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Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani

 Blog Tour Review - The Only Way Out is Death by Varun Gwalani Twelve powerful people are kidnapped and imprisoned in an empty hotel. Each one of them has three choices: Live out the rest of their days peacefully in the hotel, Die by suicide so the rest of their companions can go free, Or murder one of their companions so they alone can go free. The Only Way Out is Death follows the story of these twelve people from the perspective of a young lawyer, Kiriaki, told as the events unfold. She has to forge messy alliances, navigate complex relationships and feuds, and, above all, try to stay alive. Meanwhile, the mastermind of this death game is lurking just out of view, watching them closely, making sure they are primed for murder. Will Kiriaki find the mastermind before it's too late for her? Will she outmanoeuvre the cutthroats before they cut her throat? There are twelve selfish lives in the hotel. Will it end in twelve selfish deaths? The Only Way Out is Death is a fascinating nov

Review - Frankenstein - A Retelling by Tanya Landman

Review - Frankenstein - A Retelling by Tanya Landman

A thrilling gothic tale of hubris gone badly wrong.

A young man’s search for the secret of the spark of life leads him to a horrific experiment in which he creates a gigantic creature from dismembered body parts.

Rejected by his creator, the initially gentle creature turns monstrous when his desire to find companionship and love are thwarted.

This is an excellent retelling of Frankenstein, keeping all of the key themes and style of the original intact, but presenting it in a clear, concise and very readable version.

Barrington Stoke are industry experts at creating books to suit reluctant readers and people with reading difficulties. They're also excellent reads for more experienced and capable readers who are looking for something short and straightforward to read. This is the third of their classic retellings I've read, after Pride and Prejudice and Little Women (both retold by Laura Wood) and is also the first one where I'm familiar with the original text. 

It's all in here. Frankenstein's ego and pride, and then his despondency and despair as his creation doesn't match up to his original dreams, worsening as the people he loves are slowly and cruelly taken from him; his creation's journey of self-discovery and learning as he is turned by the world around him into a monster capable of feeling nothing but cruelty and hate. The great tragedy of the novel comes across really clearly here, that the monster is incapable of truly understanding the world he suddenly finds himself in and everyone he meets refuses to accept him as anything other than a monstrous brute to be feared and chased off. 

The pace is fantastic, thrillingly racing the reader along to the frantic conclusion, getting all of the moral and philosophical elements across without dwelling overlong on any of it. I read through the whole thing in about an hour and felt like I'd read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It even captures the rather cruel and thoughtless treatment of Elizabeth, the orphan who is presented to a young Victor Frankenstein as "a gift" with the assumption that they'll one day marry, and then cruelly used for unfeeling revenge. 

Mary Shelley is a fascinating author. She's one of the originators of the horror novel genre, wife to a famous poet, daughter of a leading feminist and a leading anarchist thinker, but with a deserved fame that eclipses them all. I think Tanya Landman and Barrington Stoke have done her proud here, and I'm sure this will help a lot of young readers embrace her work.

Oh, and don't forget: Frankenstein is the name of the monster!


Frankenstein - A Retelling by Tanya Landman is published on 5 January 2023 by Barrington Stoke.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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