Aphra's Child

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Member Reviews

So many times I picked this one up, but I just couldn't get through it. 

I'm not sure what it was about this book but it just didn't capture me. I wanted to love it and the cncept sounded really great, but this one just wasn't for me.
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I just couldn't connect to the main character. Behaviour of other characters wasn't explained. I was left with a lot of questions and glad when I had finished it.
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In a world where chimeras have been created to do jobs that people don't "want" to do, such as having Jacks (horsemen) pull carts, Tula has to find her feet when her mother is kidnapped. Tula, a chimera, has been hidden from society so that she would not have to face the harsh treatment of others.

I was disappointed whilst reading Aphra's Child. It had so much promise from such an interesting premise, but ultimately the pacing and writing of the story let it down. I would be interested to see if the next installment was an improvement.
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A slow start to this but I think intentionally as it works youinto the story and once there, you don’t want to stop. Great world building, wonderful characters, such a breeze to read as it sucks you right in and you don’t want to leave. I loved the MC Tula, such an emotive, well written character. Great book and can’t wait for more. 

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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Aphra's Child
by Lesley Glaister
Stirling Publishing
Sci Fi & Fantasy , Teens & YA
There is something sweet innocent fragile and precious about this tale as far as the main character as well as the evil of people. It brings to mind the classic pen "A calf with two heads' as well as the 'Wicked' series while maintaining a place of its own. The book is centered on an unusual and too sheltered from the world young girl and her attempts at survival after being tossed on her own and thrust in another environment from any she has experienced  It also has strong themes of how people have no qualms in creating and victimizing others for their own means then having the arrogance of then trying to destroy them when feeling threatened. The kwepie in this was straight out of "Fairyland [Paul McAuley]" complete with all the soulless, selfishness and  cravenness. I would definitely recommend and this is a good read and food for thought on where your moral compass is standing .
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This was a strange but very imaginative story. I haven't read anything quite like this before and have read a lot of Sci-Fi. A story of Chimeras who have multiplied and filling a subservient roll in the service of "normal" people. There is obviously objection to this and groups are trying to change the status quo. Unfortunately it appears to be the beginning of a series so you don't get to find out very much. It certainly seems to be a story to follow.
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I enjoyed this story, especially in that it can be interpreted in a couple of different ways (a story about Chimera and also as a parallel to society and racism/segregation and politics) which makes it both a nicely written story about a sheltered girl trying to find her way in the world and also as a story with a deeper and often darker message about our society and people and how we all treat others. 
Tula is a likeable teenage character and as she has lived an exceptionally sheltered life with just her mother and she behaves as you would expect a naïve teenage girl to behave. She is trying to rely on herself for the first time ever - she is trying to navigate what she has always been told by her mother along with what she feels is right and at almost every turn she is taken advantage of, 
I don't want to give too much away, I did have my suspicions about who her father was after first meeting the character - I was very briefly, but cleverly made to question if I'd got it entirely wrong at the point it was confronted! 
It ends well, but comfortably leads to a continuation in the series and I definitely think it would be a good book for somewhat younger readers to approach social and political issues with the topics that run deeply through it. 
One of my favourite quotes from it was "Cleansing . . .How can something so cruel and wicked, sound like a pure, simple thing . . ."

If I were able to give half stars I would give an extra half - but I can't, sorry! I must also thank NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read this.
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Tula lives alone in a secluded glen with just her mother Aphra, where no one ever visits. That is until the day of her 16th birthday, when Aphra is abducted by marauders. 

She knows little about herself other than she is Chimera; half human/half animal born with a monkey’s tail. Her father is unknown but she has inherited the same beautiful voice of her mother. 

Alone and scared, her mum always said that if anything happened to her she needed to head into the city and seek out Dr Monk. Consequently this young and naïve, yet resourceful girl embarks upon a perilous journey where she experiences betrayal, manipulation, prejudice, adventure and a romantic interest.  

Tula is a likeable character that you get behind from the start. She has a youthful eternal optimism, a strong will and keen principles. She is sheltered and so naturally is more immature in her approaches as a result of this and the conversational dialogue used reflects this. 

