Book Review: The Other Side of the Sky by Haner Bat Hannah

Title: The Other Side of the Sky
Author: Haner Bat Hannah
Genre: Romance, Drama, Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Telma confidently marches over the bridge of her life and then…

Telma is an opinionated little girl who doesn’t quite fit into the world around her. She becomes a physics professor, happily married to Uri, a bridge engineer, whose life seems secure as the bridges her husband builds. However, the little girl is not quiet; she reflects on the successful adult life from her unique point of view.

Gadi, a genius from Berkeley is attracted to Telma’s distinctive view; he hopes he has found in Telma someone to lean on. An emotional-roller-coaster-like relationship develops between them. But Telma prefers the stable ground Uri has built for her.

Can she pull together the pieces of herself and emerge whole?

Yet bridges can collapse, and Uri is involved in a serious accident that crushes not only him but Telma’s entire world. When their lives become intertwined with those of Gadi and Yael, his beautiful wife, Uri’s story, revealed to her with brutal honesty, shreds Telma’s life to pieces. Gradually, Telma reconstructs herself anew, forming a more inclusive, complete, and accurate picture. A picture in which there is no need to hide behind long black hair and one in which the little girl goes back to seeking out the emerging whole. But will she ever again find peace?

The Other Side of the Sky focuses on Telma. The reader first encounters Telma as an opinionated little girl, and watches her grow up, becoming a physics professor. Adult Telma is happily married to Uri, a bridge engineer.

When Uri is involved in a horrible accident, Telma’s entire world is crushed. Telma finds her life becoming entertwined with that of Gadi, a genius from Berkeley who is attracted to her, despite being married.

As Telma comes to terms with what happened, she has to re-discover herself, and find the strength to re-emerge from this terrible turmoil.

The childhood moments of Telma’s life are very touching and help explain why she became the adult she is today, and why she made certain life story. Romantic but also drenched in a good amount of melancholy, this is a book about childhood, growing up, about love and the choices we are sometimes forced to make, about life and how short and precious it is.

Book Review: The Ones Who Won by Nuria Amir

Title: The Ones Who Won
Author: Nuria Amir
Genre: Middle-Eastern, Sports, Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Meet ambitious, dynamic Tamar – a young star bucking the system.

This captivating true story, based on diary entries, takes place in the early days of the kibbutz. Tamar, an adolescent girl and the story’s heroine, draws the reader into a whirlwind of emotions, adventure, and constant wonder at the power of nature. She likes to challenge herself and almost every rule and framework of the society in which she lives. She is swept into a world of competitions and ambitious high achievement.

Plots and sub-plots intertwine as Tamar courageously navigates her path.

How will the equality-based kibbutz society, built largely by Tamar’s parents, react to the young Israeli champion? She forms a courageous friendship and a treacherous love. A weapon appears in the story’s beginning and is fired at its conclusion, bringing about a surprising and tragic ending. The motif of endless confrontation between the individual and society and how society imposes its rules comes to light through Tamar’s unique reactions. Can she maintain her freedom?

In The Ones Who Won, Tamar is a young woman growing up in a community known as kibbutz – something I knew next to nothing about. The book sheds an interesting light on the kibbutz community, from the perspective of a young woman raised in these circumstances.

It’s an intriguing perspective, and through Tamar’s reactions on certain situations, you realize as a reader how different life is for people raised this way. Despite this, Tamar is a strong-willed woman who likes to challenge herself, particularly in sports, and who sets very high goals for herself.

An inspiring book, well-written and captivating.


Book Review: Accused (A Retaliation Novel)

ACCUSED 3DBOOKTitle: Accused (A Retaliation novel #2)
Author: Yasmin Shiraz
Genre: YA – real life
Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

An easier and more peaceful life seemed to be destined for Ahmed and Tashera when they left Washington, DC and entered Georgia Atlantic University.  But when Ahmed is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit and begins to be tried in the media, his popularity plummets, his self-esteem suffers, and his dreams of playing college basketball disappear.

