Book Review: The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick by Hattie Holden-Edmonds

This is part of a blog tour with Red Door Publishing.

The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is the second novel written by Hattie Holden-Edmonds.

Oskar is the ultimate teenage loner who thrives on painting other people’s misery. However, after a ‘not-so-routine’ eye test, his bleak perspective is transformed after trying on a pair of very unusual lenses. The world he sees is filled with beautiful colours, happiness, and wonder – not what Oskar wants at all.

The story is original and interesting, and I enjoyed the wry tone Hattie uses.

As the title would suggest, the book centres on Oskar Dunkelblick. Hattie does a great job at making him the focus of the novel, as his character is incredibly interesting and detailed.

Oskar is quite a remarkable person; he enjoys tragedies, misery, is fascinated by diseases and is generally an oddball. He reminded me of Alex from Anthony Burgess’ novel A Clockwork Orange, and though he might be cruel at times, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Oskar’s personality.

The magical and psychological elements of the narrative were okay, if a little lost on me, and personally, the idea of seeing the continuous beauty within life came across slightly little wishy-washy, but that’s personal preference.

my-photo-oskar
Image via www.hattieholdenedmonds.com

I thought the front cover is creative and fun, and its focus on the eyes may be another unintentional stylistic similarity to A Clockwork Orange.  

my-photo-a-clockwork-orange-2
Image via www.penguinsciencefiction.org

I really enjoyed the flashbacks to Oskar’s past – they were well integrated into the narrative and the scenes recounting how he controlled and altered the life of his ex-friend Franz were some of my favourite parts. The flashbacks helped demonstrate how Oskar’s prickly personality has been formed by a tragic upbringing and past relationships.

However, despite these sadder scenes, The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is definitely less bleak than A Clockwork Orange. The ending was surprisingly happy, and Hattie even includes a small, sweet, love story.

I’m curious to learn why the book was set in Germany with German characters – it certainly made a change from typical young adult fiction which always tends to take place in an English or American setting. If you know why it was set in Germany, do let me know!

Star Rating: 4/5 stars

The Spectacular Vision of Oskar Dunkelblick is available to buy as a paperback from Amazon UK.

– Judith

Advertisements

Book Review: Clone Secrets

Clone Secrets is the second book in the young adult dystopian series: Clone Crisis Trilogy. I have already read and reviewed Clone Crisis, the first book in the series, which you can read on my blog. The Clone Crisis Trilogy is set in a 25th century world where cloning has replaced reproduction.

Clone Secrets follows on from the events of Clone Crisis. After Yami’s friends make some new discoveries about the fertility crisis and emerging birth rates, biological children from around the country are kidnapped by masked strangers. Yami and her friends embark on a journey to rescue the children and uncover the truth about the government’s involvement in cloning.

The strength of Clone Secrets were its dramatic ambush scenes or its violent fight scenes as masked soldiers – known as Gray Suits – attacked communities and ripped young children away from their parents. These scenes were gripping, and the aftermath of these fights was always suitably dark and bleak.

However, I felt the scenes that followed were slightly less engaging, as there was more dialogue and less action. This was a shame because it gave the impression that these scenes were “filler” until the next conflict.

The leader of the community in which Yami seeks refuge, Ann, reminded me a lot of President Alma Coin from Mockingjay. In terms of character building, this was great because I remember just how much she annoyed me in both the books and the films – not sharing her ideas, being tight-lipped and secretive, and acting generally suspicious.

Image via Villains Wiki.com

I saw some of the plot twists coming, as they seemed to be referred to quite obviously, rather than the occasional subtle hint. At times, I felt there was a neon flashing sign screaming “all is not right”. Having said that, there were other moments in the book that caught me by surprise – introducing ideas or characters I hadn’t thought of or even considered could be possible. I liked these moments.

The ending of Clone Secrets works really well and leaves some plot elements nicely wrapped up and leaves other elements as utter bombshells, presumably to be resolved in the third and final book of the series, Clone Legacy.

To sum up, Clone Secrets has room for improvement, but was nonetheless an entertaining book in the series.

Star Rating: 3/5 Stars

Clone Secrets is available to buy as an e-book from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

– Judith

Book Review: Clone Crisis by Melissa Faye

This is a book review for Rosie’s Book Review Team.

Clone Crisis is the first in a new young adult, dystopian series. The book is set in a 25th century world where cloning has replaced reproduction. Careers and education are assigned by DNA, rather than talent. Without any parents or family, Yami is brought up to follow the slogan: what’s best for the community is best for all. However, she begins to question this, wondering if what’s best for the community may not be best for anyone.

My Photo [Clones Crisis].jpg

Clone Crisis shares some similarities to The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. In style, it also reminded me of another good YA book I read called UnBlessed, written by Crystin Goodwin, another member of Rosie’s Book Review Team.

The dystopian idea of a fertility crisis it immediately makes me think of novels like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Plus, filling the entire world with replicas of a previous generation is a chilling prospect.

Clone Crisis has some fun scenes and it has an interesting cliff-hanger, leaving space to explore the consequences of Yami’s actions.

Speaking of Yami, I thought the character names (e.g. Yami, Etta, Vonna) were almost at risk of being weird for the sake of being weird. A small thing to notice, I know, and not a serious issue (other names like Katniss, Triss, or Kisara aren’t exactly normal either).

I also thought some of Yami’s interactions with Ben, her ex-boyfriend, were a bit clunky. I understand things can be frosty between exes, but their dialogue came across as unintentionally awkward.

As a piece of feedback, I think the overbearing, authoritarian nature of the community leaders could be emphasised more, in order to clarify the cruelty of the community and help the reader support Yami’s own actions more.

However, I really don’t have much to nit-pick. Clone Crisis was an enjoyable read, and if you like the dystopian titles I’ve already mentioned throughout this book review, I’d recommend this series to you.

Star Rating: 4/5 Stars

Clone Crisis is available to buy as an e-book from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com.

– Judith