The Return of King Lillian Review


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GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.
So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?
“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)
Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.
The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

Honestly, this was an incredible read.

Lillian writes in her book, and to her book, so as you read it’s as if she’s writing to you. She writes as she speaks so that makes from some creative spelling and word choice and it’s a lot of fun in that way. Also, this has a feel of the old fantasies and tales, there’s a character going on a long quest with a bunch of adventures along the way and a great slew of companions and character interactions.I’ll expand on this more when I write up a review on my blog but needless to say I completely love this book.

^ This was my GoodReads review, and to expand on it, this book really stuck with me. I mean I think about it randomly when someone asks about retellings. Obviously, there are some great ones out there but I just felt this was one of the more creative ones and it left me yearning in a pretty nostalgic manner. This harkened me back to again The Princess Bride [in terms of style, not content] where I chuckled, but more than that fleeting style comparison, it reminded me of the older books such as The Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland as I stated in the GoodReads review. There’s this sense of exploration of new lands and adventures, and a hero travelling through a world but instead of focusing on the world, we see bits of it as we go, piecing it together and focus on the adventures.

Lillian is a great protagonist and I loved her, and it’s not completely without heartache but it was little enough to be almost refreshing in that sense. She overcame quite a few things, and there was sadness, but that wasn’t the main focus of Lillian’s thoughts, she was carrying forward most of the time, toward a goal.

Not to mention, how many times can we recount a retelling or adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes and Plakson just completely blows me away. [I’m a HUGE Andersen fan so I can be picky]

I was also lucky enough to be gifted an audiobook copy from the Maestro herself, and I’ve delighted in listening to it with my daughter. In fact, this was an audiobook first and the fact that she has turned it into an equally beautiful novel on paper, that there’s no difference and they both flow flawlessly says a lot about her talent with words.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

The Seventh Train Blog Tour

FINAL The Seventh Train Cover .jpg

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“Ingenious, great fun, and wholly original” – Fay Weldon CBE, on The Seventh Train

Moving from stage to page, The Seventh Train has taken the scenic route from Jackie Carreira’s award-winning play to a second novel that promises to be as well-received as the first (Sleeping Through War, 9781788038539)

The Seventh Train is a ride – a ‘road movie’ on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she’d pretended that the spare seat was taken.

Although, by turns, hilarious and life-affirming, part of the story tackles serious issues of suicide and mental health, specifically the alarmingly high incidents on public transport. As Jackie says: “This is something that’s been in the news a lot recently, especially as suicide rates on the UK rail system increased by 9.1% last year. It’s a hugely important issue. Having said that, it’s not a gloomy novel at all, but actually full of hope and a good dose of wit!”

It’s a project that has been part of Jackie’s life for years. Originally conceived as a stage play, it was her theatrical debut and went on to become one of the winners of The Kenneth Branagh 10th Anniversary Award for New Drama at the Windsor Fringe Festival. From there, it just kept chugging along until it became the novel Jackie is releasing now.

With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life- affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable!

Book Information:
RELEASE DATE: 28 June 2019
ISBN: 9781789018936 Price: £8.99
GoodReads Link

 

My Review

So when you read the words above, you’re intrigued but you’re still not totally sure what you’re getting into! I’m a big lover of theatre and not just musically inclined ones but I live and breathe plays when I get to them, they transport you and just utterly captivate you if they do their job right, so hearing this was a play first really got me to say ‘yes please!’

As for what this book is about, it’s about whatever you make it to be, it reminds me in its essence of Waiting for Godot where you could spend your time dissecting it or you could simply enjoy it.

Our main character who starts the journey with us is Elizabeth and she’s a woman who wants to be on her own, she’s realized her unhappiness in life and decides that something has to change. Her solution? Well, you’ll have to read and find out but just know it heavily involves numerous seventh trains.

Elizabeth is joined by a wonderful cast of characters, three others who are going through their own journeys, and all connected by a/the seventh train. It’s a great look into the human psyche and going in a little blind, I can only say that this book was the ultimate pleasant surprise in that it was such a journey to take on its own and the story so relatable that I was left with such a satisfying feeling as I finished it.

