Friday, 24 February 2017

Review: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Its been a long time since I last read this and I had forgotten just how funny it is. Artemis Fowl is a 12 year old criminal mastermind who has an ingenious plan to part The People (fairies, elves, dwarves, goblins this book has them all) from their coveted gold. A kidnap, siege, troll assault and bio-bomb later and I find myself chuckling away at this brilliantly funny and fast paced fantasy.

This was always one of my go to books during the long wait between Harry Potter installments and it's nice to see that nearly 20 years later fairy flatulence still makes me giggle. As my library has the complete set I will also, at long last, be able to complete the series. A definite recommendation for young readers and immature adults alike!

Friday, 17 February 2017

Review: The Princes in the Tower by Alison Weir

"... only one man could have been responsible for their deaths: Richard III."

If you are expecting an unbiased account of the disappearance of Edward V and his brother then this is not the book for you. Weir makes her point abundantly clear throughout and presents a very wide range of evidence to back up her conclusions. At times I did feel we wandered off topic a little into a general recounting of major events of the period, not something I really want to criticise as I love history and found the diversions very educational.

As a history nerd I really enjoyed this book, it's about a new topic for me and I feel I should read some of the revisionist arguments before drawing my own conclusions as to whether Richard murdered his nephews or not. Regardless, I found this book really interesting, well researched and most importantly engaging, there really is nothing worse than a history book that sends you to sleep!

Monday, 13 February 2017

Review: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

There was something about this book that I found really compelling, I just had to keep reading to find out what was going on. From that perspective it's a great read, the mystery is all consuming and the feeling throughout is ominous, you can just feel the "not rightness" of Area X coming straight off the page. The Biologist, whose journal narrates the story, is another mystery within Area X, she has no name and you only get the details she decides to give you, this really adds to the uncertainty of the facts you are presented with, I ended up questioning everything, it's a very clever way to add to the atmosphere of the story.

What I am frustrated about now I've finished is the lack of resolution, I still have no clue what Area X is and what happened there, is there a creature? Is The Biologist just mad? Is this all some big government conspiracy? Who are the Southern Reach? I've been left with more questions than answers and I hate when a book does that to me! I guess I'll just have to read the next one to find out ...

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Review: Dune by Frank Herbert

Well, how to describe my thoughts on Dune?? I will attempt a short summary of my own thoughts for you. Dune is a complex novel covering science, religion, space travel, drug addiction, fanaticism, treachery, politics .... the list goes on, it is world building in the absolute extreme.

My favourite parts of the book are the political machinations of Vladimir Harkonnen (what a great name), it really reminded me of what I loved about A Game of Thrones, complicated schemes leading to a conclusion you have no way to guess at. As a great reader of historical fiction I found my way into the world of Dune through it's futuristic feudal system and once I was in I didn't want to leave it, each chapter brought a new idea and a new aspect of this gloriously created world to me, honestly the creativity of this book is breathtaking.

There were only two reasons I didn't give my full 10/10, the ending was strange and abrupt (it's a series so I now need to track down the next book to see what happens next), and the mythology and mysticism confused the hell out of me. I think the scope of the book is very overwhelming and on a reread I will find it easier to get back into the world of Dune. Worth a go though even if you are not a lover of sci-fi, there is enough here to intrigue readers of every genre.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Review: The Pirate by Frederick Marryat

This wonderful short novel tells the story of twin brothers separated in a shipwreck when they were babies and is full of swashbuckling adventure and incredibly detailed naval terminology. The only downside to this book is the very backward and insulting language used to describe the African characters, sadly a product of its time.

I have never read Marryat's novels before but after this I definitely will be, this is very well written, the descriptions are wonderful and at times I found him very funny. It's very impressive to have such a detailed and developed story in a little over 100 hundred pages. I'm surprised this isn't more widely read and rated.