Can one Reader save the world from war?
Callie’s generation are being conscripted. Tensions are building and World War III is on the horizon. Callie is given a book by a stranger in a club and told to keep it, but not read it. Can a true Reader ever resist that temptation? Callie hides books from her father all the time, but this book is different: this book is powerful, and it seems Callie is the only one who can harness its power to save the world. But at what price? She is being hunted by the Cadaveri, with their terrifying white eyes, and they will stop at nothing to prevent her Reading. The Order of Sumer are desperate to ensure she Reads, whatever the personal cost. Yet, it is not a simple story of good and evil; it is not always clear which is the “right” side or who cares most for Callie’s wellbeing, and things are further complicated when she discovers a link to her mother that makes her question everything she has ever been told.
The Devil’s Poetry by Louise Cole is set in a not-so-distant future world that could so easily be our own. The wars and conflicts are so similar to what is happening in our world today and there are descriptions of conflicts in familiar UK towns that gives the reader the sense of unease that this could be our world, that this could be happening right now.
The protagonist, Callie, is a fairly ordinary teenage girl. She has a tendency to break technology just by being near it and doesn’t always understand popular culture references (but in both these respects she sounds a lot like me, so I can’t hold those less common traits against her). More typically, she has a complicated relationship with her father, tempestuous romantic relationships and a beautiful but intense friendship with Amber. I enjoyed seeing how each of these relationships developed as the novel went on, and the effect that the book of poetry had on those around Callie. My only (slight) criticism was that the romance came on a little too suddenly for me, and felt out of place at first, but by the end I was absolutely rooting for them to end up together, so it didn’t bother me so much that it detracted from my overall enjoyment.
Cole’s world-building and characterisation are excellent and her prose is beautiful. The opening: “I never realised war could be so quiet. The National Service letters had whispered through our doors that morning” is so gentle and at odds with the expected descriptions of war, that I felt uneasy (in a good way) from the start. The move between this gentle pace and faster, more thrilling parts keeps the reader on edge from the beginning.
I loved the concept that one reader and one book could save the world. The book was full of little twists and suspense that kept me guessing to the very end.
I’m gushing, I know. This book is everything I love about YA literature. I didn’t want it to end and when it did, I was relieved to see that a further book is planned. Highly recommended for anyone who likes thrillers.
About the Author
Louise Cole is an avid reader and writer, enjoys gardening and walking her cocker spaniels around North Yorkshire. She is an award-winning journalist, former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers and other stuff she is working on (hopefully including the sequel to this book because I need it yesterday!)
* I received an ebook copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own genuine thoughts and not in any way influenced by this. My thanks to Louise Cole and Faye Rogers for the copy and inclusion in the book tour.*
You can follow the rest of the blog tour for this fantastic book here:
Wednesday 14th June
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