Monday 31 October 2016

Gemina, Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Pages: 672
Publisher: Rock the Boat
Release Date: 20th October 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by these Authors: Illuminae

Hanna Donnelly is the station captain’s pampered daughter and Nik Malikov is the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. Together they struggle with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, blissfully unaware that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed straight to Heimdall with the news of the Kerenza invasion.

Picking up about 5 minutes after Illuminae ends, Gemina is the electrifying sequel to one of the hottest reads of 2015.

Illuminae was one of my favourite books of 2015 so I was beyond excited to get my hands on Gemina. It didn’t disappoint.

I was really nervous that I wouldn’t enjoy this as much as I did book one because Kady and Ezra weren’t the focus of the story, and it did take a while for me to adjust to life on the Heimdall station and try to forget about what happened on the Hypatia enough to fully engage with the story. But it honestly didn’t take me long to become obsessed with Gemina.

The second instalment in this series is just as wacky as the first. It moves at break-neck speed, delivers a bucket-load of shocks and surprises and a hefty dose of heartbreak – I raced through this rather chunky book. I didn’t want to put it down and I'd spend all day eager to get back to it in the evening – that’s the mark of really being involved in a book for me and Gemina nailed it.

The only issue I really had with Gemina wasn’t to do with the story at all. I read a pretty early proof so a fair amount of the art was missing. It wasn’t stuff that meant I missed bits of the story, it was more the effect of reading a multi-media book like this. I didn’t get to see portraits of the characters, the maps or schematics which was a shame. It was surprising how much it launched you out of the flow of a story that is already so varied and unexpected!

With a cruel cliffhanger of an ending, I'm desperate for the final book in this series, but I’m also nowhere near ready for it to be over.

Thanks to Rock the Boat for the review copy.


Friday 28 October 2016

Word Nerd, Susin Nielsen

Pages: 256
Publisher: Andersen Press
Release Date: 6th October 2016
Edition: UK paperback, review copy

Ambrose Bukowski is a twelve-year-old with a talent for mismatching his clothes, for saying the wrong thing at the worst possible thing, and for words. In short, he’s a self-described nerd. Making friends is especially hard because he and his overprotective mother, Irene, have had to move so often. And when bullies at his latest school almost kill him by deliberately slipping a peanut into his sandwich to set off his allergy, it’s his mother who has the extreme reaction. From now on, Ambrose has to be home-schooled.

Then Ambrose strikes up an unlikely friendship with the landlord’s son, Cosmo, an ex-con who’s been in prison. They have nothing in common except for Scrabble. But a small deception grows out of control when Ambrose convinces a reluctant Cosmo to take him to Scrabble club. Could this spell disaster for Ambrose?

I’m a big fan of Susin Nielsen’s books, but I didn’t completely click with Word Nerd; I found Ambrose really quite annoying. I mean, I get that his lack of a filter and tendency to be a big smug and over-dramatise everything is his personality, but it grated. Although he was irritating, I did find him weirdly charming and I felt very protective over him.

As ever, Susin Nielsen tackles some big issues in a subtle and sensitive way. Word Nerd talks about grief, loneliness, PTSD, bullying, addiction and more in only 250 pages and that’s not a mean feat! I loved watching Ambrose, his mum and Cosmo come face to face with those issues and work through them, coming out stronger on the other end because of their connections with each other. It made my heart smile.

Though Word Nerd wasn’t my favourite book from Susin Nielsen so far, it was fun, easy and enjoyable and I’m looking forward to whatever’s next from Nielsen.

Thanks to Andersen Press for the review copy.


Thursday 27 October 2016

Spooky classics you need on your Halloween TBR

If you’ve been reading this blog much at all this year you’ll have noticed my growing obsession with classics and there’s nothing like settling down with a Gothic read or two as the nights start drawing in.

Here are a few perfect Halloween reads that I've read, and some I can’t wait to get stuck into.


‘The Turn of the Screw’ by Henry James
When a young governess moves away from home to look after two young children at a country house, she spots a figure of a man she doesn’t know on the tower. The other staff quickly identify the man, but he’s dead.

This novella is often heralded as one of the finest ghost stories ever written. I listened to the audiobook performed by Emma Thompson and it was delightfully unsettling.

‘Northanger Abbey’ by Jane Austen
Catherine Moorland is obsessed with sensational Gothic novels so when she goes to stay at Northanger Abbey with the Tilneys, her imagination runs away with her and she starts to envisage horrible things happening in the house.

