Thursday 11 May 2023

Review: The Cassandra Complex by Holly Smale

 Cassandra Penelope Dankworth is a creature of habit.

She likes what she likes (museums, jumpsuits, her boyfriend Will) and strongly dislikes what she doesn't (mess, change, her boss drinking out of her mug). Her life runs in a pleasing, predictable order. Until now.

She's just been dumped.
She's just been fired.
Her local café has run out of banana muffins.

Then, something truly unexpected happens: Cassie discovers she can go back and change the past.

Now, Cassie should be able to find a way to fix the life she accidentally obliterated. And with time on her side, how hard can it be...?

Review: This book blew me away. It was one of those books that I couldn’t wait to get back to when I wasn’t reading it so, despite being in the midst of moving house, I read it over 2 or 3 days. Holly Smale's first adult fiction is a true hit and I am sure that, whether you have read the Geek Girl series or not, you will love it!

Cassandra is not one of those characters you will instantly like, she is prickly and she doesn’t really like herself all that much so how are we as readers supposed to like her from the word go? However she is a completely intriguing individual who draws you into her life and gets you on her side through her disaster of a day when we first begin the book. Everything that could go wrong for her does and she really can’t understand why all of it is happening at once when she planned for an entirely different day. It is when she discovers her gift that we start getting to know her as a character and that she starts to get to know herself. 

I’m not a huge fan of having to think outside the box and suspend my disbelief but I completely and utterly bought into the theory that Cassandra was able to rest her days and go to different days or weeks in her past and that is where the adventure of this book really happens. I;m not a fantasy reader, I don’t really like anything to stray from real life in my reading so if you are worried about the time travel aspect, please don’t be. If I can be fully invested in closing my eyes and travelling back in time, you can too!

What makes this book so uniquely brilliant is the level of detail that Cassandra goes into through the power of Holly Smales writing. She is obsessed with Greek mythology, who isn’t, and so we get to hear where she got her name from and the ways in which she compares her life to Greek heroes and villains. She is also fairly self-reflective and she realises that she has to learn how to act around some people because it doesn’t come naturally. Watching her having to learn some social queues and why it is not always OK to say exactly what you think in all situations was really emotional for me but it is part of the heart of this book. 

This book is own voices for autism but really it says all there is to say about trying to make it in this world as a woman who wants to have a good life and do it independently. It is exhausting and takes multiple tries to even come close to what you thought it would be! I highly recommend this novel whether you have read Holly Smale before or not, it is brilliant and a must read!

To order your copy now, just click here!

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