Wednesday 21 December 2011

The Glass Apple and Spiders Web by Robert Franks (2 reviews)

I picked up The Glass Apple by chance in the summer- and I'm very very glad I did. This is a wonderful piece of storytelling suitable for all ages.
The story tells of three orphans - Jason (12), Kylie (10) and little Anna (5). After the death of their mother they end up in the care of their eccentric Grandfather Ethelbert Gobswistle, a strange character they have never met before.
The first few chapters are humerous and may seem more suited to a younger reader but stick with it because it gets a lot darker later on. Gobswistle is on the run for stealing a glass object (the apple of the title) and a small black christmas tree fairy from his 'employers' in the USA and nearly as soon as he has the custody of the children they are pursued by the enemy - "The Medb" (or Mave).
It turns out the only way to defeat the Medb is with the help of 3 books but these are hidden in the past. When Gobswistle, the children and Etain (the fairy) go back to the time of Merlin to get the books they are separated, Jason and Anna in one place and Gobswistle, Kylie and Etain in another and this is where the story really kicks off.
The characterisation is exceptional (especially Etain, the fairy with sass and attitude and Aiken the Boggart) and the feel for the historical times is top notch.
The story ends on a cliffhanger and I am eagerly awaiting the next book (due Christmas 2011).
The style of the story is part Harry Potter, part Narnia, and part E. Nesbitt, and all of the parts come together to give a wholly satisfying yarn.
Enter the world of The Glass Apple - you won't be sorry.


First things first, this book is a direct follow on to The Glass Apple, the first book in this sequence, so it would be a good idea to read that first.
Spider's Web is another wonderful piece of storytelling. It continues the story of Jason, Kylie and Anna trapped in time with their Grandfather, Gobswistle, and the 'kick-ass' fairy, Etain (who, in my opinion is one of the best creations of recent years)
To sum up the situation so far, Jason is missing, Kylie is coming to terms with being a changeling, Gobswistle is as confused as ever and little Anna is in the village of Kilneaur - which is on the verge of being attacked by vikings!
There is an awful lot going on in this book and for some chunks of the story the main characters are not absent and it is left to secondary characters to carry the story along. It is to the Authors great credit that these parts of the story work really well. In fact, this section, set in the village had some of the best scenes, character interactions and OH MY GOD!!! moments that I have read in a long while.
The book finishes neatly and sets up well for Song of the Shamen (August 2012)
A thoroughly enjoyable read.

Cadence of the Undead by Christopher L Beck

The Zombie Apocalypse as it should be done. This cracking story focuses mainly on two families, the Griners (James and Stephanie) and an old couple, the Ewings (Oris and his wife Margie who has cancer). The writer does a very good job of giving two different viewpoints for the two families so it feels like two stories intertwined.
The suspense as you are taken from "there's a zombie apocalypse happening" to the actual zombies arriving is masterful. I really felt I cared what happened to these characters (especially the old couple) and the end of the story stopped me in my tracks - brilliant.
I have reviewed other books for this author and this one is by far and away the best (although the others are very good too!!).
More of this authors work will follow

An Interesting day (and I've only been up half an hour!)

So, I heard a rumour there was going to be a trailer for 'The Hobbit' released today. Checked online when I got up and there it was - and I must say, it looks wonderful. I'm sure it won't stay truly faithful to the book but it'll be near enough.
Then, the biggest news of the day for me (cue Drumroll................................) American author and all round top bloke Brandon Sanderson has finally finished the first draft for the final book in the late Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series. It is a series that has been 22 years in the telling and the end will be a bitter sweet time but all good things must come to an end.
I'm sure I will have more to say on the subject in the year or so leading up to publication but for now I'm just happy the tale is kinda told.
Now to get on with posting some more reviews

Sunday 18 December 2011

The Darkness by Crystal Connor

Artemisia and Inanna - one a woman of science, one a woman of powerful and dark magics. Both have everything they want out of life except one thing - a child.
The Child - the result of scientific experiment is what links these two women and divides them in battle.
The Darkness is an excellently written first novel by Crystal Connor, a story that keeps you guessing with every twist and turn. The science and the mystical magic are believable, the characters stand out as 3 dimensional and I for one can't wait for the next part of the story to be published.
Crystal Connor is definately one to watch (and she writes a dog character better than Dean Koontz!)

Shaun Hutson's 'Body Count'

I've not read any of Shaun Hutson's books for a long while but this one caught my eye - and I'm glad it did.
It is the story of a bunch of detectives and their search for the maker of what could be snuff movies. It seems someone is having people hunted and killed for 'entertainment' but the officers have nothing to go on - until the DI leading the case becomes the target.
The book reads like something similar to the Saw movies or a pretty gruesome video game. Some of the scenes were slightly disturbing but horror isn't meant to be nice. At times it was slightly predictable but that doesn't stop it being an enjoyable, pedal to the metal read.
Maybe not for the faint hearted but if you've got the stomach for it you're in for a good time

Friday 16 December 2011

1st review blog

This review is for Auctoratus: Volunteer Gladiator by Robert Young

This has got to be one of the best YA reads I have read in a long time.
Darius Drusus (DD), in a fit of rage, thinks he has killed his father and runs away from Rome. On arriving in the town of Ostia he meets the old rope-maker Ambrus and his life is irrevocably changed.
This is a tale of friendship, destiny, Gods,demons and a mischievous angel, all set out against the backdrop of ancient Rome. Each of the three main characters (ex-slave Tertius being the third member of the group) is capable of carrying the story along and within no time at all it feels like you are spending time with old friends.
This story has everything - strong characters, good backstory, witty banter and a definite feel for the era. I see good things ahead for this author.
If you buy this book for a Young Adult in your family make sure you take the chance to read it for yourself - you won't be sorry.
Also, there is the first chapter of the next book in the series, which promises more gladiatorial goodness as our three heroes arrive back in Rome, to continue their quest.