Wednesday 1 January 2014

'Haze' by Paula Weston (*****)

As the year of 2013 draws to a close, I think that it would be most appropriate to draw my first year (well, barely half a year) of book blogging to a close with my final book review of the winter season: the second book in Paula Weston's Rephaim series- 'Haze'. Before I start with the review I would just like to add that this experience has been very new to me, and I have enjoyed every moment being involved with Fierce Fiction. Before, I would read books and move on, but now I can enjoy a book and then write down why I liked it- somehow it just adds to the whole journey of reading the book. But this experience hasn't just been receiving books in the post (which, if you ask any member of my family, I have been very over-excited about!) and reviewing them, but I have also had the amazing opportunity to interview amazing authors- something a year ago I would never have dreamed of doing! But yearly reflection over- the review is ready and waiting!

Haze was the type of sequel that every sequel should look to- it wasn't a book where the writer desperately tried to squeeze in new ideas that they didn't manage to in the new book, or verged off on a completely different train of thought; it was a direct continuation of the first book which I absolutely loved. The characters were further developed, as was the storyline, and whilst I really enjoyed the first book it was still a book that I could put down and save for another day, Haze on the other hand, I found it very difficult to stop reading once I had started! As I explained in my previous blog, I believe that the reason Weston's writing is so successful is because she uses all of the elements for the perfect book (gripping characters, engrossing storyline, the perfect mix of romance and adventure...) and I felt that this did not lack in the slightest in this sequel.

(Warning- this paragraph contains spoilers!) I'm sure every reader of Shadows and Haze will agree with me when I say, 'Look, we all knew that Jude was going to be found at some time. And he's going to be one of 'them'. And he's going to be another *ahem* good looking dude.' But somehow, I was still excited when I finally turned to the chapter when Rafa and Gabe finally took the journey to Melbourne to find Jude, and I was still shocked when they spotted him on the pier. It takes a flipping good writer to make their readers engrossed about an event that they know is as inevitable as the sun rise (or that my reviews are always late).

Another thing that I only realised when I had finished reading Haze was the measure Weston took to create a whole new image of the average 'female' in a teenage novel. While in this type of book you'd expect a glistening array of romantic moments and whole chapters dedicated to Gabe and Rafa's constant evolving relationship, but these moments were thankfully few and far between. When Gabe and Rafa fought, you'd expect that when Gabe got hurt Rafa would throw down his weapons and tend to her like the charming prince he should be, but instead persuading her to go harder on him. It's strange if you think about it, but weirdly refreshing.

Altogether, there is not a book I couldn't more widely recommend to everyone I know- teenage boys, teenage girls, my parents, my siblings... This book honestly suits everyone. It's sort of a cliche to say the average reviewer tick of, 'I can't wait to see what she/he does next!' But this time I couldn't mean it more sincerely.

I look forward to another year of book reviews, and thank you for the page views (we're getting close to one hundred!) Happy New Year!

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