Reviews for Flyaway, by Kathleen Jennings

alcarinque's review

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challenging dark emotional mysterious reflective sad tense slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

hannah_a_r_teatalksbooks's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

While the world of the book deeply intrigued me, the plot and characters never quite seemed to come together into a cohesive whole. I would like to read more by this author, however - I think future books may gel a little better. 

runoutofpages's review against another edition

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3.0

While the premise of this book sounded really interesting I found myself confused the entire time. I think the fact that this is novella and not a novel hurt the book, I needed more explanation to get fully wrapped up in the story but I never got it.

lunaballz's review against another edition

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3.0

Not. Sure how I feel about this one? I had trouble keeping up, especially with the interlude stories, because you had to pay close attention due to the writing style.
The author did do a really good job of creating an eerie atmosphere and the stories were clever.

kalanadi's review

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dark mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Loveable characters? No

3.0

joecam79's review against another edition

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4.0

We tend to associate dark fiction with “literal” darkness – with shadows, haunted houses, twilight apparitions and “things that go bump in the night”. Similarly, the “North”, with its long winter nights and its mythology of fairies, trolls and diverse monsters, seems more attuned to conventional supernatural fiction than the Southern Hemisphere.

But just as Ari Aster’s movie Midsommar showed us that there can be dark horror in the unending daylight of a Nordic summer, Kathleen Jennings’ beguiling debut Flyway successfully challenges tradition by transplanting tropes of Gothic, fantasy and supernatural fiction to an Australian context.

The novel(la) is set in a small rural settlement in Western Queensland in the recent past – early to mid-nineties, judging by the references to early internet and mobile phones. The main storyline is narrated by nineteen-year-old Bettina Scott, although between each chapter there are short interludes – fairytale-like stories-within-stories – narrated by other characters. Bettina, we learn, was a feisty teenager, but since the sudden disappearance of her father and two brothers a few years back, she has lived a secluded life under the zealous protection of her mother Nerida. One day, she receives a mysterious message which suggests that her brothers might still be alive. With the help of two old friends, Gary and Trish, she sets out on a modern-day quest, to find her brothers and, in the process, discover hidden truths about her family.

Admittedly, Flyaway takes some time getting into. Jennings does not spell out things for the reader and the first few chapters of the novel felt somewhat disorienting. However, the narrative is well worth the initial effort and as things start falling into place, it gets increasingly gripping. A small hint… it helps to keep some notes about the different characters and the families they belong to – as in any self-respecting Gothic work, surnames are more than just identifiers…

A thrilling blend of Gothic mystery, modern fairytale and folk horror, Kathleen Jennings’ Flyaway proves that a cattle town in Australia can be as atmospheric and uncanny a setting as the magical forests of the North.

https://endsoftheword.blogspot.com/2020/04/flyaway-by-kathleen-jennings.html

nmirra's review

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adventurous dark mysterious fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

A dark, lushly written gothic fable set in a fantastical version of back country Australia. The first half builds a richly imaginative small town world. The story is slim, almost a novella, so in the end the plot at the center of the story doesn't actually cover that much ground.

The story concerns itself with things forgotten, and the main character's memory is suspect. But the story also intentionally obscures information from the reader in a way that builds mystery at the expense, in the end, of a cohesive picture of the story you've just finished.  

thistlereads's review

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adventurous dark mysterious medium-paced

5.0

eomma's review against another edition

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dark slow-paced

3.0

didic's review against another edition

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5.0

I am, to be frank, quite upset. Not because of the many ways in which this beautiful novella is intentionally upsetting. No. I am upset because no one who is as good at illustration as Kathleen Jennings should be this good at writing. It's genuinely unfair to the rest of us, who can't draw a stick figure and still aren't this good at writing!

This is a deeply disturbing, deeply beautiful novella, weaving in myths and fables of various origins. It's dark and gothic, but not quite horror. At least, not to my eyes, as someone who is too much of a scaredy cat to read actual horror.