Customer Reviews


39 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (15)
3 star:
 (7)
2 star:
 (3)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let Twilight put you off this good book
When I got this book, I admit, I didn't know it was about vampires, to be honest. I'd heard that Susan Hubbard was a good writer so I thought I'd try one of her books. If I had known it was about vampires, I probably would have left it because Twilight really put me off vampires and werewolves - with no offence to anybody who likes Twilight, it just doesn't appeal to me...
Published on 24 Jan. 2011 by crezi

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of 3 parts
Written in first person narrative from Ariella's point of view, mostly in retrospect and diary format, starting as 13 year old with a HUGE dark family secret. Not only is the story told from her point of view but she takes on the persona of a third person narrator at times, giving insight into other peoples thoughts and feelings. It is sometimes difficult to understand...
Published on 5 May 2010 by Emma @ Book Angel Booktopia


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't let Twilight put you off this good book, 24 Jan. 2011
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
When I got this book, I admit, I didn't know it was about vampires, to be honest. I'd heard that Susan Hubbard was a good writer so I thought I'd try one of her books. If I had known it was about vampires, I probably would have left it because Twilight really put me off vampires and werewolves - with no offence to anybody who likes Twilight, it just doesn't appeal to me. Since I've read this I've read other vampire books, there are some other good ones.

Anyway, what I originally loved about this book was the style and the detail, and the way Hubbard writes about Ariella's life so we clearly get a picture of her daily routine and her personality. I didn't expect the quality of her writing to be so good. Ariella is much more mature than a thirteen year old though, so don't think this is some immature, childish narrator. I often forgot that the protagonist is actually younger than me, I kept thinking she was seventeen or something.

What I didn't really like was the second half I guess. Not just that there wasn't that much action, but the first half is so good you think it will just keep getting better but it just seems to come to a halt. I also thought there were quite a few loose ends. Bear in mind this was before I knew this was just the first book of a series so I'm sure it fits better when you've read the next two books - which I'm likely to read sometime - but still, the climax felt a little bit rushed for such a well planned out beginning.

I'm giving this four stars though, rather than three because it is still a well written story about a family with a more than mysterious secret.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of 3 parts, 5 May 2010
By 
Emma @ Book Angel Booktopia (Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Written in first person narrative from Ariella's point of view, mostly in retrospect and diary format, starting as 13 year old with a HUGE dark family secret. Not only is the story told from her point of view but she takes on the persona of a third person narrator at times, giving insight into other peoples thoughts and feelings. It is sometimes difficult to understand this correctly as you constantly have to remember that she is only interpreting other peoples actions based on her own rather than having direct insight into their minds. I really enjoyed the way in which Ariella directly addresses the reader, it added a sense of involvement in the plot.

The book is split into 3 different sections relating to the different phases of the story. The 1st part shows Ariella as a child, sheltered from the real world by her father. This was my favourite part, the start was dramatic and full of tension. The descriptions were deliciously sensory. The vocabulary is lovely and gives me the satisfaction of gaining knowledge via osmosis :) The plot unravels slowly like a loose thread you pull that keeps unravelling until you are able to snap it off. Intriguing plot teasers dropped throughout the narrative.

The second part deals with Ariella's journey to find her mother and her developing awareness of different aspects of her personality. I couldn't fully grasp the changes in Ariella in this section and her actions didn't quite seem to fit with the picture I had already built up of her from the 1st section. I had to keep reminding myself that she is only supposed to be 13 at this point and couldn't quite weigh up her interactions and emotions with someone of that age. I adored the Poe quotes and the terrific literary analysis of Poe given within the narrative. Especially the use of italics to draw the readers eye to specific parts of the plot. I have always wanted to read Poe but am a bit concerned that it will frighten me, being of the squeamish variety and having a technicolor imagination :) There are also some very intriguing religious references adding another element to the story, all thoroughly researched and well developed points.

