Book Review: Black

Title: Black

Author: Fleur Ferris

Genre: YA / Thriller / Mystery

Pages: 276

Rating: ★★★★☆

Ebony Marshall, known as Black, is a bit of a loner. She wasn’t always that way, though, she used to have best friends, and a boyfriend.

But then the people around her started dying.

After Black lost three of her closest friends in a series of unrelated accidents, the townsfolk started talking and the rumours started cropping up. In small towns rumours travel fast, and now there are a lot of people who believe that Black is cursed.

With only five months, two weeks, and four days left until she finishes school, Black can’t wait to leave the small town of Dainsfield. But when her date to the formal ends up in intensive care, dark forces begin to stir and Black ends up in a fight for her life.

Unsure of who is her friend and who is her enemy, Black has to make the choice to either run for her life or to try to put an end to her curse.

After reading Fleur’s first novel Risk, I knew that Black would be a cracker. And I was right – I absolutely loved this book! Right from the start I was dragged in to this mysterious and frightening world.

I really liked the small town setting in this book. For me, small towns can either be a tranquil place where everyone is friends because everyone knows each other… or they can be a prison. For Black, she has been ostracised because a number of powerful people, including the creepy priest Father Ratchet, believe that she is cursed.

From exorcisms in a shack in the woods, to bad blood, secret societies, and twisted clergymen, Dainsfield has it all.

I finished reading Black in just two sessions because it was such a page-turner. Every time a mystery was solved more questions came to mind. The setting was so perfectly creepy that I felt the need to look over my shoulder while I was reading just to check that no-one was lurking behind me.

I also really enjoyed the characterisation in Black. Black Marshall is a sarcastic, sassy teenager with a fun sense of humour and a lot of courage. This girl has been through so much grief with the loss of three of her friends, and she had to go through it alone because so many people turned against her. Separated from society, she has become comfortable with being alone and being herself.

Can I just yell happily for a moment about the way Fleur Ferris writes female characters?!

Okay, I’m done yelling. But in all seriousness, I really appreciate Fleur’s portrayal of women and especially their relationships with one another. In a lot of YA and a pretty broad range of fiction, female characters tend to be pitted against each other in competition.

In Black, while there is the obvious enmity between Ged and Black, there is a strong friendship with the A’s, a group of girls who have banded together to support Black. Also, Black has a pretty strong relationship with her mum, which is nice to see because parents are often absent / assholes in a lot of YA.

I think it’s great that Fleur chose to show strong, supportive friendships between young women instead of the usual backstabbing we tend to see.

As I mentioned in my review of Risk, on the same day that I finished reading Fleur’s first novel I saw Black in Kmart and bought it without hesitation. I can now say with 100% certainty that this was an excellent life-decision.

If you’re looking for an exciting book to read while you’re curled up in bed with a hot cup of tea, then Black is the book for you.

Trust me, you won’t be able to stop it once you start, but you might want to draw the curtains and lock the doors before you begin – it’s gonna be a thrilling ride.

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