#BiteSizeSaturday party mix ft. The Beholder, Trance and The Girl With All the Gifts

Hi and welcome to #BiteSizeSaturday! Today we’re having a bookish party at FromBelgiumWithBookLove, and so I have tried to cater to everyone’s tastes and arranged a little party mix, so there’s a little something for everyone! Bon appétit 😁

The Beholder by Anna Bright is YA fantasy with its roots in fairy-tales, if the evil stepmother is anything to go by. It’s a light and entertaining read that I really enjoyed, about a girl who is sent away by her stepmum to go find a suitable husband, or else she won’t be allowed to rule. She is to meet various suitors and at the end of her trip, pick one. Obviously there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that she doesn’t know about. I enjoyed the first part more than the second, simply because I loved her first suitor and everything that happened, although I did see absolutely everything coming and that fact says nothing about my sleuthing skills and everything about the predictability of the plot. Not all that much world-building either, more like setting the board for the second book, which is a shame really, especially when her whole itinerary is announced at the beginning of the book and we only get halfway through it.
Still, a fun read, perfect for a hot summer’s day when you just want to sit back and relax. Odds are that I will read the sequel.

Trance by Adam Southward is a thriller about a man who grew up in an Romanian orphanage where he was subjected to all kinds of psychological experiments, he managed to get away and now he’s getting on in age and the time is right to seek revenge on the scientists who ruined his life. Hot on his tail is Alex Madison, a psychologist who suffers from anxiety.
Trance deals with the current murders instigated by Victor, and the manic hunt for him. I loved the premise of this thriller, but I found the execution somewhat lacking. I loved the whole psychological part of it, finding out about the research and experimentation, about the magnitude of what Victor can do, but after the umpteenth murder/suicide I’d quite had it, like yeah okay we get the picture, move on already! I also didn’t like Alex all that much. We’re supposed to feel compassion for him I think, as a flawed good guy, but most of the time I just rolled my eyes at him. There were also a few passages I frowned at, that didn’t flow like they should, and part of the plot is rather predictable. Still, I flew through it and overall I did enjoy it, but I don’t think I will be reading the sequel.
Thanks to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for the e-ARC.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey is a dystopian zombie tale with a lot of heart and all the feels. The girl in the title is Melanie.
Melanie is just a little girl: she goes to school, she has the hugest girl crush on one of her teachers, a fondness for myths and legends and a knack for maths.
Melanie is not just a little girl: when it’s time for school, soldiers come into her room and strap her to a chair and take her to the class room, which is just another room in the same building, they’re afraid of her, she doesn’t understand why, she always tells them that she won’t bite.
Masterfully, Carey peels back layer by layer of this brave new world ruled by Hungries and Junkers.
I listened to the audiobook, beautifully narrated by Finty Williams, and I loved every minute of it. I will definitely read (probably listen to) The Boy on the Bridge, which is set in the same universe and is a companion novel to The Girl With All the Gifts, more than a sequel.

Alrightie, that concludes today’s festivities, thanks for stopping by and having a bite, if I’ve left you hungry for more, give us a shout!

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