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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 - Scar by Alice Broadway

Scar by Alice Broadway

INK taught Leora that all was not what it seems on the surface. SPARKtaught her that there are two sides to every story. Now Leora has had enough of lessons - she wants to make her own story.
The explosive finale to the best-selling INK trilogy sees Leora struggling to reconcile her past and her future - and recognising that there may be no easy answers.

I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive going into this book. It's the conclusion of one of my favourite trilogies, the Skin Books trilogy, and with endings there's always a sense of nervousness I think. I was also unsure about how it was going to combine with the other two books. Ink presented us with a unique idea, what if everything we did, everything that made us 'us' was tattooed on our skin? How would that be reflected in society, in relationships and, most importantly, how would it impact on our death rituals and remembrances? It also has some of the best use of the story within a story that I have ever seen. Spark reverses it, by telling the story of the others, the outsiders, the blanks, and how their lives and beliefs are different. It has more stories in it, stories that mirror and complement the stories in Ink in the most impressive way.  With the first two books, Alice Broadway had shown us both sides of the story, so I was left wondering where she'd take us in the concluding volume.
Turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Scar is brilliant, beautiful, emotional, thought-provoking and powerful.
For me, this is a trilogy about faith. Ink creates a faith based almost exclusively around the dead, the judging of them and the remembrance of them. Spark shows a very different faith, one with more of a Catholic feel to it, with its emphasis on sin, redemption and sacrifice.
Scar takes a step back, and looks at faith, politics and power in a wider sense. It is about the fear of the 'other', how and why we feel threatened by people from outside our own cultures, how that fear is sustained through the stories we pass on and how it is used by charismatic leaders for their own purpose. It feels so very relevant to our current times, with people being stirred up in animosity for people they don't or won't understand. 
Here's my reaction after reading the first section of the book:

The book races along, packed with tension and surprises. The mysteries unfold in a highly satisfying way and it felt like it pulled together what was started in Ink and continued in Spark very effectively. Leora has really grown into herself as a character. In the first book her naivety was occasionally frustrating, but now she feels much more confident and assured, despite everything around her spinning wildly out of her control. I really enjoyed her journey and its conclusion. It's also wonderful to see minor characters from earlier in the trilogy stepping into the spotlight a bit more.

Visually, the book matches the incredibly high standards set by the first two books. The shiny purple cover is just beautiful, and there's so much detail hidden within the swirls and patterns. The covers of all three books are by Andrew Biscomb and Jamie Gregory.

I'm sorry to see this trilogy end, but I am very happy with the way it has ended, and I'm excited to see what is next from Alice Broadway.

Definitely a five moon book.


Scar is written by Alice Broadway, published by Scholastic UK. It is available now.
I was sent a copy by the publisher, in return for an honest review.
I have also posted reviews of Ink and Spark.


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