Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Review: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
Pages: 428
Received: Received from publisher through Netgalley

Release Date: March 20, 2012
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Part Secret History, part Brideshead Revisited for the 21st century, The Bellwether Revivals is a page-turning, romantic, eerie tale of genius and, possibly, madness; a stunning debut for fans of Sarah Waters, Donna Tartt, and Lauren Goff.

The Bellwether Revivals opens and closes with bodies. The story of whose bodies and how they come to be spread about an elegant house on the river near Cambridge is told by Oscar, a young, bright working class man who has fallen in love with an upper-class Cambridge student, Iris, and thereby become entangled with a group of close friends, led by Iris's charismatic, brilliant, possibly dangerous brother. For Eden Bellwether believes he can heal -- and perhaps more -- through the power of music.

In this masterful debut, we too are seduced by this gilded group of young people, entranced by Eden's powerful personality and his obvious talent as a musician, and caught off guard by the strangeness of Iris and Eden's parents. And we find ourselves utterly unsure as to whether Eden Bellweather is a saviour or a villain, and whether Oscar will be able to solve this mystery in time to save himself, if not everyone else.

My Review:

I found this book to be eerie in a good way. It was interesting and enthralling, I could not put it down whatsoever! From the opening chapter I found that it was bringing the reader into a mystery of sorts, opening with a body but not knowing what happened, or even who this person is.

I really enjoyed following the story of each of these characters through Oscar's view, especially that of Eden. He was an interesting character to figure out, and I really enjoyed his passion in his beliefs. It was also interesting to see how Eden gets by day to day with the belief that he is able to heal, and the story of how he came to believe this was an interesting one.

I can tell that Benjamin Wood did a  lot of research for this book, there is a large psychological aspect to this book that is very interesting to me. I studied psychology in school and this story really appeals to that side of me, with the way Eden acts. I really enjoy how Benjamin goes in depth into the psychological aspect, really bringing out the way that Eden could have a disorder and how his friends try to help him.

Benjamin also does a great job writing the differences between the classes, especially through the family dynamics. It was interesting to see how each family treated home life, and the idea of schooling.

The ending of this book also came as a huge surprise to me. After going through the whole story, I was expecting a completely different ending, but it was definitely powerful. I loved the big twist! This is an amazing debut novel from Benjamin Wood, and I see many great things to come in the future.

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