Reviews

Airy Nothing, by Clarissa Pattern

xpressionless's review against another edition

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emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

vanitzas's review

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dark emotional reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes

5.0

lemonsandligaments's review

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challenging dark emotional funny hopeful informative reflective relaxing sad tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.75

I’ve read a lot of books this year that have decent plots but main characters that I don’t care for. This book reminds me that main characters CAN be likeable.

Some of the themes in this book are tough, especially in today’s world. They’re deftly handled through the eyes of young boys, while being informative at the same time.

SpoilerBlack Jack. Holy shit, that dude is literally flawless (minus the wanting to keep John for himself, which is like a GOOD flaw. Black Jack being the closest thing to an angel might be the only reason this is not 5 stars as it kinda plays into the “mc meets miracle man” trope.

John’s your typical character that is shy and thrown into a whole new world. His mien makes it easy to care for his wellbeing as he is nice to most.

The relationship that develops between them both if of course lovely. 

By the end, any major plot points like Jack possibly heading to the gallows and their reunification were major emotional moments and benefitted from the strong building of their relationship beforehand.
 
And the whole bit about John seeing Jack pick a gift for him and settling on BUYiNG the ring was so JJSKSOAO.

The dynamic between them and the other characters like Bess and Molls are fun! 

Having a sole antagonist, the Butcher, that just dies is alright I guess. I’m not clamouring for him to be more fleshed out and have more time, I enjoy how Jack and John were the focus of the book.


This book was adorable and a great read. The author clearly knows Shakespeare and the scattered references made me apprehensive at first as I am no Shakespearephile. When snippets of his plays were used for major plot points, it makes it worthwhile.

It’s not because I’m good or kind. It’s just that being with you makes me so.

geno's review

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After starting this book two times, I decided to shelve it.
It sounds promising but the way it's written it's not working for me. 

onimichael's review

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5.0

I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This book was incredible! I didn’t know I wanted a queer Shakespearean period piece until I read it, but now that I have, it’s like eating a very filling meal.

The language used and the transition between the faerie world and the real world made it a bit difficult to understand what was going on at some points, but once you get past that, it really is an enchanting story. John and Jack are both lovable characters, but I felt like I resonated with John a lot more as a trans individual. (Note: His pronouns are he/him throughout the novel, so I’ll refer to him as such.) I was put off at first about the ambiguity of his gender identity - not knowing exactly what his experiences were made me question how much I could really relate to him - and I decided to read him as a trans man. However, I’ve decided I actually like that ambiguity. It adds to John’s character because you get to see him more for who he wants to be rather than how he may have originally been. Additionally, I think the potential for someone to read John as a trans woman, a trans man, genderfluid, etc. depending on how they see him is very positive for any trans readers who want someone to relate to (just like I did).

I also enjoyed how John’s experience with gender tied into the theater plot, since he was able to see men dressed as female characters and the blending of gender. I appreciate the author’s choice to use Twelfth Night as the main play of the novel, since it is about a women who dresses as a man - basically a mirror of John, which made the story much more rounded out.

I would love to see more of Pattern’s writing in the future. They really do have quite a way with words that feels unique from other authors, and I’d jump at the chance to have another experience like this!

oceanvvaves's review

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emotional mysterious reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.25

traumbooks's review

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adventurous dark emotional hopeful inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated

5.0

I would've loved to have a book like this around as a younger person! (Though while it's YA, I believe any age can enjoy it...!) The setting is Shakespearean England; John is a boy ridiculed for his ability to see between the worlds, and for his feminine appearance. He runs away from home and soon meets Jack, a resourceful pickpocket who is so many things John can only hope to be-- As John discovers the world of Shakespearean theatre, and starts to grow into his own self, Jack must reconcile his own feelings and fears of losing his best friend (and more). One thing I really enjoy about this story is that while something is always happening and there is plenty of plot tension, the boys are very supportive of each other. So I personally find this a comforting, warm read. The theme of chosen family (the world of the actors and the cutpurses),  and all the wonderful Shakespeare tidbits woven in (and the explanations in the endnotes!) were the icing on top. 

This is for someone looking for something smart, sweet, different-- a different world and mood. 

james123's review

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5.0

I bought this book a few days ago. The cover art caught my eye and the story sounded really cool. It is set in Queen Elizabeth the First’s time when Shakespeare is treading the boards in London. John, a country boy is driven from his home and runs away to London. It is a slightly fantasy world because he can see fairies, one of which accompanies him on his journey.

Thinking that London is this amazing place what he finds is a dirty, dangerous place which threatens to consume him until he meets Jack, a charismatic pick-pocket and all-round wise guy who takes him in. There is a cool tension where you are not sure whether they are going to become friends or whether Jack is going to use John in his nefarious plans.

After a botched burglary in which they meet this pretty scary guy called the Butcher they meet with William Shakespeare’s, slightly rubbish brother, Edmund, whom I love!! They are apprenticed and it looks like they are going to appear at the Globe theatre before the seedy, criminal life that Jack has led threatens to drag them down.

I really enjoyed the book. It was written in fairly large font so it felt really easy to read. I loved the setting and really felt like I could imagine the smells and sights of Elizabethan London. Which in general are pretty grimy

clari's review

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emotional hopeful informative inspiring reflective slow-paced

5.0

This novel transports us to Elizabethan London through the eyes of two characters; John who has runaway to the big city in search of acceptance, and Black Jack who is a streetwise thief. There is magic, theatre and friendship in this enchanting story.
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