What We’re Reading: A Madness So Discreet

A Madness So Discreet

An exploration of madness in its many forms.

I’m not sure if this review will have spoilers so keep an eye out for those just in case. I borrowed this book from my friend Bree over @ DoYouEvenGeek months ago in an attempt to bring me from a reading slump. The cover was gorgeous featuring a young woman being pulled through wooden floorboards by hands rooted into the soil. A cover that vivid and descriptive offered a thrilling story and I secretly hoped it featured zombies.

The title, A Madness So Discreet, implies we’ll be exploring the main characters mental health. Confirmed as soon as we open the book and discover her inside of an insane asylum, however, the book also offers insight into the mental health of all of the characters including those otherwise deemed sane. Madness, explores society’s view on women and mental during the Victorian era in the US. A time when women had no rights and were property of the men who chose to claim them. The mistreatment of these women is also a recurring theme throughout the story line.

I absolutely loved the characters as well as the dialogue written for them. I laughed outwardly while reading on more than one occasion. Each character had multiple layers to them, no one person was simply sane or insane. Each had a history, a memory and a reason for being included which not only added depth and emotion to the story but also provided a cohesiveness to the book.

The character of Grace is written as a sort of anti-hero. Though she came to be in this predicament through no fault of her own it is her decisions that will change her fate, something I think Mindy McGinnis conveys perfectly. Grace’s spirit and reluctance to remain a victim make you cheer for her even during times when she seems to have succumb to the darkness. We read on past each new pitfall eagerly hoping she makes it into the light.

There seems to be an underlying power struggle with each character vying for control in one respect or another. Starting with Grace who was powerless to prevent years of abuse at the hands of her sadistic father, Thornhollow, eager to break through into a new realm of science where the mind is the new frontier down to Nell who merely wanted to choose her own fate instead of waiting for sickness to claim her. There is a more overarching need for secrecy or “Discretion” throughout the book also, without it freedom seems to be harder to grasp. Grace’s entire reason for being in the asylum in the first place is to keep her father’s indiscretions a secret, the revelation of her alleged botched procedure must be kept or it would cost Dr. Heedson his livelihood. And if Grace revealed to every one her true identity or the fact that she could speak her father would be able to find her and take her away. The characters in the asylum have the added motivation of seeking normalcy in a world viewed as abnormal something they accomplish while forging bonds within the asylum walls.

The story takes place in the 1800’s, the US of the Victorian era still heavily indoctrinated with European customs and social graces placed manners and etiquette in highest regard. Language was mostly English though, cockney is used for immigrants and others who couldn’t read as a symbol of their social class. During this time, it was considered improper for women seen as dainty and easily breakable to be in the face of murderers, brothels or bars. Women who were loud and exuberant were considered to have no class. Men were advised to watch how they spoke in front of women for fear of upsetting her delicate sensibilities. It’s also important to note that Grace spends most of her time feigning mute and so the absence of speech forces her to express herself in other ways.

A Madness So Discreet, is a great evaluation of the human condition. Each of the individuals in the story possess a trait if not several that would mark them as insane. Their actions in spite of their so called state of mind is what we, the audience determine throughout the book. Is Grace insane because she refuses to speak to people who would ignore her pleas for help either way? Or sane for knowing not to waste her strength and efforts on futile cries? Is Dr. Thornhollow sane because he can critically see into a person’s nature by analyzing a crime scene or is his lack of emotional connection and mechanized perspective signs of a true deviant? McGinnis leaves that decision up to us.

The symbolism in Grace’s scars is one of freedom. She is frequently described as being fairly attractive except for the fact that she now has scars on matching sides of her face. To others unknowing of her history those scars seem the greatest tragedy of her condition, however, to Grace those scars represent freedom and hope offering comfort and protection from scrutiny, a rescue from the shackles of abuse from her father. Grace’s scars became her most concealed weapon, easily hidden behind hair, when in full display they made her invisible to those who would usually ignore a crazy person.

My final thoughts are on the concept of the mind. This book tested the limits of what we would call acceptable and argued a sentiment that maybe we’re all a tad insane from time to time. Set during a dark time for mental health and the golden era of serial killers. Madness explores the psychology of men and offers a clear view at life in two separate mental institutions. The concept of mental health is not a black or white canvas meant to be easily ascertained by one’s social status and upbringing. Luckily for us all, we live in a time where this is no longer the case.

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

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What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Last Guardian)

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                                   *****Spoilers in this Review****

What an amazing ending to the Artemis Fowl saga!!!

The final book of the Artemis series is the equivalent of winning the gold medal in reading for following through to the end. I absolutely loved the final showdown between Opal and our heroes.

Opal proves how insane she is and how far she’s willing to go by killing the younger version of herself and setting of a series of natural disasters.

For once someone else truly has outsmarted Artemis Fowl.

