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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 - Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere by Ruth Lauren

Review - Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere by Ruth Lauren

When Tourmaline’s mother goes missing on a search for precious artefacts, Tourmaline sets off to find her with her best friend George, her new friend (former foe) Mai and her limitless determination. On their adventure, they encounter a band of female pirates, a maze of talking trees and a series of challenges that test the children and their friendship. But will it be enough to reunite Tourmaline with her mother?

I loved Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere! A thrilling tale of magic and treasure hunting, friends and family, full of wonderful female characters, moral dilemmas, puzzles and humour.

There are hints of Pullman's Northern Lights at the start. Tourmaline lives in a large university, where her mother is a faculty member, and has a mix of lessons and free time to look for trouble. Her mother is often away treasure hunting, and Tourmaline picks up hints and whispers that something has happened to her. She then decides that the only sensible course of action is to investigate it herself, whatever that takes. She sneaks away with two friends, boards a ship in the harbour and heads off for adventure.

The Pullman similarities really begin and end with the university setting, the missing parent and the curious, inquisitive young heroine. Tourmaline is a very different character to Lyra, and she is responsible for driving a lot more of the action than I feel Lyra is. I love Tourmaline sneaking through weird interdimensional spaces between university rooms just to eavesdrop on her professors, barely thinking to question why a cupboard in one room might emerge in a wardrobe in another. 

The dynamic between the main characters is fantastic. Tourmaline is definitely the trouble maker, the rule breaker. George, on the other hand, likes to play everything by the rules, and Mai starts out as a rival. All three have wonderfully interconnected character arcs as they develop and grow, and I really enjoyed watching them together. Tourmaline's confidence is a joy, brazenly blagging her way through everything that's thrown at her as if it's all part of some great plan. And I thought the pirates, led by Captain Violet, were just superb!

The magical elements are all wondrous and exciting. The living archive is mysterious and awe inspiring, and the actual island is just incredible. It all feels suitable fantastical and brilliant. The puzzles and problems are clever and fun, and there's plenty in there to leave you thinking.

A wonderful tale that introduces an unforgettable new heroine to the world of children's literature.


Tourmaline and the Island of Elsewhere by Ruth Lauren is out now, published by Little Tiger.

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


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