This short little Austen is bursting with satire, fun and an affectionate mocking of lots of the novels that feature here!

‘Carmilla’ by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
I LOVE this novella about a mysterious young woman who comes to the home of a teenage girl and her father and the girls start to experience unusual desires for each other.

This story pre-dates ‘Dracula’ by over 25 years and inspired Stoker substantially, yet it’s still lesser known, but I actually like ‘Carmilla’ a whole lot more than I do its successor.

‘The Castle of Otranto’ by Horace Walpole
I find came across this ridiculous Gothic novel in my second year of uni during a module on Gothic fiction. It's widely acknowledged as the first Gothic novel.

Manfred’s fear of an ancient prophecy sets him on a destructive course when he marries the bride-to-be of his freshly dead son and proceeds to hunt her through the castle as she flees. It’s a very amusing read, if very weird…

To Read

‘The Haunted Hotel’ by Wilkie Collins
Two mysteries: an English Lord sickens and dies in a festering room by Venice’s Grand Canal and a London wife stops abruptly stops receiving letters from her Italian servant husband and becomes convinced he’s been murdered. How are they connected?

This just sounds like such a lot of fun. And a much shorter read from Collins than ‘The Moonstone’ or ‘The Woman in White’!

‘The Vampyre’ by John Polidori
This short story was produced by the same ghost story competition with Shelley and Byron that gifted the world with ‘Frankenstein’ and is heralded as the story that catapulted vampires into English fiction.

Under Polidori’s hand, the vampire becomes a force of sensuality and glamour as an aristocrat who haunts a young man, turning sharply away from the grotesque, deathly beings of mythology that they’d been previously.

‘The Monk’ by Matthew Lewis
This was another title that featured on my Gothic module reading list, but it’s one I never got to. I'm really hoping this will change soon!

This is the story of Ambrosio, a monk whose downfall starts with a seduction in an abbey and leads to damnation; thwarted young lovers; bandits; and imprisoned spectres of nuns. Sounds so much fun, right?

‘The Mysteries of Udulpho’ by Ann Radcliffe
This chunkster was another that I failed to read at uni. My second year wasn’t really that productive…

Emily is an orphan who finds herself imprisoned in a fortress by her evil uncle and has to battle against her uncle’s schemes and her mental disintegration. I think that if this was shorter than its 700 pages, I definitely would have read this by now.

What are your favourite spooky classics?


Tuesday 25 October 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: The Canterville Ghost and Other Stories

Originally published individually in 1887.

My edition: the brand spanking new edition from Alma Classics.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I don’t remember discovering Oscar Wilde – he’s another staple in English literature – but I first read him at university when I studied both The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Importance of Being Earnest and loved them. These stories are pretty new to me; I knew they existed, but not what they were about!

WHY I Chose to Read It
Alma offered me a copy for review and it sounded like the perfect read for October. What could be better than ghost stories during Halloween month?

WHAT Makes It a Classic
Oscar Wilde is a legend. His explorations of aestheticism introduced the movement and his wit and cleverness is his trademark.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
It’s been years since I read Wilde – not since studying him at university – so it was such a pleasure to come back to him. I’d forgotten how ridiculously good he is.

This collection features four stories: ‘The Canterville Ghost’, ‘Lord Arthur Saville’s Crimes’, ‘The Model Millionaire’ and ‘The Sphinx without a Secret’. I’d heard of the first two, but had no idea what they were actually about. I loved ‘The Canterville Ghost’ so, so much – it was my clear favourite of the four. I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny – I'd forgotten that about Wilde’s writing. Even the stories that weren’t as obviously funny, were definitely sprinkled with wit and sarcasm. It was so much fun to read and really blew out the cobwebs after a few DNFs and disappointing reads.

I really don’t want to say much about the stories themselves. Going into them blind was wonderful and as a book blogger, not something I get to do very often. I honestly recommend this collection to anyone wanting an introduction to Wilde or to classics as a whole – you can’t go wrong by starting here.  

I liked this short collection so much that I immediately ordered myself a complete collection of his short stories and I can't wait to dive back into Wilde’s writing again.

WILL It Stay a Classic
I can't see Wilde losing traction anytime soon. His body of work is too good across all formats (novel, plays, short stories) to lose its place on reading lists across schools and universities any time soon.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- People wanting an easy, fun introduction to classics.
- Fans of short stories.
- Pretty much everyone, really.

Thanks to Alma for the review copy.


Monday 24 October 2016

The Deviants, CJ Skuse

Pages: 320
Publisher: Mira Ink/HQ Stories
Release Date:
22nd September 2016
Edition: UK proof, review copy

Other Titles by this Author: Pretty Bad Things, Rockaholic, Dead Romantic, Monster

Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves

Ella, Max, Corey, Fallon and Zane.

The Fearless Five, inseparable as children growing up in a sleepy English seaside town. But when Max’s older sister is killed, the friendship seems to die with her.

Only Max and Ella are in touch, still best friends and a couple since they were thirteen. But Ella is hiding things- like why she's afraid to take things to the next level. And when underdog Corey is bullied, the Fearless Five are brought back together again, teaming up to wreak havoc and revenge on those who have wronged them.

But when the secrets they are keeping can no longer be kept quiet, will their fearlessness be enough to save them from themselves?

I’m a big fan of CJ Skuse’s books. I love the dark humour, the grit, the sass and basically everything really. The Deviants is all of these things and more – her best yet.

Within only a few pages I was completely sucked in. Ella is a fascinating heroine and there were so many mysteries and questions surrounding her and the secret she’s hiding. I was on her side from the get go. But that’s not to say she’s a flawless character. She isn’t, and no one in this book is. It’s always a breath of fresh air to read about flawed, teenage teenagers in YA and the Fearless Five are definitely that. They make mistakes, keep secrets they shouldn’t, lie and hurt those they love.

CJ tackles lots of important, serious topics in The Deviants, but always with grace and sensitivity, but more importantly – total YA realness. The Fearless Five come face to face with grief, disability, bullying and more and it never felt like too much. For me, one of the most important things discussed in the novel was sex and consent. It was frank and honest in a way that I think lots of YA should be but often skirts around. Teens, YAs and even those in adulthood need to know what consent is and how to talk about sex with someone you want to do it with. I was cheering as these characters were having these conversations, and getting angry when the wrong approach to sex and consent was clearly, obviously shown. Go CJ!

There are no punches pulled throughout The Deviants. The final third of the novel is shock after shock and I could not put it down. I'd only planned to read about 50 pages but raced through just over 100 in one go – I had to know how it was all going to play out. And the ending broke my heart a little. It was clever, emotional and completely unexpected. I loved it.

The Deviants is a shocking, powerful and compelling page-turner from CJ Skuse and I want to press it into everyone’s hands. Completely brilliant.

Thanks to Mira Ink/HQ Stories for the review copy.


Thursday 13 October 2016

Re-visit Your Childhood Scares this Halloween

Halloween is the perfect season to re-visit those old favourites that had you reading by torchlight under the duvet and then having to leg it from your bed to the bathroom and back.

Suze has only just moved to California and she already has to put her ghost hunting skills to the test after a vicious spirit starts making life at her new school miserable. Oh, and she’s also totally head over heels with Jesse. A ghost.

I never actually finished this series, but I have seriously fond memories of devouring the first few books. It’s so much fun!

I'm a complete wuss so the ‘Goosebumps’ titles I read were very carefully picked and I never binge read them, but when I did pick one up I'd be reading all night. Quick, easy, fun and so many people’s introduction to a love of reading, RL Stine is a total legend.

Ah, Darren Shan. I haven’t actually read this series yet – it’s on my never-ending TBR! – but most people I've spoken to that have devour all 12 books in one go and re-read them until they’re falling apart - the perfect mix of a racing plot, gore and spook. 

I have read Darren Shan’s ‘Zom-B’ series though and that’s a perfect Halloween read. In fact, I reckon everything with Darran Shan’s touch was made for this time of year.

My love friend Chelley has been running a Point Horror book club in an effort to re-read childhood favourites from the collection and introduce those who missed it. She leads wonderful reviews and discussions on a different book each month so it’s the perfect time to jump in and join for October.

What childhood scares do you love to revisit around Halloween?


Tuesday 11 October 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: The Haunting of Hill House

Originally published in 1959 by Viking

My edition: The Penguin Modern Classics paperback.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
After I read and fell in love with ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ last Halloween, I quickly started investigating Shirley Jackson’s other works and this was the one I saw mentioned most.