The last section finds Ariella reunited with her mother. Bringing back the Ariella I had imagined in the 1st section. In some respects she appears older and wiser than her years and at others, she appears younger and more naive, probably a conflict that occurs to anyone at that age. A little bit of the nature versus nurture debate comes into force as we are left to wonder what sort of person Ariella would be if she had lived with her mother during her childhood. The changes within Ariella during each section gives the book a different feel, like 3 different stories unfolding to a single conclusion. I particularly liked the imagery used to describe the gardens and animals in this section, it really brought it to life for me. Some major plot twists occur at the end; we are left with resolution to some aspects and a big mystery to others. There is a particular description of a man, I think we can assume is evil, that I found chilling.

On the whole, I am a bit torn with this one, I liked the general storyline but couldn't fully relate the story to a 13 year old. I think I am still going to have to read the next book just to find out if the mystery is solved :)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars Great promise for an unusual book, 29 April 2009
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Society of S is an unusual Young Adult novel, largely thanks to the fact that it doesn't read as though it's intended for teenagers. It's not that the novel is gory or explicit in fact quite the contrary at times it's so thoughtful and deliberate in its tone and pacing that you would be forgiven for thinking that it was intended as an adult slice of lit-fiction. Society of S lacks the thundering hormonal pace of most YA vampire novels here there are no brooding bad boy immortals to make the reader's pulse pick up, no swooning romance or even the painful but sympathetic portrayal of adjusting to becoming something different. Readers who are looking for more novels like Twilight are most definitely NOT the audience this is written for.

Ariella is a thirteen-year-old girl who knows that she is unusual from the beginning. Her father a saturnine and somewhat cold character has raised her from a baby after her mother - whom they never speak of- left them. Ariella is home-schooled in the classics and her point of view throughout the novel is that of an erudite scholar with only a few hints as to her real age, I suspect your average teen reader may have trouble relating to a thirteen year old who quotes Poe, Homer and Plato routinely-I know I had trouble adjusting to it.

There are several promising mysteries in the depths of this novel; is Ariella's father a vampire? Where is her mother? Who killed her friend Katherine? Unfortunately, the meandering and molasses pace of events and limited interaction with other characters doesn't allow the reader to piece together any of these mysteries and like Ariella seemingly we are not asked to care about them. When Ariella's only real friend is murdered it has a knock on effect as she loses her one connection to 'normal' teenage life and begins to wonder about whether her father really is a vampire. The promise of whether Ariella will hunt down her friend's killer is snuffed out early on as she proceeds to meander through a dream like haze of months until one day as of nothing (lots of the events in this novel are propelled by passive action rather than determined planning) she decides that she will find her real mother armed only with a few hints she has been able to pick up from her father who has at last confessed his true nature.

Plotwise there isn't much that can be reviewed without seriously spoiling the novel for a new reader. The novel definitely suffers from a lack of interaction with other characters and Ariella's own curious sense of events; her matter of fact response to her friends death and the potential that her father may be a vampire really takes away from any tension. In terms of character although Ariella was a little too blue-stocking for my tastes at times if perservered with she is someone you can warm to. Her father is different enough that I wanted to like but unfortunately we are never really given the opportunity to see him as anything more than a cardboard cutout who gives Ariella scholarly bits of wisdom and act the part of the brooding immortal.

There are some good things in the novel like the very scientific explanations for how vampires cant be photographed and the early sequences of Ariella making friends with Katherine are fun. However the major flaw in this novel is that it feels incomplete, the denouement was wrapped up so quickly that as a reader I felt cheated. The pacing and plotting of the novel were often weak and completely ruined any attempts at building tension or sense of drama. I don't know if there are more books planned in this as a series (although I suspect not) but there is a definite sense as you finish this that large chunks of the narrative have not been closed or clarified sufficiently.

This is worth a try but it's definitely not a book that all teenagers or adults will enjoy, like Ariella it's something in-between.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Brilliant..., 2 Mar. 2009
By 
Caleb Williams (Liverpool) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
From start to finish, this book has been one of the most enticing novels I've read in a very long time. I have to say that I chose this book from the Vine newsletter many months ago but have only recently decided to pick it up. I wasn't familiar with any of the authors prior work so really didn't have many expectations; what I did discover though that this is an intricately crafted and enticing read which I genuinely struggled to put down.

