Monday 30 November 2015

Book Review & Q&A: Persuasion by Martina Boone.

Product details:  
Publisher: Simon Pulse.
Hardcover, 464 pages.
Release date: October 27th 2015.
Rating: 3½ out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Series: The Heirs of Watson Island #2.
Other Books in Series: Compulsion.
Source: Received from publisher for review.

 Beautiful Creatures meets The Raven Boys in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing and forbidden feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

A sumptuous Southern Gothic, lush in atmosphere and description, Martina Boone’s Compulsion introduced us to the weird and wonderful world of Barrie Watson, freshly arrived on Watson Island to live with her aunt following the death of her reclusive mother.   Watson’s Landing opened up a whole new world to Barrie; a world of gifts and magic, of family curses and fire carriers, the mysterious Yunwi and a boy called Eight.  Barrie knows that Watson’s Landing is her calling; the place she’s meant to be. But it wasn’t always that way, and life on the island hasn’t always been plain sailing for Barrie.  In matters of life, love and family, Barrie has faced her challenges – and defeated her enemies.  Barrie should be happy, she should be content, but as we meet her in Persuasion, we realise her mood is a little muted –not only due to the death of her beloved Godfather, Mark – but also because everything has changed.

The events of Compulsion have proved problematic for the inhabitants of Watson Island. Tales of ghosts, fire carriers and buried treasure, have brought news reporters and ghost hunters out in the droves. And Barrie is so over it all. She’s also questioning her relationship with Eight. The fact that her boyfriend is compelled to fulfil all her desires due to his gift makes it difficult to Barrie to accept that Eight loves her for who she is.  Eight has always wanted off Watson Island, he’s always wanted to escape: college in California has always been his plan. But now he wants to stay.  Barrie questions if Eight wants to stay only because that is her desire, a desire he is compelled to fulfil. You see her dilemma. And there’s more: Barrie learns a secret about Eight’s gift via his controlling father, Seven.  Should Barrie tell her boyfriend this secret? Of course she should. Does she? Nope. I do have a problem with this. I’ve encountered this before in YA where girls keep secrets from their boyfriends. Just like in life, this always leads to disaster.  I’ve always been a big advocate for honesty in relationships, but I guess that makes for a whole lot less drama. 

I root for Barrie and Eight, because I like these guys, and also because Eight is so, so charming, but they certainly have their ups and downs – and are on the outs quite a lot in this book.  So much drama! But a lot of making up too, I might add!

There is a large focus on the character of Cassie Colesworth in Persuasion–  you might remember Cassie: she’s Barrie’s cousin and all round mean girl – in an attempt to explain the things that happened in her past that made her the person she is today.   I have to say that I am not a fan of Cassie’s and at no point in this book did I warm to her. Yeah, she’s had bad things happen in her life but I don’t really think that’s an excuse for how she treats people. Cassie is horrible to EVERYONE – and Barrie gives her far too easy a time, in my opinion.  I felt that Cassie’s storyline detracted a little from all the wondrous happenings on Watson Island – mainly centred on a mysterious new character named Obadiah who claims to have the ability to lift the Colesworth curse – and in a book that is already slow-paced at times, I sometimes felt a little disengaged from the story because of this. 

Less gripping at times than its predecessor, Persuasion is very much a second-in-a-series book with an abrupt, cliffhangery ending to boot.  I can’t deny that I want to find out what happens next, and I’m hoping that Boone is saving up all the really good stuff for the conclusion to this trilogy, Illusion, which release next year. Bring it on! 


Q&A with Martina Boon 

Follow @MartinaABoone on Twitter

Q: Can you sum up PERSUASION in a single one word?
A.   Persuasion. Ive been very lucky with titles. The book is all about the different meanings of the word and different ways that people persuade each other to do things. The good and the bad. I think that this is a critical discussion today.

Q. Whats your favorite thing about PERSUASION?
A.    I loved having the opportunity to spend more time with Barrie and Eight, so Im going to say the romance. But thats followed very closely by the magic and the overall darker feeling of the book. Its very atmospheric.

Q. Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
A.    Its a natural continuation of the mysteries of the Fire Carrier, the curse, and the magical gift, and a big step toward resolving the puzzles that were laid down in Compulsion, the first book. But its also a continuation of the romance between Barrie and Eight, and the way that her arrival on the island begins to change and heal so much of what is broken there. This story in particular focuses on Cassie, who is very, very broken, and also begins to delve into the problems with Eights family. The relationships are really what excite me in this trilogy, because theyve all been effected by the magic. Solving the mysteries and surviving that process is obviously critical, but untangling whats happened to the families as a result of being gifted and cursedand again, the gifts bring their own cursesis the fundamental aspect of this story.
Q: What do you want readers to take away from PERSUASION?

A.    That its okay to want everythingthat you dont ever need to consent to giving up right to your opinions, your dreams, your goals, your body, or anything else for the sake of anyone else unless YOU choose to do so. Theres been a lot of injustice in the world in the past, and it isnt over by any stretch of the immagination. By some counts, there are thirty million slaves in the world right now, most of them women and children. Thats now. Right. Now. Many more women are subject to sexual abuse and silenced. The first thing we have to do as women, as girls, is to learn to value ourselves. THATS what I want people to take away from Persuasion. Regardless of who we are, what gender, what race, what religion, what background, we have to learn to believe that were important and we have to be kind to ourselves and to other people. We have to advocate for ourselves and work toward our own goals without being intolerant of others.

Q.   Tell us what you want the world to know about PERSUASION.
A.    Its not a paranormal romance. Its a Southern Gothic, which means that while it has supernatural elements, it also has a contemporary story, an element of mystery/suspense, and some social issue aspects. In particular, the story deals with the nature of persuasion and consent, but it does it in a way that it isnt an issue book. Its all integrated and accessible and fun. Also a little dark and spooky.

Q.   Does Barrie still wear her killer heels in PERSUASION?

A.    Great shoes connect Barrie to her godfather, Mark, who shes just lost, so she doesnt plan to give them up anytime soon. One of her frustrations in Persuasion and Illusion is that she spends so much time running for her life and wading through woods and swamps and secret tunnels and splattering blood on her shoes. By the end of the trilogy, shes desperately in need of a shoe shopping binge.


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