Book Review: Patchwork by Karsten Knight

Patchwork is gripping, action packed, and an emotional rollercoaster at the moments when you least expect it. It broke my heart to have to put it down for a few days when life got busy but the ending was well worth the anticipation. This modernized retelling of the phoenix myth is the perfect read for lovers of YA action, fantasy, and thrillers and I can’t recommend it enough!

patchworkTitle: Patchwork

Author: Karsten Knight

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Publication Date: February 28, 2017

Genre: YA Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Thriller

Themes: Friendship, Time Travel, First Love, Hindsight, Adventure

Features: Sneak peak for Nightingale, Sing

My Rating: 5/ 5


From Goodreads…

Before I Fall meets Inception in this time-bending YA mystery from the author of Nightingale, Sing.

“My last thought before the black seas consume me is to wonder what morbid twist of fate allowed a prom, a proposal, an act of terrorism, and the deaths of everyone I know to converge on the same night.”

Renata Lake thought her relationship would be the only casualty of prom. Then the bomb went off.

It was supposed to be a night to remember—a cruise through Boston Harbor, dancing beneath the stars. But when an explosion tears the ship apart, Renata wakes up in Patchwork, an ethereal world where all her memories have been stitched haphazardly together.

In order to catch the assassin who murdered her friends, she’ll have to navigate the twisted landscape of her mind and relive critical moments from her past in search of clues. Can she uncover the killer’s identity and find her way back to the man she once loved before it’s too late?

My Review

Right from the first few pages I found this to be a gripping and thought provoking book – not just because it’s a thriller that had me guessing at who the killer was until the final reveal, but because it asks deep philosophical questions in the most unassuming way. The unwinding of Renata’s life in reverse and the interspersing of poetry and flashbacks of Renata’s most cherished family memories created a world and character that impossible not to get invested in. The imagery throughout the book is fascinating and so vivid that it’s nearly impossible not the visualize the joins between memories in Patchwork or the strength of her emotions as events come to pass.

Initially I noted that I loved how broken and self centred Renata was. I actually prefer a  flawed hero as I feel that it makes them a little bit more believable and a whole lot more relatable. But, as the story progresses it quickly becomes clear that Renata is not some horrible, selfish sixteen year old but rather grieving girl who is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her father. Add into the mix the fact that she must now relive some of her most horrible moments over again in order to save people that she loves most and you have the perfect recipe for hero that grips you right by the heartstrings. Bit by bit as her story is unravelled Renata transforms from the girl that you love to hate into a character that you can’t help but root for.

The elements of mythology throughout the text are seriously on point. From the recurrence of fire, to the original Ignatius, and descriptions of Renata’s movements between worlds it is impossible not to pick up on hints of the phoenix before it is actually named. The presence of Thanatos and Osiris were also incredibly well done, and I thought that it was really interesting to have both the Greek personification of death and the Egyptian god of the afterlife woven throughout the same text even if they never interacted with one another. And while all of these mythological elements stayed true to their roots, their adaptations breathe fresh life into their stories and keep them from being the same old thing told over and over again.

Word of warning though, there is a smattering of profanity and sex throughout this novel. But in my humble opinion, these elements are neither excessive nor gratuitous. Rather, they are aptly timed and appropriate for the situations in which they are used. The profanity throughout is one-off, emphatic, and in all likelihood much less than what real teens would be employing in such situations. For those scenes dealing with sex, nothing is explicitly described but actions are implied. While I write this gushing review I know that there will be some parents and readers that might be uncomfortable with such elements, however I feel very strongly that this book is more than suitable for most teen readers and adults who enjoy a healthy dose YA in their reading repertoires.

Would I recommend this book? A thousand times yes! It is one of the best thrillers that I have read in a long time, and one of the few where I didn’t see the ending coming. Patchwork is beautiful, terrifying, and impossible to put down – and just the type of book that I would love to see made into a kick-ass movie!

Up Next: Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith by Shaun Hume