ARC Review: Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan


Perfectly Preventable Deaths

by Deirdre Sullivan

YA Fantasy, Magic Realism, Mystery

Hot Key Books

Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together…

Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains.

As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. Not only foxes, owls and crows, but also supernatural beings who for many generations have congregated here to escape persecution. When Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.

Dark and otherworldly, this is an enthralling story about the bond between sisters and the sacrifices we make for those we care about the most. For fans of Frances Hardinge and Laure Eve. 

Thank you so much to Tina Mories and Hot Key Books for sending me an ARC of this hotly-anticipated novel in exchange for an honest review!

There are authors who write with gorgeous prose. There are authors who are beautiful storytellers. There are authors who conjure incredibly unique and fully-fleshed characters. Deirdre Sullivan is all three.

I know right know for a fact that that I won’t be able to find the words to do this book review justice, but I might as well give it a go.

Deirdre Sullivan has such a unique, and quite frankly, unforgettable voice when it comes to storytelling. Her books are like nothing I’ve ever read before, and her storylines are so fantastically original. Perfectly Preventable Deaths is no different to its older siblings, and I say with complete confidence that is is my favourite Deirdre Sullivan novel.

Perfectly Preventable Deaths follows the story of Madeline and Catlin, two sisters who move to a strange, mysterious town of Ballyfrann after their mother remarries. The main characters in this are so well written and so fully fleshed, along with many other additions such as the mysterious yet wise Mamó, the enigmatic Laurent Delacroix, and the delightful Oona, who was one of my favourites! Maddy and Catlin both have such distinguishable voices and personalities that will follow me for ages! Another quirky thing about this novel is that each chapter is named after a plant, and underneath its meaning is given. I was fascinated by reading about each one, and some of them were so cleverly suited to some of the chapters.

This is perfect for fans of Sarah Maria Griffin and Shirley Jackson, and if you’re looking for a good witchy, mystery, gripping story, I wholeheartedly recommend this fantastic book. It comes out on the 30th of May, and you won’t want to miss it!!

Rating: ★★★★★


Review: Tangleweed & Brine by Deirdre Sullivan

Tangleweed and brine

Author: Deirdre Sullivan

Publisher: Little Island

Release Date: 7th September 2017

Genre: YA Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, Magical Realism

Pages: 180

A collection of twelve dark, feminist retellings of traditional fairytales are given a witchy makeover, not for the faint-hearted, from one of Ireland’s leading writers for young people. You make candles from stubs of other candles. You like light in your room to read. Gillian wants thick warm yellow fabric, soft as butter. Lila prefers cold. All icy blues. Their dresses made to measure. No expense spared. And dancing slippers. One night’s wear and out the door like ash. You can’t even borrow their cast-offs. You wear a pair of boots got from a child. Of sturdy stuff, that keeps the water out and gets you around.

Not only is Deirdre Sullivan one of the nicest people ever, she’s also the author of this incredible book. I was expecting gorgeous prose from her, and I was not disappointed one bit. Her writing is certainly out of this world, and it has this raw, uniqueness to it and it’s a writing style than can be compared to no other. It’s beautiful and exceptional.

Obviously, if you don’t already know, Tangleweed and Brine is a collection of feminist retellings of years-old fairytales. Now I don’t know about you, but I was definitely expecting to be drooling over the ones I’m most familiar with – but it turns out it was the opposite. Some of my favourites were those fairytales that I’d never heard of before this book. Particularly Bluebeard, that was probably my overall favourite for being such an original and grotesque idea.

I basically devoured this in one sitting. It’s addicting, chilling, dark and twisted and utterly unputdownable. I was also lucky enough to attend the launch of this fabulous book (pictures below!) and when Deirdre Sullivan read the opening of Consume or Be Consumed (the retelling of the Little Mermaid), you were able to hear a pindrop. Nobody spoke. There was silence and the author’s voice captured everyone’s attention. It was mesmerising. I’m smiling even thinking about it. Also the illustrations by Karen Vaughan were absolutely gorgeous!