other words for smoke by sarah maria griffin - Review: Other Words For Smoke by Sarah Maria GriffinOther Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin
Published by titan Books on March 12, 2019
ISBN: 9780062408938
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Social Themes, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Monsters, LGBT
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
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three stars - Review: Other Words For Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Twins Mae and Rossa’s summer away from home becomes life altering when they discover a house full of witches, experience devastating first love, and face a dark power beyond any imagining.
Sarah Maria Griffin’s haunting and literary sophomore novel explores the balance between love and fear, weakness and power, and the lengths one will go to claim one’s freedom. For fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners and Maggie Stiefvater’s All the Crooked Saints.
When the women from the house at the end of the lane went missing, none of the townspeople knew what happened. A tragedy, they called it. Only twins Mae and Rossa know the truth about that fateful summer.
Only they know about the owl in the wall, the uncanny cat, the insidious creatures that devour love and fear. Only they know the trials of loving someone who longs for power, for freedom, for magic. Only they know what brought everything tumbling down around them. And they’ll never, ever breathe a word.
With an unusual structure spanning five summers, intriguing characters, and a dark mystery, this uncommon novel will appeal to readers of Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch and Madeleine Roux’s House of Furies.

A Beautiful story with such poetic flow.  A strong and prominent storyteller.  A story that seeps magic, betrayal and wonder straight from the heart of the pages.  The author uses the English language like an artist uses a muse.  It’s well-crafted and unique. 

The synopsis jumped out from the screen at me.  I just adore anything magic.  Talking cats, magical creatures behind wallpaper and a mysterious room with neon lights.  I loved everything this book stood for.  The cover is beautiful, and it just screamed for you to read it.  The horror side of the story really took me by surprise, and on the most part it worked very well. 

The story follows twin siblings, Mae and Rossi.  They have sent to their Great Aunt’s for the summer.  The mum and dad seem to have major problems and it seems like a great idea for the twins to spend the rest of the summer with an aunt that he have barely seen or had any contact with.  It’s a summer of witchy delirium and figuring out what your place is in the world.  The story for sure epitomises the expectation of how summer holidays feel at the age of fourteen.  If ever there was a strong representation of an Irish story this is it.  The descriptions, the language and the folklore that the author incorporated into the story was heart-warming. 

There was certain things that I couldn’t gel with no matter how much I wanted to love the premise of the story.  I finished the book and didn’t really know how to feel about it.  I usually know by about a couple of chapters if I’m going to love or hate a book but with this one, I’m not sure if I felt either.  The prologue starts at the very end and then tells the story backwards if you will.  We flip between several point of views and at times it can be difficult to follow which direction and with whom its headed in.  There were a number of big revelations/ events that with the writing didn’t appear to be very big at all.  There should have been more explanation, more emphasis on whether these were extraordinary things or not.  I found myself flicking backwards to work out if they were going to be big things, in general I just felt mightily confused. 

It’s more a story of self-discovery.  A journey from being a teen into an adult.  Life can be difficult, and we don’t always get what we want.  Its definitely a right of passage story.  Love can hurt, and so can life but it’s all the little positive things that you can take from the experience and move forward.  The story is basically about Mae.  It’s the self-discovery of her sexuality and how she goes from being confused to owning it in her own right.  Her naivety and shyness blooms into her becoming a self-assured and confident young adult. 

three stars - Review: Other Words For Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin