Blackbird - Book Review
UK Publisher: HQ Young Adult
My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don’t know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back.
On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.
Now her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?
This is a quick paced thriller, and one that I enjoyed despite both the synopsis and opening lines being misleading.
“On New Year’s Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead.” I know writing craft books urge writers to pull in readers from the get go, but while certainly intriguing, the blackbirds are never mentioned again and are in no way connected to the story. Therefore, if you were expecting a paranormal, witchy sort of read, think again. This book is a straight up thriller - and a good one - if you don’t let unmet expectations spoil it for you.
Taking away the blackbirds, the story follows fifteen year old Alex and the search for her missing older sister, Olivia. As you can see, not such a snappy sounding read after all, but still one I enjoyed.
The book brings with it a huge emotional impact. The reader is taken through the devastation of loss and sees how it rips through a once happy family, and the stages of grief, depression and solitude that every family member experiences. I thought each element was done very well, and I found myself following along with the family’s ever growing urgency for answers.
The reader is also given snippets of Olivia’s view point, just a few scenes here and there which I adored. I liked getting to know Olivia’s character and seeing things from her point of view.
I found the detectives backstory a little heartbreaking but liked how it added another layer to the story. I also love how his first name is held back until the very end, and the friendship he and Alex cultivate is particularly moving. Their final scene together really choked me up, but made me smile.
However in terms of plot, the story was fairly predicable. Despite a few red-herrings, one scene about midway through the book cemented the culprit behind it all, and the ending, when it came, was swift and efficient. This really was a fast read and I devoured it in one sitting.
All in all, a nice book for a rainy afternoon. 3 stars!
What are your thoughts? Have any of you read this book? And isn't that cover gorgeous!