by Sarah Addison Allen
A magical book I read recently is Garden Spells
by... um... I lent the book to a friend and have to look up the author. It's a story about a family with special talents and a very unusual garden. The characters are quite wonderful, and the story goes where you hope it will go with some interesting turns in the road. It's a fantastic start for a new author who I hope will write more.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
This is one of the best novels I've read this year. It's the story of a beautiful but drug addicted male porn star who is burned severely in a car accident. During his intial painful treatments (described graphically and not for the squeamish), all he wants to do is get well enough so that he can be released from the hospital to commit suicide. This begins to change when a lovely but strange woman, Marianne Engel, appears at his bedside and begins to tell him stories that supposedly happened to both of them and others in past lives. The stories, beautifully told, captivate him (and the reader), as does she herself. He thinks she's crazy, with good reason, but his shriveled body and soul begin to grow under her care and feeding. (Don't read this when you're hungry. The food descriptions are mouth-watering.) However, she disappears on him periodically, to "release the beasts trapped in the stone." It turns out that she's a renown sculptress who specializes in gargoyles, and she invites him to live with her to facilitate his recovery. From there his journey really begins.
The writer has made these characters solid and complex. This is no ordinary love story, and their relationship often seems doomed. The ending, however, is carefully sculpted, and will linger with the reader for a long time. I don't usually rate my books, but I give this one a 5 out of 5.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Ghost Writer
by John Harwood
I just finished The Ghost Writer
by John Harwood. It is his first novel, and very interesting. There were several times in the book when I felt the ominous atmosphere was real, and I could very vividly imagine exploring a (possibly) haunted house.
The main theme of the book is a boy who grows up dreaming of visiting his Mother's family estate in England, which she talked about in stories when he was a little boy. She suddenly stopped talking about the estate one day when he sneaked into her room and got into a locked drawer and found a photo and some documents from her past. Later on, he finds that his great-grandmother wrote ghost stories that may or may not tell the truth about his family heritage. He does end up going to the family estate (although it is not as he expected, exactly).
I thought the writing was very good; especially for a first novel. At times there were characters in the ghost stories that blended together in my mind and it was difficult to tell them apart; however, it is probable that the author intended that to happen. I did find that I was turning pages eagerly and that I was always interested in what would happen next in the story. I would recommend the book; especially if and when it comes out in paperback.
~Reviewed by CatnipThe Ghost Writer
by John Harwood
I just finished reading The Ghost Writer
by John Harwood. This is his first book and what a debut! I will be thinking about this book for months to come. The end reminds me of My Cousin Rachel
where you never really knew who committed the crime and went back and forth in head, over and over, trying to figure it out. But with The Ghost Writer
, John Harwood gives us so many parallels between the real story and the ghost stories in the book you start to wonder what is real and what is a ghost story. Who is sane and who is not. Who is a ghost and who is real. It is absolutely brilliant!
Here is a review that describes the book well, even though the reviewer is not overly thrilled with it REVIEW
Some reviews I've read don't give the book it's rightful praise, but personally, I think the readers aren't getting the whole picture and don't understand all the parallels going on.
I would love to have someone read this and I would also like to start a discussion corner because there are still some questions in my mind. Everytime you start thinking about something that happened, your mind takes off on another tangent and then you start to wonder how it is related. I think the author was also playing with your mind as you are reading.
~Reviewed by GhostladyGods in Alabama
by Joshilyn Jackson
I just finished up this one for my book group. It's a well-written story of a young woman who went away to college and stayed away from her small southern town for 10 years. The reasons she stayed away so long we only begin to realize when we head south with her and her African-American boyfriend. There's a mystery involved and some deeply hidden secrets that the author reveals a layer at a time. As me meet each character, we get a piece of the past and more of the reasons for the sometimes over-the-top behaviors of the main character. It's a good read with some neat twists and turns. If you liked Fanny Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
, give this one a try.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelGoing Postal
by Terry Pratchett
This is a strong contender for my favorite Discworld novel ever. A thief and confidence man with the unfortunate name of Moist Van Lipwig is caught and hanged until not quite dead. Reprieve comes in the form of "Angel" Vetinari who offers Moist a government position as Postmaster. Since it's either that or being very dead, Moist chooses to continue breathing, even though the air of the post office is contaminated from years of undelivered mail, pigeon droppings, and the natural health remedies of the aging Junior Postman Groat. With a golem assigned to keep him on the relative straight and narrow, Moist begins to tackle the multiple problems he inherited, the first being to avoid the fate of the previous Postmasters and then to find a way to deliver the mountains of mail with only two employees while becoming competitive with the Grand Trunk clacks monopoly. Add a little romance, mysterious voices, and a smoking...uh...gnu to the mix, and this becomes one of the author's best plots ever.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Gone-Away World
by Nick Harkaway
The Jorgmund Pipe is on fire, and Gonzo Lubitsch and his friends, a team of master troubleshooters, are called into action. They helped build the Pipe, which keeps the Liveable Zone safe from the monsters and nightmares left in the wake of the Go Away War, and they must put the fire out and save the world yet again. There are consequences, however, that will affect Gonzo's life and that of his best friend in ways that neither one can imagine.