WHY I Chose to Read It
Shirley Jackson. A haunted house. Halloween. It had to happen.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
Shirley Jackson is a master. Of the short story, of capturing the claustrophobia of small-town America and of completely chilling your blood.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I fell in love with Shirley Jackson when I devoured ‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ last Halloween, but I've since read her short story collection featuring ‘The Lottery’. ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ is the first novel of hers I've read since then and I’ll admit that I was nervous as I'd heard ‘Castle’ was the best.

I had no need to worry.

‘The Haunting of Hill House’ starts slowly. Eleanor is fighting with her sister as she plans to drive cross-country and stay at Hill House for the summer after being invited by a professor investigating paranormal activity. She’s led a cloistered life, has no friends and no family other than her sister and brother-in-law after spending the last 12 years caring for an ailing mother and she's eager for adventure.

Eleanor is the first to arrive, but she’s soon joined by flighty Theodora, the Doctor and Luke, the heir to Hill House. The novel picks up speed as Dr Montague explains the 80 year history of the house and its inhabitants. The house quickly starts to live up to its reputation as the four visitors begin to explore.

I’m not going to lie, I was thoroughly creeped out by about 50 pages in. I quickly realised that I couldn’t read it at night after I found myself all-out sprinting from my bed to the bathroom and back again… I’m 24, for goodness sake.

The horror is clever and subtle and ‘Hill House’ is still the scariest thing I've ever read. There are no melodramatic deaths, scenes of gross-out gore or ghosts jumping out of wardrobes. The horror is in the suspense, in the imagination and in the fear of the characters and the reader, and it’s so effective. I could have devoured this book in only a few sittings but it creeped me out so thoroughly that I ended up taking a week to read it in small doses.

I don’t want to say anything more about the plot as it’s definitely best discovered yourself. Just read it. Curl up in a duvet with a hot chocolate (and all the lights on) and freak yourself out this Halloween. You won’t regret it.

WILL It Stay a Classic
Oh, I really, really hope so. And I think so, too. Jackson is a staple in horror and psychological thrillers and ‘Hill House’ is often cited as one of the finest examples of the haunted house story.

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- People who want a genuine scare this Halloween.
- Fans of psychological thrillers.
- Everyone who is yet to discover the mastery of Shirley Jackson.


Thursday 6 October 2016

Halloween for Wusses

I am a total wuss, but I love Halloween. I love the tacky, over-the-top decorations; the ridiculous costumes; the genuinely amazing costumes; and the crisp, cold, creep in the air. But I hate being jumpy. Gore, grossness, outright horror is fine with me, but the psychological stuff that creeps into your nightmares? No thanks.

Just in case you’re like me, here are some amazing Halloween TV shows, films and books to read that won’t make you pee your pants. Basically, Halloween for wusses.


‘Hocus Pocus’
Who doesn’t love ‘Hocus Pocus’? When a brother and sister accidentally bring three ancient Salem witches back to life, they terrorise their small town. It’s up to Max, Dani and Allison to put them back where they belong. With the help of an immortal cat, of course.

It’s fun, delightfully 90s, nostalgic and so, so perfect for the Halloween Wuss.

‘The Addams Family’
This is another cult classic that everybody loves! Even though I'd seen it many times as a kid, last year was the first time I'd watched ‘The Addams Family’ in over 10 years and I'd forgotten how good it is. When Uncle Fester returns after being lost in the Bermuda Triangle for 25 years, the Addams’ plan the celebration to end all celebrations.

Morticia and Gomez are total couple goals and Wednesday is just 100% brilliant. LOVE.

‘Practical Magic’
This was a favourite film of my mum’s and one we ended up watching whenever it was on TV and so I fell in love with it too. Two sisters are cursed to have their lovers die well before their time so when two new men arrive on the scene, they take to the spells of their aunt to see if they can change the course of the curse.

This is so good. It’s very different to the previous two films, but the kickass cast are on point.

TV Shows

I fell in love with this quirky zombie show earlier in the year after Stacey from Pretty Books told me how good it was. She was so right. When Liv, a doctor, is turned into a zombie on a boat party, she transfers to the county morgue to get her fill of brains and still try to live a normal life. But the brains she eats give her flashes of the life and death of the victim which enables her to start solving murders.

I know this sounds weird, but ‘iZombie’ is really funny. It’s quick and sharp and the cast are all brilliant. I particularly love Liv’s boss Ravi – he’s adorable.

