Wednesday, 12 September 2018

A. F. Harold (Author), Illustrated by Emily Gravett - The Afterwards - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Book Review

Fact: Ember and Ness are best friends. There's nothing more to say about it. It is what it is. It is what will always be. Ember and Ness. Then Ness dies. It is sudden and unexpected and leaves Ember completely empty. How can this be? When Ember finds a way into the Afterworld, she determines to bring Ness back. Because that's what friends do isn't it? They rescue each other. They help. They never give up. Ember and Ness. That don't change. A powerful, poignant, darkly comic and deeply moving story about friendship at its most extraordinary.

This is another moving book by A. F. Harold titled "The Afterwards". On the 1st November 2018, this tiny little seed of a story will amble into the life of the reading world and beyond. It is delightfully and intelligently illustrated by the amazing Emily Gravett. You only get a glimpse of the illustrations inside the proof copy, however, you know they will fit seamlessly together like a fantasy glove. Working together in harmony they give the reader both the feel and the flavour of the story inside. For me, it's another masterclass of the author and the illustrator working and connecting together to deliver something special to the reading world. 

The book cover for me captures the story really well. It draws you in and makes you want to start reading. You instantly turn the pages which are filled with children's laughter and vibrant colour. It's a book filled with friendship, but the mood does dramatically turn to death. The rainbow of happiness is stripped back for the main two characters (Ness and Ember), falling through a sieve to land in a world of black and white. These are ordinary children about to embark on an extraordinary adventure like no other, but will there be a happy ending?

The reflective story takes shape the more you read. You'll be pulled and tugged through the emotional playground of life and what it means to be HUMAN, but more precisely what it means to be YOU. Everybody who reads this book will SEE it from a different perspective. It is very poignant and thought-provoking. A powerful narrative lies ahead with one that will seek answers to what lies within. It is a grown-up book written from a child's perspective as it is played out through two young children capturing the essence of true friendship. 

You can expect a straddle of mystery and a large slice of the author's personality. You'll navigate a family path of love, an endless amount of hope and perhaps even a handful of tissues. There is also a cat which is probably based on one of the author's own. This is a great book that has a fantastic reach into the human world and beyond. It's a story that will make you think and certainly reflect on life. Consider it as a train ride into the reader's past and when the last page has been turned, a journey into the reader's future. A brilliant and much recommended read. 

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