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BOOK REVIEW: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

| 30 August 2014 | 1 Reply

BOOK REVIEW: Cracked by Eliza Crewe

Strange Chemistry
November 2013, US $9.99
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

9.5/10

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The only conversation between us is the tap of our feet.
Pit-pat, mine say.
Pit-thunk, hers reply.
Pit-pat, mine insist.
Pit-thunk, hers maintain.
Pit-shuffle-shuffle.
My little skip and slide earns a funny look from Jo.
What? It’s tiresome the way they argue.



Meet Meda; she eats people’s souls. 

I jerk him from the corner, popping him free like a hermit crab from its shell, and he comes apart in my hands. So easily. Imagine a child at their first birthday.
He is the cake.




She’s not all bad… She’s trying to be good, so she only eats the souls of really evil people.

And she even feels guilty about it. Eventually. 

But unlike him, at least I’m ashamed of my wickedness – when I’m not revelling in it. Like a dog wallowing in a mud pool, I love the glop and splash of ick. It’s not until after, when the stink dries stiff and itchy that I regret it.



But she can’t help being a little bit morbid and disturbing, at least by “normal” standards. 

I stroll down the corridor and the flickering fluorescents celebrate my passing, humming in praise. I spin, bow and hum along. Bloody footprints trail; bloody fingers smear the walls.

I prance, I dance on the gritty floor. Vengeance is sweet, sweet music. I spin, arms outstretched.

But this book isn’t all about morbidity and eating souls. She gets to hang out with some kids in a secret society school, and makes some very interesting observations as an outsider. Not because she’s part demon watching human toddlers through to teens, but because she never did get much experience with schools or being around other kids, for their own safety. 
She’s a slightly evil girl, pretending to be a good girl, pretending to be a bitch, and she’s loving every minute of it. 

Without any prodding from Jo, I shove my leg between Hannah and the blonde thing, wedging myself between them on the bench, and they gasp and squeal.
Had I pooed in my pants, the table couldn’t have emptied faster, or by people with more disgusted looks on their faces.

Deep down, she’s there to learn all about demons, which make up half of her lineage, but she ends up making friends along the way. 

There’s Chi: 

Short for Malachi, which means it really should be pronounced “Kai” but for the first seventy-odd pages, I had to tell myself not to call him “Chee” in my mind, and eventually landed on a compromise in “Chai”.
He’s overly trusting, and believes in the good in everyone, something that Meda herself often mocks him for. In her mind. 


Uri:

Short for Uriel. He fancies himself as a future Chi, and shadows and copies everything Chi does, but deep down he’s sweet, with a good sense of humour, and has some crazy good insight for his age. 


And Jo: 

A snarky girl who’s more than a little bit angry at the world, for taking her parents from her, and the use of one of her legs. Especially as this renders her useless as a demon hunter, according to the heads of the Templar chapters.
She doesn’t want to be treated like a cripple, she wants to take out her anger on some demons, but no one will let her. 
Jo doesn’t really trust Meda right from the start, and in the long run, I think that leads to a much more powerful friendship, and one of my favourite parts of the book. 


This book had all the right feels in all the right places, and even when I saw one twist coming from a ways off, I enjoyed the reveal, and there was sure to be another twist I didn’t see coming, close on its heels. 

I loved everything about the characters, the style of writing, and the sense of humour. 

The discussion goes something like this:
Asinine solo plan where I risk it all to save the planet! Chi.
Rude comment. Jo.
Fake attempt to be included in dangerous mission. Me.
Slightly less asinine plan involving the two of us. Uri.
Rude comment. Almost-sane plan using Chi and me. Jo.
Overprotective response. Chi.
Reeaaally rude comment! Jo.
Cringe-worthy comment about Jo’s leg. Chi.
Head explodes. Near homicide. Jo.
Life saving intervention ending the debate and getting everyone to agree to Jo’s plan. Me.
And the crowd goes wild!
That last bit might be a slight exaggeration. But I do get them to agree that Jo’s plan makes the most sense.



I loved the fact that while Meda was the main, point of viewcharacter, everything didn’t revolve around her. Other things were going on, too. And the romantic relationship wasn’t angsted about by her, because he should have chosen her, because she’s so much better.
She wasn’t interested. Which is just… WEIRD for a YA these days.


I’m trying to remember the last time I felt so entirely sated by a book and, while a few come quite close(The Lost and The Martian being two recent examples), this one filled me up more.

This book made me laugh, made me cry, and had me walking around with a big goofy grin on my face, even AFTER I had stayed up until 5am reading it and only had three and change hours of sleep before I had to go to work and deal with the general public – something not always easy to do on a full EIGHT hours of sleep.

This book had me using my sticky tab notes, just so I could remember where the quotables were without having to get up and type them as an update, which would have required me to stop reading the book to make said updates, and boyfriend would likely see that I was still awake and insist that I go to sleep. 

This book had a bit of a special snowflake as a main character, but her dry voice and natural snark made me not care in the least, because she was just so much FUN, and she wasn’t naive and sweet as pie like most YA heroines these days. This girl had fangs and claws, and wasn’t afraid to bite. 

Oh, and don’t even get me started on the bittersweet feel of the last scene. 

In short, this is definitely a favourite book for the year, I will be buying any and all future books by this author, and you can steal my soul any day, Meda.

 

Cracked is Book 1 in the Soul Eaters trilogy.

Aly’s review of Crushed – Book 2
Aly’s review of Crossed – Book 3

Stephanie O’Connell

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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  1. BOOK REVIEW: Crossed by Eliza Crewe | 100% ROCK MAGAZINE | 1 August 2015

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