Author: Simon Mayo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read Mayos’ ‘Itch’ series, I was ready to get lost in his new YA release, BLAME.
Ant and her brother Mattie hate their new family prison, coined ‘Spike’. Ever since their parents abandoned them, forcing them off to fostering, their lives have been turned upside down. Locked up inside cells for unpunished crimes their parents committed, Ant is determined to break free of the straps stuck to her back, break free of her label ‘strutter’ and break free of being BLAMED for crimes she didn’t commit. With the help of her friends and a strap-key, Goose Girl breaks every rule and stands up for rights that she and all strutters deserve.
Read on to find out what I thought!
I have read Simon Mayo’s 3-book ‘Itch’ series about a young boy finding and collecting deadly elements from the periodic table and is crazy about science and chemistry. I really enjoyed that series you can check out my reviews here and here. BLAME gave me a taste of something different and exciting with a hint of genius.
Borrowed from the library and familiar with the author, I thought this book would be easy to delve into. I FOUND THIS REALLY HARD TO GET INTO. The beginning didn’t capture my attention at all and gave me not the best first impressions. I tossed it to the side, forgetting all about it. A few days later, I decided to give it another shot.
I’m so glad I did.
While Blame wasn’t the best book I’d ever read, it certainly was a book with a lot of injustice, escaping and tension : all an amazing formulae for an amazing book.
Let’s talk more about the characters.
Ant (aka Goose Girl or Not To Blame Girl) is our protagonist.Her real name is Abigail Norton Turner. At first, she seemed really annoying. Too angry. Too aggressive. Too… I didn’t like her. I really found it horrible how she cracked that boy’s noise. Merciless, is what I thought. But, Mayo really develops Ant’s character well. We see throughout the book that she is not heartless but brave, loving and tactful as well as scared. Brave as she may seem, everyone in the book seems to forget she is only a little girl, still trying to figure out who she is. No parents, locked up, nothing Ant is not all who she seems.
And that is why you can’t not love the brother-sister relationship between Mattie and Abigail. They needed each other and were there for each other no matter what. I loved how they spoke a language no else understood and this added even more to their unbreakable sibling love.
I savoured the short lists added at the beginning of each chapter. They added so much to Mattie’s character and really made you FEEL so much sympathy for Mattie.
Brian, Jimmie, Daisy, Amos : all her friends. Apart from Brian, I don’t really think these added MUCH. I mean they added some sympathetic and sad feelings into the book but nothing too emotional. I found myself finding these parts to bore and drag.
Henry is my favourite character. Though he only appears for a short while. He’s friendly, helpful and most of all, on their side. I like how he’s got a knack for crossword and puzzles. And I really enjoyed Brian’s Code. The ‘record’ clue, the mystery, the puzzle. I think that the code-cracking parts were really great to read about.
The villains are real villains in this book. Mayo really knows how to portray evil through writing. I don’t which one was more daunting, Ant’s real dad or Assessor Grey or… I don’t know how Grey killed people as if it was natural. How he was so cruel. How he stirred up trouble like it was his job. But one thing about Grey was that he reminded of Voldemort. Yeah, you know the no-nose, bald guy in Harry Potter. He wanted to punish his own kind. Voldemort wanted to kill all ‘Mudbloods’ and Grey wanted to kill all people with heritage crime. Their OWN kind.
It was quite funny to see when Mayo was writing this. Talking about us in the EU, when we aren’t anymore! Hahaha!
The book was quite lengthy ( approx. 450 pages). But I got through it quite quickly and I really enjoyed the ride. There weren’t many twists but I still liked the pace and suspense of the book. All in all, a great book, deserving 4 STARS!
And here’s a little graph showing my reading progress of this book from Goodreads!
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