Meanwhile, there is a serial rapist on campus who has been attacking freshman girls at record numbers and forcing them to keep silent. As Tashera learns about the girls, she begins to close in on the rapist. But is the attacker too crafty to be caught? Will the state prosecutor ignore key evidence to instead focus on the fame that comes with convicting a high profile basketball star?

Tashera is beyond stressed as she divides her time between trying to find enough evidence to clear Ahmed while at the same time stopping the rapist who roams the campus of Georgia Atlantic.  Ahmed and Tashera’s journey into a new life away from home is more challenging than they ever thought that it would be.

An Amazon Top 500 Book Reviewer had this to say about Accused:

“I recommend it for teen readers… Shiraz has a knack for writing in the voice of teen characters without having to resort to obscenities. It’s an important and worthwhile YA novel.”

Accused is an interesting novel that offers an intriguing perspective on rape and sexual abuse. The book had its ups and downs, but overall it was an inspiring, thought-provoking read.

Tashera and her boyfriend, Ahmed, start college this year. I haven’t read the first book, so I missed out on some background story relating to both characters, but nevertheless, I could understand the characters and their behaviors quite well. Tashera joins a support group, STOP, which helps victims of abuse. However, when Ahmed gets accused of rape by a high school student, Tashera is put in a difficult position. She’s convinced Ahmed didn’t do it, but if she wants to prove his innocence, she has to find out who did.

Both Tashera and Ahmed make for interesting characters. Tashera is stubborn, intelligent, relentless in her pursuit of what she perceives to be justice. She stands up for others, and for goals she believes in. Ahmed is a less developed character than Tashera, but it was still interesting to see how he acted to the false accusations.

The story matter is thought-provoking, the writing is good, the characters are decent, but if I had to point out a flaw, it would be the villain. We meet the villain early on – Brandon, a psychopath who has close to no personality at all. He’s not all that developed as a character, and he comes across as very one-dimensional, as if he’s just there for the sake of acting as the villain. It would’ve been more interesting had Brandon not been depicted as an evil monster, but as a real person, someone who has feelings, no matter how messed up they are.

Nevertheless, the topic was interesting, and the story enjoyable. The book is ideal for teens, because of the issues it addresses. Even though date rape is the common thread throughout the book, there are no graphic scenes, so it should be safe for youngsters to read.

Book Review: Twelve Houses by Olga Soaje and Giveaway

portada twelvehouses finalTitle: Twelve Houses
Author: Olga Soaje
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase:  Amazon (Paperback), Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

What will she do now? Amelia Weiss wakes up alone, with the body of her husband cold beside her, dead. She cannot believe he has left her when he swore he never would. It is almost as if she is nothing without him.
But this novel is not about a man’s death. It is about a woman coming back to life. Slowly, painfully, a sensitive artist and mother makes new connections, finds new occupations, and rediscovers her place in the world.
Raised to believe a widow’s role is to take care of grandchildren and make grief her companion, Amelia takes a different path. She embarks on the most challenging year of her life.
She struggles to repair her broken relationship with her daughter and develops a second career in midlife. If she can find a way to allow herself to act in the face of her guilt and her daughter’s disapproval, she may even find love again.
This heartfelt novel is the story of a courageous woman’s spiritual rebirth. As Amelia begins to rediscover herself, readers will share in her refusal to give in to loss or to accept anything less than a rich and meaningful life.

