August 19, 2019

REVIEW| Other Words for Smoke (#gifted)

Other Words for Smoke
 Sarah Maria Griffin
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     UK Publisher: Titan Books
     UK Release Date: 2nd April, 2019
     Format: Paperback
     Page Count: 313
     RRP: £8.99
     DISCLAIMER: I received this book from the       publisher, for free, in exchange for an honest and   truthful review.  My views are all my own.

The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townspeople never learned what happened. Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives...
Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape.
And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she'd give the other girl anything. A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh...

On a personal note, this post is my 300th blog post on my website! I am so pleased that I can share my love and joy for this book on such a wonderful marker. Enjoy! 

2019 feels like it has inundated the market with, what can be only described as, 'Witch' books. I am super stoked to read many more of them (give me your recommendations, please!!!), however, what I am hoping to convince you, today, is what makes Sarah Maria Griffin's latest release one well worth checking out?

Other Words for Smoke is a mystifying horror-filled fairy tale, set in Ireland, following twins Mae and Rossa during two separate summers with their Aunt Rita, her ward, Bevan, and a talking cat. It's a story packed with love, loss and eerily charming owls.

I read this in basically one sitting, which is such a rare occurrence and one that I think we all dream to aspire to do, but one that I rarely enjoy doing anymore. I knew from the moment I picked up the sampler last year and sped through those early chapters that this was going to be a new favourite, to the point that by the end of August, I could not help but email her publicist practically begging to be put on the review list. I honestly have no chill.

It'll walk around your veins and your stomach. You might even feel it in your rib cage, or your heart, like the songs say. But eventually it'll get smaller and smaller and will run out of steam, until it's a tiny thing that you barely remember. It'll get replaced by other loves.

I remember listening to Griffin talk at YALC last year and how she spoke about her own prose, although this could have been in a tweet, and how she mentioned that she wrote like she talked. What I took from that and what I think she meant was how she phrased words and used/broke grammar rules that encapsulate the richness of her Irish voice. I think this is why Griffin's words have such a poignant and emotive sense of lyricism, that tore papercuts into my heart and became the Snow Queen's glass shard lodged into the very essence of my soul. 

I found myself identifying with Rossa and Mae, and their sense of split-journeying they both have in this coming-of-age narrative. Both with the weight of identity, as well as their push and pull against each other as siblings are what gave the story a gravitas, that ultimately grounded the story of first love, power, and what marks we leave behind. 

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