Review: The Incendiaries

★★★★☆ The Incendiaries

The Incendiaries is R.O. Kwon’s remarkable debut. With her incredible prose she tells the story of Will and Phoebe, their love and their demise. As Will wrestles with his losing his faith, Phoebe descends further into an extremist cult, trying to absolve herself of the guilt she lives with following her mother’s death.

I can already feel that this book will be in my thoughts for a long time.

It is hard to feel close to the characters in this book: Will, our narrator and the enigmatic Phoebe, defying understanding from the moment she enters Will’s life until the moment she leaves it. I was captivated by their stories and the incredible way Kwon conveys their journeys. Read this book for Kwon’s elegant writing, for the haunting story she weaves, and for the characters that you won’t be able to forget. Continue reading “Review: The Incendiaries”

Review: Defense of an Other

★★★★☆

Outside a gay bar in New Orleans, a young lawyer and a man he met only hours before are confronted by a group of drunks that have targeted them for a hate crime. So begins Grace Mead’s Defense of an Other. In the first few chapters leading up to the inciting incident, plenty of the dialogue and character interactions fell flat, but after the fight that ultimately ends a man’s life, our protagonist is thrown in jail. Then the book really takes off.

Mead lays out the trial proceedings and events that follow in the riveting way I’m sure only a lawyer of 17 years could do. She presents vivid drama with none of the theatrics or hyperbole that I’ve found pervasive in other legal thrillers. Instead, reading Defense of An Other felt like sitting in the court alongside all the other spectators, reeling as the case transpires, hoping for a not guilty verdict. Continue reading “Review: Defense of an Other”