After her husband passes away, Amelia Weiss goes through the most difficult period in her life. Without Nathan, she’s lost, clueless of what to do next. Even getting out of bed in the morning is nearly impossible. Sculpting, which always brought her joy, reduces her to tears. The love of her life is gone, and she’s left alone to pick up the pieces.
Her son, Davi, leads his own life in the city with his fiance. Her relationship with her daughter Chloe is strained. They’ve never gotten along well, and Nathan always had to act as the middle man. But now he’s gone, and there’s no one left to reconcile them. Chloe makes an effort when she asks Amelia to come visit her in the city, revealing her pregnancy and marriage troubles to her mother, who tries to help her in every way possible.
As they slowly grow closer to each other, Amelia finds a new love for yoga and gets back in touch with her old love for astrology. She learns how to make new connections and rediscover who she is and who she wants to be. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll find love again.
This novel talks about a courageous woman, who’s heartbroken at first, and slowly learns to put herself together again. Missing pieces are replaced by new ones, old friends by new friends, and she becomes whole again. It’s a heartfelt novel, just in time for the holiday, about loss, sadness, grief, and never giving up, about being loved from beyond the grave and feeling that love in everything you do. About making a new life for yourself when your loved ones are taken away. Many times throughout reading, I was reduced to tears.
With good writing, solid characters, and a keen sense of detail, Twelve Houses is a novel that will appeal to many people. I thought, since the protagonist is so much older than I am, and the topic is rather sad at first, it wouldn’t appeal to me, but I found myself rooting for Amelia, her personal growth, every minor victory, and feeling for her as if she was a long lost relative. So even if you don’t think this might be for you, at first, it’s worth giving it a shot.


You can win an eBook copy of the book by commenting below. Simple, right?

Book Review: Simon’s Choice by Charlotte Castle

8600510Title: Simon’s Choice
Author: Charlotte Castle
Genre: Drama, Contemporary
Rating: 4 stars
Purchase: Amazon
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

“But, Daddy? Who will live with me in Heaven?”

Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia.

He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone.

He answers her innocent question in a moment of desperation, testing his marriage, his professional judgment and his sanity to the limit. As cracks form in Simon’s previously perfect family, we wonder, as do his loved ones … will he really make the ultimate sacrifice?

Combining poignant moments of both humour and pain, ‘Simon’s Choice’ is a penetrating account of parenthood at the sharp-end.

Simon’s Choice is a heart-wrenching, time-stopping novel that brought me to the edge of tears. It’s drama at its finest, showing us the darkest sides of life, but doing so in a convincing way.

Simon’s daughter has been diagnosed with Leukemia. She’s been in remission for a while, but now the illness is back and more destructive than ever. He’s a doctor and blames himself for not noticing her symptons right away. When Simon and his wife get the devastating news that their daughter will not recover, and only has a few months left to live, it shatters their family.

When his daughter, Sarah, asks him if she’s going to die, she takes up the news in stride. What she can’t cope with, is being all alone in heaven. No relatives of theirs have passed away, and there’s no one there to take care of her when she dies. So when she asks, Simon gives the most illogical response ever: he’ll go with her.

For his wife, Melissa, who translates this into Simon going to kill himself, this news shows his mental instability. She distances herself from her husband, and she goes very far with this. I found it to be believable, but my feelings toward Melissa went from feeling sorry to hating her after seeing what she put him through. She only allowed him supervised visits with Sarah, told him to move out, and so on. Basically she blamed him for everything, without putting any blame on herself.

The ending was bittersweet, and had a massive emotional impact on me. The book is strong in general, but it has its ups and downs. Melissa’s reactions were exaggerated, but I kind of understand she could behave so irrationally in light of what happened.

The book also opens up our eyes to how we act around people in as much pain as Simon and Melissa are, and it’s not pretty.

Don’t expect a light read when you start this book. I ended up teary-eyed, but if I hadn’t been in the train when reading, I probably would’ve cried my eyes out. Not for the faint of heart.

Book Tours: Starter Day Party Simon’s Choice


I’m thrilled to host a starter day party today for contemporary, drama novel “Simon’s Choice”. I’ll be reviewing the book on November 24. Stay tuned for the review and, in the mean time, visit the other tour stops!

