Cover Image: Precious Catastrophe (Perfectly Preventable Deaths 2)

Precious Catastrophe (Perfectly Preventable Deaths 2)

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A fantastic sequel from one of my favourite authors. Creepy and gripping in all the best ways, I'm praying (but not to Our Lady of Ballyfrann!) for a third book!
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While I definitely thought I would enjoy Perfectly Preventable Deaths and Precious Catastrophe, the level of humour in both really took me by surprise!
From the get go, they were spooky and uncanny, but unrelentingly witty!
The back and forth between Catlin and Madeline was brilliant and I honestly couldn’t get enough of it. I really didn’t expect to laugh out loud at a book that’s portrayed and packaged as gothic YA. BUT, don’t let the humour fool you because this has EVERYTHING you could ever want from a queer modern gothic witchy duology.
Deirdre Sullivan has a way with words and I found her prose completely compelling. She tackles modern day issues and sprinkles the gothic and uncanny all over. I really enjoyed both!
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I really enjoyed this after so long since the first book, always look forward to more from this author!
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I so enjoyed re-visiting Ballyfran and all its mysteries in Precious Catastrophe. I loved getting to see the world and especially the magic progressing. Unravelling a few more of its secrets.
Of course, Mamo is back in all her wise and grumpy glory.

It was a nice surprise too to have Catlin's POV which I didn't know going in. Getting to see that sisterly bond and also the bond that formed from all they've survived.

I wish I had Deirdre Sullivan's talent with words to properly express how much I love this story, and to be able to talk eloquently enough about the themes and impact that they leave.

Alas, I will have to struggle on in 'fan girl word vomit'.

Deirdre Sullivan's writing has always read to me like a mix of the magical and the visceral raw things in life. It was no different here. So many quotes I wanted to underline. When she wrote about a town that eats girls, that takes and takes things from them. And how very easy they are to break. Or at least on the surface. A girl is made of sterner things underneath. And I absolutely loved how she portrayed that.
I don't mean to say that there was any glorification of trauma or anything. But I found it hugely inspiring how she wrote about finding strength through pain and suffering because that's just what you have no choice to do sometimes.

I also don't want to make this sound like a depressing book at all! The amount of sarcastic humour and banter between the twins and about the possible demon cat, Button, had me smiling and giggling to myself like something possessed.
Too soon, Catlin? Sorry.

The spell work and explanations of magic in this world never fail to give me the spine tingles in the best way. The mix of herbal magic practice and the author's own spin on things is a dark delight to read.

I feel like the feminine and sisterly bond is almost extended to the reader here. Some sisters you grow up with and some you forge if not through blood, then through life and shared experience. And there's a power in that bond.
There are so many things I want to say and to say better but then I'd end up just talking about every second sentence that I had to underline and admire.
So in short... read it.. And welcome to Ballyfran..Beal Ifran...Hell mouth, and be careful what you open the door to.
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It's creepy, darkly humorous, highly entertaining and gripping. I liked Perfectly Preventable Deaths but this one is even better.
The dual POVs works well and made me love this well written story.
The characters are interesting and fleshed out, the world building is well done and the author is a very good storyteller.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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A fantastic conclusion to one of the best YA horror series out there. Perfect as this is, I fell so deeply in love with Sullivan's characters that I would love more and more in this series simply because I refuse to say goodbye.
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I was so excited to receive and read this review copy as I was absolutely OBSESSED with the first of the series, Perfectly Preventable Deaths. Don't make the same mistake I did though, and make sure to reread the first if you're in need of a refresher! I had forgotten a lot of loose ends and plot points but not only that, I had forgotten the general tone of the novel - humorous and gory and magical. 

There were times when I felt a bit jolted by the tone of the novel, especially when it came to the big villain reveal and everyone's reaction to it. I also thought the action got a bit confusing and difficult to visualize with the switching narrators. Hopefully this is tightened in the final print copy.

Unlike the first novel, Precious Catastrophe alternates perspectives between those of Madeline and Catlin. This was such a refreshing change, as the two twins are polar opposites. Sitting into each other's voices helped pace the novel while also keeping the reader intrigued - who is really right and what is really the truth?

A very interesting and mesmerisingly written novel as always from Deirdre Sullivan. While I didn't love this one as much as the first, which I hold very dear to my heart, I still want more Ballyfrann in my life. I wonder will there be a third???
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I really enjoyed this book, I was a bit unsure where they would take this story but I actually really enjoyed it. I think the characters in this really drive the story, they are really loveable and I think fully sell the story. I love the sister dynamic throughout this. I also think the setting and atmosphere throughout both books is incredibly strong and makes this book a perfect spooky season read. These books are really fun but also look at some important themes and I think Deirdre Sullivan does a really good job at weaving these two together. I really enjoyed the plot of this one which I was unsure of going into this but I enjoyed myself. 
4 out of 5 stars
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The enthrallingly dark and unsettlingly creepy sequel to Perfectly Preventable Deaths is just as immersive,humorously macabre and richly atmospheric as the first—a chilling page-turner I practically devoured it was soo good. 