This is one of the most unique and exciting books I have ever read. It's a mixture of science fiction and hero adventure with a huge dollop of romance and a generous amount of humor added to the mix. The main characters are wonderfully complex and likeable, and each time the reader gets comfortable, the story veers in a new and memorable direction. I lost myself totally in this one. This one gets 5 stars and my deepest respect for the author's writing skills. It's a gem!
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Gone-Away World
by Nick Harkaway *****The Jorgmund Pipe is the backbone of the world, and it's on fire. Gonzo Lubitsch, professional hero and troubleshooter, is hired to put it out - but there's more to the fire, and the Pipe itself, than meets the eye. The job will take Gonzo and his best friend, our narrator, back to their own beginnings and into the dark heart of the Jorgmund Company itself.
Equal parts raucous adventure, comic odyssey and romantic epic, The Gone-Away World is a story of - among other things - love and loss; ninjas, pirates, politics; of curious heroism in strange and dangerous places; and of a friendship stretched beyond its limits. But it is also the story of a world, not unlike our own, in desperate need of heroes - however unlikely they may seem.
Sometimes you pick up a book that you think will be a jolly good ride, and that's exactly what you get, but on some rare occasions it's one that turns out to be one of the best reads you ever had! This book took my breath away at times. Basically it's a neat mixture of Mad Max meets war satire crossed with a kung fu epic seasoned with a Tarantino/Palahniuk-like style built around a moving love triangle, and that's just for starters.
Harkaway perfectly combines all those elements into a ripping yarn, and does so with style. Funny where it needs to be, dramatic where it's fitting, sarcastic where it really pays off, dark and brooding where it matters, with characters you'll come to love and cherish. Defying categorisation (is it a thriller? science fiction? adventure? love story?) the author really knows how to pull it all together wonderfully and makes every opposing inspiration, genre and plot element click together into one narrative where each of those elements seem always to have naturally belonged together. And to top it all off, it just oozes original ideas and freshness; not an easy accomplishment if you number all possible influences. To realise that in your debut novel, it makes me wonder what this guy will do next! The Gone-Away World
is a novel that had me highly entertained at all times, sometimes got my heart pounding from tension, made tears well up at others and laugh out loud with well placed one liners. Even now, it still pops up in my mind regularly weeks after finishing it. If you happen to come across this one in a book store, try a few pages, you won't regret it!
~Reviewed by Wimli The Good Husband of Zebra Drive
by Alexander McCall Smith
In this next installment of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Precious Ramotswe is having staffing difficulties. Not only does her mechanic husband, Mr. J. L. B. Matekoni, want to take a case involving an errant husband, but her assistant, Mma Makutsi, after a minor disagreement, decides to leave the agency. She also has a couple of tricky cases to investigate, including a series of sudden deaths at the hospital in Mochudi and missing supplies at a local printing company. How all these problems are resolved makes for another entertaining installment in this delightful mystery series.
~Reviewed by Lady Kestrel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch
by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Agnes Nutter wrote the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies in 1655, and according to her, as interpreted by one of her descendants, the world will end next Saturday.
The armies of Good and Evil are gathering and everything seems to be going according to a divine plan, but a bookish angel and a fast-living demon aren’t happy about the situation. They’ve lived among Earth’s mortals too long and have come to enjoy the lifestyle. Also, the Antichrist seems to have gone missing.
I’ve never thought of the Appocalyse as funny, but Gaiman and Pratchett have made it so. This is a melding of the best of both and a must-read.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelGrave Peril
by Jim Butcher
In book three of the Dresden Files, the spirit world is out of control. Ghosts all over Chicago are raising deadly havoc as the barrier between our world and the magical Nevernever becomes thinner and more porous. Harry, with the help of his knight friend, Michael, attempts to dispatch these ghosts, but there seems to be another power controlling them. Harry must follow the clues to the source and deal with the baddies, the least among them a hoard of vampires, in order to save himself and those close to him.