Tour Schedule

November 8th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

November 8th: Book Excerpt @ Stories of Romance

November 10th: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

November 12th: Book Excerpt @ Sylv Jenkin’s Blog

November 14th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

November 16th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

November 19th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

November 20th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

November 22nd: Guest Post @ Editor Charlene

November 24th: Book Review @ I Heart Reading

November 26th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

November 28th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

November 30th: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

December 2nd: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

December 4th: Guest Post @ Daily Mayo

December 6th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Gazette

December 8th:  Guest Post @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

About Simon’s Choice

8600510“But, Daddy? Who will live with me in Heaven?”

Doctor Simon Bailey has everything a man could ever want. Then his beautiful daughter is diagnosed with Leukemia.

He can almost accept her impending death. He can almost accept the fact that he will have to live without her. But he cannot stand the thought of his little girl having to face death alone.

He answers her innocent question in a moment of desperation, testing his marriage, his professional judgment and his sanity to the limit. As cracks form in Simon’s previously perfect family, we wonder, as do his loved ones … will he really make the ultimate sacrifice?

Combining poignant moments of both humour and pain, ‘Simon’s Choice’ is a penetrating account of parenthood at the sharp-end.

Author Bio

charlieCharlotte Castle lives in the North Yorkshire countryside in a ‘madhouse’ full of children, dogs and cats. Simon’s Choice was her first novel – her second, ‘When I Was a Wife’ is due out in November.


Book Review: Along The Watchtower by David Litwack

17798039Title: Along The Watchtower
Author: David Litwack
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars
Purchase: Amazon (Paperback), Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by Enchanted Book Promotions in exchange for an honest review.

A Tragic Warrior Lost in Two Worlds…

The war in Iraq ended for Lieutenant Freddie Williams when an IED explosion left his mind and body shattered. Once he was a skilled gamer and expert in virtual warfare. Now he’s a broken warrior, emerging from a medically induced coma to discover he’s inhabiting two separate realities. The first is his waking world of pain, family trials, and remorse—and slow rehabilitation through the tender care of Becky, his physical therapist. The second is a dark fantasy realm of quests, demons, and magic that Freddie enters when he sleeps.

In his dreams he is Frederick, Prince of Stormwind, who must make sense of his horrific visions in order to save his embattled kingdom from the monstrous Horde. His only solace awaits him in the royal gardens, where the gentle words of the beautiful gardener, Rebecca, calm the storms in his soul. While in the conscious world, the severely wounded vet faces a strangely similar and equally perilous mission—a journey along a dark road haunted by demons of guilt and memory—and letting patient, loving Becky into his damaged and shuttered heart may be his only way back from Hell.

Some time ago, I read and reviewed There Comes a Prophet, the debut novel of David Litwack. I loved that book, so I was looking forward to getting started on his latest novel, Along The Watchtower.

The first pages introduce us to Lieutenant Freddie Williams, who is stationed in Iraq during the war. An IED explosion ends the war for him, destroying his body and mind. He’s sent back home, where he’s being kept in a medically induced coma for a while. Freddie soon discovers he’s stuck in two different worlds. The first is reality as he always knew it, his life now nearly destroyed, where he’s struggling with family matters and coming to terms with what happened, the guilt over his friends dying during the war, and painful agony. In the other world, he is Frederick, a prince in a fantasy land overrun by demons, horrific monsters and the likes. To save his kingdom, he must withstand terrible visions.

While the story doesn’t sound all that original at first glance, when you start reading it, the original elements David Litwack incorporated become all the more obvious. There are plenty of stories about people visiting fantasy worlds (think about Alice in Wonderland, the Neverending Story, The Wizard of Oz, Narnia, etc.) but those stories are aimed at children. They show fantasy worlds that are intriguing, and even though they may be dangerous every once in a while, the good guys always win. Along The Watchtower is an adult read – it’s a lot darker, both in the real world, and in the fantasy world. When he’s in the fantasy world, Freddie isn’t happy or heroic – he’s traveling through the same, painful journey as he is in real life. While Freddie’s personality develops in the fantasy world, so does his personality in the real world. In the real world, Freddie must come to terms with his injuried, his guilt and family troubles. In the fantasy world, the fate of a kingdom rests in his hands.

