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  • Writer's pictureStuart Wakefield

Book Review: Little Rock by Álex Beltrán

Having finished Little Rock by Álex Beltrán, I'm still trying to decide what genre it really is. Yes, it's YA, but is it a mystery, a fantasy, or a romance - or all three? It certainly has lots of elements from them all.

As a book coach, I would have asked Alex to really think this through and decide on the book's 'centre of gravity'. Only by doing that could he have zoned in on the main story, then layered in the other subplots.

I've read that a previous version didn't have an HEA, so the original intention was that it wasn't a romance, and I think that's where the genre confusion comes from. Reshaping a novel from one genre to another is a huge job, and I'm not entirely sure the new version survived the process unscathed.

From that, you might think I didn't enjoy the book, but I really did. Yes, some of the pacing was off—I'm looking at you, mystery (sub?)plot—and, yes, one of the relationships felt a little rushed, but I've forgiven that—and more—of books I've read in the past.

Also, I'm a sucker for Orkney mythology, having written some myself. There's a real sense of space in this novel, and Owen in particular is a well-realised character.

As an aside, I would quite have happily read the original, darker version of this story. Perhaps shooting for a New Adult readership would have been more successful for that version?

Okay, I'm off to watch Alex's films. They look amazing.


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