Posts Tagged ‘Claire Merle’

Finish It February: Week Four and Challenge Roundup

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Books read this week: Three (but only one for the #FinishItFeb challenge)

Total challenge books read: Four challenge books

Series completed for challenge:Three

Overall feedback: Although I didn’t manage to fulfil my personal target for this challenge, I am really happy that I did managed to read four books, finishing three series and making a small dent in my personal TBR pile.

I feel really positive that I took the month of February to prioritise those books I have been desperate to read, which have unfortunately sat languishing on my shelves and gathering dust.

I have been really please with my book choices, falling very quickly back in to their distinctive worlds, and remembering what it was that I loved about the series’ in the first place.

I am hoping to continue to finish/get up to date with my in progress series over the next few months and I would definitely consider abandoning the review TBR again to prioritise my “own books”. But, for now I am determined to make more time for my own TBR alongside my review commitments. So, although the challenge is over and I have returned to scheduled programming 😉 my current audiobook choice is Sarah J Maas’ Crown Of Midnight, one of my #FinishItFeb picks.

The Fall (The Glimpse #3) by Claire Merle

the fallLondon, in the not-so-distant future. Society has been divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test.
But seventeen-year-old Ana, whose father invented the Pure test, has uncovered a recording with dangerous evidence that the tests are fake. Ana has escaped her father and made it to the Enlightenment Project – a secluded protest group living on the outskirts of the City.
Back in the arms of Cole nothing is simple. Some in the Project believe her presence jeopardises their safety, others interpret her coming as part of their prophetic Writings. When the recording Ana stole goes viral, the Project comes under attack. Now Ana’s father isn’t the only one looking for her. She’s come to the attention of Evelyn Knight, the Chairman of the Board – a powerful woman with a sinister plan. Ana must take greater risks than ever to unravel the truth and discover the secrets that lie beneath the Pure test. But unlike her father, the Chairman doesn’t want her safely home. She wants Ana’s spirit crushed, permanently. And she will destroy everyone Ana cares about to do it.

I love duologues and I really need to read more of them. They are the perfect solution for readers like myself who want more, more, more from their favourite characters, who wish to be re submerged in familiar worlds, who enjoy the anticipation of waiting for the next instalment. BUT without the agony of years of commitment to reach a conclusion, of series fatigue, of memory loss, filler, and the predictable formula of trilogies. I’m happy to have some questions left unanswered, to imagine my own epilogues, to be left wanting more without the expectation that I will receive it.

The Fall delivered just that. It was a great second instalment to a book I really enjoyed. A second, essential, economical part which moved the characters and story ARC forward, which answered the essential questions from the original and allowed me, the reader, to imaging my own endings. It made me want to go back to the first book and rediscover the story, and as a two book series, it is something that feels achievable despite my busy blogging schedule.

Verdict: I throughly enjoyed my time back in segregated London and I will be looking out for more from Claire Merle and investigating more duologues.

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: June2013
Format: eBook
Pages: 368
Genre: Dystopian
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Own copy
Challenge: British book

Posted by Caroline

To learn more about Finish It Friday and to join in visit our link up post here. To follow the challenge on Twitter search for #Finishitfeb

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Bookish Brits: #FinishItFeb Video Diary

Personal Target: Finish/get up to date with four series

Total books read: 3

Series completed for challenge: 2

Currently reading: The Fall by Claire Merle (The Glimpse #2)

To learn more about Finish It Friday and to join in visit our link up post here. To follow the challenge on Twitter search for #Finishitfeb

Posted by Caroline

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The Glimpse

Claire Merle

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

The economic collapse and the petrol wars took their toll on the mental health of the nation, triggering a “Mental Health Crisis” amongst the populous of the UK. Using the new science of gene mapping the Government took the drastic step of developing a diagnostic test for the genetic mutations responsible for the “Big 3” mental health conditions; schizophrenia, depression and anxiety. Following diagnosis the population was divided in two.

Deserting the countryside as unemployment became the norm and petrol became increasing more scarce, the population took refuge in the cities. Bequeathing the now overcrowded cities to the “Crazies”, the “Pure’s”, those without the genetic malformations, were relocated in to gated, protected communities, surrounding the city.

The “Crazies” eek out a hard existence under the constant threat that their or a family members status as “Sleeper”, those with the genetic malformation who are not yet ill, will be reclassified as “Active”, those with a mental illness, and forcefully admitted in to a “Loony dump”.

Despite being a talented musician and intelligent, inquisitive student, as a “Pure”, Ana has had her future plotted out for her. Contrary to any personal feelings she may have on the matter Ana will complete her education, consisting of home economic and child development classes, marry her childhood crush and produce lots of “Pure” babies, continuing the “Pure” line.

Receiving the shocking news that she has been living a lie and should not be living among the “Pures”. Ana accepts the conditions attached to her remaining within “the community”, including undertaking regular mental heath assessments and suppressing all expression of emotion, lest she be classified as “Active” and forced to join the Crazies she has been brought up to fear. The disappearance of Jasper, her intended spouse and the man on whom her future is dependent (feminism is indeed dead), provokes Ana in to action. Action which may see her thrown out of the community she is desperate to cling to.

A number of derogatory terms, are used in relation to mental illness throughout the text, many of which I have already repeated in this review, which some people may take offence to. In defence of the author, particularly to those who are not familiar with the dystopian genre (read definition of “Dystopian” here), I believe that the use of these terms and the treatment of the mentally ill within this work is in no way an endorsement for such behaviours or discrimination. It is a reflection of the warped society in which the book is set, and that the purpose is to induce outrage on behalf of the repressed members of that society, in this case the “Crazies” and to a certain extent the “Pure” women on their comfortable, yet restrictive pedestal.

Merle certainly doesn’t shy away from controversial topics. In addition to societies handling of mental illness Merle deftly touches on some interesting themes that a maturing readership may have never been exposed to before. Highlighting pharmaceutical development as big business, the questionable ethics of pharmaceutical company funded medical research and the practice prescribing of psychotropic medications to “troubled” children.

With any new fantasy, sci- fi or dystopian there is inevitably an immense amount world building and the need to introduce the fundamental elements of that world to the reader as quickly as possible. In the case of the Glimpse the author has resorted to one character giving an impromptu history lesson to another to describe the foundation on which the society is based, while this technique is a little frustrating at times I can understand and forgive the author for telling us, rather than showing us this history.

A confused science lesson about genetics had me raising an eyebrow and consulting with a friend to ensure that I had not somehow forgotten or misunderstood the basics of autosomal dominant and recessive conditions. However, the strength of this book is that once I had got beyond the information overload and confused science lesson of the first chapter, I was completely absorbed within the story and able to simply enjoy the ride.

And what a ride it was! Told in third person, and predominantly from Ana’s perspective (with a few tantalising glimpses from Jasper, Cole and Dr Barber’s perspectives) we observe as Ana develops from an intimidated, fearful, yet compassionate girl, to a more self aware, street smart confident woman. Along the way she comes to terms with her genetic inheritance, corrects her prejudiced misconceptions and falls in love.

I am really excited to see how Ana uses these life lessons in book two to affect a change within her society and I am hoping that we finally get introduced to the enigma that is the “Enlightenment project”.

Verdict: The UK setting is not the only frighteningly familiar element of this disturbing dystopian.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: June 2011
Format: eARC
Pages: 432
Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Netgalley
Challenge: Debut Author
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