The recovery Freddie must make, both mentally and physically, merge beautifully in both the fantasy and the real world, as if they’re connected. That’s more than the only connection though. Freddie begins to find items belonging to the real world back in the fantasy world, except they’re magnified there, more threatening, true obstacles he has to face. The story is, at times, heartbreaking, because the main character just can’t seem to get a break. But in the end, when I struggled through deeply emotional scenes that left me shaking, I was glad that the author didn’t shy away from telling Freddie’s story, or from making it as sad and near impossible as it was. Even if he’s home safe and sound, Freddie continues to struggle to leave the war behind him, and as a reader, you’re sucked into the same struggle, experiencing the same feelings, the post-traumatic stress disorder, Freddie’s pain, his hopelessness, his feeling of losing control over his entire life.

David Litwack incorporates a lot of detail into his novel, and this only helps to enhance the story. Freddie’s emotions appear very authentic. Along The Watchtower is the kind of story that needs to be written, that screams to be read. It’s an enticing, amazing story of a journey of self-discovery and healing, of the consequences of war, of hope.

Book Review: Ganges Boy by Archana Prasanna

16087604Title: Ganges Boy
Author: Archana Prasanna
Genre: Coming of Age, Drama, YA
Age Group: Young Adult / Adult
Rating: 3,5 stars
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Ganges Boy tells a profound coming of age tale against the backdrop of the heart and soul of the fascinating city of Varanasi. Kabir, an orphaned adolescent born out of wedlock to a Hindu mother and a Muslim father, struggles to cope with the loss of his murdered mother while trying to navigate the harsh reality of street life. After years of working in a sari factory under an authoritative owner, and later as a boatman on the holy river Ganga, he is confronted with his unknown past when he meets his blind Grandfather for the first time. Kabir is taken away to politically charged Delhi and submerged in a foreign world of privilege and education. However, the initial exhilaration of the luxurious life soon fades away when he discovers a sinister side to his Grandfather. He is torn between choosing the free spirited life he once knew and the new life of opportunity. Kabir’s journey of self-identity is poignant and touching as he searches for his place in the world while also trying to understand it through religion, friendships, family, and passion.

Ganges Boy is set in India, where Muslim and Hindu people still live in a relatively unstable peace, and marriage between the two religions is strictly prohibited, where people are locked up in boxes based on their position in society, and factory work for longer than ten hours a day is no exception. I enjoyed reading this book because it brought me to territory I’d never bothered to explore before. Young adult books about India, or anywhere except Europa, Australia and the USA for that matter, are rare. I like getting to know other societies and their principles, and I learned a great deal from reading this book.

Main character Kabir has had a tough life so far. He’s spend many days in the factory with his mother, a Hindu woman who married a Muslim man. After Kabir’s father passed away, his mother and he became mostly shunned, because of their mixed-religion relationship, and Kabir being the product of it. One night his mother gets murdered, and Kabir scarcely escapes by fleeing into the Ganges river. He’s rescued by an unknown hero, and from then on, he’s left to fend for his own. He goes back to work at the factory his mother used to work at, but as he grows older he realizes he may be capable of doing more. He signs up as a boatwala, and earns a fair living. He falls in love with a girl, and he spends time with his best friend. All is great in the world, until Kabir’s grandfather shows up, ready to whisk him away from his life of poverty. But life in the city of New Dehli may be a lot more challenging than Kabir thought possible, and his grandfather lives in an entirely different world than he does. A world with bathtubs and shoes, and expensive law firms and politics.

