gay and so when he is outed before he's ready in the worst imaginable way with a sex tape Kai takes his own life. Jem feels like she can't go on without him and is ready to follow in his footsteps when she receives a series of letters from Kai one for every month during the first year of his death. This gives Jem a part of Kai to hold on to and a year to find who did this to Kai and seek vengeance before she takes her life.

The characters in this novel are all so broken. When Kai commits suicide Jem is left with nothing but this rage and need for answers to the point where it becomes her only reason to live and even though this makes her not the nicest of characters I was totally with Jem and understood her reasoning for doing the things she does. Although Kai is dead for the majority of the book, we get to know him through his letters to Jem and her memories of him. The chapters where he is outed were so gut wrenching to read as this confident lovely person crumbles into despair.

Undone has several hard hitting subjects it tackles throughout the book including homophobia, bullying, grief and suicide to name a few. What I took away from the book was the importance of letting go and forgiveness, of not letting hate and anger consume us, and the message that it WILL get better.

I was in total awe of Undone and it would have been a perfect read had I not have figured out the "who done it" pretty early on. That being said there were lots of other twists that I didn't see coming at all and although it was obvious to me who outed Kai and what had happened, overall this book was so good that knowing didn't really affect my enjoyment of it at all.

The ending of this book literally took my breath away and I found it such a fitting end. Overall Undone is a beautifully crafted novel that I couldn't put down. If Cat Clarke hasn't already established herself as one of Britain's finest YA authors Undone is sure to do it!


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