Title: Release

Author: Patrick Ness

Series: N/A

Publisher: Walker Books

Release Date: May 4th 2017


Four Stars

Inspired by Mrs Dalloway and Judy Blume’s Forever, Release is one day in the life of Adam Thorn, 17. It’s a big day. Things go wrong. It’s intense, and all the while, weirdness approaches…

Adam Thorn is having what will turn out to be the most unsettling, difficult day of his life, with relationships fracturing, a harrowing incident at work, and a showdown between this gay teen and his preacher father that changes everything. It’s a day of confrontation, running, sex, love, heartbreak, and maybe, just maybe, hope. He won’t come out of it unchanged. And all the while, lurking at the edges of the story, something extraordinary and unsettling is on a collision course.

– Blurb courtesy of

My Thoughts On…

…The Plot

“Why did everyone no longer a teenager automatically dismiss any feeling you had then? Who cared if he’d grow out of it? That didn’t make it any less true in those painful and euphoric days when it was happening. The truth was always now, even if you were young. Especially if you were young.”

Release is a story set over the course of just one day. We follow Adam Thorne as he runs errands for his parents, heads off to work, and makes plans with his friends for a get-together, but we also follow Adam as he tries to accept the changes that come along all on this one day. Changes that bring with them heartbreak and love and fear and disgust.

Adam is preparing to say good bye to his ex, a boy he still loves, and add that to the fact that he’s still hiding the fact that he is gay from his parents, who will never accept that part of him, means that he isn’t happy. However as Adam tries to deal with everything this one day throws at him – revelations from his brother, ultimatums from his manager, news from his best friend – something has woken from the lake; something that, if it doesn’t return by sunset, spells the end of the world.

“The faun wishes to tell her, tell her that she is caught, his Queen, snagged and bound by a frightened soul. He needs to tell her that she is in danger of becoming lost forever, but he cannot. He can only look at the sun, less than an hour from its midday peak.”

The Queen is trapped within a lost soul, searching for answers, for vengeance, for the person responsible. Her guardian walks alongside her, struggling to pull the Queen and the spirit apart so the world can be restored again, but as the Queen sinks deeper and deeper into Katie’s life and her death it becomes harder for her to leave the spirits journey unfinished.

Release is as impossible to sum up as Patrick Ness’s other books, it is almost two stories wrapped up in one. The first story, Adam’s story, is one about love. It’s about accepting heartbreak and moving forwards, about family and loss and so many other human parts of life. The Queen’s story is full of magic and something more mystical, but at the same time it’s a story about vengeance, acceptance and finding a home again.

…The Characters

Can I love? He thought. Can I?
Can I be loved?

Adam is a brilliantly written and wonderfully developed character. He’s basically what I’ve come to expect from Patrick Ness’s stories. His whole life Adam has been different from his family, he knows his parents prefer his perfect older brother, Marty, and as such Adam has been cast in the role of the Prodigal Son. Adam is the one who strays from his families and Gods path, but they hope one day he will return home to their faith.

The relationship Adam has with his family is a complicated one. He knows his parents will never accept that he is gay. A small town preacher and his wife they each have very close minded views of homosexuality so even though they likely know, and Adam suspects they likely know, it’s a subject no one dares acknowledge. Adam accepts who his parents are, their beliefs and their way of life, but they can’t do the same for him and it causes a divide between them all.

“I’m always gay?”
“In every universe.”
“That makes sense. Are you always short?”
“Except in the universes where I’m Beyoncé.”
“In some universes, we’re all Beyoncé.”

Despite not having a close relationship with his family Adam does have a close relationship with his best friend, Angela. The two confide in each other about everything, and Angela has become Adam’s family, the person he leans on when things are tough and the person he keeps no secrets from. Their friendship is something solid Adam can rely on no matter what, and the bond between Adam and Angela is the kind of close knit friendship I’d love to see more of in YA books.