I thought the story started out promising, but I never got the feeling I was inside Kabir’s head. It was like there was a giant barrier between me and him, because of the way the story was told, sprinting over certain events. I understand the need to talk about several years of Kabir’s life, from little kid to a grown up man, but I would’ve liked to see more of his feelings, especially at the beginning and when his Mom dies. We’re told how Kabir feels often enough – He feels exhausted, he feels sad, he feels… – but it’s never really shown. I only remember one scene where he burst out in tears in his hut after his Mom passed away, but that’s it. The same counts for all of the characters. When Kabir studies his friend, he notices ‘he looked anxious’. How? Does sweat drips down his face? Does he bite his lower lip? Dart his eyes from left to right? How does Kabir know his friend is anxious? I don’t want to hear that he is, I want to figure it out myself.

That basically sums up everything that was wrong with this book in a nutshell. It has a potentially strong story, an unique setting, and the author has a large vocabulary and she knows how to write well-flowing sentences. But the story lacks emotion. We get to hear everything second-handed, but we never experience it ourselves, as the reader. And that’s a shame, because the story would’ve been a lot more powerful if instead of being told everything, we could see for ourselves.

However, there’s a lot of good things about Ganges Boy as well. I liked the plot, the writing was decent (except for the problem mentioned above) and the story didn’t drag. I wouldn’t say it was fast-paced either, but it had a nice, steady pace all through out the book. I enjoyed it, and it was a pleasant read, but I wouldn’t reread it any time soon.

I would recommend Ganges Boy to fans of coming-of-age stories. This isn’t really YA, but I think it would appeal to readers from that age and upwards. If you ever wanted to read about foreign cultures, this is your chance as well. Without info-dumping, the author gives a lot of information about Hindu and Muslim cultures.


One lucky winner will get an eBook copy of Ganges Boy. Fill in the Rafflecopter form below to participate! The contest is open internationally.
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Starter Day Party Ganges Boy

We’re celebrating the starter day party of coming of age / drama novel Ganges Boy today. Come join in the fun!

Tour Schedule

March 18th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

March 20th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Daily

March 22nd: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

March 24th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

March 26th: Book Review @ Forever Book Lover

March 28th: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

March 30th: Book Review @ The Book Daily

April 1st: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

April 2rd: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

April 3rd: Book Review @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

April 5th: Book Excerpt @ The Single Librarian

April 7th: Book Review @ Bookaholic Ramblings

April 9th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

April 11th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

April 13rd: Book Review @ The Single Librarian

April 15th: Author Interview and Excerpt @ Andi’s Young Adult

April 17th: Book Review @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

About Ganges Boy

Ganges-cover-5-4Title: Ganges Boy

Author: Archana Prasanna

Genre: Fiction / Coming of Age / Drama

Ganges Boy is a profound coming of age tale, set against the backdrop of the fascinating city of Varanasi, India. Kabir is an orphaned adolescent slumdog struggling to cope with the loss of his murdered mother. He tries to navigate the harsh reality of street life before getting submerged in a foreign world of luxury where he is forced to discover his own self-identity. The riches of his new life are overshadowed by the greed and immoral behavior he witnesses. This is the story of good and evil, riches and poverty, and the fight of a boy to keep his ideals no matter where he is. Kabir’s journey is emotionally engaging as his colorful experiences give insight into the lives of street children in Varanasi.

Author Bio

Archana Prasanna is a Washington, DC native, but has experienced living in England and India. Growing up around the world has been a source of inspiration for her writing. Archana has an undergraduate degree in Political Science from Virginia Tech and a J.D. from Syracuse University. She began writing news articles that appeared in The Washington Post,, and The Collegiate Times. Ganges Boy is her first novel.


