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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

[Guest Review] The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

Title: The Alex Crow
Author: Andrew Smith [Twitter | Website]
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction - Science Fiction
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Source: ARC provided by the publisher, opinions are honest and the reader's own. – review policy here.

This was my first Andrew Smith novel. I have heard all sorts of things about his work, mainly that it’s amazing, so I was excited to find out for myself. And it did not let me down. It was definitely a strange experience, but one I still enjoyed.

So what’s this book about, then? Well, that’s the question, isn’t it. A refugee, a bionic crow, a failed Arctic exploration team, a melting man. ...yep. This is one of those stories that’s told in parts, in different narratives, all seemingly different things that have nothing to do with each other…until they do. There’s 1) Ariel and his present-day narration of the boys’ camp he is sent to; 2) Ariel telling his brother the story of him becoming a refugee in flashback; 3) Journal articles from one of the Arctic explorers hundreds of years ago; and 4) the schizophrenic bomber. It seems a little confusing, but it wasn’t really.

Smith’s writing is like magic. He has such a way with words that just draws you in and hooks you from the beginning. Yes, he has all these different narratives, but each had their own distinct and unique voice. They didn’t sound the same, and it wasn’t confusing. And then you get to the part where you start to see how all these separate stories start to tie in to each other. I was flying through the pages just to see if things were what I thought they were.

Smith also touches on a whole slew of different subjects. This book is filled with so many WTF moments, like did I really just read that? Or what in the world is going on? Serious and horrifying moments from Ariel’s time in the refugee camp, kinda gross moments with the burning man, and teenage boy humor from Max and his euphemisms. But it all worked together to create a deep and complex story.

I realize I probably haven’t been clear on what the book is about, but it’s one of those things that just cannot be explained. But it was one of those books that I fell in love with, and highly recommend. Smith is an incredible writer, and one that I will definitely be reading more from.

5 Stars

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