There is a certain level of either selflessness or selfishness that entails killing one’s self and Opal Koboi is willing to make the choice to finally achieve the power she’s always craved.

Our leading cast is stuck in the surface split between Holly, Butler, Artemis and a troll riding Mulch vs. possessed versions of Juliet, Becket, Myles and other assorted woodland creatures/art pieces/ corpses.

The mental back and forth is heightened each chapter as time ticks closer to Opal unlocking an ancient gate meant to destroy all humanity.

All of our characters have come full circle for better or worse. As Artemis completes his ascension  Artemis, once almost responsible for bringing the world to it’s knees with the existence of faeries will now risk it all to save humanity and fairy kind. Mulch Diggums, formerly a hardened criminal and self affirmed coward proves his reform repeatedly placing himself in harm’s way. Even Foaly turned into an action hero in order to save his wife.

Myles Fowl is one of the funniest supporting characters in the book. As Artemis Fowl’s little brother and genius compared to twin Beckett, Myles’s intellect allows him to fight through the possession and aid in the fight…at least before his nap.

I couldn’t have imagined a better end to an amazing series and it’s interesting enough that I also may want to buy the graphic novels…(yes of the series I just finished reading, but this one will have pictures.)

What Series have you read with? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

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You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Atlantis Complex)

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It took me a bit longer to finish this book than it has the others in the series. I even chose to take a break for a few days to get the Blumoonfiction.wordpress.com site back up and running. Having finished the book I have a few take-aways.

Angeline Fowl is an amazing beastmode mom, in the running for my literary adopted mom status. Using cooperation in keeping the fairy people’s existence a secret, as a way to extort normal teenage behavior from your son, is genius and if faeries were real totally worth the effort.

Secondly, Love truly conquers all including black magic runes and psychosis. This theme pops up often throughout the book, I won’t spoil it for you but see if you can get what I meant. The ending to the final conflict was so poetic, I would’ve teared up if I hadn’t been holding my breath for the downfall of Turnball Root, villain of our novel.

Thirdly, this book is a completely different Fowl adventure than what we’ve come to know. Traditionally there’s multiple villains and levels of psychological sparring ending in the flawless execution of a final Fowl plan to defeat the bad guy and save the day.

This time not so much…

Artemis’s mental ability isn’t going to be as helpful as it’d usually be. In fact Artemis spends a large chunk of the book out of commission.

I love character development and a little variation from time to time. For six books we’ve seen Artemis use his wits to outsmart his foes and to help save the day, but now suffering from fits of psychosis while trying to unravel a villainous plot his mind seems to be causing him the most trouble.

The villain in this book is also different. Questing to be reunited with his love, regardless of of how their romance came to be is a completely different motivation. Ultimately it was that same motivation that ended his scheme. This part of the book is the most poetic if not slightly anti-climactic. A part of me wondered what the point of it all was, but only for a moment.

The Atlantis Complex is also the funniest AF book I’ve read, now that Artemis has a sense of humor, jokes between the characters as well as the jokes the author leaves for the reader are on almost every page. It’s one of the more light hearted books, considering the events that place.

The Orion character is truly one of the more humurous inceptions of Artemis Fowl, with his chivalrous demeanor and floral speech. He proved to be more useful than originally expected.

Psychosis beats Rune.

One final book in the Artemis Fowl series before I am done. This has been an amazing journey but I’m sooooo ready to get out of Ireland.

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

What Series have you read with Eight books or more in it? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Time Paradox)

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***Spoiler Alerts in this review***

Time jumps, magical romance and a villain with the tendencies of a cockroach. The Time Paradox thrusts us right into life shortly after Holly and Artemis return from Hybras.

Artemis is settling into life as big brother to twins Beckett and Myles, while sorting out life as a do-gooder. Holly reinstated at the LEP is also readjusting to life 3 years into her future.

A mortally ill Angeline Fowl, forces Artemis to call on his magical friends to take him back in time, and help prevent his younger self from making a big mistake.

The Time Paradox offers the usual Fowl formula we’ve come to know and love. A conflict causes the magical and mortal worlds to collide, the solution is barred by witty adversaries whom almost defeat our heroes, but, as always our Artemis outsmarts and inevitably defeats them.

Usually we find a superficial villain as well as a hidden villain revealed later in the story. Book One Artemis himself was the superficial party, responsible for the kidnap and ransom which initiates the entire series. While Briar Cudgeon was the unknown adversary, a social climbing sycophant with a penchant for backstabbing.

The progression of Artemis from aspiring supervillain to well adjusted oldest son and clever teenage genius, is one that needed to be told in eight books.

The maturity and desperation of a young boy with a missing father, mentally-ill mother and the wealth and free time of the elite allowed him to meet fairy guardians who changed his life and became true friends.

