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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

Blog Tour Review - Wild by Ele Fountain

 Blog Tour Review - Wild by Ele Fountain

Ever since Jack’s dad died, he’s had a heavy feeling inside. The pressure keeps building. Looking for release, he starts skiving school and hanging around with a group who like to cause trouble. It’s easy to hide his new habits from his mum, an environmental anthropologist, because she’s too busy with work and conservation trips to notice.

As Jack spins further out of control, his mum eventually becomes concerned – and shocks him by suggesting a trip together.

But this will be no relaxing holiday. Soon Jack finds himself on an expedition deep into the rainforest, far from anything he’s ever known. He wanted an adventure – but has he plunged into real danger?

Wild is a powerful and moving story about coping with grief and the loss of a parent.

It's very much a book of two parts. In the first part of the novel, Jack is at home, going to school and living his life as normally as he can after the death of his father. He's not doing a great job of it, acting out and falling into bad company and it's very well presented in that we can see why he's acting like this. It's his way of dealing with his emotions and his memories, blocking out friends who remind him of times with his father, pushing his mother away, and really just trying not to feel anything. 

Despite all of his issues and behaviour, he comes across as a sympathetic character, though this is tested at some points! His behaviour isn't excused or sugar coated, but seeing everything from Jack's perspective, it is, at least, understandable if deeply concerning.

His relationship with his mother, and what we see of the relationship he had with his father, is complex and compelling. You can really see her trying to reach out to him, but because his dad was the one who was always there for him, she can't bridge that gap and whenever she tries, he pushes away, answering requests to talk with silence or retreat into his room. 

Then halfway through everything changes, Jack's mum takes him away on a "holiday". Only as things develop, it feels less and less like a holiday. 

His mum is working, and Jack feels like he's getting dragged along against his will and that his mum is less than willing to have him along with her too. It cleverly explores their relationship through Jack's maybe less than reliable perception. The filters he's seeing the world through are easily understood though it's debatable how right he actually is.

The second half of the book is an exciting trip into the rainforest, which also addresses some really significant environmental issues facing the indigenous people of the rsin forest. It's fascinating seeing Jack dealing with such a different culture, and seeing a very different side of his mum too, how she is when she's away working is very different to what he has seen before. It's also so interesting seeing how this changes how he deals with the loss of his dad.

After scary and exciting adventure, I loved how the book finally came full circle, and just how much Jack had grown and developed. 

Wild is an emotional journey through the stages of grief and into a rainforest that is both dangerous and under threat.


Wild by Ele Fountain is published by Pushkin Press on 4th May 2023.

I was given a review copy in return for an honest review and participation on this blog tour.

Don't forget to follow the rest of the tour!


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