Tuesday 12 September 2017

Review on Odd & True

Trudchen Grey has listened to her older sister's tall tales about the supernatural her whole life. After Odette suddenly crashes back into Trudchen's life after a two year absence, Tru has had just about enough of Od's silly stories. However, doubt lurks on the edges of Tru's subconscious. A formidable looking creature has made a recurrent appearance in Tru's tea leaf readings. When the readings lead them to their mother's house, they are also lead into rumours of the Leeds Devil, a nightmarish creature creating fear and chaos. Could this be the monster from Tru's tea leaves, or is it just a local legend?

When I read what this book was about, I was instantly sold! Magic and monsters are right up my street, and the fact it focused on two monster hunting sisters made it sound even better! The book follows fifteen year old Trudchen, and her older sister, Odette. After learning about a monster in Philadelphia, known as the Leeds Devil, the sisters decide to hunt it down. However, Odette has an alternative motive for wanting to travel round the country. A secret that she is keeping from her sister.

The book is split into two parts, with Tru narrating the current events in 1909, and Od telling Tru about her past through a series of letters. I loved this way of narrating, as the chapters alternated between the two timelines, it was slowly revealed to us what Odette was actually doing in the two years she was away from home, which helped to fill in the blanks of Tru's story. I also loved the time period it was set in, as apart from The Infernal Devices, I don't think I've ever read a fantasy book set in this era.

One thing I immediately loved way the fact that Tru was disabled. After contracting polio, Tru is left with a paralysed leg. Tru is eventually able to walk around with the help of a leg brace, and uses a wheelchair for longer journeys. I feel as if there is a huge lack of disabled characters in YA fantasy, so I loved how such a strong character was given a physical disability. Although it would have been safer to stay with her Aunt, Tru endures a long journey across the country to find her mother and save Philadelphia from a monster. I loved how brave she was, and I felt as if it gave a positive message to disabled people that although their goals may be more difficult to achieve for them than they would be for able bodied people, It is still possible to achieve them with strength and determination.

Although I enjoyed both of the sisters narratives, I did prefer Tru's. I eventually loved Od's narrative and learning about their childhood, but as I started this book expecting a fantasy story, I was initially a little disappointed over the lack of fantasy elements. I did feel sorry for Od, as she had to go through such emotional trauma at such a young age, but I was also disappointed that the story went in the direction that it did, as it wasn't what I was expecting from the book at all. I enjoyed Tru's part of the story more, but I felt as if progressed too slowly. When the story did finally reach it's climax, I was disappointed that it was all over in a couple of pages. I was looking forward to their eventual encounter with a monster, and when it finally happened it was over just as I was getting into it. I was hoping that the sisters would be a bit like a female version of the Winchester brothers, and as a book marketed as being about monster slaying and magic, I felt as if it was lacking in monster slaying and magic. It was a little like that scene in The Wizard of Oz where the wizard turns out to be a little old man without any powers.

Apart from Od, Tru and Uncle Magnus, I felt as if non of the rest of the characters were likable. This my have been intentional to keep out focus on the sisters, but I do enjoy a good side character to keep the protagonists in check. I felt as if Cy was awful for abandoning Od when she needed him the most, and I was glad that she told him where to go in the end. I was disappointed that Ezra was only there to serve as a love interest for Tru, as I felt as if he had the potential to become the lovable side character I felt was missing.

I feel as if it's partly my fault I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, as I think I made a lot of assumptions from reading the blurb, and went into the book with my brain full of magic and monsters. However once I came to terms with the fact the book wasn't going in the direction I thought it would, I started enjoying it for what it was. I particularly loved the bond between the sisters, and how their relationship was the focus of the book rather than a romance. One thing I did love about the lack of monsters however was that I, like the sisters, started to doubt if monsters really existed in their world, or if it was just going to be a metaphor for the suffering they had to endure.

Although the book wasn't what I was expecting, I did enjoy it overall, particularly towards the end when I practically flew through the last few chapters! I felt as if the epilogue was sweet and the perfect ending, and I loved that the sisters regained their beliefs in magic and monsters. This wasn't the action packed monster slaying book I was expecting it to be, but I loved the family values, and it managed to surprise me! I'm going to give this one a 4 star rating, but I think for me it was more of a 3.5.

Odd & True is now available to purchase!

  | Amazon Book Depository

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