It’s starts up shortly after the events of the previous book. Madeline having made a deal with Mamó (her soul and seven years of servitude) to save her sister, is now under the wise woman’s tutelage and learning ancient magic she never thought possible. Her twin, Catlin is still haunted by what happened and feels more isolated than ever. 

But strange things are still happening and Madeline knows she has to keep watch. On her sister. On the things that happen. To notice them before they happen—long,long before…

Once again Deirdre Sullivan serves us with another richly compelling and utterly addictive book that I literally couldn’t get enough of; it’s told from the POVs of both Madeline and Catlin instead of just Madeline which I felt added more depth to the narrative.

I still absolutely loved Madeline who’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the ones she loved deeply endearing. I still felt that, although Catlin suffered a great deal of trauma and sympathised with her greatly, as a character she’s still wasn’t as likeable as her twin but she has the best humour (even if it’s a little dark) and I enjoyed getting to see more from her POV. 

Though I must admit the sensitive way Sullivan depicts Catlin’s emotional development was incredible and felt organic for someone suffering trauma. It’s some of the most emotionally evocative writing I’ve read in a while and it’s simply phenomenal. 

Mamó was also one of the characters I wanted to explore more about as she was such a mystery in book 1 and seemed a rather feared and misunderstood figure. We don’t get too much backstory for her but what we do learn really makes me like her more than I thought I would.

We also delve more into the secrets of Ballyfrann, and even shed a little more light on the towns’ inhabitants (including Brian.) However with soo many strange occurrences and generations of secrets we’re left with just as many questions as answers which has me hoping there’s going to be a book three. 

If you love your fiction magical,  atmospheric and with a hint of the macabre then this is definitely the book for you. Though there is quite a bit of gore so consider yourself warned. 

And thanks to Hot Key Books and NetGalley for the e-arc.
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Deirdre Sullivan is one of the brightest writers working in Ireland today - her re-telling of the Children of Lir, Savage Her Reply, was one of my favourite books of last year and now she’s back with a follow up to her spooky YA novel, Perfectly Preventable Deaths. The novels tell the story of Madeline and Catlin Hayes, two normal(ish) teenage girls who are moved to mysterious Ballyfrann, a town where secrets are rife and no-one is trustworthy. I really loved Perfectly Preventable Deaths last year, and Precious Catastrophe is an equally good ride, deepening and enriching the story of the first novel without seeming like a re-tread. These books work because they aren’t *really* about supernatural beings, demonic presences and life-threatening situations, although these abound across the two novels. They work because they are about family, and the lengths we go to for those we love. Catlin and Madeline are twins, and their bond is a close one, beautifully depicted by Sullivan. 

The two girls are quite different - Madeline is reserved where Catlin is confident, introspective where Catlin is extroverted - but again and again they choose one another. It’s the thread that keeps these novels compelling to read, more so than any myth or magic. As well as being deeply devoted to one another, they are genuinely funny which is something you don’t often get in spooky fiction! Madeline and Catlin’s dual narratives have distinct voices but they both share a dry and deeply sarcastic sense of humour and it elevated everything about the plot for me.  The mythical, magical elements of this book are absolutely fantastic. Drawing on Irish folklore and the natural world, Sullivan creates a very earthy kind of witchcraft that feels distinctly Irish, especially in the mysterious figure of Mamó, who plays a large role in Precious Catastrophe. She’s equal parts creepy and endearing, a witch with a huge understanding of the natural and supernatural world but who cannot use a mobile phone for the life of her. 

This is such a wonderful book - I tore through it, it’s pacy and fun and just the right amount of unsettling for the time of year that’s in it. I will say that you absolutely have to read PPD to understand what’s going on here, to the point that I wish I’d re-read it beforehand, but don’t let that put you off. A magical, thrilling read from a criminally underrated Irish writer.
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Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for giving me an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

This is one of the most atmospheric, funny and also painful novels that I have read in a long time. I was sat at the edge of my seat for most of this story and it just got worse as the story went on. 

I kept on coming up with my own theories whilst reading but was always thrown off by another twist and turn in the story. I have to admit that I did prefer this book more than the first one but both are still a must have read!
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When I heard that Precious Catastrophe by Deirdre Sullivan, sequel to Perfectly Preventable Deaths, was being published this year, it immediately became my most anticipated book of 2021. There was no waiting around with this book; as soon as I had it in my hands, I immediately started reading, and I'm thrilled to say it was more epic than I was expecting!

