Sunday, 30 March 2014

Review & Interview with Ella West, author of Night Vision

Night Vision
Released: 1 April 2014
Genre: Triller, Mystery
Publisher: Allen & Unwin Australia
At the Other End:
In the dark, Viola sees things no one else does ... until the night she sees something she shouldn't.

Viola was born with a genetic condition that makes sunlight deadly. In the dark of night, when most teenagers are tucked up in bed, Viola has the run of her parents' farm and the surrounding forest. She is used to seeing hidden things through her night-vision goggles, but one night she sees something that could get her into a whole lot of trouble...

Viola has always believed she would be dead before she was twenty, but now she must decide just how far she's willing to go to help her parents keep their beloved farm. Is it okay to steal from a thief? What if the thief might be a killer? And what if the killer threatens to come after her and her family?

A heart-thumping thriller that will leave you breathless.

Sum Up:
The perfect quickie! Whether in between books, or just for a one-night-book-stand, this book is the perfect fit.

Behind the 180 Pages
Yes, this book is the perfect quick little read. It’s thrilling and has everything we need for a good book. Those of you who are music buffs, will absolutely love and connect with this book a lot more than those who are not. It is just that this book talks about how beautiful music is, and about the orchestra, but music is a constant part of Viola’s life. It is everything for her, and you will relate more to her if music is a constant part of your life as well. I’m not saying that if you don’t, then you won’t like this book, because you will.

So, this bit really isn’t much to do about the actual book itself, but I wish that on the front cover the bottom tagline, under Ella West, is removed. It just gives it all away, and the top one suits the book a lot better as well. Other than that, the cover is pretty cool, I really like it!

The way that Viola talks in this book is kind of strange. I’m not sure if it’s like this for all thriller novels, but she tells the story from first person, yet I feel like its third person sometimes. The way that she explains everything and how eerie everything feels, especially her lifestyle added on top gives me this feeling. It doesn’t ruin the book, but I feel kind of mellow while reading it.

We get straight into the book with the mystery we are led in from the blurb. It’s a great way to start this book, yet it kind of sets the bar too high for the rest of it. The start of this book was really good, but then after we learn about Viola’s condition and her lifestyle, it kind of gets a little boring. We are kind of stuck in her day to day life for most of the book, and it doesn’t really do anything for us. She is 14, and during the book she starts to sound like it as well (Whinging and complaining). I wish she was older, because then some of the things that she would have done might have made this book more exciting.

It isn’t until the end that things start to get interesting.  But I had hoped that this would last for a while. We were led up to this part throughout the whole novel, and we only got two chapters out of it. That’s it! It kind of feels incomplete, I wish there was more detail, and I wish that something more exciting happened. I was getting ready for some explosive ending to happen, but it kind of snuffed out after it started to go there. This book has been pitched as a thriller, yet it doesn't have enough of it in there for me to be able to call it a thriller. It's mainly about a girl, who lives on a sheep farm, who has a genetic condition where she can't go out into the sunlight. The little murder and money bit is just a little bit of a side bonus to the actual story.

Overall, I really did like this book! I would have liked (and recommend) to read it in one sitting, but I think that’s what brought it down for me as well. This is a book made to read in one sitting, it becomes a bit too much and a bit too boring during the middle, if you have to stop like I did for not having much time.

You can buy Night Vision from all good bookstores and online!
Author Bio:
Ella West lives on a small sheep farm in Otago, New Zealand with her husband and two teenage sons. She started writing plays for children for the New Zealand School Journal but soon crossed over to fiction and her first teen novel Thieves was published in 2006. Since then she has also written several adult plays including The Middlemarch Singles Ball. She enjoys writing for children and teenagers because anything can happen in a story for children. There's always magic. West was awarded the Louis Johnson New Writers' Bursary in 2006 and Thieves was a finalist in the 2007 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and was listed as a Storylines Notable Young Adult Fiction Book. 

Find Ella:


1. Where have we seen you before? Can you tell us a little about your previous projects and YA books?
I wrote The Thieves Trilogy a few years back.  It was a lot of fun, a real thriller and a story I could do anything with.  I’m writing a fourth book (I know a trilogy with four books!) called Finder Seeker and putting it up on my blog a chapter a month and it’s great writing it again.  Plus it’s stopping everyone pestering me about what happens after the end of the third book!

2. What goes through your mind after your novel has been on sale for the first week?
I try not to worry!  It’s great seeing the book on the shelf for the first time but you’re right, after the first week that high gets diluted and it’s better just to get on with what you need to be doing instead of hiding behind bookshop shelves to see who will pick it up and buy it.

3. What inspired you to write Night Vision?
By sheer chance (I was flicking through TV channels) I saw a 60 Minutes documentary on kids who have the genetic condition that the main character Viola has in the book and it started me thinking.  What would a kid see if she only went out at night?  How would her life be different?  

4. How do you feel when you read a negative review?
I get grumpy of course, slam a few doors, go for a long walk (it is a good way to get fit), but really there is nothing I can do.  Of course, with YA fiction, most of the reviewers are adults.  The book is never intended for them.  It’s what the readers think that counts.

5. How long was the planning and writing process for Night Vision?
I started it in 2010 so it’s been a long time.  There was a lot of going back and forth with the publishers (why can’t I just get it right the first time!) but we got there and I’m really proud of it.  Thanks Allen & Unwin!

6. What was your reaction to the cover art when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any ideas of your own you wanted to incorporate?
I loved it.  Allen & Unwin have done an amazing job.  It sent shivers down my spine the first time I saw it.   

7. Do you have any current plans for future writing projects? 
Come on!  Of course!  That’s what writers do – we write.  There are a few ideas I’m working on and I’m really excited about them. Fingers crossed.

8. What are your top 5 books of all time?
Just throw the tough questions at me!!!!  Five books? I’ve got hundreds!  But, off the top of my head:

  • Everything by John Marsden (as in everything he’s written – he hasn’t written a book called Everything!)
  • Everything by Douglas Adams (see above)
  • The Discworld series by Terry Pratchatt
  • Wuthering Heights, Thirteen Moons, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, The Shipping News, Oryx and Crake, Wizard of Earthsea,  Where’d You Go Bernadette, Snow Falling on Cedars, The Hut Builder, Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, The Scorpio Races . . .

And I read Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell over the summer and loved it.

9. Are there any book/s from other authors do you wish you had written? 
The ones that have earned the really big money and won all the prizes!
10. What is one thing you would you really like readers to take away from Night Vision? 
I don’t think Night Vision has a big message, well, at least I don’t think of it that way but there is lots of stuff in it that hopefully will make teens think – about sheep farming and why things are done on farms the way they are, there’s some science thrown in and of course the music.  I listened to a lot of YouTube viola music writing this and I hope kids reading the book will listen to the pieces as well.  Science, sheep and music – it’s a great mix!  Oh, and there’s a murder too!!! 

This novel was received for review via Allen & Unwin Australia. This review is entirely my own, no bribery or any deals have been made to sway this review or change my personal opinion of the novel.

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