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Carousel by Brendan Ritchie
Author:  Brendan Ritchie

Nox is an arts graduate wondering what to do with his life. Taylor and Lizzy are famous indie musicians, and Rocky works the checkouts at Target. 
When they find themselves trapped in a giant shopping centre, they eat fast food, watch bad TV and wait for the mess to be sorted. But when days turn to weeks, a sense of menace grows.

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Sep 12,2016


 Carousel is a young adult novel written by Brendan Ritchie, a writer and film maker from Fremantle, Western Australia. The extremely engaging novel presents us with four main characters who find themselves trapped in a shopping centre. Nox, who is the narrator of the book, is an arts graduate who is currently trying to figure out his life. Taylor and Lizzy are Canadian twins who are famous indie pop-stars who were touring the country at the time. And then there was Rocky, who is a teenager who only turned up that day to complete his shift as a worker at the Target checkouts. They have everything they could have ever wanted, food, technology and an endless amount of toys but the one thing they are missing is a way out. They have many ups and downs and moments they will never forget but there are two questions that are in everyone’s heads: what is happening outside and how are they going to get out?

 Brendan Ritchie was a novel writer and also created films where he came from in Fremantle in WA. In 2015, he published his book Carousel and received a PhD in creative writing. Carousel was longlisted in the 2016 Gold Inky Awards and he has a sequel, Beyond Carousel, being released later this year. Ritchie also spends his time lecturing in a range of creative disciplines.

 The word ‘Carousel’ would imply a fun, amusement park ride but it is in fact  the name of the shopping centre that they are all trapped in and it is quite the opposite to what the word is commonly known as. Ritchie describes the centre as gloomy and dark with creaks and noises, however; there are parts of the centre that are seen as happy places for the four young adults such as the dome which is the only place that they can stand and watch the storms that pass by or where they can watch the sun move from east to west. Ritchie makes his writing seem very realistic and throughout the book, you often feel you are standing right next to them watching them feel defeated as they couldn’t open that one door that they felt they could open. There are many modern themes as Ritchie mentions many bands and song writers that young readers might know and the shopping centre has all the shops you will find in any normal shopping centre. This book also creates many questions in all reader’s minds as the author has created so many possibilities as to what could happen, leaving the readers in suspense throughout a majority of the book making you want to keep reading.

 However, sometimes I, personally, was very unsatisfied with the way things were written. Ritchie would write something very significant in the book but he wouldn’t exaggerate enough or really emphasise that this is a very important part in the book. It was like this throughout a lot of the book and it didn’t help that a lot of his sentences were simple sentences. This made it very short and sharp and it made it hard to really exaggerate things when everything was so simple.

 Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book. Its storyline was pretty original and it had me wanting more at the end. There were lots of twists that you wouldn’t have seen coming which made it even more enticing. I quite enjoyed reading it and I can’t wait for the sequel!

Aug 03,2016
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I can't deal. It was a great plot but Nox's narrative voice was a damper. His approach to life and angstyness made it difficult to engage with such a compelling plot. And Rocky's death - what was that? I couldn't even cry about it, it was so...meh- and I really wanted to as well. I don't know what else to say. I had high expectations for this book, and the mysteries of everything was incredibly compelling, but it let me down. It was fast-paced without compensating for it. There were too many mysteries and not enough satisfying revelations- and when the revelations did come they were treated with 'meh-ness'. WHY?! 

I give this novel a 3 out 5 because a 2 would be too harsh - I'd give it a 2.8, if I could.


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