It is a light and easy ready. Perhaps a bit light on depth, which left the story wanting a bit. The characters weren't particularly well developed but this didn't stall the flow or progression adversely. It has laid itself open for further books should its younger audience, (where I think there will be greater appeal), desire it.
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Tula is a chimera: half human, half animal. She has lived her whole life hidden away in the forest with her mother, Aphra – the only other person she has ever met. That is, until marauders come and take Aphra away, leaving Tula scared and alone. In an attempt to find help, Tula sets off for the city; a place where she must hide her animal side and adapt to city life to avoid anyone finding out that she is an illegal chimera. Sucked into a world of harsh politics and lies, she must do all she can to not be discovered.

The story was a little slow to get started, which made it difficult to get into. It got more interesting towards the middle and did stick in my head after I’d finished, but I didn’t manage to get fully engaged in the story throughout the whole thing.

I liked the general idea behind the story. Depending on how you choose to read it, it is either a solid fantasy adventure about a chimera trying to find her place in a world that doesn’t seem to want her, or a social commentary on race reflecting our own society. I tend towards the former, because I read to escape, but it is worth noting that this is a book with potentially meaningful layers.

Lesley Glaister is an extremely talented author. She has a knack for writing about real-life issues within a diverting and engaging story. However, this is the first fantasy of hers that I’ve read and I didn’t rate it as highly as some of her other books. I’m a massive fan of fantasy, but I actually prefer Glaister’s less fantastical novels.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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Oh this was so good!.. Complex character development and world building... Thank you for providing me advice copy!.. Thoroughly enjoyed it!
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When Aphra is kidnapped from her remote cottage, her daughter Tula is tasked with trying to find her, but having never visited the city before – what surprises lie in wait?

Aphra’s Child contains a well thought out world which has some nice, dark undertones to it. The prospect of the Chimera and the mixed breeds are interesting, and we also hit on some much darker notes towards the end of the book with things such as the Velvet steaks and the Kewtie-Pie dolls. I think more expansion of the politics involved and a bit of the history of how the Chimera came to be in existence would be interesting to explore in future novels.

My main problem with the book was with the main character Tula. Especially in Young Adult fiction I think it’s so important for female heroines to be headstrong and a bit independent but Tula is none of those things. I found her quite unlikeable and hadn’t even warmed to her by the end of the story. She is naive to the world which does give the reader a bit of needed exposition which can be realistically placed into the narrative. However, she seems to have no clue how to behave and waits for everyone else around her to steer her around the plot (mainly men which is a bit of a shame). It even says at one point ‘if only there was someone she could ask’ - then when she does finally make a decision it’s usually completely the wrong one. She hardly makes for a good role model!

I don’t usually mention formatting in ARC reviews but this book is now out so I should mention it isn’t well laid out for the kindle. Sentences are broken up oddly and chapter names aren’t formatted correctly so they just look like random words inserted into the narrative which makes it hard to read.

Overall I enjoyed the world that Aphra’s Child is set in, I just thought that a underdeveloped main character ruined what could have been an interesting plot. Hopefully in future books in the series Tula will grow up and be a lot less annoying! Thank you to NetGalley and Stirling Publishing for a copy of the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Aphra’s Child first caught me eye on NetGalley as I love a dark fantasy novel and it made me want to read it. It got off to a fantastic start with Tula escaping into the forest at her mother’s command, she has been hidden away for as long as she can remember and wants to know why things are changing.

The key thing about Tula is that she is a Chimera and in this world, Chimera’s are second class citizens with no rights. The government wants to exterminate them because they percieve them as a threat to their lifestyle. However as naive as Tula is she manages to look after herself once her mother is taken from her. (In this instance it begins to feel like your regular YA novel 😊).

I really enjoyed the writing of this novel as well. It drew me into the story and made me want to know what was going to happen to Tula and the other characters. There were parts where I anticipated the direction that the story was leading us in but I still enjoyed it.

