Monday, 30 March 2015

Review: One Thing Stolen

One Thing Stolen
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

Something is not right with Nadia Cara. While spending a year in Florence, Italy, she's become a thief. She has secrets. And when she tries to speak, the words seem far away. Nadia finds herself trapped by her own obsessions and following the trail of an elusive Italian boy whom only she has seen. Can Nadia be rescued or will she simply lose herself altogether?
Set against the backdrop of a glimmering city, One Thing Stolen is an exploration of obsession, art and a rare neurological disorder. It is a celebration of language, beauty, imagination and the salvation of love.

The first thing you need to know about One Thing Stolen is that the writing is beautiful, the whole thing is beautiful, in fact. But, while I do like the way it's written, it's also confusing at times, since it's jumps from real time to, well, what's going on in Nadia's head. But, that confusion creates the atmosphere and makes you feel and really see the condition, it also leads to an unreliable narrator considering we don't know what is real, who is real, and who is not.
 In One Thing Stolen, we have two major parts to the story. There is a third, but I can't really talk about that because of a major spoiler, but it's more of an epilogue than anything. But the other two parts, One Thing Lost and One Thing Gained. In One Thing Lost we see the effects the condition is having on Nadia, she's stealing things, seeing things that may or may not be there, she's making nests out of things she steals, no matter what material they are. She's not sleeping. She's erratic and impulsive, and she's worried about losing herself to her obsessions, her delusions, even she doesn't know what's real or not. Because of this, it's hard to follow, and it's hard to connect to Nadia because Nadia doesn't even know who Nadia is anymore, therefore, we don't know who Nadia is.

In One Thing Gained, we're exploring Nadia's condition, and seeing others understand it more, Nadia separates from herself, but we're seeing this from her best friends perspective, Maggie. But, for a good chapter you don't even know it's Maggie's perspective, I thought it was still Nadia's, but the Nadia that's separated from herself, and telling us in a inner way, if that makes sense. Also, to be honest, for a while there, I thought Maggie was a part of Nadia's imagination.

What I really loved about One Thing Stolen, my issues above aside, the setting and atmosphere. Florence, Italy, it delves into the history of the Flood a lot, so you get a real sense of its history. Nadia's brother, Jack, cooks a dish surrounding a certain herb/spice every day,  from that you get the heady scent of what you'd imagine Italy to smell like. 

One Thing Stolen was certainly different, with a main character that might be hard to relate, or even entirely likable, but she's one you can understand, but the setting and atmosphere, and an exploration of the mind and a person's control over it, that's what makes One Thing Stolen.

Rating: 3.5/5