The stories main point is to ignite thoughts about who we are, what shapes us and where are we going. The stories main protagonist, Ariella explores all these questions of her own life as she grows older and turns further into a vampire much like her father.

The story is very well written and the use of grammar and language seems so perfect that it never falters, and unlike some other books I've read, I have not once felt the need to go back and read a sentence to make sure I read it correctly. As it's told from the main characters point of view, the book progresses in giving you an accurate idea as to how her mind works, how she behaves and what she looks like. In another review someone mentioned that it appears to contain quite a bit of intellectual show boating, but put in the context of who the story is meant to be getting told by and upon being made aware of the main characters upbringing, I think it seems adequate to express this intellectual side from time to time.

Although the text itself is very well written, it maintains quite a casual conversational appearance. From time to time, the storyteller will get so carried away with the particular event at hand, that descriptions of particular characters or settings of the event seem to go undisclosed meaning she will have to back track and devote a paragraph solely to description. I absolutely love that and again it promotes the idea of the casual nature of the storytelling, and presents the idea that you're really reading the story written by the main character. So the characters I said are well defined and in many ways, the two main characters of the novel seem realistic and deep. The side characters are shallow by comparison, but are only merely introduced as a way of pushing the story along so we don't really need a back story for them.

Overall this is a genuinely entertaining book that I think any casual reader will enjoy. The language used is simple yet effective and grammatically stable throughout. Susan Hubbard is a very talented writer and that's just my opinion being derived from my experience of this book, so I'm hoping that when I buy some of her other novels, they are just as good as this.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars 5* beginning, 1 Jan. 2009
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a book in three parts, and the first one is outstanding. Lush, mysterious and almost elegiac, it tells the story of 13 year old Ariella's early childhood with her beautiful but reclusive father and her absent mother. Set in a large old house, with a mysterious woman working in the basement, it brings the Victorian gothic bang up to date.

Isolated Ariella is home-taught by her brilliant father who educates her way above the average 13 year old: physics, philosophy, Latin and Greek, overlaid by literature: Dickens, James and, most of all Poe. Ariella doesn't remember anything about her mother but has mysterious dreams filled with songs and broken puzzles. Then she makes friends with a local family, particularly the 13 year old daughter and slightly older brother and starts to question who and, most importantly, what she is.

I'm not normally a fan of the first-person narrative but loved this first part which is beautifully and delicately written. I wanted to slow down to savour it, but at the same time was compelled forward by the text. However, sadly, the second and third parts of the book don't maintain this high standard. The writing becomes more pedestrian, nothing to be criticised but lacking the sensitivity and almost poetic flavour of the early section; and plot takes over. Ariella leaves home and crosses America in search of her absent mother. The idea of a 13 year old checking happily into hotels and restaurants pushed me out of the story as I couldn't believe in it - but maybe that's because I'm not 13 (sadly!) and a teenage audience might buy it more.

I don't want to give away the plot but suffice to say it includes murder, blood, evil beings, mysterious fires, long overdue explanations and complications untangled - the exquisite beginning turns into something faster, more dramatic and far less emotional - like Rosamund Lehman or Antonia White turning into Bernard Cornwell...

So overall while I enjoyed this book I felt that the author's true writing skills became lost. Reading the beginning I thought that this would be a book that I would re-read with pleasure, but I think I would stop at the first section before the `action' takes over. So 5/5 for section 1, 3/5 for sections 2 and 3. But I look forward to the follow-up and hope that Hubbard goes back to what she does best.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars, 30 Nov. 2008
By 
Book Addict - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Living an isolated life with her scientist father, Ariella (Ari) is on the cusp of learning some extraordinary facts about her family; her mother's unexplained disappearance immediately after her birth, her father's strange condition which she doesn't think is Lupus at all, and her own equally odd condition which she doesn't think is anaemia either.

Nearing her thirteenth birthday, Ari makes a friend for the first time and encounters an environment like none before; the bustling home of her housekeeper Mrs. MsGarritt overrun by her large family. Yet as Ari begins to question her life and what she may be, her burgeoning world is ripped apart when her best friend Kathleen is murdered. With her father away Ari believes the time has come to face the truth and uncover the mysterious disappearance of her mother.