Something Artemis Fowl definitely needed. His friendship with Holly has definitely improved him as a person, but it’s their friendship that makes their budding feelings tricky. As things become more complex, to say it’s complicated would be an understatement.

Artemis Fowl is my recommendation for reader’s who enjoy action, intellectual warfare, and magic. The life of a Robin Hood style anti-hero is just what your library needs.

Each new adventure provides an opportunity for Artemis to think on his feet and prove that he’s truly worthy of the title “boy genius”.

Two more novels to go, crazy Opal on the loose AGAIN, and at least one of his parents’ is in on his secret. I can only imagine what will happen in the Atlantis Complex!

You can keep up with me, Noel Bleu and Blu Moon Fiction on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, GoodReads and Pinterest, or Shoot me an email @ BluMoonFiction@gmail.com

Have you read the Time Paradox? What did you think? Let me Know in the Comments Below!

 

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl  (The Lost Colony)

Book Number #5. ​As always I absolutely loved this book. I’ve been binge reading for my 2017 Book Review Challenge a running theme I’ve noticed in this series is Action. 

This book is like if James Bond had a fairy god family or if Timmy Turner was a spy… A refreshing twist for the series is that we were dropped immediately into a situation. Artemis and Butler are tracking down  a demon when they notice they aren’t the only ones on the trail.

Holly fresh from quitting the LEP is a P.I./Bounty Hunter with Mulch Diggums. Ironically enough bounty hunters are ridiculed in this world too. 

A new layer of the story is added with the introduction of Section 8. A secret sector of the LEP which handles assignments “confidential” and otherwise too “challenging” for standard LEP officers. Holly is immediately recruited. 

This particular book does something many tv shows fail miserably at attempting. It provided a leap in time that moved the story along as well as refreshed the series. Jumping a few years into the future made Minerva an appropriate age. (She was 12 and he was 14 which seems inappropriate if a budding romance were to take place) While also giving everyone a brand new start. 

I’ve been recommending this series for weeks and I’ll do it again. I’ve been dragged across Europe, To the Arctic and Back and out of space and time continuously. I personally feel a little exhausted but it’s just another day for Artemis Fowl. 

Be sure to check out this review and others @ blumoonfiction.wordpress.com

What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl (The Opal Deception)

As a budding fan of the Artemis Fowl series, I’m pleased to say Eoin Colfer has not disappointed. The Opal Deception, starts of with the return of a formidable opponent and the final exit of one of our favorite heroes.

Artemis Fowl the Opal Deception seems to be all about evolution and growth. The evolution of Holly from a headstrong, impulsive cop to a tactical professional investigator who’s efforts have saved the people time and time again.

Artemis has evolved from a budding megalomaniac to a somewhat respectable if not dangerously intelligent young prodigy with a penchant for missing art.

Butler’s transition actually occurred in book three, dying and being brought back fifteen years older has that effect on some people. 

Mulch also began his rebirth in book three, the criminal dwarf has been performing selfless acts in attempts to save Artemis forfeiting his traditional views as well as sometimes his freedom for our gang.

I suppose the biggest take away from Book Four: The Opal Deception is that this was a crossroads for the series. The first four books saw our characters as a motley crew thrown together by circumstance. Unlikely friendships were forming despite the differences in species and sides of the law.

The end of The Opal Deception showed a shift. For the first time it seems all of our group is on the same side. With the exception of Foaly of course who’s still head tech guy for the LEP.

There was a message scrolled across the bottom of Book Four a feature we haven’t seen since Book One, surprisingly it’s a recruitment message from Foaly.

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What We’re Reading: Artemis Fowl (The Eternity Code) 

Book Three in my #2017BookReviewChallenge is the third Artemis Fowl book. My first thought was…. wow.

Someone actually got the jump on Artemis Fowl. A life interacting with faeries has made Artemis soft, complacent and good- natured .

Still dabbling in the underworld, a business deal goes south, and Artemis is forced to beg for Butler’s life while also bargaining his memories to help protect both the fairy world snd the real world from the villainous John Spiro.

The unscrupulous Spiro, has stolen the  C cube a tech holy grail designed by Artemis from stolen fairy technology. Butler was mortally wounded and the fairies were severely comprimised.

Artemis and the gang come together to take down Spiro and retrieve the cube but when it’s all over Artemis won’t remember a thing.

The third installment of the Artemis Fowl series had me on the edge of my seat. We see glimpses of Artemis changing into a better person as a result of his friends while forcing him to outthink a formidable opponent.

I truly hated the villains and cheered for our heroes. The final moments of the book lay on the emotion as our group disbands for the safety of the fairy kingdom.

As always the book was well written, if you loved the  first two you’re in for a real treat with this one!

#BluMoonFiction #WhatWereReading #ArtemisFowl #ArtemisFowlSeries #Faeries #YoungAdult #Bibliophile #BookHaul #BookishLilMe #TheEternityCode #EoinColfer