I am looking forward to where the story is going to lead us in the next book. I gave Aphra’s Child 3.5 stars.
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I love this "what if" genre, where we can imagine a different but plausible future. In this world, genetic engineering has been taken too far. Animals and humans have been spliced to create a new, trodden down species that are essentially slaves. In this society, it is shameful to be anything but fully human. Tula has been hidden by her mother and at 16 her world gets turned upside down, her mother disappears and she finds out that she has a flaw that could lead her to being ostracized or worse. She begins her adventure to find safety and her mother. The villain check, the mysterious cute boy check, the courageous spunky girl check. The rest of the story felt very predictable, with one or two twists, but overall it felt too familiar. While I mildly enjoyed reading it, I wont be rushing to read Part 2.
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How lovely is the title for this listing!?

Okay, I love goats, as much as the next person, but five pages in a row about milking goats is a little over-kill for me.
Great writing style, but it was missing something special to keep me interested.
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I was sent an uncorrected advance proof of Aphra’s Child by Lesley Glaister to read and review by NetGalley.
I really enjoyed this book!  It is a very different genre to Lesley Glaister’s other novels, which I love, but she rises to the challenge well.  The bones of the story are firmly rooted in the tradition of the Sci Fi/Fantasy genre – good against evil, class structures, birth rights and quests for equality.  There is also an underlying reference to certain real-life events, past and present, which I don’t think can be mistaken.  The author manages to put a twist in the tale as she conjures up the atmosphere and sense of place within the narrative and brings her characters to life.  I look forward to reading the next book in this entertaining Teen/YA series.
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Well that was a pleasant read!

First of the Chimera series, Aphra’s Child is a refreshing take on the enduring tale of how men treat those that are different from them, how they can reject and belittle those they have used, once this much needed working mass becomes numerous and eager for freedom and equality…

Petula has been living with her mother in a remote cottage for 16 years now. Having been told how dangerous the outside world is, she has not got any contacts with the outside world. Her universe ends at the edge of the woods that border their little farmyard. But one day, her mother is abducted. Now alone and ridden with worry, Tula must go to seek some help.

But Tula is naive and helpless. The outside world, especially the city, is an uncharted, incomprehensible territory to her. She soon finds herself entangled in other people’s greedy schemes and shady political matters.

I appreciated the fluidity of the writing, and it got even better in the second half of the story, when the intrigue really picked up.

Moreover, Tula is an engaging protagonist, albeit sometimes annoyingly gullible and impulsive, but these traits fit with the characters.

I found the plot exciting and well though of,  although maybe with too many coincidences that converge to help Tula along the way. Her adventures are entrancing and she encounters a gallery of colourful characters : the greedy businessman, the populist politician, the passionate activists… and the commoner who does not agree with the harsh discriminative policies in place or proposed, but still closes his/her eyes because it is safer than to protest. They all help her grow, somehow, and provide food for thought for the reader too.

I also enjoyed all the little clues and mysteries sown across the novel. Some find resolution in this first instalment, and other provide perfect teasers for the next. I am curious to see how Glaister ties everything up in the end.

All in all, Tula’s story is rich and thought provoking, and as we see her growing we also share her moral questionings. An enjoyable novel to put in young and adult hands alike. Read it if you are looking for a entertaining yet dark and clever story, that treats important matter with a well balanced tone.
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Rating: 3,5 stars 
*ARC Kindly provided by Stirling Publishing via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
TW: reference to discrimination and enslavement (not explicitly related to any minority in particular)

Aphra’s Child by Lesley Glaister is a fantasy novel about a 16 years old girl, Tula.
She’s spent her entire life in the forest, far away from civilisation. The only person Tula has ever met was her mother who she lived with until her sixteenth birthday when the marauders rob Tula of everything she’s ever known as home.
But Tula is not just a girl, she’s a chimera: half human, half animal.
In a society where human beings are the ones in power and chimeras are enslaved and considered less than objects, Tula has to adapt to the city life -and its strict, amoral rules- as much as she can in order to save her mother, Aphra, without anyone finding out that she’s the worst type of chimera, a breed that’s been considered illegal.

Aphra’s a strong woman whose only wish is for her daughter, Tula, to live happily and away from the prejudice and violence of the people from the city.
She’s also Tula’s only point of reference and when she gets abducted the girl’s life changes for the worst. Petula is lost and doesn’t know anything about how things work in the city, she doesn’t have much money nor does she have a place to stay.
Her character might come off as childish but that makes completely sense since she’s been kept ignorant about the most mundane things by her own mother. So basically her behaviour and her naive decisions derive from a lack of knowledge.
On the other hand Tula is determined to find her mother and doesn’t stop when things don’t go exactly her way.
She has a pure big heart, but that’s not enough to survive the everyday life in a town ruled by people who believe anyone who’s slightly different has to be considered an abomination.

