Sunday, 7 April 2013

Review ALL the Books: Sunshine to the Sunless

3.5 stars actually. The premise was good and I did enjoy reading it, but it wasn't up to the same standard that my 4 star books were. This is my 4th review for my Review ALL the Books Challenge 2013, for more info on that visit here.

General Info:
Title: Sunshine to the Sunless
Author: Gareth Thompson
Date of Completion: 31/1/2012
Rating: 3.5 stars

Reason for Reading: This book is for some reason in my possession, probably a cheap deal at a book fair.

Summary: Andrew Kindness witnesses a terrible tragedy on the shoreline near his home in Cumbria. Six years later, the events of that day still haunt him. His only solace is his scret hobby, crossbreeding daffodils. But when Angie, the perfect girl in the year above, takes an interest in his passion for flowers, Andrew risks everything to become close to her. And in doing so, he slowly finds the strength to overcome the ghosts of the past and face the future with hope.

The Characters:
Andrew - He was a good enough guy, but I didn't feel as connected to him as I would to most 1st person protagonists. However, self-discovery is a great characterisation tool and it was used well throughout the novel.

Angie - Look, she was idolised by our 1st person protagonist, and for me unless that character's idolisation feels justified, they come of more negative to me. At least she made mistakes, and she wasn't all preachy/perfection. 

The Dowders - Malcom was a kind of lame villain. The whole big bad guy with tons of street influence and a sort of gang could really work well, but it wasn't pulled off and Malky just came off like a old gasbag pushover. Diana, I know she was meant to come off as shallow and dumb, and it worked, but it just reflected on the author's characterisation abilities for wanting to have a horrible girlfriend to make Angie look better. 

Andrew's Parents - I found The Razzler's lifestyle far too unrealistic for a middle-class man living with a child in the first place, and if someone was really living in such conditions why Andrew would continue to live in the same house, so the revelation of his illness didn't do much for me. His Mum was less present so there's less to talk about.

Others - The addition of Andrew's grandfather was great and heartwarming, and his characterisation probably brought more to the story than anyone else. To be honest, the others weren't fleshed out well to remember them 2 months later, I only remember Terry and Abayakurti but not much to comment on there.

The Plot: Like I mentioned the premise was really promising, and if there was better planning, writing and characterisation it would have been great. Getting over traumatic events and learning to be yourself is something I enjoy in books/films/TV etc. The main reason Andrew didn't want to reveal his passion for Daffodils out was because he was afraid of being teased, but once he does get it out the threat completely vanishes. Angie's role was as the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, so I'm really glad she retains her autonomy and **SPOILERS AHEAD:** and start dating Andrew at the end **END SPOILERS**because that would have screwed her development and made her pretty lame. The ending was really heartwarming and all, but it seemed too good to be true, I mean everyone but Malky gets a happy future, Andrew even loses his FA Cup ears.

The Writing:
Is mostly decent, I do like the description they give to the landscapes and the sceneries, there are however some issues. First, Angie is always described as leggy, it would be fine if it was a few times, but she's described a lot throughout the novel, and leggy is always the word used, like we got it the first time. Second, Andrew is not able to say penis, seriously you are a 15 year old male, you have dabbled in questionable sex drive herbs, and say you'll take any girl you're given, but you can't say 'penis' or even dick or something. I cannot take you seriously if you say "I fumbled down my trouser zip for my thingy." (p36) or "But the thought of getting out my whatsit anywhere near Angie was making me need to go even more." (p179), seriously, my thingy?! are we still in primary school and unable to say the names of our own anatomy?! Third, at the end of (and maybe throughout) the novel, instead of saying "Angie and I" it says "me and Angie" once each page from 244-246, it may of been a characterisation thing from Andrew's perspective, showing that he is still not grown up, but it just came off as carelessness on the author/editor's part.

Quote: “Granddad once told me that to truly love this life, you need to know its darkest corners. But if you can bring a bit of sunshine to the sunless, it can only be for the good. I mean, what else are we really here for on this earth? Think about it some day, when the spring mornings look so golden and green.” 

Other: The cover is really nice, it's very pretty and poetic looking, I especially like the font used for the title

Unrelated Extra: The catchiest song in existence, which may or may not also be my ringtone, Sadi Gali from the film Tanu Weds Manu (which I have not seen)

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