Review: Justice by Sarah Ciacia

justice-sarah ciacia

A few words before I begin my review: Sarah and I have connected over the internet, due to a wonderful mutual friend who put us together due to our mutual interests (love of writing and dogs, the city of Melbourne…). However, I bought this book, so I have no other obligations to this review. And it’s very tardy. Sorry Sarah. 

Justice begins the story of a victim; Justice is beaten by her father, demoralised at school, plagued by suicidal ideation. However, this isn’t to be Justice’s lot, as she fights back and kills her father. It provides her with freedom and a new lease on life, although she keeps looking back at the high price of her liberty.

For once, Justice is able to be the young woman she was held back from: one with her own style, and not so crippled by her self-doubt and depreciation. The people around her begin to notice.

Justice is a dark fiction novel for the young adult market. There’s some graphic scenes, and this book comes with a trigger warning for rape and murder. It has good flow and readability for a short novel.

Although some previous reviewers found her relatable, Justice so brimmed with bitterness, or alternately, bleak detachment–in a justifiable way, given her experience of life–that I found it hard to relate to her. She’s nuanced and flawed, with moments where you see the pure teenage girl in her; while it’s great for the realism, it’s not always great for being able to relate.

That being said, the despair of being a teenage outcast is very accurately portrayed in this book, so there’s much to relate to for teens negotiating the tumultuous time that is adolescence. And Justice certainly gets herself into troublesome situations like only a teenager can.

While I know there is a sequel in the works, for me the book would have been better served by telling the whole story within this novel. Not to spoil it for anyone interested, but the end leaves a lot of threads hanging. Like all the other readers, I will have to wait until the sequel is done to have the answers I so often prefer.

Justice is a strong first novel from Sarah Ciacia, which leaves you wanting to find out what happens to Justice. I’d recommend this novel for mature young adults and older who enjoy the grimmer side of literature. If you’re interested in the novel, you can find purchasing options here.

Writing update for May

I know it’s been a little while since I posted or updated. Life has been tripping away for this writer over the last few months.

While I must confess that not much writing has been done, there’s been some positive author career steps last month for this scribe. As of the 31st of May, I have two stories in for consideration at different places. I’ve tried to place a short, sweet little flash I wrote a while back, Perfect Match, in a publication with a wonderful ideology. Thanks to help from my wonderful mum, I got it sent in for consideration with The Big Issue’s Short Story edition. A physical submission; a little hard for me to send from Canada to get there in time for its closing 1st of June.

I’ve also given The Lane of Unusual Traders another go. A wonderful, collaborative world building project from Sue Wright and the rest of the team at the Tiny Owl Workshop. A great project with free shorts which you should check out immediately! Which reminds me, I still need to work on placing the wonderful story that I wrote for that last time, which didn’t quite fit with the vision of the Tiny Owls. Wish me luck.

On the editing front, I’ve just sent of a great Lovecraftian-related novel by a new author for IFWG Publishing, Shaun Meeks. Great to have a Canadian on the books now, and he’s been great to work with. It’s a great, fun read, and I will update you all closer to the release date.

Related note, if anyone is in the Hawkesbury River area this weekend, the lovely Paula Boer will be selling her great Brumbies series at the Tom Quilty Cup. I worked as an editor for Paula’s work and it’s a great NA/YA about Australian rural life with gorgeous illustrations from Rowena Evans and some great new covers to top it off. If you’re in the area, drop by: Paula’s writing comes from lots of equine experience and she loves to talk that kind of shop.

Otherwise, SQ Mag is going along well. We’re on a little submission hiatus, and finally getting through some backlog, whittling away the numbers waiting. There’s some names I know waiting, and I can only say, soon! Very soon.

Currently, I’m jobless and travelling in the US, which is great and a wonderful adventure. I’m going to try and post about some of our stops over the next couple of days. We’re heading home to Australia in August.

Happy mid-year everyone! Hope all your travels are happy and uncomplicated.