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Bella, British School of Gran Canaria


Release tells of a single day in the life of Adam Thorn, where literally everything that could've happened, happened. Ranging from drastic changes in relationships to internal turmoil and self-discovery. Meanwhile, the spirit of a dead girl rises from the lake, seeking answers and somehow, their fates will intertwine.

The concept of split perspectives is something predominant in Ness' works, something that I enjoyed immediately about this book. Yet I felt like Ness was trying to implement an underlying fantastical theme again within this story (the faun and his Queen) since he did it so well in past works like the Chaos Walking trilogy and A Monster Calls.

However, those were stories that heavily belonged in the fantasy genre, and Release is a contemporary YA novel, therefore making the whole mythical alternate setting come off as a little superfluous.

Otherwise, Adam's story was very powerful and compelling, tackling sensitive subjects relating to this day and age. I have to praise Ness for depicting Adam's struggles with family, friends and his own sexuality in such a realistic manner. It makes you question the morals of today's society, especially regarding the views of religious ideologies on homosexuality.

The theme of "entrapment" was present throughout the story, primarily in Adam's parents' firm and repressive religious beliefs that discouraged him from being completely honest with them, despite being immediate family members. It popped up again in the lingering desire to remain in a relationship that had long since ended, making him unable to commit to his current one. Ness' use of descriptive and emotive language makes Adam's character easy to emphasize with and thus ensures readers understand the difficulties he goes through.

Overall, Release is a good read with a great conclusion. It's only slightly spoiled by the confusing alternate storyline. Like Beck last year, this is a book very much for young adults rather than children.

Posted on: 16th April 2018 at 09:42 am

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