Saturday, 12 May 2012

Review: Team Human by Sarah Rees Brennan and Justine Larbalestier

Huge thanks to Sarah Rees Brennan for sending me a copy to review

Release Date: 3rd July 2012

This review is spoiler free!

When a vampire shows up at Mel’s high school, it’s up to Mel to keep her best friend from falling in love with him. Add a mysterious disappearance, a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and poignant.

This book is the best thing since sliced bread. And as a result it has taken me an insanely long time to write this review, because it’s been ridiculously hard to write anything beyond ‘OH DEAR GOD THIS BOOK IS AWESOME YOU MUST READ IT NOW!’ And whilst some might say that would be simple and effective, I feel a whole page of it might make me look like a crazy person.

Ever since I first saw at the end of last year that this book had come into existence, I have gone absolutely insane with longing for it, because it is co-written by one of my favourite authors in the whole wide world, Sarah Rees Brennan, and quite frankly I would read anything she wrote, even if it was just crazy things on the back of cereal boxes. So to find out that she was part of a fab team and they had written a fantastic satirical book on vampires, love and the vampire craze that has swept the world was almost enough to send me to my fainting couch.

Its arrival on my doorstep with a little note from the author in question was enough to send me to my fainting couch.

And then I read it. And I laughed from the first page, and I was completely hooked and sniggered and sobbed my way through it, and then when it was over I shook my fist at the sky and proclaimed that it was cruel that they must leave me hanging for the sequel for A WHOLE YEAR.

You see I had heard good things about Justine Larbalestier, but I must confess I haven’t yet read anything else that she has written, and I came to this only knowing (and loving) Sarah Rees Brennan’s writing style. But the two combined are without doubt a dream team of writing skills.

It has the humour you would expect – after all this is a satire on why dating vampires is a very bad idea. It has the brilliant plot, characterization and setting that you would anticipate from two such accomplished writers, but what I wasn’t expecting (which was insanely foolish of me) was how much it tugged at my heart and made me cry. It had everything. Vampires! Zombies! True Love! Sarcasm! Irony! Witty and Feisty Ladies! Swoonworthy gentlemen (both of the living and dead variety) but most of all it had heart. (Excuse me whilst I get all mushy for a minute.) Because whilst it would have been fantastic regardless, the fact that it could take me to both extremes of emotion so beautifully and realistically bumped it up into the truly spectacular category. I was completely enthralled and drawn into the story, and the further in I got the more I felt for the characters.

I like my books to have a bit of everything, and this one most certainly did, in bucket loads. I loved Mel, she was just the type of heroine that this story needed. Funny, kind, strong and loyal to her friends, and with a healthy dose of mistrust of vampires thrown in for good measure. It was so refreshing to see her level headed approach to the world and the supernatural beasties, particularly in contrast to her best friend Cathy who embodies the swoony dreamy approach to vampires that has had the world in its grip since Twilight came out. It was just so fantastic to see both of those sides contrasted together, the two extremes and how they cope with the differences and fears that arise with their belief sets. It was a fascinating look at this idea of true love and eternal love and the two different mind sets involved – the practical ‘he will eat you alive for supper’ of Mel, and the ‘he sees right into my very soul *sigh*’ of Cathy. It was just so brilliantly portrayed and such a breath of fresh air, and I loved it.

Add to that a healthy dose of mystery and suspense, and a whole cast of truly fantastic characters and you can begin to see why I fell in love with this book so much. I won’t however go into any more detail because I really don’t want to spoil it.

So basically, what I have been rambling on about and attempting to say is that this book may well be the best thing you read this year. It’s fantastic. And the only reason I am only saying it may be the best book you read this year, is because I have yet to read ‘Unspoken’ (also by Sarah Rees Brennan, how did you guess?) which is out later this year and I have a feeling this may be crowding in on the top spot too. Mind you, I am biased…

But regardless whether you are a fan of Justine, or Sarah, or vampires, or not a fan of vampire books, this is an absolutely fantastic book and is most definitely the book for you.

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