Blog Tour · Book Review

Review: What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Phew – slightly delayed, but here is my spot on the Ultimate Blog Tour from TheWriteReads for What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson.

This is the kind of book you need to be in a good place for – not because the writing is bad (far from it!) – but because it’s the kind of book that will rub your emotions raw.

What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson

Title: What Beauty There Is
Series: What Beauty There Is #1
Author: Cory Anderson
Pages: 368
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK
Publication Date: 8th April 2021
Ownership: eARC provided by the publisher alongside TheWriteReads blog tour

Rating: 4 stars

About the Book

Jack and Matty only have each other left. And, now that they are alone, and virtually penniless, Jack knows that social services will be coming to take away their life, their freedom and each other. So Jack and Matty go on the run. However, they become tangled up in something that their felon father started 7 years ago as Jack attempts to find the drug money that could buy freedom for both himself and his brother. They are joined by Ava, who has her own secrets to keep, and is running from something that has the power to overtake them all.

My Review

There’s a really beautiful balance in this book between a storyline that might feel far-fetched and unbelievable, and a really heartfelt, emotional tale about a brother who will sacrifice anything to save his family, and a girl who has made a choice about what path she will take.

It’s also a story that doesn’t pull any punches (and should perhaps come with a bit of a warning) – that first chapter especially is a LOT. Thankfully the rest of the book doesn’t get worse, but you can expect blood, gore and a lot of injuries.

It’s also a book that really captures the essence of cold, snow and sub-zero temperatures and struggling for your life with limited resources. It perfectly encapsulates that nightmare feeling of being chased, or struggling to escape only to find your legs slowing and the monster gaining on you.

There are some elements that feel a little heavy-handed – the disembodied voice that preambles each chapter and talks directly to the reader. I’m not really sure what this added, except really reinforcing that there won’t be a happily ever after ending.

The plot itself – rushing around the frozen landscape in search of lost drug money whilst shady and inexplicable bad guys emerge from the snow and try and mow the protagonists down – should feel a lot more unrealistic than it actually does. And that is really thanks to the excellent writing – it completely draws you in and spits you out emotionally exhausted.

The characters – Jack, Matty and Ava – are also really well-written. Matty nearly falls into the trap of being the babied younger brother but, with the life and backstory that these young people have had, or has been hinted at, they all feel real and very, very broken.

I was a bit surprised to find that this is the first in a series of books – this story feels suitably finished, so I’m not sure where it’s going to go next. But I was certainly hooked by this book and enjoyed the (really heart-wrenching!) experience of it.

I received an eARC of this book from the publisher and through TheWriteReads blog tour in exchange for an honest review.


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