Book Review – Black Five by J Lynn Bailey 

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher for my copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

I don’t like writing bad reviews. Usually if I don’t enjoy a book I know that straight away and I just don’t finish reading it. Black Five is difficult though. It’s difficult because the premise is actually really good. The ideas behind it make it everything YA fiction should be. And I love YA fiction. 
Ok so what did I enjoy firstly about this book? Let’s get the good stuff in there first. I loved the whole idea behind the existence of another world and the idea of the Black Five. Unfortunately that’s pretty much all I liked about it. 
What didn’t I like? The language in this novel was the main thing that spoilt it for me. I think if that was perfected I would actually have enjoyed it quite a lot more. The characters are supposed to be American teenagers yet speak more like Victorian lords and ladies. ‘Let us go’ instead of ‘let’s go’ was one of the most annoying and unrealistic ways of speaking but cannot, was not etc also added to the falseness of the language and because they annoyed me so much it took away from the storyline. 
Reactions of characters to key events were poor. I’m trying not to include spoilers but I just felt that the main character Penn didn’t get angry at all when she found out she’d been lied to. She instantly believed everything she was told with no evidence. She falls in love with a guy she’s only just met and there’s no emotion created because of the language style and because of the short jilted way people speak. 
The font used to write Penn’s dad’s diary was almost illegible. I feel I missed a lot of important information because I literally couldn’t decipher the words. 
Penn’s training was also unrealistic. Suddenly she’s capable of doing all this stuff with no prior training at All? Suddenly her kind, caring aunt turns into some bunny murderer with a ‘cold’ voice? Other parts don’t add up either. There are so many plot flaws throughout. Things that aren’t explained to the reader which makes the story weak and frankly frustrating. 
I feel bad for this because I really wanted to like it. It sounded right up my street as its my favourite genre. Having read the authors note at the end I felt even worse as it took her 3 years to write. I just feel it could have been written better. The idea is good, the writing not so much. 


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