I had some difficulty getting into the story at first, not because it was complicated, I just simply found it a little slow. Towards the middle it got more interesting.
The writing style was not complicated and pretty flowing, although maybe the dialogues where people were supposed to sound like they had an accent were a little confusing, but that might just be me since English is not my first language.

My only issue with this book is that diversity is represented by literal beasts, which makes the difference between human beings and chimeras an actual biological fact. 
If this book was meant to be a reflection on how minorities in real life are mistreated/marginalised then maybe amplifying differences by making them actually different, may result in a quite damaging and (hopefully) opposite reaction to this book's initial intent.
But since none of this was ever mentioned explicitly I don't think it's fair to come to conclusions and maybe the book was simply about a chimera trying to find her place in a violent and dangerous world.
Overall I enjoyed this book and I'd recommend it to fantasy lovers.
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Rating: DNF

This was Ms. Glaister's first YA novel attempt and I've read great reviews on her other novels that I was extremely excited for this one especially as it would be my first from her. Unfortunately, I DNF'd this for several reasons listed below. *I received a free copy from NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review*.

The plot line was designed to illuminate an adolescent girl who learns to strive despite her differences. The writing of this character was not to my liking at all - instead of creating a strong protagonist, the author made her too youthful and immature, often making me feel like she was only 11 or 12 vs. the young adult she's supposed to have been. The setting's atmosphere attempted to create a semi-dystopian society with issues of racism, inequality and social class segregation and while I could see how easily this could have been achieved especially with the fantasy aspect of these characters, it fell through. The pacing of the storyline did not help matters either -it was very slow and hard for me to maintain interest.
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With a barely-there synopsis, you would think that this would be quite the gamble for most readers, but given how reliable critically-acclaimed author Lesley Glaister is I figured it was an odds-on favourite. Don't let the limited blurb put you off as some books simply work best when the reader goes in blind. However, if you think you've happened upon a lighthearted, fantasy world then you are very much mistaken. As with all of her novels, Glaister infuses it with issues that reflect those in our own societies.

Although the pacing is quite slow at the beginning it still works well as I feel you often need some time to adapt to the writing style and pick up on how the world works, once you become accustomed to both, the pace picks up. Glaister's worldbuilding could rival anyone's, even the greats of the fantasy genre, her characters are beautifully painted and interesting, and I look forward to both the world and the characters evolving over the upcoming books. Despite being based in a richly imaginative world, the author manages to make it both believable and wonderful, and the contrast between the light and dark in this fictional universe is masterfully executed. It features a sprawling fantasy world, suspense, and a smattering of romance, there is certainly something for everyone here. The portrayal of the conflict between humans and chimeras echoes that between classes, races and sexualities in the real world. This is one of the most refreshing fantasy titles I've had the pleasure to read recently, and the message it holds about being true to yourself no matter the consequences is one I can completely get behind.

This is a thoroughly enjoyable young adult debut, but with more substance than most. I really had a hard time putting this down, it was utterly immersive. This was a great read, and it has already gotten me anticipating the next book in the Chimera series. Glaister is a highly underrated author whose gift for engaging plots deserves a wider readership. Tighter editing could have perhaps sharpened up some of the prose, but apart from that, I loved it!

Many thanks to Stirling Publishing for an ARC. I was not required to post a review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
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I picked this book up 3 times, and struggled through it. Although there was plenty to like, I'm sorry to say it just didn't work for me.

The writing style felt uneven and awkward, with strange choices of slang and naming. 

It had a slow pace, which isn't an automatic fail in my opinion, but there has to be a good reason for it. It just didn't further develop the texture of the story in any way.

Overall, the worldbuilding was lacking in context and detail. It didn't feel full developed. 

I did like the concept and development of themes in the plot. And the characters were well rounded and compelling. 

Unfortunately, Aphra's Child fell short of my expectations and I didn't particularly enjoy it.
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