As part of the Summer Biannual bibliothon I did a ‘Try a Chapter’ challenge. This involves reading the first chapter of three books you would like to read but haven’t decided which to tackle first. After reading the three first chapters you then pick which one to read for the readathon.
Usually you would randomly pick the books from your shelves but I decided to put a twist on it. I am fortunate enough to be going to a book event with Christina Henry but embarrassingly I have a fair few of her back catalogue unread on my shelves. So I choose three of her books for this challenge.
I first discovered Christina Henry’s work last year when I picked up Alice at random. I had just had the worst interview of my life and due to timings I was unable to get a flight home till the next day, meaning I was left to wallow in my sorrows in a dingy college guest room. So, I went to the bookshop! It was there on the featured table and I snapped it up, devoured it that night, my only company in the dull, cold, mobile signal free room.
I loved Henry’s writing style and set about collecting her other works, but until now I have not made space from them on TBR. This is a great way to start them. I have decided to read:
The Red Queen
Ok, I hit a problem at the first hurdle. Red Queen has no chapters! It is split into parts with the first being over 100+ pages. To combat this I read to the first appropriate break that was similar in length to the next two books. In total I read 32 pages of Red Queen.
It continues straight from Alice. The first couple of pages are a prologue which acts as an excellent reminder of the events of Alice. This book (and Alice) does have discussion of sexual assault and violence that should be noted.
Within the first ‘chapter’ a number of new aspect are set up. Alice and Hatcher have escaped the city but it is not the paradise they hoped. We also have the introduction of strange flying machines with their masked riders, as well as an illusion to the mysterious ‘Lost ones’. It promises to be a deliciously dark read just like Alice.
The prologue and first chapter is 35 pages long and even from the short prologue that this is going to be should crushingly heartbreaking. We meet Jamie, Peter’s first lost boy and faithful companion. We learn how Jamie came to the Island, years ago, how Peter chooses his lost boys, and how the boys survive. Peter is uncaring and selfish seeing the boys only as play things, he easily gets bored with them and discards the sick. Jamie takes care of the boys, worries about the sick and protects the newest member Charlie, who is far too young. Jamie is growing up, but peter hasn’t noticed yet.
I am anticipating a dark journey that will paint Peter Pan in a very dark light.
The mermaid’s first chapter is 26 pages. It is essentially a longer, more detailed version of the blurb. The language is beautiful painting a long and bittersweet love story which introduces our mermaid and her place on both land and at sea. I particularly loved the description of her transformation from mermaid to human. The details of her encountering legs, dry sand, stairs, clothing and the cold for the first time were all described in such an interesting way.
The end of the chapter shares the same last line as the blurb
His name was P.T. Barnum, and he’d been looking for a mermaid
This suggests that we are about to take a change of tone and a very different tale will be told than that in the first chapter.
I honestly could continue with all three of them were so different but shared the same beautiful and tinged with darkness style of writing. But for Summer biannual bibliothon I need to make a choice. I choose:
After reading the first chapter I just had to know what was going to happen to all the boys. However I will definitely be continuing with Red Queen and The Mermaid after biannual bibliothon.