“It teaches you to be better. Always try to be better than you currently are. To not return brick with brick, but with love.”

An ARC of Cryptic Clockwork was shared with me by its publication team and I don’t really have any words for it. The writer was at an age that many would consider immature or childish. He was just 18. But you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the book. The things he’s been through, the horrors he’s experienced in such a short time- it’s unthinkable. You can see all of Renley’s pain as you read along, you can feel it. But, the most incredible thing is that he never let all his horrible experiences get to him, to corrupt him, to harden him into something he wasn’t. Instead, he kept his heart open, his soul pure. He was always kind, always helpful, always willing to do anything in his power to make sure that others would never have to suffer the way he has. In the book, you can see how most of his struggles revolve around trying to be a better person; he constantly thrived to be a better version of himself, to let his demons bring him down and turn him into just the sort of people that have hurt him time and time again. This book is heartbreaking, but in a way it’s also very inspiring. It teaches you to be better. Always try to be better than you currently are. To not return brick with brick, but with love. To always keep your heart open, no matter what. And I think that’s a beautiful sentiment. Beautiful, like Renley himself was.

–Sam // Goodreads Review