This is another exciting if somewhat gruesome romp through Dresden's magical world. Buffy's gang would be at home here.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman
I'm totally in love with Neil Gaiman's books. His stories are clever and full of surprises, and although he often deals with dark subjects, the light of hope always shines through somewhere. This is especially true of his books for young readers.The Graveyard Book
is a wonderful story about a young boy who is raised in a graveyard. Because his parents and sister were murdered, the ghosts of the graveyard decide to care for him with the help of a mysterious guardian. There are some dangerous things in the graveyard, but young Bod (short for Nobody) learns valuable lessons that will serve him well when he must face the dangerous world outside his unusual home and confront the evil Jack who killed his family.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Graveyard Book
by Neil GaimanBod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place-he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians' time as well as their timely ghostly teachings-like the ability to Fade.
Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead? And then there are things like ghouls that aren't really one thing or the other.
This book is a creepy skit on "the Jungle Book", about a toddler who escapes the murder of his family and ends up in a graveyard and is raised by the ghosts who inhabit the graves and tombs. The story is told in little interconnected short stories each about 2 years apart as we watch Bod grow up and learn all sorts of tricks and history from the ghosts. This is a Young Adult novel in the vein of Coraline (soon to be a motion picture).
As usual in a Gaiman novel it is instilled with lots of memorable characters and a real fairytale feeling as he plays with myths and history.
~Reviewed by Lucien21The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman ****Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts. There are dangers and adventures for Bod in the graveyard. But it is in the land of the living that real danger lurks for it is there that the man Jack lives and he has already killed Bod's family.
Seems like Neil Gaiman has a few big fans on these boards.
While I liked this novel slightly less than some of his other books (a bit too episodic, some characters seemed to just disappear), there is still so much to love here! Gaiman created another intriguing world, filled with wonderful characters and his dialog is still as snappy as ever. Would love to read more adventures of Bod, and get some more background on the baddies and the bigger conflict of which Bod's story was only a part of. Wouldn't it be great to get a similar book where Silas is the main character?
~Reviewed by WimliThe Gypsy Morph (Genesis of Shannar Book 3)
by Terry BrooksEighty years into the future, the United States is a no-man’s-land: its landscape blighted by chemical warfare, pollution, and plague; its government collapsed; its citizens adrift, desperate, fighting to stay alive. In fortified compounds, survivors hold the line against wandering predators, rogue militias, and hideous mutations spawned from the toxic environment, while against them all stands an enemy neither mortal nor merciful: demons and their minions bent on slaughtering and subjugating the last of humankind.
But from around the country, allies of good unite to challenge the rampaging evil. Logan Tom, wielding the magic staff of a Knight of the Word, has a promise to keep–protecting the world’s only hope of salvation–and a score to settle with the demon that massacred his family. Angel Perez, Logan’s fellow Knight, has risked her life to aid the elvish race, whose peaceful, hidden realm is marked for extermination by the forces of the Void. Kirisin Belloruus, a young elf entrusted with an ancient magic, must deliver his entire civilization from a monstrous army. And Hawk, the rootless boy who is nothing less than destiny’s instrument, must lead the last of humanity to a latter-day promised land before the final darkness falls.
The Gypsy Morph is an epic saga of a world in flux as the mortal realm yields to a magical one; as the champions of the Word and the Void clash for the last time to decide what will be and what must cease; and as, from the remnants of a doomed age, something altogether extraordinary rises.
Combining the best bits from his Word and Void series and his bestselling Shannara series, Terry Brooks has reinvigorated a series that was starting to become stale.
The last couple of of Shannara Trilogies were sub-standard (esp the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara) and it is refreshing to see something different from Brooks.
This series bridges the gap and tells of the fall of civilisation and the creation of the Shannara world we know and love. A group of young kids must survive the coming apoclypse and a demon army , with the help of the last 2 knights of the world, and lead the survivors to a safe zone before the end of the world.
Although tempored by the problem with most prequels (i.e you already know what is going to happen at the end) it does a good job of making you care for the secondary characters who might live or die. Brooks does a great job of keeping the pace moving, setting up great set pieces and cliffhangers that make you want to keep reading.