‘Scream Queens’
I have to admit to being woefully behind on this show, but I've loved what I've seen so far. It’s part comedy, part slasher, part murder mystery. When the anti-sorority Dean declares that everyone must be able to join sororities, all hell breaks loose and a killer dressed as the Devil begins to rampage across the school.

It's clever, funny and completely ridiculous. So much fun.

‘Stranger Things’
I'm pretty sure the whole of the Western world has already seen this, but if not: In small-town American in the 80s, a boy goes missing as a girl with physic abilities appears. It’s up to the boy’s friends and the new girl to track him down before time runs out.

A killer soundtrack, perfect 80s nostalgia, serious friendship goals and an epic story, what’s not to love about ‘Stranger Things’?


‘The Accident Season’ by Moira Fowley-Doyle
Every October Cara’s family become inexplicably accident-prone, getting worse throughout the month and culminating on Halloween – the most dangerous day of the year. They must lock away everything even slightly dangerous and gear themselves up for whatever may befall them this year.

This is a gorgeous, lyrical, dreamy book and a perfect example of really unsettling magical realism. It’s the perfect novel to devour during the gloomy Halloween season.

‘Dead Romantic’ by CJ Skuse
Camille is desperate to find the perfect boy – body of an athlete and the brain of a poet, ideally – but she knows it’ll never happen. Then her, slightly strange, friend Zoe suggests an alternative, why don’t they make one themselves?

Think high-school ‘Frankenstein’ with CJ’s trademark black humour and serious wit and you’ve got a winner. This is perfect Halloween reading.

‘We Have Always Lived in the Castle’ by Shirley Jackson
I discovered Shirley Jackson when I read this novel last Halloween and fell head over heels in love. When Constance Blackwood is acquitted of murdering the family, her sister Merricat expects to go back to normal, but their town refuses to forget the accusations. Then Cousin Charles arrives and Merricat must do everything in her power to protect those left close to her.

This book is creepy, haunting, whimsical and just plain extraordinary. If you haven’t read it yet, you really, really need to. And then tell me so we can gush about it!

Tell me your Halloween for wusses suggestions!


Wednesday 5 October 2016

The Halloweeds, Veronica Cossanteli

Pages: 250
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 6th October 2016
Edition: UK paperback, for review

Other Titles by this Author: The Extincts

Dan promised he’d look after his siblings, but he hadn’t banked on his parents dying on a jungle research trip. The children decamp to crumbling Daundelyon Hall. Horrible Aunt Grusilla reigns supreme, tending her mysterious graveyard garden.

But why are Aunt Grusilla and her servants each missing a finger? What are the hungry ‘cabbages’ in the greenhouse? As Dan struggles to solve the mystery he encounters one final question: what’s the price of everlasting life?

I loved Veronica Cossanteli’s debut a few years back so I was really happy when I was offered a copy of ‘The Halloweeds. It completely lived up to its predecessor.

Just like in ‘The Extincts’, ‘The Halloweeds’ is filled to the brim with gruesome humour and some really disgusting food. Seriously, some of them made me want to be sick a little… Add in the setting of Daundelyn Hall, the horrifying Aunt Grusilla and her creepy servant Pokis and you’ve got a recipe for spookiness and adventure. I don’t want to spoil anything, but reading this will definitely make you suspicious of gardeners…

My favourite thing about this book is definitely the relationship between Dan, his sister Martha and the baby Grub. I loved the way they stuck together and backed each other up in rather scary circumstances. Your siblings may be super annoying and a bit gross sometimes, but you’ll never leave them behind. Having a hoard of siblings myself, I loved it.

A fun, gruesome adventure that’s perfect for young Halloween lovers.

Thanks to Chicken House for the review copy.


Tuesday 4 October 2016

#2016ClassicsChallenge: Anna Karenina

Originally serialised between 1875-77 in ‘The Russian Messenger’

My edition: I switched between the hefty Penguin Clothbound Classics hardback and the Maggie Gyllenhaal audiobook

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
I don’t remember not knowing about ‘Anna Karenina’, but I didn’t really know what it was actually about until I watched several booktubers talk about the novel earlier in the year.

WHY I Chose to Read It
I'd been considering it since I’d seen booktubers I respect talking about how much they loved it and I was eager to watch the 2012 adaptation, but after hearing not-great things about it decided I wanted to read it first. Then Audible released an audiobook read by Maggie Gyllenhaal and the sample sounded wonderful so I took the plunge.

