*ARC PROVIDED BY NETGALLEY*
"My name is Alex. I am fifteen years old, and I don't know where my sister is. Or if she will ever come back."
On New Year's Eve 5,000 blackbirds dropped dead. The same day Olivia McCarthy went missing from a small coastal village in Orkney.
Now Her younger sister Alex is on a mission to find out just what happened to Olivia. But does she really want to know all the answers?
Blackbird is a YA mystery set in the small Scottish island of Orkney. We follow Alex, whose older sister Olivia has gone missing and the duration of the criminal investigation. Though it focuses less on the investigation itself and more on Alex and how she is coping etc, this was still an enjoyable read and one I would recommend to those just diving into mystery novels.
My main issue with this book was that I don't think it was quite what I expected. I, for some reason, had anticipated a high energy, fast paced, almost thriller novel but this was aactually quite a calm, steady book with all of the action happening in the last few pages. The title of this book has absolutely nothing to do with the story and I had been so gripped by the piece in the blurb about the blackbirds and was so keen for the correlation - but there was none. It is literally mentioned once, and even then it's only in passing. There's no talk of blackbirds and nothing more is said about the ones falling from the sky other than it appearing on the news and Alex mentioning it one time just to say something... I just don't really get why you would title a book and mention something in the blurb that plays no part in the novel - unless I compeltely missed something?
Otherwise, this book was enjoyable and I loved getting to roam around Orkney with Alex. I myself am Scottish though I've never been farther north than St Andrews yet and I often wonder what life would be like on these rural islands - I'm definitely a mix of the two sisters in this book: Olivia wants to leave her small home town to live in big cities but Alex loves Orkeny. I love my little village but I also love roaming arounf places like Edinburgh, London, and New York. There's also a mention of Irn Bru which was the first I've seen in a book! Irn Bru is the single best fizzy drink out there and I pity those who live where it isn't sold. Forget The Proclaimers, Ewan McGregor and Braveheart; Irn Bru is the best thing to come out of Scotland. That includes Harry Potter - but only just.
If you're new to mystery novels then this is a good place to start as it's very tame and though it deals with a dark topic, it's not a dark read. There are some loose ends in this, mostly revolving around prosecution and the background of the DI but they feel more like open ends than anything else. I'd like to have known what happened etc but I'm not raging about it like I am with the blackbirds.
I feel like nothing happened in this book so I can't really think of anything more to write. Don't let that put you off though... Nothing happened yet I still found myself eager to read a chapter or so each night. I'm in the midst of NaNo and have hardly read this week but even if it was midnight before I crawled into bed I was grabbing my iPad to pull up my kindle app, even if I only read one page I was desperate to read. I think Gomes is a very good atmospheric writer and I felt like I was right there, in this book. I've added Gomes' other book, Dear Charlie to my 'Must Buy' list and look forward to more from this author in the future!