Ok it's not GRR Martin in modern complicated fantasy, but if you want a light thrilling read this book ties up all the plots from the previous books in a nice little bow and still leaves you wanting more then this is the book for you. It keeps you interested for the promised duology set after Gypsy Morph due in 2010. (next up for Brooks is a new Landover novel)
~Reviewed by Lucien21HHack/Slash
by Tim Seeley et al
Ongoing comic series about Cassie Hack, who as a teenager had to kill her mother as she was a school lunch lady who was killing anyone who picked on Cassie and feeding them to the kids. When she came back from the dead and had to be killed again, Cassie realised that Slashers exist.
Now she hunts them with Vlad, a hulking man with a mask.
Kinda like a comic book version of Friday the 13th type movies. Lots of horror and comedy as she travels the country stopping serial killers and slashers. Has some neat cross overs with Chucky and Reanimator appearing in the pages.
~Reviewed by Lucien21Halting State
by Charles Stross
In the year 2018, Sergeant Sue Smith of the Edinburgh constabulary is called in on a special case. A daring bank robbery has taken place at Hayek Associates, a dot-com startup company that's just been floated on the London stock exchange. The suspects are a band of marauding orcs, with a dragon in tow for fire support, and the bank is located within the virtual reality land of Avalon Four. For Smith, the investigation seems pointless. But she soon realizes that the virtual world may have a devastating effect in the real one-and that someone is about to launch an attack upon both...
This book ticked alot of geek points for me. 1. It's set in Edinburgh with local dialect and lots of familiar locations, 2. It has a forensic Accountant as one of the heroines and 3. It's a robbery set in a WOW type universe.
So not surprising that I loved it.
~Reviewed by Lucien21Handling the Undead
by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Stockholm is in the grip of strange and unsettling events; a heatwave has the population sweltering – and a strange phenomena seems to be making it impossible for people to switch their lights and electrical appliances on and off. But – most disturbing of all – in the city morgue, the recently deceased are once again becoming ambulatory. And the walking dead want one thing: to come home.
Don't go into this novel expecting "Dawn of the Dead" or you are going to be disappointed. It's not a Horror novel in the tradition sense of Zombie horror.
What you get is an extremely well written, sad novel about death and how it affects the living (especially if they knock on the door wanting to move back in).
It follows the trials of a group of families hit by tragedy and what happens when their loved one (wife,grandson and husband/grandfather) suddenly reappear, whilst in the background the government hunts for a scientific explanation and others turn to religion.
It may not hit the heights of "Let the Right one in", but it is an very good novel in it's own right.4/5
~Reviewed by Lucien21Hater
by David Moody
The country is rocked by a sudden, inexplicable increase in violent assaults on individuals. Seeming to be without any reason or motive these attacks are brutal and extreme. There are no apparent links between the aggressors and their victims. Christened 'Haters' by the media, their attacks come without warning or explanation. Everyone - irrespective of age, gender, race, sexuality, culture or any other imaginable difference - has the potential to be a Hater. You can no longer trust anyone, no matter how close they are to you. You can no longer trust yourself.
Danny McCoyne lives in a run down council flat with wife and 3 kids, has a s*** job, no money, no hope...then the world goes to hell in a handbasket. Violent incidents are on the increase, people are suddenly attacking and killing for no reason. Everyone become paraniod about becoming a "Hater". Can Danny pull his family together, keep them safe and survive the coming crisis.
This book came with a lot of hype, a self published internet book comes good, championed by Guillermo Del Toro (who has bought the movie rights) this had the potential to be a decent horror novel.
Unfortunatly for 3/4's of the book the author makes great pains in letting us know that Danny is an everyman, we watch his crappy homelife, the arguments with the kids and wife, the dreadful job etc etc etc until we are seriously bored. The disaster happens in the background for the most part until they are forced to lock themselves in together as "Haters" become more widespread. Paranoia and arguement ensue.
Then in the final part of the book something happens that throws the plot in a new direction (an interesting direction), but by then it was kinda too little too late. I was already bored of the main characters and their annoying squables.
So finally it is 3 parts boring and predictable "zombie-type" story and one part decent stuff.
