Thursday, 14 April 2016

Charcoal Tears by Jane Washington

Title: Charcoal Tears
Author: Jane Washington
Series: Seraph Black Series #1
Genre: YA, Supernatural, Romance, Magic Powers, Suspense, Crime (sort of)
Source: ARC
Pages: 268
Rating: 4.5

Available at:

“You see, there is safety in simplicity… in a life of simple peace, where the electricity doesn’t dance across the backs of my eyelids, and the sparks don’t slither over my consciousness. Only asinine peace, where my paintings don’t seem to paint themselves, leaving me with terrible feelings of premonition and a chill beneath my fingernails.”

Seraph Black used to think that she was prepared for anything. She could last days without eating, and she always walked away from the violent altercations with her father relatively unharmed. She even survived working at the club, surrounded by the dregs of society, all staring into their bottles instead of noticing the unravelling lives that trailed behind them.

She had thought that she could survive anything, but she wasn’t prepared for Noah and Cabe to come bulldozing into her life, careless of the precious secrets they picked apart in their quest to take over her world. She was even less prepared for the mysterious Miro and Silas, but most of all…
Most of all… it was the stalker that threatened her talent for surviving. She wasn’t ready for the photos, and the messages. The warnings. The threats.

Seraph’s life of surviving in the shadows was over, because the searchlight had found her, and there was nowhere that she could hide

This is the second book I have received in exchange for a review by Jane Washington (the first being Hereditary which you can read HERE). I said it for Hereditary, and I will say it again, the book was fantastic! The ideas were outstanding and unique, the writing was intriguing and well versed, the plot had all the right ingredients for perfection, and the execution? Well, it wavered for me in some areas, but overall, a HUGE step up from Hereditary.

Starting off with the characters, we have a very relatable main character that narrates her story for the reader. She is a girl whose mother has died, her father is abusive, she is responsible for not only herself, but her little brother, and she feels like she is alone in the world. So, when two mysterious strangers come into her life and want to be her friends, it’s a huge deal because she no longer feels like such a freak. Washington does a fantastic job of writing Seraph as a character. She doesn’t develop too much, only slightly by the end of the book, but we do get to see some major character development from Silas, one of the love interests in the novel. And if I am being honest, it was a good move on the authors part. It was so much more interesting to see his development than Seraph’s, and the way Seraph is developing (slowly but surely) matches who her character is.

I can’t complain terribly about the writing. I did see a few errors, but then again I did receive an ARC copy so I am not shocked by them and they didn’t sway my opinion on the books rating. What I did have a bit of a hard time with was that the novel is set in Seattle, which is in America, and yet the jargon (slang/ lingo) is clearly British. Luckily, I am currently living in Ireland and I have caught on to a lot of the slang here so I didn’t have that big of a problem with reading it, but it was distracting for me nonetheless. It would have been one thing if it was set in the UK, but with it being set in America, I felt that there needed to be an effort toward straying away from the British slang and adapting toward the American version, and/or change the setting of the novel to the UK… Unless there is a Seattle in the UK that I don’t know about that is? Of course, other than this, the novel is VERY well written, and having reread Hereditary before starting this novel, I can already see the massive improvement not only in Jane Washington’s writing, but also her ability to craft a plot.

Jane Washington has always been good with a good love triangle, or a love rectangle, plus one, whatever that is (anyone catch the One Tree Hill reference there? I couldn’t resist <3), but in this novel, she really brings it to new heights and I was incredibly impressed. It didn’t feel forced, and it didn’t feel awkward, or like Seraph was being torn in different directions, or that her heart was suffering, it actually felt very natural. One of my biggest complaints about Hereditary was that the connections the main character made to new characters (i.e. new friends at a new school) felt very rushed. She trusted these people right away and they were all BFF’s with a snap of the finger and it didn’t feel developed or natural at all. In this case, you get a flavor of that, Seraph trusts the guys almost immediately, but there is a whole supernatural explanation for it that justifies the inexplicable connection. Even then, she admits to herself (and the reader) that she isn’t 100% sure she does trust them, but she tries her best to. So, I have to give a huge round of applause for finding a creative work around for a previous plot problem.

Plot wise, I was kind of disappointed that we didn’t find out how Seraph’s mother died… there was definitely the opportunity for it, but it never presented itself. Also, the Seraph alludes to being sexually abused, but that is never really elaborated on either. However, she definitely acts like a victim of sexual abuse, especially in the beginning in the novel. I do feel like there is a HUGE gap where her past is concerned, and that was a problem for me in this book. Saying that, there are two more books in the series, so it might get answered for me. Speaking of more books in the series, did you know that the second book is out? Yeah, I already bought it. And I’m going to read it 10 seconds after I post this. Goodbye sleep, I didn’t need you anyways! That cliff hanger is too much for me to wait!!

Anyways, overall, great book, I loved it, you will love it, but it, read it, and tell all your friends about it
Now, I have to go, Watercolour Smile is calling my name!

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