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Book Review: Malibu Burns by Mark Richardson #TheWriteReads #BlogTour

My dear bookish friends!

Every now and then I try to get out of bookish comfort zone and read books that I wouldn’t normally pick up, usually because they don’t belong to my primary reading genres. The same was the case with Malibu Burns, and I am happy to report that I wasn’t disappointed at all – on the contrary, this was such a wild ride!

Please read on to find out more about the book, and for my detailed review!

(Disclaimer: I received an ecopy of this book and a spot on the blog tour – neither of which influenced my review in any way.)

The Blurb

Near-future San Francisco is a dark world where reality is changeable and different dimensions overlap.

Teen Malibu Makimura discovers she can feel people’s emotions, and senses an ominous voice growing inside her. She lands a job at a women’s nightclub drawing surrealist caricatures. One night while drawing a portrait, she feels a sinister emotion projected by a woman named Luciana, who invites Malibu to her Presidio Heights mansion.

There, she makes a peculiar request – and Malibu agrees. With each following act the evil inside her grows, and Malibu begins to wonder if she will ever be in control again… or if she even wants to be.

My Review

Malibu Burns follows teenaged girl Malibu, as she realises she can sense other people’s emotions, and her journey that follows. The book is set in San Francisco in the future – not super far into the future, but still not at the present time. Reality seems elusive and there seem to be several different dimensions at play that overlap and build this current version of Malibu’s reality.

In order to have a roof above her head, the girl works as an artist, drawing caricatures of people in a nightclub. Hardly the place for a young girl her age, but she needs to make ends meet. One night, while drawing the portrait of an older, well-dressed mysterious woman, Malibu senses something sinister about her and is warned to steer clear of that woman, but when invited to her mansion, curiosity wins. Other than sensing emotions outside of her own, there is another seemingly supernatural occurence at play: an evil voice inside Mailbu is growing stronger every day. When she is offered a dark and dangerous opportunity, Malibu accepts it, unsure of if she will ever be in control of her own self again – or if she even wants to be…

Malibu is a fascinating character. She senses other people’s emotions and can hear their thoughts when touching them – something that she initially thought was a cool gift to have but soon she realises can be much more of a burden. And then, that rather sinister voice in her head keeps getting stronger and takes her down a dark path…

Malibu Burns is futuristic, grim, and quite dystopian. Not just story-wise – the author does a great job portraying that in the narration as well. What I liked a lot was the mixture of dystopian and horror elements and the feeling that it all still could be realistic enough to be real – it all had a bit of a ‘dream-verging-on-nightmare’ feeling to it.

What I didn’t like as much was that the chapters varied in length so much. Some were super long and felt endless, others were only a few pages long. While I prefer short chapters, a clearer structure going either route would have been great. I also felt like – while the book did a great job emitting the right tone for the setting – the writing and wording itself didn’t always feel. Sometimes there was a heavy use of pronouns or unnecessary repetitions – nothing terrible, just something I noticed here and there.

To end this review on a positive note, I have to mention that I loved the fast pacing and the fact that the story was so different, so unpredictable and unique, and that I wanted to keep on reading every time I picked it up again. The characters are one-of-a-kind and complex, something I find very important in a good book.

I highly recommend this book to lovers of dark thrillers and futuristic dystopias, and to those who like to keep guessing in a book. A word of caution though in case you are a sensitive reader: there are some gory and some rather graphic details in the book, so be aware of that. Otherwise, this is a fast-paced and unique story that will keep you entertained.

4 stars from me!

Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick this book up or what you thought of it!


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