When I was asked to read CLASH, I was in two minds about it for quite sometime. It didn’t feel like something I would read (very much out of my comfort zone of reading!), but then, I saw reviews and was torn. I decided to read it after suggesting to the publisher's PR (a lovely lady called Liz) that I would give the book away. My reasoning: if I am giving a book away, I want to know it's good. I don't want to give a book away that I felt was bad. (Wanna win a copy? Visit my blog tomorrow as part of the CLASH Book Blog Tour).
CLASH is a debut novel from Colin Mulhern. Set in the North East of England, the book follows the lives of two boys: Alex and Kyle. Alex is the school psycho and an underground cage fighter who witnesses a terrible thing. Kyle is a talented artist who is suffering with his own problems. So when these two very different boys clash together, the outcome is
Now, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. But I kinda liked it. I liked how the chapters jumped from Alex to Kyle then back again. I've seen this been used before in books but it never always worked. In Clash, it worked. The characters were so different from each other that it worked to have their different reactions to the same events. And to have these characters being damaged and, up to a point, dangerous was interesting to read.
Having cage fighting a factor in the novel was interesting. It shows Alex as a dangerous character and shows how, in one move, both Alex and Kyle's lives change in an instant due to one wrong move.
This reads like a thriller with it having very dark and gritty moments. It feels, at times, very cat and mouse. But it also feels very Bully/Victim. It shows how a bully - or the local psycho - is a victim in one form or another and Kyle being a victim but, somehow, both of them getting the courage to not be a victim anymore.
Also, I have read reviews where some people say they preferred reading Alex's story over Kyle's. I disagree, and related more to Kyle than Alex. It was only when I was a hundred or so pages in when I saw people's reasons why Alex's story was more interesting than Kyle. But I prefer Kyle's story. But this is up to the person reading the book. Some people will prefer Alex's story, others will prefer Kyle's story. There's no right answer on which character you should prefer.
There were one or two things that bothered me. Not huge things, but tiny things. The first was the names - I always thought Alex and Kyle's names should have switched (you can blame Hollyoaks & Home And Away from that!). Kyle sounds harder so to have it places on someone gentle was odd. Got over that very quickly. The second thing was the ending. It just felt a tad open-ended. Maybe there's a sequel coming. Maybe the author always planned it to be like this, to show life carry on, but there was a loose end I felt was left undone. Will have to get over it…
All in all, I liked CLASH. It was a thriller that was fast to read, dark and gritty. Will be interested to see what this author writes next…
Now, with every review, I show "out of the box" music choices that I listened or thought about when I was reading this book. So, here are my choices with book trailers...
Also, if you like the song used in this trailer - created by the talented Massive Dog - you can download it for free at http://www.massivedog.com/music.html