The relationship Adam has with Enzo his ex, and Linus, his current boyfriend, define this story as much as his relationship with his parents and his friendship with Angela do. At his heart Adam doesn’t fully understand what love is, and hasn’t had the best role models to teach him what it’s supposed to feel like. All the emotions Adam feels weigh strongly on him but he doesn’t know what he wants so he muddles along, making a mess of his feelings and then trying to make everything right again.

The question rises in the Queen, in the spirit, twisting around the braid the two of them make together, this new third being their combination has created, the question rises and rises until it must be spoken, until it absolutely must–
“Are you to blame?”

The Queen is a character we only get small glimpses of in between Adam’s story, and we never truly understand her character the way we do Adam’s. She is an enigma; powerful, eternal, necessary, but at the same time there is so much of the spirit in her that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.

While Release was a really good book I expected more from the story and from Patrick Ness. Individually I loved reading Adam’s story and loved reading the Queen’s journey, but together I was left with too many questions at the end. I really enjoyed Patrick Ness’s earlier books, where the whole story was steeped in indescribable magic as we explored new worlds, but I feel like there’s something missing from his newer books where the magic only barely touches the main characters.

What did you think of Release? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.

41 thoughts on “Release

  1. Ahah I love Patrick Ness so much! At the start of the review I was totally expecting 5 stars though haha 4 stars isn’t bad but coming from Patrick Ness I can so understand the expectations for higher! I might have to go in with lowered expectations with this one, but I’m glad you still liked it despite slight disappointments! Lovely review. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s an amazing author, and still one of my all-time favourite authors! 🙂 Four stars definitely isn’t bad, and actually I think this book would be more four and a half rather than just four. Unfortunately it felt like there was something missing, especially when compared to his earlier released you know?
      You may enjoy it more than me Analee, you never know, and thanks! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I was ambivalent about this book because The Rest of Us Just Live Here kind of let me down, but this sounds amazing! I love the quote that you included, and the premise does sound unique (something that Ness is actually really good at), although I’m sorry to hear that you feel like something is missing still.

    I’ll definitely have to get my hands on this one and see for myself what I think about it. Great review, Beth. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like this book was more similar to The Rest of Us Just Live Here than Ness’s earlier works. It was still a good read but yeah I couldn’t escape that feeling that something was missing which left me wanting more from Release. The concept, the writing, the characters were all amazing so if you do decide to pick it up I really hope you enjoy it Reg, and thanks! 😀 ❤


  3. Lovely review, Beth! That book, like every other Patrick NEss book, sounds very intriguing and I’m eager to read that one sometime soon, hopefully. I’m sorry to hear you felt that it kind of missed a bit of magic though :/ I’m curious about these two stories and how they come together and everything. Patrick Ness really mixes genres well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie. ❤ It's definitely intriguing, and like every other Patrick Ness book the premise really does grab your attention quickly. Yeah I think I just preferred his earlier books where there was more magic you know, still this was a good one and well worth the read. Patrick Ness definitely mixes genres well and this book is a perfect example of that. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. This makes me think, kind of off topic but still Patrick Ness related – I think there were news of the Chaos Walking movie lately! This makes me feel like I should go on with this series anyway…. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh my god really?! I hadn’t actually heard about that, then again I don’t keep on top of movie news the way I do book news. Well hopefully if you do finish the series you’ll enjoy the second two books more than you did the first one. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I haven’t heard of this and I AMG glad to see that you enjoyed it! I might stick this on on my tbr – I definitely want to give Ness another shot with some of his other books 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a very lovely review, Beth! It’s nicely structured and you made your thoughts really clear. I’ve read one Patrick Ness book so far, but I enjoyed his writing style so I’m definitely open to reading more of his books. I think I’ll start with this one because it sounds like something I’d enjoy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. I’m really glad you liked my review, and yeah this structure works well for me when it comes to writing my reviews too.
      Oh what one of his have you read so far? Patrick Ness is one of my all-time favourite authors, and I’d highly recommend picking up any of his books. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did, or more even! 😀


