“Religion is a human invention – love isn’t. It lives inside every person, no matter who they are, or what they do or do not believe in. Love is the only thing a person truly needs to believe in to receive love in return.”
Being an only child growing up in a Chinese immigrant family, Shen lives a relatively quiet and sheltered life in comparison to most other British teenagers. His parents, who ended up running a small Chinese restaurant, work tirelessly to make sure their only child is given the opportunities that they missed out on in life.
It's a day like any other, when Shen becomes witness to a traumatic incident on his usual route to school. From that moment on, his peaceful and uneventful teenage life takes a drastic turn as he struggles to cope with the grim memories of that fateful morning.
Shen embarks on a very personal journey in an attempt to understand what happened. In the weeks and months that follow, he finds himself hurled into a turbulent world driven by fear, prejudice and social injustice.
My reviews vary on what mood the book gave me, and this is one of those books that I have to review a bit differently.
I always save the best stuff for last so let me start with my review with the thing that annoyed me in this book.
1: TEA! I love drinking tea, but this book pushed it to a higher level. That was a lot of TEA! By 70% I'm praying not to read another "tea." Gosh, do they drink anything else?
2: I find Shen's interaction with his parent a bit formal, he rebelled a bit but still, the way their actions and way to speak with each other just seem stiff most of the time (but maybe it's just me)
3: I wish it the book is a bit longer... huhuhu :'(
Moving on. Funny details.
1: I was prepared to read the Philippine names after reading one of the reviews on Goodreads but reading Bayani just cracked me up. It's a very old name (in my opinion) for someone so young in the modern time. Besides, the only person I know with this name is Bayani Agbayani, my favorite Filipino comedian.
- EDIT NOTES March 18, 2017: Author has updated the book so this part feels different now.
2: Malik lines hilarious I wish I could quote all of it here, but I'll give his best line ever:
The man is just so cool. It's a bit sad that the author didn't show more after the last incident with Amihan :( He's a good person. He deserves a happy ending.
Now for the overall review. Three words. I love it!
Shen annoyed me at first. He appeared spoiled and very sheltered, and I just can't connect with him, but he quickly captured my attention especially after he met Amihan.
The story seems a bit dull at first, but after passing a quarter of the book, I could hardly wait to read it again. (Except for the constant offer of tea. Sorry, I just can't get over it.)
33 Ermine Street is quite exciting. The hidden hideousness behind what seem to be perfectly normal society will grip your heart and never let go. This is a memorable read.
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
About the Author
Harvey Lincoln was born and raised in the south of The Netherlands. He lived there for many years before moving to the UK in 2002 where he studied for both a Bachelors and Masters Degree in Graphic Design. He has since returned to The Netherlands where he lives together with his English wife.
33 Ermine Street is his first novel.