Can I just say, there is so much great stuff coming out from Aussie authors in seemingly all genres at the moment! I was delighted when Nero Books reached out to me about reviewing this book, because while Fantasy isn’t the genre I’m known for reading, they touted as being similar in vibe to the City of Bones which I loved when I was younger.
Anyway, let’s dive in to The Girl Who Fell (the first of The Chess Raven chronicles)…
This story follows Chess Raven, sixteen year-old hacker who was orphaned at the age of 3 and has since found herself in difficult foster situations. We meet Chess when she’s working doing data entry at the V&A as part of her community service after being caught hacking the systems of a powerful drug manufacturer. The action really kicks off on Chess’s 16th birthday when her true origins are revealed (to both us and herself), and so we fall in to a world of Fae, magic, and war. But who is going to save Chess?
This was a gorgeous read about finding power within yourself and trying to stop waiting for someone else to save you. I found Chess to be pretty self-sufficient through the books and though she had moments of floundering confusedly waiting for help, I found it completely understandablegiven her situation. If I was told all of a sudden that I was heir to the throne in a world of Fae I know *literally* nothing about, I’d be pretty lost and overwhelmed too!
Now, this is a YA novel so of course there is a romantic storyline running alongside the action as well. Though this part of the novel was unsurprisingly clichéd, I still respected the fact that Chess stayed distinctly her own character outside of that relationship. Although I do need to share this WTF? line with you all: “I’m so attuned to Tom that the scent of his masculinity intoxicates me from where I’m sitting” …. let it be known they are in the middle of a WAR COUNCIL MEETING WHEN THIS IS HAPPENING. Chess, gal, this ain’t the time for daydreaming about this dude’s supposedly intoxicatingly masculine scent and also what the hell are you smoking?
Aside from that one baffling line, The Girl Who Fell does bring up some interesting themes and talking points. Most notably, if someone died to save you what kind of pressure does that make you put on yourself? I honestly think if I was put in that position I’d be questioning if my life was worth it for years to come. Also floated is the idea that our memories are the essence of what makes us who we are, which is another interesting concept to mull over (especially on my post-train walks to and from work…).
Overall, I really enjoyed The Girl Who Fell. It was a quick read that was full of action and adventure, as well as interesting ideas that gave it a bit more substance than some other YA fantasy novels (speaking as someone who does not read a lot of this genre). I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next in the story in Book 2!
Rating: If you enjoy urban sci-fi this series is definitely one to keep your eye out for!
Do you read urban sci-fi? What’s your favourite book or series in this genre?
In other news, I’ve got a whole lot of books sitting unread on my shelves so I’ve been in a frenzy trying to get through them all! Does anyone else have this problem?!
And this weekend I’ll hopefully be paying a visit to the local op-shop to offload a whole stack of books that are overflowing from my shelves…
Until next time,
Thank you to the Nero Books team for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.