  6. This sounds really interesting. I’ve always loved books that are set over the course of a day because the ones I’ve read have played out so well and I love how this one kind of has that contemporary feel while also having a fantasy element. I’ve yet to read any of Patrick Ness’s books still, though I’m determined to this year, but I’ve noticed that he mixes contemporary and magical things together a lot. Or at least from the books of his that I’ve heard of. And I also always hear that he’s fantastic at writing characters, which it seems that was true for this one too. I’m definitely intrigued and am going to add this one to my ever growing Partick Ness TBR. Great review as always, Beth!! 😁♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The one worked really well , I was both aware it was set over the course of a day and not at the same time because of how the story was moving and what was happening in it. Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors and this story is a really good one that showcases his talent for weaving together contemporary and fantasy (kind of magical realism you know?)
      He does do it a fair bit and all his stories are amazing, I’d highly recommend them Melissa, no matter what one you start on it’ll be a good book I feel you’re sure to love! And yeah I’ve never read better character development than I have in Patrick Ness books.
      Thanks so much, I really hope you enjoy this one when you get around to it! 😀 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I feel like that’s the best way to write a book that’s set over the course of a day, where you know it’s set in a day but then because of everything that’s happening it doesn’t exactly feel that way. That’s how The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was for me. 😁 I definitely plan on reading some of his books. I so want to get around to at least one this year but we’ll see.
        Speaking of Patrick Ness though, did you hear about how his Chaos Walking trilogy is being made into movies? I know you really enjoyed that series.
        You’re welcome, Beth!! I hope so too! 😁♥

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I think, and I can’t say for sure because my memory is terrible at times, that this is the first book that I’ve read set over a day. It was a brilliant one for sure and if The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is like Release it’s definitely one I’ll need to get around to soon! Oh that’s great, whatever one you read I do hope you love it Melissa! 😀
        Yes, I literally heard that today and I am so so so excited. They’ve already released the casting for the two main characters and it’s a brilliant cast so far. I don’t know if I’ve ever been more excited for a book to film adaptation than I am for this one (other than Harry Potter of course!) 😀 ❤


  7. I LOVE that Beyonce line XD It already has me giggling, I’m a bit nervous to pick this one up I love A Monster Call and The Rest of Us Just Live Here but didn’t really like More than This 😦 I have The Knife of never letting go on my shelf so once I read that I’m going to try this one and hope I love it. Ness has such a unique style weaving fantasy with contemporary it’s so hard to sum his books up!
    Great Review Beth ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh it definitely made me laugh when I first read it, and I knew then it had to go in my review! 😀
      I think if you enjoyed A Monster Call and The Rest of Us Just Live Here but not More Than This then you’ll love this one as well. I was the opposite, I loved More Than This but wasn’t as keen on The Rest of Us Just Live Here so I felt there was something missing from this book.
      The Knife of Never Letting Go is amazing in my opinion, I really hope you enjoy it as well Casey, and yeah he definitely has a unique style, but I love his books so much.
      Thanks so much! 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay you’ve made me want to push it up my TBR and YAY to you loving the Chaos books, I’ve been a bit hesitant on starting them but I need to just dive in and see how I like it, it sounds really different and good.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ha, that’s great to hear Casey. Oh the Chaos Walking books are one of my favourite trilogies, and I hope you end up loving them. They’re books that are very different to anything else out there but kind of addictive! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yay! I feel like they had a heap of hype when they came out but it’s kinda died down now but I’m still excited to read them and hopefully love them too! Different is good 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I literary just now realised that there are two silhouettes of people on that cover! I have no idea how I managed to miss that! What the hell? :O
    I definitely plan on reading this book, after all Patrick Ness is one of my favourite authors. It’s too bad that you didn’t enjoy it as much as his other works. Great review Beth! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, yeah I didn’t realise that for a while either. I think it’s hard to see the second one because it’s upside down. 🙂
      Overall it’s still a good book, I just think after recently reading his older books I expected a little more from this one. I hope you enjoy this, and thanks Anna! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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