Hope it's a better movie.2/5
~Reviewed by Lucien21Have a Little Faith: A True Story
by Mitch Albom
Anyone who has read Albom’s other books will be familiar with his easy and appealing style of writing. This book is a tribute to two clergymen in his life, one being the rabbi of his hometown synagogue and the other a minister who feeds and shelters the poor and homeless in Detroit, Albom’s current home. Although the men differ greatly in their backgrounds and religions, the author finds common ground between them as he alternates between their stories. It is not a preachy book, but a positive affirmation of two men who have made a difference in this world.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelHaving Our Say: The Delany Sisters' First 100 Years
by Sarah L. Delany and A. Elizabeth Delany with Amy Hill Hearth
This is an oral history told by two sisters of mixed race who lived through a turbulent but amazing period in our history while carving out their own niches in the world. Bessie broke barriers to become a dentist, and Sadie quietly integrated the New York
City Schools to become a high school teacher. Although different in personality, the sisters remained close all their lives, and they tell their joint stories with with warmth and humor. These stories include their large extended family and such famous people as Booker T. Washington, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, W. W. B. Du Bois, and Paul Robeson. They experienced Harlem in its heyday, dealt with the Jim Crow laws, and discovered new hope with the words of Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. This is an important work of American history from two great ladies who experienced it first hand and lived a long time to tell about it.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelHigh Druid of Shannara
by Terry Brooks
Finally went to the library again on the weekend, hanging for another book to read since I had to give the computer a break again. I accidentally picked up Terry Brooks book High Druid of Shannara thinking it was a Terry Pratchett book. I've got to admit I am really enjoying this book. I feel like I'm actually there when I read it and that's what I like from a book. If you haven't read it yet I recommend it.
~Reviewed by StarliteThe Historian
by Elizabeth KostovaThe Historian is a chilling historical mystery that reaches from the present day into the medieval past of Vlad the Impaler, Wallachia's barbarous 15th century ruler whose gruesome deeds gave rise to the legend of Dracula.
What an excellent novel! Not only does it bring plenty of suspense, the combination of history, myth and fiction made it impossibly to put it down for long. It also made me want to hit the books again, doing research on subjects I'm interested in and spend long evenings in libraries again. Of course, after finishing this book, I won't feel so safe there these days.
~Reviewed by WimliThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
by Douglas Adams
Again... do I need to explain? The first three books of the "trilogy" are simply the funniest novels ever written in the history of the English language.
~Reviewed by Bacardi JimHogfather
by Terry Pratchett
Oh, Lady K, I have been singing your praises in my head all day! Why have I never picked up these Terry Pratchett books before!!! I was hooked by page 15 and laughing out loud shortly after that. I mean, "... a small malignant wing nut." I thought that was hysterical until I read a few more sentences and was informed that fairy is "... purely a job description and the commonest ones aren't even visible.*" When the asterisk referred to the Electric Drill Chuck Key Fairy, I was nearly apoplectic...
Oh, what a treat! Now if only I could curl up in front of the fireplace with this book until the wee hours. Unfortunately, it's 4:30 am tomorrow morning for work.
~Reviewed by DraclvrHogfather
by Terry Pratchett
As my booklist shows, I've been reading my way through the Discworld novels this year. I have only positive things to say about them. They all have made me laugh and think. I've grown very attached to the wonderfully wacky characters that inhabit the disc and look forward to finding out what crimes the Watch will solve, what mysteries the witches will cook up, and what spells the wizards will shake loose. My favorite character of all, however, is Death. He appears in most (if not all) the Discworld novels, but the ones in which he is the main character are at the top of my list. Like Data or Mr. Spock, he is always trying to figure out humans, with humorous and often poignant results.
, Death takes over the role of Hogfather, Discworld's version of St. Nick, who seems to have diappeared. In fact, other mythical characters are also missing, and Death's granddaughter, Susan, gets involved in trying to figure out the cause of the collapsing belief system. The wizards, their artificial intelligence named Hex, some nasty villains, and a new bathroom at UU also have their roles in this crazy around-the-disc romp. It's a must-read, especially for this time of year. HO, HO, HO! Happy Hogswatch!
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelHome Safe
by Elizabeth Berg
This is a wonderfully written tale about a woman writer named Helen who has been unable to write since her husband died suddently. After a year of grieving, she has become too dependant on her daughter, Tessa, and they strike sparks against each other because of Helen’s neediness and unsolicited advice. When Helen discovers that her husband took a substantial amount of money out of their retirement account, she begins to suspect that he was leading a double life. A phone call from a stranger brings her to the surprising truth and helps her find the balance she needs to let her daughter go and to free herself. Berg writes with gentle humor and a wise awareness of the things that are most important in life. It’s a lovely story.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Hot Flash Club Chills Out
by Nancy Thayer
This is the third book of Thayer’s Hot Flash Club series. It’s light but fun reading, especially for those of us of a certain age. The characters are well developed and nicely quirky, and the descriptions of Nantucket make me want to visit there. Share this one with a girlfriend.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelHot Flash Holidays
by Nancy Thayer
Nancy Thayer’s books make me laugh, and this one is no exception. She takes her group of diverse but close friends “of a certain age” through a year of holidays and all the pitfalls that families and relationships can provide. How they deal with their situations and the various ways they give each other support makes for another excellent book celebrating the joys of female friendship.
