Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Book: Bristles by Donna Callea

I received a copy of Bristles from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Bryssa's father died when she was younger, leaving her in the care of her Step-Mother, a high up official in the Ministry. Bryssa's Step-Mother makes her have her hair cut short and attend the charity school, in the hope of removing her upper class heritage. At 16 Bryssa is fed up with her lot in life and plans to escape, but then her heart gets captured by the Chairman's son, Aidan, and she has to decide whether to escape to try and find her mother's people, or to stay with the boy that she loves.

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Bristles is an amalgamation of two things that I absolutely love, dystopian books and fairy tales. The fairy tale in question is particularly easy to notice, it is the tale of Cinderella. You have the young girl left an orphan by a father who doted on her, in the care of her step-mother and two step sisters. On top of this you have the state of Erba which has strong dystopian tones, though it by far not the most depressing dystopian society that I have read about.

The elements of Cinderella worked well, though personally I would have liked to see Bryssa go to a ball, though I can work past that. I liked the way that the two step sisters weren't particularly evil, or even nasty, they were just people, and a bit scared of their mother. Plus Bryssa didn't really seem to dislike them, she just didn't feel welcomed by them.

There were a lot of strong female characters in Bristles, which is something that I liked. On top of Bryssa, who seems to have a lot of guts and courage to do what she thinks is right and to help the people she cares about, you have Vivet. Initially introduced as a character who befriended Bryssa at her school, Vivet becomes a strong leader of the revolution. Honestly I thought that this was quite a refreshing change from the female protagonist suddenly being the member of the revolution, particularly when Vivet was far better suited to the job.

You also have Bryssa's step-mother, who is actually quite a strong female character, though not particularly pleasant. Personally I don't think that you actually have to like a character to be able to recognise the strength in them, and Bryssa's step mother was an example of this. She was a woman who knew what she wanted and went out to get it. In a way this is quite similar to the original version of Cinderella.

I enjoyed this book, the mix of fairy tale and dystopia was well done, meaning that it didn't feel as if one element was more important than the other.