Blake Rivers lives in the East of England, surrounded by acres of historical countryside, towns and villages. It is from these mysterious places of history that he draws on the fantastical, moulding them into stories and adventures.
For as long as he can remember, writing books and being an author of stories was all he wanted to do. He still keeps his first two manuscripts, one written on an old Royal typewriter when he was twelve, and the other on an Amiga computer when he was fourteen, and although they'd never be published, they are a reminder of the dream and the journey. In the late 2000's, Blake wrote many starts to books that he abandoned, which have since created the Kindle eBook he calls A Writer's Lesson in False Starts, but it was in 2011 he began to write his first novel to be published, The Assassin Princess.
When he is not writing, Blake reads a lot, his favourite authors being Anne Rice, Stephen King and Patricia Cornwell, among many others, and he also enjoys going for long walks and, of course, spending time with his beautiful girlfriend. He is also very fond of visiting the many medieval churches of England.
Visit: www.blakerivers.co.uk for further information.
The Assassin Princess
Tales of Legacy
A Writer's Lesson in False Starts
The Tree - A Short, Magical, Love Story
A Step into Darkscape
I will start off this review by saying that I am in two minds about this book. There are parts of this story that I take issue with and made me feel very uncomfortable... and I believe that is exactly how it should be.
This is a story of a girl just entering her teens who ends up being used by almost every man she meets, and is betrayed by the society around her. It is a sad story in that respect, and we follow Emily-Ann from an innocence into a world of degradation. The worst part about that? She doesn't seem that bothered by it all, almost as if she expects all the bad in the world to happen to her at some point or another.
There is hope in the story, talk of dreams, wishes to be a famous Jazz singer, but relating it to the film Winter's Bone (Jennifer Lawrence, 2010), these hopes and dreams are almost a symptom of a life long struggle with drugs, poverty and sexual deviance.
Jazz Baby contains a lot of the latter, no two ways about it. Emily-Ann spend a lot of time being pawed and mauled, which I wasn't expecting in this story, and it is a common theme from beginning to end that does not relent, and it was very uncomfortable...
...so why the five stars? Well, because some people less fortunate than myself ARE in situations like that, even today, and have been for years even past when this story is set. Poverty comes hand in hand with the acceptance of drugs and prostitution, and the giving up on innocence. The world is this harsh in some areas of the world, and not just 'third world', but still right there in every city and town in the 'western world'.
Beem Weeks gives us a few chapters to peek into the life of this girl and he does it with expert precision. I read this book up in a matter of days because it is so well written, really transports you to those seedy dives, with those characters you hope you'd never really meet. The atmosphere is tangible and the VERY FACT that it is so uncomfortable and strikes at the heart of situations endured by others less fortunate, is a credit to the author who has plunged into this world, daring to rip it open for you to see the truth of it.
In short, I actually really enjoyed reading this book. It was more than engaging and I think is actually a very important work. It highlights without preaching, it tells the truth without taking sides; it lets you follow the lives of individuals who you love, hate, want to slap, want to hug, and then lets you watch their struggles from the sidelines without being able to help them at all.
Lives like Emily-Ann's happen every day, and to be aware of it, if only for a few chapters in a work of fiction, I think is important, and an impressive accomplishment for the author to have created.
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