Ari's relationship with he father is one of the most interesting aspects of this book and I can only liken their initial interaction to (how I would image) a high society very prim and intellectual Victorian family. Home taught, Ari is clearly highly educated compared to her peers, and her discussions with her father revolve around theology, politics and religion without any outward sign of frivolity or laughter. They clearly bond well intellectually; however it is not until Ari's mother is again in their lives that father and daughter display genuine affection towards each other.

With a theme of vampirism running throughout the story line (highlighted by blurred photographs and distorted reflections) Ari certainly shows no signs of the "affliction". Sticking to a strict vegetarian diet, and out and about with Kathleen during the summer months; although she does tend to burn quickly Ari easily tolerates day light. Yet as the story line continues and darkens, treacherous acts occur, further murders take place and Ari begins to mature and show some classic signs of vampirism.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A great read for teens and adults alike, 4 Feb. 2009
By 
Mrs. J. Jones "janejones" (Chester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
When Ariella Montero reaches adolescence, like most young people she starts asking questions about who she is and where she came from. However, Ari is not like other young people and her quest to find her mother and her own identity leads her into a tangled web of intrigue and secrets. Set in modern times, but with a distinctly 19th century feel to it, Ari uses all the technology available to trace the whereabouts of her mother and fill in the gaps in her own history.

Murder, magic, vampires and medical science combine to make a thrilling book which is hard to put down and will appeal to youngsters and adults alike. The characters are believable and sympathetic, if slightly Harry Potterish; for instance the father reminds one of Malfoy's father and the McGarritt's are all but the Weasleys. However, it is difficult to write a fantasy novel without some resonance with all the fantasy elements of the 'normal' versus the 'other' and this book has some unique qualities which make it more enjoyable and less convoluted than HP and consequently an easier read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A really enjoyable read.., 26 Dec. 2008
By 
Free Spirit "shilo115" (North Wales, GB) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was dubious about reading this book, I wasnt sure whether or not it was my type of book but have found it to be an enjoyble, interesting and highly entertaining read.

The book is about Ari who has been brought up by her father with restricted access to the outside world. All that changes as she reaches puberty and discovers the world outside her home. Things happen which lead her to search for her mother who left when she was born. She finds her mother and the story goes on from there......

I loved this book. It kept me on the ball every step of the way. The sad part is that I started to read this running up to Christmas and the fact that I have been ill and very busy meant that my reading time has been limited. I have savoured every page.

This book was written with teenagers in mind but being a fan of Stephanie Meyer and a 42 year old teenager myself, I have enjoyed it from cover to cover.

Well worth a read :0)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Secretly Spellbinding, 31 Dec. 2008
By 
Donald Thompson "waldo357" (Belfast N Ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved this book. It takes the age old vampire story/myth and imbues it with, literally, new blood. You are never sure that Ariella is a vampire, but then neither is she. Even her father is not sure if she is or not. Their complex personal relationship takes up the first part of this wonderfully written and enchanting book. Their world is suddenly torn apart by a brutal murder. From here Ariella goes on the road in an attempt to find the truth and her mother. The story at this stage feels a little loose, some tightening of the editing may help. When she reaches journeys end what awaits her? Revelations, sanctuary and a final show down with the dark and shadowy presence she has felt on her shoulder her whole life. Congratulations Ms Hubbard, a great book, and I'd love to hear more about Ariella in the future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read, 31 July 2012
By 
This review is from: The Society of S (Paperback)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My daughter read this and was quite impressed with the story. She was surprised that my son who is into vampire stories hadn't picked it up and urged him to put it next on his to read list. A brief synopsis:

Ari's father is a vampire but she is unaware that she is also a vampire. Ari is told she has a weak immune system and should stay away from crowds. When she learns that her father is a vampire and that her mother may not be dead she sets off on a journey to discover the truth about herself and her family

Definitely worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Society of S
The Society of S by Susan Hubbard (Paperback - 1 Dec. 2008)
Used & New from: £0.01
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews