The Man who was Thursday

Well, this was interesting. The Man Who Was Thursday is about a detective called Gabriel Syme that works in the police force. In the novel he was undercover in a place in London called Saffron Park disguised as a poet. In Edwardian London Syme (The book usually refers to Gabriel as Syme) discovers that a rival poet is an anarchist which is someone who believes in the system of anarchy where there is no government or authority to stop anyone from doing anything. Syme decides to put a stop to this.
This book covers the topic of anarchism. After doing some research on this book I found out that this book was set in an alternate reality where anarchism was common for example in the book a village in France is full of anarchists and when the village finds out that Syme is going after the leader of the European Central Council which the rival poet is part of. I also found out from the author that this book wasn’t meant to be realistic but was mean to be a thought of life would be like if anarchism was common.


Amin Boumerdassi

Flappy Bird

Smartphone repair shops have been in very high demand recently, and all because of one, small little app.  Flappy Bird.  As many frustrated people will tell you, Flappy Bird is the most frustrating game ever to come out on the App Store and that you should absoloutly, definately, 100%, NOT buy the app.  And so, obviously, the next thing you do is click the little “download” icon.  You open up the app and start playing it.  It looks kind of fun.  You wonder what’s up with the people that said you shouldn’t buy it.  You die.

And then you see why.

Flappy Bird is essentially a very simple game to understand.  Your objective is to get through as many Mario-esque pipes as possible by tapping the screen; causing your little pixlated bird to flap up and down.  However, unfortunately, it’s not all that simple.  Every single time, you seem to just hit the pipe, you die, to some very frustrating and patronising “falling” music.  One of the great things about Flappy Bird is that it is so incredibly simple.  There are no upgrades, no “buy extra lives here'” which seems is the way that every other game makes money.  I think that this element of the game means that somehow players affiliate with it; Flappy Bird was clearly not designed to make the developer rich.  Other popular games like Candy Crush, Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja all seem to have those links to other games or otherwise you are forced to fork out 59p for the no ad version.  Flappy Bird isn’t like this.  There are occasional ads across the top of the screen but they are nowhere near as prominent as in other apps.  The effect of this is that the player feels a strage affirmity with the game.  The same way we far prefer to shop at the family run business down the road than at a giant international coorporation.

Flappy Bird has recently been taken down from the App store as the creator was getting a lot of hate on social media.  Devices with Flappy Bird still on them have reportedly been sold for prices exceeding £1500.  All this and the game itself means that Flappy Bird shall forever be in our hearts. 

But not necessarily for good reasons.


Matteo Fernandes

The Count of Monte Cristo

The Chatau d'If; a real castle which still exists today.

The Chatau d’If; a real castle which still exists today.

It’s a classic tale. Even if you think you’ve never heard of it, the story of The Count of Monte Cristo is referred to so often in life. Parodied by The Simpsons, The Count of Monte Cristo is ultimately a tale of revenge. It tells the story of Edmond Dantes, a young 19 year old man who serves happily aboard the Pharaon; a cargo ship in Marseilles. He proves himself a worthy sailor and due to the untimely death of the captain, Dantes finds himself as a captain of the ship, and in command of many men. Dantes has also fallen in love with a young Catalan girl; Mercedes and will soon become her husband. In all respects, Edmond Dantes was a very happy man. On the eve of his wedding, a court official arrives and demands Dantes’ arrest, on account of his alleged Bonapartism. (Alexadre Dumas was writing about the period in which Bonaparte was banished to the isle of Corsica, and siding with him was considered treason of the highest order.) The novel proceeds to describe Dantes’ life sentence to the Château d’If; a stone tower in the middle of the Mediterranean. Dantes knows he has committed no crime, and when he talks with fellow cell mate: the Abbe Faria, he slowly starts piecing together the conspiracy against him. He is the victim of jealousy, two men-one jealous of his position, and one of his bride. Jealously is a recurring, and one of the most important themes in the novel. Through the Abbe Faria, Dantes learns of a wonderful treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and the two plan to escape. However, the unfortunate death the Abbe means that Dantes claims the treasure alone and claims for himself the title of The Count of Monte Cristo. These events take place in the opening 100 pages. Throughout the rest of the novel, the reader follows the Count’s plan for revenge and each subplot all come together neatly for the “Grand Finale”.

The first thing you may have noticed from that no-so-brief synopsis, is that it’s, well, not so brief. And that reflects the book. In total, the book amasses to a massive 1080 pages, rich with dense and difficult language. Dumas describes in great depth each and every character’s lives, each individual subplot, and it is with incredible eloquence and intelligence that he intertwines each character’s problems and lives so the reader feels that despite the books great length, each and every word is vitally important to the overall novel, and indeed they are. Very often in novels, the author follows the lives of several characters, and more often than not, the reader finds themselves bored with the narration of certain characters, and willing themselves to reach the chapter or scene in which their preferred character appears. In The Count of Monte Cristo however, this is not so. As soon as Dantes makes an oath in prison, vowing to get revenge on all those who caused him 14 years of pain and imprisonment, the reader is anxious to understand every character, and how they relate to the Count of Monte Cristo, and how they feature in his plans.

When reading the book, there was something that struck me about the way that Dumas writes. In the former parts of the book, Dumas always referred to the protagonist as Dantes, or Edmond. However, after Dantes found the treasure, the narrator changes his name to The Count, and never refers to him as Dantes again until the book reaches its conclusion. I really enjoyed that feature of the book, as it made me almost forget that the two names refer to the same person and it was a pleasant realisation at the end of the novel when I realised that though his appearance changed, though he became incredibly wealthy, and though he adopted a completely new persona, his character always remained the same inside which I think is a very insightful view on the human personality; that no matter what happens or what material events take place, the human personality has deep foundations, and that it is near on impossible to change.

In many excellent books, the reader gets to the end and thinks: “Oh. That was…rubbish.” The ending can be so often anticlimactic and disappointing to the reader which has stuck through and been interested in the character since the very beginning. Yet in The Count of Monte Cristo this is not at all the case. In fact, without giving away any spoilers, this was one of the most satisfying and well crafted endings that I have ever read. The reader feels that everything has reached its correct and proper end; no plotline is left unfinished and the reader has no questions or queries about what happens next. This is a rare and valuable virtue to have in a book.

Overall, I loved the book. Every element of it enhanced the overall effect; the deep descriptions, the intricate subplots and the structure of the book. It gave me a real historical insight into what life would have been like during and after Napoleons reign, and the feelings and anxieties of civilians living during that time. It gave me an impression of what being part of the French aristocracy might have been like, and the social pressures that would have come with that. Dumas has written The Three Musketeers among others and The Count of Monte Cristo has been a great advert to read more of his work.


Matteo Fernandes

The Hitcher

The hitcher walks in the rain. The thunder growls at him as the rain cascades down like bullets. Headlights emerge from a distance. The hitcher raises his thumb and the car stops next to him.
“Need a lift?” The driver asks.
“Cheers.” The hitcher explains
“Get in,” The driver says after thinking for a bit, “Where should I drop you off?”
“Next town is fine.”
“Sure.” Says the driver, starting the car. He pulls out onto the road and starts what will be his last journey. “How’d you get here?”
The hitcher thinks for a second before responding, “I crashed into a tree; I survived but my friend didn’t”
“That’s terrible,” The driver gasps,
The hitcher knows that if they went back they will find his “friend” with two gunshot wounds to the head, “I called an ambulance already.”
“So what’s your name?”
“The name’s Herman,” The hitcher answers, “Yours?”
“James.” Replies the driver. He’s an ex- cop and has a gun hidden under the wheel for old time sake.
The hitcher reaches into his pocket and pulls out a cigar, “Want one?”
“Nah, I don’t smoke.” James replies
“Sure.” Herman lights the cigar and takes a big puff..
James thinks for a second. The name strikes a bell in the old police officer’s memory. Then the radio came to life. “Looking for an escaped convict called Jerry Nexton, more commonly known as Herman. Be on the lookout for this person as he is dangerous and possibly armed”
As soon as James heard this his blood went cold. He was carrying a dangerous criminal in his car. He looked in the back mirror and saw Herman lifting a gun. “Don’t try anything funny or I will shoot you.”
James had this practice before; he knew every move from that moment. It appeared in the course and the test and the training. Before the hitcher even had a chance to reply, James ducked and dodged the first bullet; seconds passed, the hitcher looked over the seats to see where James had gone, just to get kicked in the face. It had become a perfected routine, James took the time he earned to grab his gun and shoot Herman in the arms immobilizing him and his hands. Then he knocked him out and put the cuffs on him. James started driving to the police station. However the last thing he saw was Herman lifting the gun with his feet then everything went black.

The end?

By Teodor Pelteshki

Flowers in the Attic

flowers2‘Flowers in the Attic’ is a haunting tale based on a real life story ; four children named Cathy, Carrie, Chris and Cory Dollanganger  are used to a perfect middle class life; they have a perfect mother and father both incredibly beautiful, smart and adored. They all have inherited the much loved crystal clear  large blue eyes , long flaxen blonde hair  and full lips that earned their family the nickname ‘ The Dresden Dolls’. However on the night of their fathers 30th birthday everything turns sour. With his unexpected death in a road accident and their mothers love for all things that an abundance of money can buy. They find themselves locked in an attic in the home of her mothers stone cold parents subjected to punishments they had never know to be possible. As their mother hides them away in waiting of her father’s forgiveness and writing into his will they slowly loose their once vibrant colours. They mature and learn the meaning of greed, betrayal and heartbreak as their mother slowly grows to hate and neglect them. As they finally learn the depth of their mother’s betrayals they decide to leave and to fend for themselves. Their once mother with a new husband, her fathers money and his estate after trying to slowly kill them with poisoned arsenic doughnuts  leaves to live a much awaited life in the lap of luxury. As the children cope with Corey’s arsenic induced murder and plant the seeds of heartbreak that have been sown – how will they cope with life outside of the attic?

When I was browsing for a book to read the illustrations on the front cover (a large and menacing dark house and a black floral border) as well as an intriguing blurb capture my attention. As I always do I read the prologue and I was instantly drawn into the world that these fragile characters lived in. The continuous further fascinated me as I continued to read on for hours after I first came into possession of the book. I love motif of paper flowers in the novel. The children go into the attic as growing flowers that have a vibrant colour and vest for life. As the days drawn into weeks, moths and years they slowly faded and wilted into shadows of themselves. I felt that was very much captured in the phrase ‘paper flowers’ which I would change the title of the novel to. The characterisation of the starkly different characters is very revealing this novel gives us enough information to fully understand the characters and plot but also leaves enough unseen – left up to our imaginations. As the plot unfolds we are shocked time and time again by the extent of ruthless things that humans are capable of. We are tough to see the suspicion in everything and to see the world through the innocent and ever trusting eyes of young and fragile children. As the eyes grow old and weary we see that circumstance and paranoia force maturing and radical thinking. The way that the four main characters grow and change in the novel adds a sense of reality to the story and weaves us into its world. I strongly look forward to reading the second novel in the series ‘Petals in the Wind’ and wonder if it will have the same childlike charm and then adult like suspicion of this story.


Na’Imah Laurent-Dixon

Divergent: A second opinion

Divergent follows the astounding battle of a girl living in a time where her individuality might just get her killed.

Synopsis: Beatrice Prior lives in a world where each person is grouped into a faction based on their predominant traits from the 5 key qualities needed to function in a ‘perfect’ society. These qualities are intelligence, bravery, honesty, selflessness and kindness. When it comes to deciding which faction she belongs to Beatrice must make a decision…. She can either stay with her family or join a different faction. There’s just one problem: Beatrice is a person who can’t be defined, a person who has an aptitude for multiple factions…. She’s divergent. Being divergent is dangerous, if anyone were to find out, it could mean death… Can Beatrice survive in a society pitted against her?

My Opinion: I thought Divergent was an amazing story and would recommend it to anyone. I love how Veronica Roth creates a world in which a reader is able to immerse themselves in with ease. I love the concept of factions and how this completely opposes our current societal standings. Nowadays people are free to express themselves and be whomever they want, whereas in Tris’s time people are bound by a certain quality, which I think really enhances the reader’s experience. I think it’s the ability for the reader to become part of the story by considering their faction and the sort of role they would play in the story that makes it credible. I think this was a stroke of genius on Veronica Roth’s part as the readers actually look into their own personalities, as well as the characters. I think Tris as a protagonist is quite interesting as in most books aimed at teenagers nowadays, the protagonist is constantly sure of herself and always seen as strong. With Tris you get to witness all different sides to her personality: although she is feisty and acts strong from time to time, you get to view her as an individual, a real person. I also think that presenting Tris as petite and not athletic was a great idea as it means that female readers are able to feel more confident about their bodies. I thought Four was an amazing character as he shows that what matters is not  focusing on your best quality but working hard to be everything you could possibly be, which I think is a really positive outlook especially with some of the more grim details in the book. I think the theme of power really enticed me to read more as I was curious about Jeanine’s obsession with controlling the city, her character intrigued me as she was considerably one of the most intelligent people in the city and yet only cared about ruling over everyone.


Luz Edwards

Kissed by an Angel

Kissed by an AngelKissed by an Angel-sounds really cheesy right. You’re probably thinking its nothing but a soppy romance that always ends with the geek girl getting the popular guy. Well, you have been wrongly mistaken. This book will open your eyes to a new world were love is pain and tragedy and the people who you trust the most turn out to be the ones who want you dead.

Ivy Lyons is the new girl in school, trying to make new friends and get around as quietly as possible. She has believed in Angels since she was a young girl and still does to this day. Her Mom is getting re-married to another man and she doesn’t know if she can handle it. That was until she met Tristan Carruthers. Tristan is in the school swimming team and has had no trouble getting any girl he wanted. That was until he met Ivy. There was something about her that intrigued him; maybe it was the way her hair swung loosely over her shoulders when she walked. Maybe it was the way her eyes stared intensely into his when he met her the first time. Maybe it was the fact that she believed in Angels. When they finally start dating, everything seems to be perfect. The sky looks brighter, the sun shines longer, and the nights are safer. They’re a match made in Heaven and nothing could stop them….. Until the crash.

Ivy’s life is thrown into turmoil when she loses Tristan. Her heart seems empty and no matter what she does, she can’t seem to stop thinking that it wasn’t supposed to be Tristan who died in that crash. She begins to lose faith in her Angels and seeks comfort in her new step-brother, Gregory. But can she trust him? And has Tristan really gone anywhere? Has he now become something he would never have thought possible?

 This book is an amazing page turner and will leave you feeling scared to go to sleep at night (I know this from experience!). Whilst reading the book I went through a whole range of emotions starting with sorrow than ending with glee. The twists and turns left me wanting more and I finished the book in 1 week. It shows you that love isn’t easy. Not so cheesy now is it? I would highly recommend the book to anyone who loves romance mixed in with a bit of sorrow, tragedy, comedy and maybe a happy ending?

I would advise you to get all the books in one go as the cliff-hangers are unbearable. So hurry up, your entrance to heaven awaits……..


Kenny Ekundayo

The Secrets of Love

This book follows the lives of three sisters Georgina (Georgie for short), Abigail (Abby for short) and Ellie, who are all teenagers and we watch them as they  go through the ups and downs of life and we follow them as the family adapt after the death of their father in the first few chapters of the book. We also are deeply involved their new life after they are forced to leave their beloved home Holly House and we see the Dashwood sisters find love and happiness in their new life

I really enjoyed this books as it is based on Sense and Sensibility which is one my favourite books and a classic by Jane Austin. It is also an exciting read as the story is quite unexpected and as a result I finished the book in less then a week. The book is also very relatable in that all the sisters are around my age ranging between 13- 17 and therefore I can understand how they feel and react in the situations that they face in the book for example when Abby takes the car and runs away. Furthermore, I found it interesting that the book brought Sense and Sensibility into the twenty- first century and thus I was able to get an insight into how the Dashwood girls would react without the restraints of the nineteenth centaury England.


Innaha Ahmed

Animal Farm

animal_farm-3George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm is based around the Russian Revolution, and demonstrates the dilemmas a country encounters when controlled by an incompetent dictator.

