Gray Wolf Island by Tracey Neithercott – Spoiler Free Review

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 10, 2017

Genre: YA, Mystery, Magical Realism

Adventure Rating: 4 Stars

| Amazon

” Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth. “

This was a weird book. But in a good way. I don’t normally like Magical Realism. But I actually enjoyed this one! It was a tad bit more on the magical side than real, which helped. I found the mystery extremely compelling and interesting.

I loved how the relationships in this book played out. Even though it was only over a week, they went through really traumatic experiences individually and together. I think going through something with someone no matter how long you’ve known them, creates a connection.

Character growth was done really well too. Especially for a 300 page book. Everyone confessed something and grew from it.

I really enjoyed the writing style! It was very beautiful but also straightforward. If that makes sense. She did a really good job of having the main character likable despite her awful secret. It’s a hard thing to do! I liked that it was from two different points of view! There is Ruby, and then there is this mystery character. Very well done.

The only thing a slightly disliked was that it took awhile to get into. The first half was really slow. But the last half I couldn’t put it down. I had to know the secret of the treasure and Island.

And the ending broke my heart and I wasn’t expecting that. I actually like when books do that though, because it’s surprising.

So, if you think a weird, magical realism, mystery about treasure and an Island sounds good to you, then you should read this. I really don’t have anything to compare it to. It was very different.

*I have read a lot of reviews that compare this to The Raven Boys. I am not sure why. I have read that book and didn’t think it was that similar. Her writing style DOES remind me of Maggie Stiefvater’s though!

Do you like Magical Realism?

*Usual disclaimer about the content warning, I just put these here for YA books for parents who want to make the decision to let their kids read or not to read a book. This does not necessarily reflect my own person opinions.

CONTENT WARNING: Swearing, mention of rape but not following through with it, sexual talk, kissing, murder, death, depression, lying, trauma, assisted suicide, bullying

OTHER CONTENT: How to handle a traumatic event, healing, friendship, healthy relationships, telling the truth, dealing with bullies

A Treacherous Curse (Spoiler Free)

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“She regarded him and counted only the damage; I saw only the places where he had stitched himself back together. What repelled her was to me the greatest part of him. Every mark that his suffering had left upon him was a must monument to his strength, the inhuman courage that had caused him to reject death and degradation and every evil with which he had consoled himself on the long journey back from his destruction. He had walked through hellfire and back again and she saw only the scorch marks whilst I saw the phoenix.” – A Treacherous Curse

Title: A Treacherous Curse

Author: Deanna Raybourn

Publisher: Berkley

My Rating: 5 Stars

*Synopsis taken from Goodreads*

“London, 1888.

As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .”

Deanna Raybourn is a masterful storyteller. She weaves a tale so intriguing that you feel as the characters feel. You hurt when they hurt. You are happy when they are happy. Just read again the quote from above! How moving!

One of my favorite things about the third book in this series is the character development. Veronica especially. She starts off this whole shebang as a one woman show. She slowly starts to melt until this third book where she becomes a puddle of emotion, in a good way. Her outer shell starts to crack when she finally decides to let someone in. And that someone is Stoker.

Oh Stoker. I’m thinking about making him a book boyfriend. I adore him to pieces. You get a lot more of his backstory and it just makes you feel for him! And the strength and courage he has is amazing. Why can’t all men be like this? (For the record, I have a man like this. They are just rare. :P)

And can we talk about the plot?! Sweet Abraham’s mother this was good. This was my favorite out of all the books because, in my opinion, it has the best story line. A supposed curse from Egypt, a man masquerading as Anubis, a few murders, AND Stoker’s backstory. Um, yes please.

So, I gave this book 5 stars. However, there was one thing I didn’t like. There is a suicide in this book. I didn’t like that. I don’t like reading about suicide. It’s dark and depressing and I think it’s one of if not the worst way to die.

All in all, I’m still in love with this series. The writing, the characters, the story, all of it just speaks to me. I highly recommend this series to anyone who likes historical mysteries!

Happy Adventuring!