Home About Reviews Policies Library Contact

Down with the Shine

Title: Down With the Shine
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Genre: YA Fantasy-Horror
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: 26/04/2016
Format: Hardcover
Links: Goodreads, Author's Website
Purchase: Booktopia, Book Depository, Angus & Robertson

Make a wish…

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

I was really excited to read Down With the Shine, and so I actually pre-ordered it. Overall, I really enjoyed the read - it was fun, fast paced, and it was easy to share emotions with the main character. I did have some issues with it though.

The basic premise is that the main character, Lennie, takes some magic moonshine with her when she crashes the popular girls party. Only, she doesn't know it's magic, and the ritual of her Uncle's that she copies actually grants wishes. So, she goes ahead and grants dozens of crazy wishes, and discovers the next morning that the world (or at least the lives of those at the party) has gone to shit.

That's all I'm gonna say without giving too much away.

This was a really quick read - I think it took me maybe max of five hours? Probably less. It was fun, fast paced, and different. It showed great potential when it revealed that wish granting wasn't the only kind of magic in the world - that there were hundreds of different magical people. Unfortunately the book didn't go into that too much.

I found the characters fun for the most part, though I think my favourite was the little-seen sidekick Larry. He seemed the most believable and relatable. There wasn't a huge amount of character development, which is a shame, so it's hard to say where characters ended up - particularly because of the way it ended.

This brings me to my biggest gripe with the book - the ending was a little too convenient. Everything worked out pretty much perfect. I can understand that the author didn't want any loose threads since it's a standalone book, but I feel like it could have really benefitted from a second, to give the plot and characters more development time. And I'm really disappointed at not getting to see more of the mythos.

So Down With the Shine gets a tentative 4 stars from me, and the hope that we might see more of the potential mythos the author has touched on. At the very least I'd like to see a short story of Lennie 5-10 years after the end of the book.

Also, how gorgeous is the cover? I think it's going to inspire a cross stitch in the near future!

Question time: If you could have one wish granted, what would it be?

comments powered by Disqus