After Lon attacked and killed Catlin in Perfectly Preventable Deaths, and Maddy made a bargain with Mamó to save her life, both are dealing with the consequences. Maddy now lives with Mamó, constantly working and constantly learning, rarely seeing her family or having any time for herself, and Mamó is just as grumpy and taciturn as ever. But it's all worth it, because Catlin is alive. Catlin is struggling with what she's experienced, and with Maddy hardly ever around, turns to her faith and spirituality for solace. But when they discover their father's ashes have been exhumed from his grave, and that bones of one of the previous girls killed by Lon have been scattered again, they realise they're not as safe as they thought. Something has awoken. Evil is still haunting Ballyfrann.

Precious Catastrophe is told from both Maddy and Catlin's perspectives, as opposed to just Maddy's in Perfectly Preventable Deaths, but the focus is mainly on Catlin. She's still dealing with the trauma and betrayal of what Lon did to her. What I absolutely loved about Catlin's struggle is how real it is; this story may be fantasy, and she may have been torn apart by a monster, but her trauma response is authentic, and very relatable. When she was was killed, she was having sex with Lon that she consented to, but it quickly changed from consensual sex to Lon tearing into her flesh with his teeth, It might not be what we normally think of, but it's sexual assault, and Catlin's trauma response is that of a sexual assault survivor. She was once very confident, and loved the attention of boys, but now things are hard. She's still Catlin; she's still wise-cracking, and kind of self-centered, and that confidence still seems to be there. But she's having nightmares, has anxiety, and when Eddie Collins takes an interest in her, things are different from Catlin when things get physical. When it looks like things might go even a little further than just kissing, Catlin freezes in fear. Eddie even simply brushing his hand over her ribs in a similar to Lon is enough to take her right back. Eddie is a nice guy, though, who knows what has she's been through and is completely up for going at her pace, which makes things easier for Catlin. But the trauma is real, and it isn't something she can exactly go to a therapist with - that her ex-boyfriend is a monster who tried to kill her with his teeth.

So she turns to her spirituality. The Virgin Mary has always resonated to Catlin, and she's always kept a shrine of statues and prayer cards, and she turns to Mary now, both at her own shrine and at the local church, where she spends the majority of her time now. Catlin's spirituality like the other half of the coin to Maddy's witchcraft. It was fascinating to see Catlin's spirituality from her own perspective, because in Perfectly Preventable Deaths, we got it from Maddy's; how unfair she thought it that their mum was ok with Catlin's faith and spirituality, but Maddy's intuitive and instinctive knowledge of what plants and other household items were needed to protect her family was strange and unacceptable. It felt a lot less about religion, and more about ritual and turning inward, and a respect and a reverence that is separate to that within religion. It's a spirituality that is familiar to me.  Despite being an atheist, Catlin's spirituality really resonated with me, and the ritual of it all bringing her peace is something I completely understood. But things start to change when a statue in the church that Catlin is particularly drawn to, Our Lady of Ballyfrann, starts performing miracles for Catlin. Mary has heard her prayers, has made contact, and is now going to help Catlin never feel afraid again.

There is a constant and pervasive feeling of dread as you read Precious Catastrophe. The writing is atmospheric and creepy, and I was constantly on edge. You just know there's something sinister happening, even if you don't know what. It's the feeling of knowing someone is watching you, they're behind you, and they're creeping up to you, but you can't turn around, so you're just waiting and waiting for them to reach you. You're constantly on the precipice of terror; it's encompassing and inescapable, and bloody brilliant! I had so many theories about what was going on, and while they were almost half right, I was never spot on. The direction the story took at a number of points surprised me, and my horror just grew and grew. The twists and revelations were mind blowing, and the climax, oh my god! Sitting on the edge of my seat, completely horrified, and incredibly tense, with no idea how Catlin and Maddy would get out of things this time! It was just incredible! It's all kind of freaky and disturbing and sinister, and I bloody loved it! Honestly, I love Precious Catastrophe more than Perfectly Preventable Deaths, and I thought that was pretty much perfect.

And I'm excited! Because while the story of Precious Catastrophe is all wrapped up and has a conclusion, there are little bits and pieces that make me think there's going to be a third book. There are still questions around the world Ballyfrann exists in we don't have the answers to yet, questions around the past, and a few tiny loose ends - or rather possibilities that could be explored. There are definite hints of more to come. And I'm thrilled because I am in no way ready to say goodbye to Maddy and Catlin, and this petrifying world! I bloody adored Precious Catastrophe, and I need you all to buy it to make sure we definitely get that third book. Seriously, I cannot recommend this terrifying series enough!

**Trigger/Content Warnings: This book features blood, emotional blackmail, self-harm, animal cruelty/sacrifice, mutilation of a corpse, cannibalism, brief mention of most if not all of the scandals involving the Catholic Church in Ireland, implied mention of paedophilia, elder abuse, and trauma following rape.**

Thank you to Hot Key Books via NetGalley for the eProof.
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