Saturday, April 11, 2015

Book Shelf: Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

The setting: Razorhurst, 1932. The fragile peace between two competing mob bosses—Gloriana Nelson and Mr Davidson—is crumbling. Loyalties are shifting. Betrayals threaten.

Kelpie knows the dangers of the Sydney streets. Ghosts have kept her alive, steering her to food and safety, but they are also her torment.

Dymphna is Gloriana Nelson’s ‘best girl’, experienced in surviving the criminal world, but she doesn’t know what this day has in store for her.

When Dymphna meets Kelpie over the corpse of Jimmy Palmer, Dymphna’s latest boyfriend, she pronounces herself Kelpie’s new protector. But Dymphna’s life is in danger too, and she needs an ally. And while Jimmy’s ghost wants to help, the dead cannot protect the living.....

More info on Goodreads......


Set is Australia 1932, Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier is a story of ghosts, crime and murder, where almost everyone is on somebody else’s payroll and survival in the rough and tumble world of mob bosses, deception and danger often means making tough choices. Incomparable to anything else in the literacy genre, Razorhurst is a brutal novel that will take you to another time and place!

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect with heading into Razorhurst. Though she is a well-known literacy name, Razorhurst is my first novel by Justine Larbalestier. However I was quite impressed by what I found within its pages. Unique and different, Razorhurst isn’t like anything I’ve read previously and Larbalestier managed to get everything spot on for me; from her writing style, dialogue and setting to create an authentic feeling story. I very much felt like I was a part of 1932 Surrey Hills and have to commend her for making me care about her different and complex characters. 

Razorhurst follows a varying cast of characters and is told in the present, whilst also exploring past events from time to time. It is told predominantly through the eyes of Kelpie, a street urchin and Dymphna, a working girl whose lives intersect and see them thrown together when Dymphna’s current boyfriend is murdered and Kelpie walks in just after she has found the body, forcing the two of them together as they both don’t want to be tied to the murder. 

Though we follow other characters from time to time, which allows for a well-rounded story I might add, Kelpie and Dymphna are the two individuals we follow the most as they try to stay ahead of the cops, mob bosses and various individuals after them. Personally I liked that they were both so different and yet came together nicely when they needed to. Surprisingly both the same age, Kelpie and Dymphna both share the ability to see ghosts, weaving in a supernatural element to the story, although this is not too overbearing and instead compliments the rest of the storyline well. 

Razorhurst is a rough story by nature, but is actually a really nice tale about friendship and the power of wanting to better oneself. It’s really hard not to feel for both Kelpie and Dymphna who want to get out to their respective lives. Though they’re in very different positions, you cannot help but want to protect and care for Kelpie who has been on her own for most of her life, save for a few helpful and loving ghosts, and Dymphna who has to do with her body what no young woman of her age should have to do. Dymphna is older beyond her years, whilst Kelpie seems so much younger than she is due to malnutrition and lack of education. 

It’s quite lovely seeing the two of them come together and that despite all she’s been through in her own life, Dymphna wants nothing more than to take care of Kelpie. Larbalestier will make you really think about her characters, from our main two leading ladies to the hard men of the Hills who are Glory’s stand over men to the lowly hardworking folk like Neal Darcy, working to provide for his ma and siblings. It’s great to see the different aspects of the world Larbalestier has created and helps make you really appreciate what she has done with Razorhurst.

Fast, hitting and endlessly surprising, Razorhurst is a unique and unparalleled tale that is sure to impress with its fresh and different storyline.  

Source: Sent for review by Allen & Unwin (Thank you guys!)
Format: Paperback
Buy it: Bookworld | The Nile | The Book Depository | Amazon
My Recommendation: I can't really compare this book to anything else, but I think you don't mind something a bit more brutal, but still highly entertaining this will win you.
Cover: I can see what they were going for, but I don't think this cover does anything for the story it houses.
Will I read sequel/continue with series: This is a standalone novel, but I'd read more by this novel I think.....

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