Friday, 15 May 2015

Review: The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters

The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters 
Publication Date: May 12th 2015
Publisher: Amulet
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~ 

In Portland in 1983, girls are disappearing. Noah, a teen punk with a dark past, becomes obsessed with finding out where they've gone—and he's convinced their disappearance has something to do with the creepy German owners of a local brewery, the PfefferBrau Haus. Noah worries about the missing girls as a way of avoiding the fact that something's seriously wrong with his best friend, Evan. Could it be the same dark force that's pulling them all down?

When the PfefferBrau Haus opens its doors for a battle of the bands, Noah pulls his band, the Gallivanters, back together in order to get to the bottom of the mystery. But there's a new addition to the band: an enigmatic David Bowie look-alike named Ziggy. And secrets other than where the bodies are buried will be revealed. From Edgar-nominated author M. J. Beaufrand, this is a story that gets to the heart of grief and loss while also being hilarious, fast paced, and heartbreaking

One more add to The Strangest Books I've Read in 2015 list.

It makes a lot more sense once you read it, obviously, but still, the lead up, was so well done, and I surprisingly got rather attached to the characters,  and I say surprisingly, because...
Here's the thing, I did not like or even understand half the characters, in the beginning I thought they were okay, didn't like them, didn't hate them, Noah's voice wasn't exactly the nicest to follow, but it grew on me, and then I couldn't stop reading. The more i kept reading though, the more I disliked the other characters, Noah's a dick, he knows he's a dick, he doesn't make excuses for being a dick, in fact, he purposely says and does things to hurt himself. As I read more? I liked Noah a lot more, even though he's still a dick in places, he had more character depth. The others? Not so much, and the one I started to hate the most after this particular scene, that as whole, doesn't affect the story, but as a whole, is probably the most remember-able scene?  Sonia.

This isn't a spoiler, so I won't hide it, but I'll class it as one anyway, so don't read this  bit, if you don't want to know.

Sonia, Noah's ex-girlfriend, rips his nose ring out in front of the class for calling her friend a bitch. She. Is. A. Psycho.

Okay, done.

Ever wanted a nose ring? You won't after this.

I don't think liking the characters is the point  though, the point in The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters, is the story and the message, which is so hard to actually talk about because of spoilers and ugh I want to talk about it .So, a spoiler paragraph (and I mean a spoiler paragraph- so if you don't plan or reading it, here you go)  and a non-spoiler paragraph.

Spoiler : Evan, Noah's best friend has cancer, he hasn't told any of his friends, but once Ziggy shows up, Noah can see this "marr", like a black smoke pit thing, which is really a symbolism for Cancer. Got that part, the part I didn't get was Ziggy is Noah, which I figured out after a few hints, I get that, but since Noah didn't know he was Ziggy, he always pictured him like another person, who was the front for their band. Noah's father was abusive when he was a child and growing up, and then he blew his brains out in front of Noah, so I was thinking Ziggy was an alter, and Noah had DID to cope with everything. But, nothing is officially stated, so confused.

 So I'll just say this, while the first part of the story may be strange and doesn't make sense, there's a reason for it, and part of that is to do with little bits that make the whole message. I know, confusing. It sounded better in my head. The thing is, the spoiler, that didn't seem like a spoiler at the time, in the synopsis in the back of my copy, that dropped the hints all the way through, is not in the synopsis on goodreads, and it is a huge testament to Noah's character. I did think the Missing Girls were going to play more into the story than it did, it was more in the background until the last quarter,  which again, I can't talk about because of spoilers. >:(

Set in 1083, The Rise and Fall of the Gallivanters is about a group of punks just trying to make something of themselves, there is romance, but it's mainly focused on the friendship between Noah and Evan. I didn't particularly like the characters, but I grew attached to them, and for me, that is a huge testament to the way M. J. Beaufrand's writing.

Rating: 4/5