Blackbrooke had me on the edge of my seat and kept my heart racing. Emma Silver filled Blackbrooke with vivid emotion and suspense. I found myself surprised at every turn as the plot did not do what I anticipated or expected. Emma Silver writes emotions so well they explode off the page and into your heart.
As a male reader, I half expected something along the lines of Twilight and City of Bones- This was a very wrong assumption. Blackbrooke is a very suspenseful horror. It has a great blend of thrills, mystery, gruesomeness, love, and excitement.
A read that will appeal most to 13-18 year old girls, but an exciting read for anyone who loves fiction and suspense. I think some male readers will not connect with the story, especially in the beginning. My advice is to read it; you will not want to put it down as the mystery heightens in Blackbrooke.
I thought I knew what to expect at certain points along the storyline (I was Wrong!)I consistently found myself surprised when the plot went in a different direction than I anticipated. It created a lot of excitement to read the unexpected events and character decisions that unfolded throughout the story, especially in the middle chapters.
The suspense, oh my god, the suspense was amazing. My jaw dropped a couple of times as I was reading. There was some gruesomeness, but not overdone. The book did not scare me while I read it; it did thrill me beyond belief! The horror aspect of Blackbrooke would transfer well to a theatrical horror film.
The story came to its first climax about three quarters of the way through when Lib put all the pieces of the puzzle together. Blackbrooke was a rush of excitement and anticipation up until this point. Afterwards, I felt like the books excitement settled down a bit (until the very end where the plot turned unexpectedly yet again and threw me for another loop.) Emma wrote a couple of chapters to develop the character relationships while they prepared for the end. These chapters did a good job with the character development, but they were a little too off pace to the rest of the story. I think Emma’s intended audience (mid-teen girls) will find these chapters more enjoyable than I did.
Emma wrote a fantastic, cliffhanging end to Blackbrooke. I again found myself not knowing what to expect as I read the final 2 chapters. The end blew my mind and left me dying to read part II.
Emma Silver writes emotions you can really feel as you read.
Super thrilling and shocking plot twists
Foreshadowing that made Blackbrooke super suspenseful and not-at-all expected.
Does not use typical supernatural beings. Original supernatural beings called Crits
The book did not hook me from in the very beginning, (just kept me curious to keep going until the story exploded.)
Uneven pace at times.
A couple sections where I felt a little more editing would have cleared some of my confusion.
Blackbrooke, the town where everyone know monsters exist, but they only exist here. Avoiding them is just part of life for the residents of Blackbrooke. The monsters, called crits, only roam at night. Blackbrooke has a pact with the monsters that lets humans live by day, and crits by night; anyone who breaks these rules is fair game.
Liberty Connor is planning to leave Blackbrooke when she turns 18. Everyone gets one chance to leave and never return at that age. You just have to survive until then, and not “walk out.” Lib is suspicious when her friends begin to “walk out” in the middle of the night to be eaten by crits. She goes on a hunt to find the truth behind Blackbrooke, the Crits, and the secrets that the local hide from the kids.
Blackbrooke is set in the first person view of Liberty Connor. This is the first YA fiction novel that I have read in first person that I can recall. Emma does an excellent job writing in this point of view. It took me 2-3 chapters to adjust to this POV, and then I found myself racing through the pages to see what happens next.
Emma expresses her characters’ emotions so they jump out of the pages. I felt very engaged, as if I was experiencing the joy, anxiety, anger, curiosity, etc. of Libby as she narrated her story. I think one of the marks of a strong and talented writer is the ability to turn characters’ emotions into something real. Emma did an amazing job.
The structure of the writing was good overall. There were a few places where I did not understand what a sentence or paragraph was portraying. I believe part of this might be the differences in colloquialisms between The UK and America.
Liberty “Libby” Connor- Libby is a rule abiding good student. She is safe, boring, and blends in in the beginning of the book. She has jock and popular friends, but does not fit that stereotype herself. Through the course of the story she develops rebelliousness in her spurred by the loss of her friends. She is very clever, but sometimes headstrong.
Cassius- Lib’s childhood friend. He is a tall and skinny albino. Lib was very protective of him when they were children. The roles get reversed now that they are in their teens. Lib abandoned their friendship for several years when she started hanging out with Gemma, Noah, and Gabriel. Cassius is a very well written character and stands out from others in Emma’s writing.
Gemma Jones- An attractive and flirtatious rule breaker. She is the best friend of Libby and girlfriend of Noah. Gemma and Lib are practically sisters. She is the daughter of the school’s head master.
Gabriel- Libby’s boyfriend. He is a very athletic football player. He and Lib plan to leave Blackbrooke to travel the world.
Noah- Gabriel’s best friend and Gemma’s boyfriend. He is also an athletic football player. He dislikes Cassius, who is one of Lib’s childhood friends.
Blackbrooke is a powerful start to an original trilogy. This is a book you will want to read no matter what genre you prefer. I am excited to read the second installment of the Blackbrooke series.