Book Review: The Angel Maker by Stefan Brijs

4857614Title: The Angel Maker
Author: Stefan Brijs
Genre: Thriller, Science Fiction, Mystery, Literature
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: December 30th 2008
Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

A literary page-turner about one man’s macabre ambition to create life-and secure immortality
The village of Wolfheim is a quiet little place until the geneticist Dr. Victor Hoppe returns after an absence of nearly twenty years. The doctor brings with him his infant children-three identical boys all sharing a disturbing disfigurement. He keeps them hidden away until Charlotte, the woman who is hired to care for them, begins to suspect that the triplets-and the good doctor- aren’t quite what they seem. As the villagers become increasingly suspicious, the story of Dr. Hoppe’s past begins to unfold, and the shocking secrets that he has been keeping are revealed. A chilling story that explores the ethical limits of science and religion, The Angel Maker is a haunting tale in the tradition of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Frankenstein. Brought to life by internationally bestselling author Stefan Brijs, this eerie tale promises to get under readers’ skin.

Before you start reading The Angel Maker, get some tissues ready. Even if it’s just to wipe the sweat of your brow when you’re reading through some of the most suspenseful passages ever written. Or if it’s to wipe your eyes dry when reading a particularly sad part of the book reflecting on the protagonist’s childhood.

The main star of this book is Victor. First claimed to be mentally retarded, under the ‘care’ of nuns in a strict school, he slowly grows to become a genius. While nobody ever understood him in the first years of life because of his erratic behavior, by the time he turns twenty, nobody understands him because of his genius. Eons ahead of others, he wants to devise a way to make clones of himself, to prove to the world that he can, and for a bazillion other complex, psychological reasons. He succeeds, returning to his home village and bringing with him three identical toddlers with a deformity. While the villagers’ opinion ranges from wildly enthusiastic about the new doctor, and applauding him for taking care of his three sons singlehandedly, others have far less approving opinions about the good doctor. When he saves some villager’s lives, he’s gradually accepted into the community. But what the villagers don’t know is the doctor’s dark secret, about where the toddlers came from, and why they’re slowly deteriorating.

I can’t really say anything more out of fear of spoiling the book for you, but let me tell you that The Angel Maker is, above all, a thriller. It poses the question how far we’re willing to go to achieve our goals. How far brilliance and genius can take and individual, and how easily it can destroy them. It asks about what is allowed and what isn’t, and if human life is a too high price to pay. The doctor, Victor, is one of the most intriguing, complex, multi-dimensional characters I’ve ever read about. His childhood is so tragic and sad it made my heart weep for him. Gradually, I began to understand the reasons behind his actions, and the consequences of what he’d done. There is no true villain here. I couldn’t bring myself to see Victor as a true villain. More like a man misled by beliefs and convictions and his own doubts in humanity.

The triples were…adorable. Even if they were weird and creepy, even if they learned at strange rates, even if I’d probably have goosebumps standing in one room with them, they were adorable all the same. Especially when we got to see more of them. That’s what’s so truly sad about this novel. Nobody is happy. Nobody leaves the stage feeling even remotely content. Victor’s experiment comes back to haunt him, the triplets who were meant to be perfect are slowly withering away like flowers wasting away in the sun. Even the nanny isn’t happy, because she’s grown to love these children and she sees what’s happening to them, although she doesn’t understand it completely. Dark and disturbing, that’s how I’d describe The Angel Maker, although it’s a lot more.

I rated this book a three because it’s so darn pessimistic. There’s no positive message anywhere although, if you dig deep enough, there is. The author just fails to touch upon it, or doesn’t want to mention it. The general feeling I had after reading this book was one of sadness. The thriller aspect of it is great though. The book is even downright creepy at times; but it’s an atmospheric eeriness, like you come across in gothic horror novels. It’s not horror as such, but it’s still delightfully creepy. The kind of disturbing feeling that creeps up on you when you least expect it, that sneaks out from under the covers and stares at you in the middle of the night. I read this book on the train and kept glancing at my fellow passengers, half and half expecting some of them would’ve turned into monsters by the time I was finished.

Overall, this is a great book. Ideal to read during a chilly winter night. Give it a try. It’s not thriller-like in the sense of immediate danger, but it’s when you really start to think about it that you’ll feel truly disturbed – at least I did.