Friday, March 18, 2011

Book Review: The Opposite of Amber

They found the fifth girl right after the snow melted ...the place where he left her was winter water, crazed with ice-feathers and dusted with snow. The traces from her body were gone, the ones that said his name, but she had an extra skin of ice that protected her and she looked perfect, like Snow White'. Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene - again - and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.

--From Goodreads

Cover Inspection:
This cover is absolutely gorgeous. I love how girl all but blends into the snow. It's a slightly depressing cover as well, but that fits with the content of the book so well.

First Thoughts:
Ruby seems like she is barely hanging on. I feel for her.

My Review:
Let me begin by saying that this is not a "happy" book. Beautifully written yes. Deep and moving yes. Happy? Not so much. If you are looking for a light and airy read, this book is not what you are looking for. Howver if you are ready to dive into a story filled with prose and a character driven plot, you are in for a treat.

From the very beginning of the story our main character Ruby is dealing with a lot. As I mentioned above, it seems as though she is barely hanging on to what she has left. The story begins with Ruby obsessing over her friend Alex who attempted suicide by jumping off a roof. Ruby feels responsible because she made a backhanded comment at him that she thinks pushed him off the edge. That alone is a lot for to deal with, but poor Ruby has so much more hidden away.

In fact, Ruby's whole world in this book is built around guilt and isolation. Her sisters are there, but not, and Jinn, her oldest sister, is the one thread she has left to hang on to. Jinn has become the stand in mother for Ruby, and when she starts to drift away Ruby feels like she is loosing everything she has left. Watching these two characters interact is truly what immersed me in the book. As Jinn floats farther away from Ruby, you can see Ruby's attitude change. Her outlook on life becomes more dire, and it is heart wrenching to watch.

Wovens seamlessly into Ruby's story is a story of a mass murderer and his 5 victims. All of them so far have been prostitutes, or so the murderer believes. At first I wondered what significance this inner story had to Ruby's life. However as I read on, Gillian Phillip made the purpose of it blindingly clear and I was in shock. The Opposite of Amber is a book that I fell so in love with that I'm still thinking about it, even though I sent it on to the next reader over three weeks ago. That's how invested I was in this book.

I suppose what I'm going on about is simply this: The Opposite of Amber is a simply stunning book. This is well worth your time to pick up when it releases. It might take a little bit for you to adapt to the colloquial language, but once you do you'll find yourself immersed in the lives of the characters instantly. I cannot wait to get a finished copy of this book. It gets the highest recommendation I can give.

Book Details
Title: The Opposite of Amber
Author: Gillian Phillip
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: Paperback; 320
Source: Received for promotional tour.
Release Date: April 18, 2011
FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Final Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart


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