Monday, May 23, 2016

Devil & the Bluebird ~ Jennifer Mason Black (earc) review [@CosDrift @abramskids]

Devil and the Bluebird
Amulet Books
May 17, 2016
336 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

“Devil-at-the-crossro“Devil-at-the-crossroads” folklore finds its way to YA via this moody, magical tale

Blue Riley has wrestled with her own demons ever since the loss of her mother to cancer. But when she encounters a beautiful devil at her town crossroads, it’s her runaway sister’s soul she fights to save. The devil steals Blue’s voice—inherited from her musically gifted mother—in exchange for a single shot at finding Cass.

Armed with her mother’s guitar, a knapsack of cherished mementos, and a pair of magical boots, Blue journeys west in search of her sister. When the devil changes the terms of their deal, Blue must reevaluate her understanding of good and evil and open herself to finding family in unexpected places.

In Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black delivers a heart-wrenching depiction of loss and” folklore finds its way to YA via this moody, magical tale

Meeting the devil at a crossroads to make a deal isn't a new idea, especially not when the person doing that meeting is a musician. Famously there's the story of Robert Johnson, the blues singer who sold his soul to the devil for his musical talent:

he was even part of Supernatural with his crossroads demon/devil"

Devil and the Bluebird doesn't ignore that legendary history, instead Blue Riley is aware of Robert Johnson, of the story around meeting the devil at a crossroads. Still, knowing all of that, she makes a deal. Not for her own talent, though she takes her mother's guitar with her everywhere, but instead trying to save her sister's soul.

Deals with the devil are never easy and now Blue's left to try to find her sister Cass, but without the use of her voice.

Even once we hear the stipulations on Blue's deal - what she has to do, what she can and cannot do - I anticipated a different sort of journey for her. The author came up with unexpected hardships for Blue to encounter but also assistance from unexpected sources. Despite the 'devil-at-the-crossroads' beginning to it all, it was easy at times to forget there was something magical about Blue and her story - until you're reminded in a fantastic way.

The characters Blue encounters are unique and compelling. Some of them wish well for her while others threaten danger but they each play a part in Blue's quest to find Cass and in her discoveries about herself, life and the world.

There were a few parts of the story that I still don't know that I really get. How certain things worked, why they did or why the character(s) trusted that they would, who someone was, etc  If I stop and think, try to figure them out, it makes me question things. I enjoyed the book enough, who Blue is and was, what happened, (okay, who Lola was, honestly, too) that I am happy not contemplating every little thing but just enjoying it.

This really is a good, magical, thoughtful tale full of emotion and some unexpected twists.

review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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