Not to mention the ending was brilliant, a hail to the start and I loved it.

If you’re looking to go on a train ride that will leave you looking at what it means to be human and what it means to feel lost and then found, I suggest reading this. Carreira’s writing is fluid and the transition from play to book seems effortless on her part, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to anyone who is intrigued and/or loves the theatre. It was a joy to read this and I want to thank Anne Cater and Jackie Carreira for my copy and the chance to be in this blog tour!

 

Content Warning: Suicide mentioned, discussed, and described. It is not the point of the book but it does play heavy in the journey for some. It is not ideation, however.

 

About the Author

Jackie Carreira Author Pic.png

Jackie Carreira is a writer, designer, musician and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. British-born of Portuguese parents, she grew up in East London and lived for a while in Lisbon as a child. After travelling the world playing music for 12 years, she hung up her bass guitar and picked up a pen. She’s been writing ever since and twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Some of her plays are available online via lazybeescripts.co.uk. If Jackie could have another life, she would be a full-time philosopher and get paid to ask questions all day.

http://jackiecarreira.co.uk/

 

The Rest of the Tour

 

Seventh Train FINAL BT Poster

A Blog’s Life

Another BESpring19 post, today’s prompt is brought to us by the AMAZING Clo.

[Thank you to Sam & Clo for putting this event together!]

This is a fun one today!

 

Where did you start with your Blogging journey, where are you now and where do you want to see it in a year or two?

Great things to think about!

I’m gonna lay this track down for ya’ll in chronological order!

In The Beginning…

I started with just trying to post a review, and then a lament of sorts on my lack of white shelves and Funko pops. [No judgement on that, I just have some cluttered ugly ass shelves and I’m jaded because of it] I didn’t really know if I would like it, I wasn’t sure anyone would read it and so it actually sat there with just one, maybe two posts from October to January.

It clicked then that I wanted to do this, I realized, if there’s anything I’ve ever enjoyed outside of music it was this and now that I had my musical things on track, why not do something outside of music that still was, well, me.

So, Right Now…

I’ve grown SO MUCH. And it’s so much due to having joined such a generally supportive and positive online community. Bookish people are indeed my peeps, ya’ll are my Ride or Die guys.

I’ve gone from talking into a void and almost not doing it at all to now being active every day, I post every day, I think there have been 2 days at most I haven’t posted. I’ve grown in my capabilities as a blogger, continually learning the finer points of writing a good review, and following and meeting so many awesome people. I’ve got 276 followers, which ain’t too shabby for an old lady, and I’m shocked I even have over 500 followers on Twitter let alone edging closer to 800.

Keep Moving Forward…

Right now, I’m at a good pace, my goal is to not lose it. Now. I know there’ll be slumps, but I mean I just, in general, want to keep up with my growth rate if not in numbers than in personal growth lol. I do see myself switching to maybe 3x a week posts for the holiday season, that’s October through December for me. Especially this year as I’m in a musical and have a lot of travelling coming up. BUT looking further ahead than that, I want to give more insightful posts, I want to always keep up a steady flow of Indie book reading and reviewing as well as Netgalley eARCs and I’m sorry if this sounds materialistic but my goal for next January would be to get an ARC from somewhere like Tor/Orbit. This means having to get more followers as well, but, I hope I’m able to do that through just pure determination and interacting with others in the community. [This means I need at least 1K followers on Twitter and I would like to eventually get that amount on Bookstagram, but, I’m looking at getting followers that I can interact with so I’m not in a rush]

I love following bookish people on social media and I think that’s a great way to expand my ‘circle.’ I’d also love to look into doing collab posts this year, and have a regular sort of segment to do. Whether it’s my top 5s that I do, or something a bit more unique. We’ll just have to wait and see.

What about you all? What are your blogging goals? Have you come far from your humble beginnings?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Toodles!