~Reviewed by Lady Kestrel The House at Riverton
by Kate Morton
Ten out of Ten stars for The House At Riverton
by Kate Morton. I spent the better part of my weekend reading this book. I could not put it down. The closest book to compare it to is Woman of Substance
by Barbara Taylor Bradford.
This is a story of a girl (Hannah) who could not conform to the rigid daily life of a woman in the early nineteen hundreds, dictated by men. She wanted and needed independance because she was a free spirit and how that free spirit was destroyed by the conformity. It is also the story of her maid (Grace, who tells the story) and what she gave up for her dedication to Hannah.
The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. It is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.
Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.
In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they -- and Grace -- know the truth.
In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.
The novel is full of secrets -- some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
Originally published to critical acclaim in Australia, already sold in ten countries and a #1 bestseller in England, The House at Riverton is a vivid, page-turning novel of suspense and passion, with characters -- and an ending -- the reader won't soon forget.
~Reviewed by GhostladyHouse of Suns
by Alistair Reynolds
Reynolds paints on a giant canvass. One that traverses entire galaxies and spans millions of years.
In his latest book he focuses on cloned humans who live for thousands of years gathering information only coming together to share this knowledge at reunions.
Someone has tried to wipe out the Gentian line, thousands of clones that have decended from Abigail Gentian, at their reunion.
Two of the line Campion and Purslane were decades late and with an amnesiac member of the machine people in tow set out to find out who is responsible.
The big picture ideas are where Reynolds excels, the universe, the science, Dyson spheres, cloning, intelligent robots, immortality, matter replicators, damming stars etc. However, the individual aspects are less successful. Characterisations blur into each other that it is sometime difficult to tell if it is Purslane or Campion narrating (Although you could argue this is on purpose as they are clones).
There were ideas that felt under used and I hoped for more. The Vigilence in particular, although the ending felt a little abrupt and left you desperatly wanting to know what happens next. (Sequel please)
Overall though it was an interesting idea, well told that even with the small niggles I still really enjoyed it
~Reviewed by Lucien21Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
by Kiran Desai
In Kiran Desai’s first novel, she shows us everyday life in a small town in India while gently poking fun at some of the beliefs and traditions that are part of the religious and social life of the people there.
The story centers around a young man named Sampath Chawla whom everyone felt was destined for greatness because he was born during an amazing thunderstorm that marked the end of a long drought. However, much to his family’s chagrin, he has proven himself to be an undistinguished, lazy, and rather self-centered postal worker. One day, after losing his job in a rather spectacular way, he takes the bus out of town and climbs a guava tree to escape his family’s constant lecturing. Inadvertently, he becomes known as a holy man, and the results are delightfully funny.
~Reviewed by Lady KestrelThe Human Blend
by Alan Dean Foster
This is a science fiction mystery story that takes place in the future. Large segments of the population now choose surgery to change their bodies for practical or aesthetic reasons - a practice called melding. A fisherman might choose to have gills and webbed feet or a musician could have his chosen instrument melded into his body. Criminals also take advantage of melding and can enhance their bodies for a fast getaway from a crime scene or to make weapons a part of their bodies.
The main characters, a melded thief running from the law and a natural (unmelded) doctor end up together when she decides, against her better judgement, to remove some tracking pellets under his skin that he “acquired” while being chased by the police. The object the authorities are so eager to recover is a silver thread that seems to be some kind of storage device similar to strange objects the doctor has removed from some of her surgical patients.
I liked the crazy characters and the plot, as far as it went, but since this is supposed to be the first book in a trilogy, the mystery of the silver thread is not solved. In fact, we are left with (surprise, surprise) a major cliffhanger with all the threads, silver and otherwise, untied. I don’t know about anyone else, but I am sick and tired of writers who can’t make stand-alone stories anymore. Leaving a story open for a continuation is one thing. If I like the story, I’ll be glad to read the sequels. However, I’m tired of being manipulated into buying three sparse novels when one fatter one could have told the entire story.
~Reviewed by Lady Kestrel