The allegorical novel begins with Old Major; a matured pig, giving a speech to the farm animals. During this thought-provoking speech he talks about a dream he had where all animals are equal, and how he believes that the animals should strive for rebellion against the Human race. He ends his speech with ‘Beast of England’, a song intended to motivate and persuade all the animals to overthrow the humans.

Unfortunately three nights later Old Major dies, and is buried in an orchard. The intelligent ones of the animals i.e. Snowball and Napoleon uses Old Major’s speech to compose an Ideology called Animalism. Soon later they are able to take over the farm, and begin rebellion. To signify the initiation of the rebellion they rename the farm to Animal farm.

Snowball begins to educate the animals by teaching them how to read and write. Together both Napoleon and Snowball launch the seven commandments, which are laws that all animals must pursue. Things seem well and for once in their lives the farm animals begin to feel optimistic and content. Mr Jones returns and is eager as ever to reclaim his farm, there is a huge battle and in the end the animals win. This battle later on is called The Battle of Cowshed.

As time passes on it becomes noticeably clear that Napoleon and Snowball despise each other, as they never seem to come to an agreement. Snowball suggests on building a windmill, and tries to persuade the farm animals that it will dramatically reduce their labour. Unsurprisingly Napoleon is against the whole idea. During the meeting where the farm animals were to vote on whether the windmill was to be built, Napoleon summoned some dogs to attack Snowball and chase him from the farm.

With Snowball out of the way, Napoleon could now take leadership of the farm, and with it came endless power…….

In my Opinion I think George Orwell is a tremendous writer, as I have never encountered a writer who could so easily transform the life of significant leaders in history to a ‘fairy tale’. This is explicitly seen when we compare the character in the novel to those in real life. For example Napoleon who is portrayed in the story as being a bad speaker and corrupt, is very similar to Joseph Stalin who also was a bad speaker and killed all those who opposed him. This is also the case for Old Major. In the novel he is the one who comes up with Animalism, likewise Karl Marx invents Communism and dies before the Revolution.

I recommend this novel to anyone who has a passion for learning about the past, and would also like to develop their vocabulary at the same time.


Aaron Owusu

I’ll Be There

I’ll Be There is a love story, between the two main characters Sam and Emily. Their paths intercross at a church where Emily has been forced to sing the song I’ll Be There. As expected she doesn’t do very well and resorts to escaping outside. This is where the book really starts. Sam and Emily meet under strange circumstances as Sam goes after Emily to see if she is alright. Right from the moment Emily decides to sing directly to him; they have now reached the beginning of their lives together.

The title of the book is quite a strange one, but once you have read the book you will then understand why Holly Golderberg Sloan has decided to use the very coveted song title. The book truly goes as true as the title is. Emily has made a promise to Sam and tries very hard to fulfil that promise for the rest of the book. However it’s not easy, for many reasons. One of which is that Sam’s father; who kidnapped Sam and his younger asthmatic brother Riddle from their mother when younger, is always on the road and carrying the kids with him. He does not accept any form of social interaction which could get him into trouble, and so when that happens. He does what he does best. Packs up his bags and takes the boys to another state.

At first when I read the blurb, I thought this book was going to be a quite typical love story. The type of story I have read dozens of times before. Let me say, I was very wrong. The blurb says “Everyone whose path you cross in life has the power to change you.” The book shows an excellent example of that. Everyone who Sam and Riddle meet affects the boys in someway and makes an impact, big or small in their life. Probably the most obvious one is Sam meeting Emily. The book has been described as “a compelling exploration of the power of human connection” and I don’t think there is any other way better to put it. The book answers the question that has arisen many times. Do people you meet have the power to change you? And the answer is as simple as yes; everyone you meet makes an impact on your life and has the power to change you. You don’t believe this? Well then, read the book and question your life and the people whom paths have crossed with. Trust me, your mind will be widened and you’ll be thinking of every person you’ve ever met that’s made you the person you are today. I’ll Be There has been described as heartbreaking, magical and lots of brotherly love. Honestly, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever read and once you start the book you won’t be able to put it down. Trust me.


By Tosin Taslim