WHAT Makes It a Classic
The scope, the character growth and development, the intensity of the relationships, the exploration and criticism of Russian society – everything.

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
I went into ‘Anna Karenina’ with hesitancy and no real expectations of whether or not I'd finish it, let alone enjoy it, but I completely loved it.

Anna is a beautiful young woman married to a cold, unfeeling government official. When she travels to Moscow to visit her sister-in-law to convince her to forgive her husband’s affairs she meets Count Vronsky and the pair begin an affair that will change the rest of their lives.

As expected, I was a little confused by the long, complicated Russian names, but listening to the audiobook really helped with that and it didn’t take me long to get a handle on who’s who. I found it fascinating that the name someone was called was based on their position and the intimacy level of your relationship with them. Lots of the central male characters were referred to by three different incarnations of their name and the women took on a female version of their husband’s surname. For example, Anna’s brother was called Stepan Arkadievich (by everyone else), Stiva (by his family) and Oblonsky (his surname, by his friends) and his wife Dolly’s surname was Oblonskya. So interesting!

Once familiar with who everyone was and how they're connected, I found it effortless to become entrenched in the drama of these characters. It’s a vast cast but everyone has so much depth; agency, fears, desires, a distinctive voice and opinions – it’s all there. The journey these characters go on during the novel is phenomenal and it was really interesting to see how my opinion of them changed as we went through, and how they changed too. Anna went from charmingly impulsive to bitter, selfish and manipulative; Levin from boring and uppity to philosophical and fiercely romantic (though still uppity); and Anna’s husband Karenin went from cold, hard and unfeeling to someone I felt deeply sorry for. Tolstoy was a master at character and I could wax lyrical about them all for hours, but I really don’t want to spoil you.

‘Anna Karenina’ explored themes of divorce, mental health, addiction and much more in ways I'd never encountered in classics before. There was no judgement from Tolstoy, no sense of right or wrong on a personal level, but merely as a criticism of Russian high society. Once Anna’s affair with Vronsky is openly known, the way she is received changes so dramatically I was genuinely shocked. She’s a princess by birth, but suddenly she was shunned by family, friends and acquaintances. People couldn’t even call on her without fear of being rejected from high society in response and it slowly started to destroy Anna, and by extension Vronsky.

I’m going to talk about the ending here, so if you don’t know what happens at the end of ‘Anna Karenina’, here’s a giant SPOILER WARNING for you. I'd known that this novel is a tragic one and Anna’s downfall is reasonably obvious from early on in the story, but I honestly didn’t expect her to commit suicide. The pressures from society and the consequences of being a fallen women destroyed all the happiness she’d gained by loving Vronsky. She was denied her firstborn and lost the things that she had loved in her old life – and none of it was attainable again without giving up what happiness she had gained and renouncing her decisions completely. I’d expected her to die as a complication from childbirth, but chucking herself under a train? Way unexpected. Though in retrospect, it was totally foreshadowed in the very beginning of the novel…

My only complaint about the whole story is how Anna’s death was portrayed. It felt a little brushed over and I didn’t think that anything after that was really necessary. Anna’s suicide would have been an incredibly powerful way for ‘Anna Karenina’ to end and instead it went out with a little bit of a whimper as we moved to check in with the other characters instead. If anything, I wanted to know about Vronsky and how he reacted but all we got was a snippet of second hand information from his mother. SPOILER OVER.

Even with the weaker ending, ‘Anna Karenina’ has kickstarted a fascination with Russian literature and I already have a wishlist as long as my arm of novels that I'd love to try. I've also bought myself a copy of Tolstoy’s other behemoth masterpiece ‘War and Peace’ which I'm planning to read in the New Year. I am so excited.

I loved ‘Anna Karenina’ and even though it's over 800 pages long and I only finished it a few weeks ago, I want to read it all over again. I gave the film a watch to try and soothe the want, but it was nothing like the book and only made me want to re-read it even more.

WILL It Stay a Classic
Completely. ‘Anna Karenina’ is considered one of the finest works of literature ever written, and Tolstoy one of the greatest writers of all time. I can’t see that changing any time soon!

WHO I’d Recommend it To
- Fans of stories of epic, doomed love and complicated characters.
- Those taking their first foray into Russian classics. Despite its length, this is a great place to start.
- Everyone.