Readers: February 27th: Apologies for the scattered posting that's about to come during the next week or so. University has just started and I have a lot of work to do to get on top of things (and ahead!). Thanks for your patience, as always.

Publishers: I promise I'm not abandoning the lovely review copies you've sent!
I'm getting through them and the reviews will come eventually!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Glimpse Blog Tour: Review & Author Interview

Title: The Glimpse
Author: Claire Merle
Series: The Glimpse #1
Publisher: Faber & Faber | Allen & Unwin
Published: June 7th 2012
Source: Publisher for review

In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell. Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears. Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not interfere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society and into the pits of the human soul. And as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper's abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe, but she also learns to love as she has never loved before.

With such a beautiful cover, I expected the story to have the same impact on me and it most definitely did. The Glimpse speaks of a world that marginalises and alienates those who are "ill", determined by a DNA test created by Ariana Barber's father. When discovered that her Pure status is an error, she's given one month to marry Jasper Taurell, otherwise she'll be thrown out with the Crazies and separated from the only life she's ever known. Then Jasper tells her he has a big secret, one big enough to kill and die for, and soon mysteriously disappears. She's forced to find him before her one month is up and discovers dark and magnificent things about her world in the process...

The romance in The Glimpse sold it for me. You'll find out who he is when you read the book, but Cole made me swoon like no other. He and Ana don't exactly meet on friendly terms and there's a constant shroud of mystery surrounding him, but he's a mature MAN who will make your heart flutter with his charm and strength. Cole's intelligent, artistic and all kinds of caring too! You'll find that there are multiple groups of people within this society and their motivations and end goals are a complete secret. We don't know where Cole exactly stands so there's always a bit of apprehension when it comes to giving our complete hearts to him. Nevertheless, he's an amazing love interest that will make the sequel very exciting. The book ends on quite the cliffhanger, so I can't wait to see how the story ends!

For a dystopian book, it has a perfect amount of suspense and action. From Jasper's secret missions to Cole's involvement with the Enlightenment Project, you'll be left confused and dying to uncover the truths that are being concealed from all directions. The government is obviously corrupt and we see the stages of this unfold before our eyes with even more shocking betrayals being added to the mix as well. Ana's father is a puzzle and we can't crack him even when the book ends. Throughout The Glimpse, it's very unclear whether he's on Ana's side or not, and whether he's guilty of...many bad things. There's also a story behind Ana's mother's death and… Guh. Merle misleads us and takes us through so many twists, you'll feel like you're walking a tightrope! I was tense and suspicious throughout, a true testament to Merle's great storytelling and building of suspense.

As much as Merle develops her characters, her world is paid equal attention to. It's 2041 and there are 304 catalogued mental illnesses. I really enjoyed exploring the two split societies, a perfect and Pure gated community and an unpredictable "outside world". Jasper's secret is related to a big conspiracy theory and it eventually becomes a fast-paced pursuit for the truth. We question, not only the reliability of the government but also, Jasper's mission. Could it all be a wild goose chase? Oh how Merle keeps us on our toes! I loved the pacing and development of the story, and had only issues in the middle section where it slowed down a little and was difficult to read (emotionally tough!). Apart from that, a brilliant story.

I'm telling you, there are useful clues and red herrings all over this book. You most likely won't be able to tell them apart so Merle will pick at your brain to her heart's content and leave you gasping by the end of it! I'm desperate to know how the characters will go on after the big final scene, and see how the consequences of Jasper's secret affects the society. It was almost twist after twist and entire situations would change with every revelation. Nothing in this book is clear cut black or white so the characters really struggle to decide which side they're playing for. Ana and Cole are fantastic leading characters with sizzling chemistry that will make The Glimpse even more entertaining and engaging than it already is! I have very high hopes for book 2 and I'm keen to finally get all of the answers. At the end of the day, The Glimpse had me feeling confused, angry and fuzzy in cyclic phases and I just adore the mystery of this book.

Find Claire on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook and her website.
Buy The Glimpse from Amazon and The Book Depository.

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I'm very lucky to be a part of Claire Merle's blog tour and I'm very excited to present this interview to you all! I loved her answers. What do you think? ;)

1. In 50 words or less, why should people read The Glimpse?

The Glimpse is a thrilling ride set in a near future where nothing is what it seems. It’ll suck you up, throw you around and spit you out. It’ll challenge you to think about current problems in our society. And then there’s Cole – totally crush worthy! 

2. How did the idea of this world come to you?

The original idea came to me around ten years ago after I went to a talk on mental health and ADHD. I was alarmed to learn about the rapidly increasing number of children being prescribed medication such as Ritalin for behavioural problems.

Over the years I found myself returning again and again to read up on mental health issues, particularly in regards to young people. I started asking myself, ‘what will happen if the number of people suffering mental health problems just continues to go up and up?’ ‘How will we cope?’ ‘Why are more young people suffering than ever before?’

3. Is there anything in particular about this book that you are very proud of?

I think if the book gets people talking about mental health issues and our increasing dependence as a society on medication to address young people’s problems, as well as taking the reader on a gripping ride, I’ll have done what I hoped to do.

4. Cole and Ariana are the main characters. What are their most defining traits and why will readers love them?

Ana is determined and intelligent. Readers will love her because she’s kick-ass, though not in a sword-wielding, kung-fu kind of way, (which I love too!). Ana can think her way out of any situation she comes up against, and her decisions are brave. She doesn’t take the easy way out. She’s on a personal quest for truth.

Cole is a robust survivor. He’s had a terrible childhood and could easily have been swept under by all the awful things that have happened to him. But he’s got this innate self-confidence and drive that instead leaves him fighting to take care of his family. I think that’s an amazing quality to find in a person.

5. Do you have any specific image of what they look like?

In my mind, Cole resembled Micahel Trucco, and Ana was a little like a Mena Suvari but with grey eyes.

6. The story certainly isn't a walk in the park... How did you handle putting your characters through such emotional turmoil?!

Growing up, I was known in my family as the ‘dramatic’ one. Things just impinged on me hard and left me swirling around in my emotions. I was also crazy about acting. I think those two elements come out in my writing. Now that I’m ‘grown up’ (ha!) I no longer rage and cry, or feel like I’m falling into black holes, but I’m not afraid to follow my characters into those places. I kind of put myself in their skin and feel what they’re feeling. At the start of the story, Ana’s been told that there’s something wrong with her. She’s been taught to fear herself. This is something I could relate to from my own intense experiences as a teenager, and I used those feelings to anchor myself to Ana and what she goes through.

7. Did you begin writing this book knowing exactly how it would fold out, or did the story veer in unexpected directions as you wrote?

I did a fair bit of planning and even wrote a 50 page scene outline/rough first draft. But when I came to actually writing my characters in those scenes with dialogue etc, they always ended up doing things I didn’t expect, and taking the story off in other directions. Often when I start to write with a plan, there are a few big things that I know will happen, but all the rest – how I’ll get to those bits, or what the outcome of those events will be – changes as I go along.

8. Have you finished writing the sequel yet? Does it have a title?

The current title for the sequel (and final part in The Glimpse duet) is ‘The Fall.’ I’ve just handed in a draft to my editor and am waiting for the ‘editorial letter’.

9. What can we expect to see from you after that?

I’m working on a YA contemporary with a fantasy twist, and I have another YA fantasy/sci-fi mesh also on the burner. It’s very early days for both of those projects so I can’t really tell you more!

Thanks for joining me!

Thank you!

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I hope this interview's increased your interest in the book! I really did love it and hope you find it as addicting as I did ;) Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour!

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