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Book Review: The City & the City

Sci-Fi/Crime/Literary

5 Stars

 

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Wow, that was different. A murder mystery set in two cities that somehow exist partly on top of/within each other, where the people of both are not allowed to ‘see’ each other, lest they activate Breach—a ‘force’ which makes them disappear.

Kind of reminds me of some of the more fantastic sci-fi of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s (Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, Soylent Green, The Stepford Wives), but written far better and with a much more modern and almost ‘literature-like’ feel to it.

It is quite hard to understand at the beginning—understandably—and thus a little difficult to get into. But after about the 100th page, things start falling into place and you start to get interested. The mystery of what is Breach itself. The additional mystery of Orciny—what is rumoured to be a third city.

I do enjoy weirdness when it’s done well. Very creative. This surpassed my expectations.

Book Review: The Exorcist

Horror

5 Stars

 

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Great story. The movie is very similar. Lots of cursing, vomiting, head-spinning, perverse behaviour. Written in 1972, and yet it’s an easy read. I like horror movies but it’s hard to find a horror book that thrills me. This wasn’t thrilling but it was enjoyable. Felt like I was watching the movie as I read.

I initially thought it a four star read, up until the end. The ending where Father Karras lies dying on the pavement requesting forgiveness pushed it firmly into the five star range. I’m still thinking about it now, days afterward. And though the exorcist himself was only a part of the story a short time, he was no less intriguing.

Great character depth. Will probably read it again.

Kushiel’s Dart (Phèdre’s Trilogy #1)

Fantasy/Erotic

5 Stars

 

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I’d been holding off for a while in reading this book, mostly because of the sheer size of it—1000+ pages. For a fantasy that usually means a lot of tedium. Not Kushiel’s Dart. I would be quite happy to have this book twice as long. I didn’t want to stop reading.

It’s filled with old-style language that might be a turn off for some people. I liked it. The author wrote it well. Actually, the story flowed extremely well. Characters were deep and believable. The story was exciting and intricate. I initially discovered this book because it supposedly had quite a lot of erotic elements—not so. Hardly any. And yet I still enjoyed it immensely.

A great holiday read. Looking forward to the next two books.

Book Review: The Tower of Swallows (The Witcher #4)

Fantasy

4.5 Stars

 

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Definitely my favourite of the bunch so far. There were a couple of slow parts. I’ll admit that I pretty much skipped the entire part about Dijkstra. And as with the previous books, I got a bit bored reading about Yennefer and the other sorceresses. But I loved Geralt’s and Ciri’s stories. Hard to put down. Lots of violence. Lots of fantasy. Thin on the politics (which is good). The author did well in keeping the story moving in this one.

Loved the ending. Looking forward to the conclusion.

Book Review: The Girl on the Page

4.5 stars

 

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Greatly enjoyed this book. Hard to put down. Well written. A story about the ‘fight’ between commercial fiction and literature. It made me smile because I like to write too and have spent time listening to other writers’ ideas of what is good writing. All I could think by the end of this book was how writers take their pursuit way too seriously (fiction writers, not journalists). You’re writing a book, not curing cancer. Get off your high-horse.

As to this book, it could have easily been a five star read. In fact, I wanted it to be a five star read. There’s some great stuff in here, but it’s let down by the incongruous erotica. I love erotica. I write erotica. But it just didn’t belong here. And it was poorly written and aggressive, bordering on abusive. It made me feel a little dirty to be a woman. A real woman doesn’t enjoy sex like that. Even if she is a ‘sex addict’. Our bodies don’t work like that. It’s written from very much a male perspective, which is a little disconcerting in of itself.

Nevertheless, despite its faults (and all books have their faults), it was a really fun read. There’s a lot of depth. A lot to think about. It compels me to read more of the author’s work.

Book Review: Caught

Literary

4 Stars

 

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Enjoyed this book. Phenomenal writing. Much in the vein of ‘No Country for Old Men’. Real hard, ‘masculine’ writing. Don’t know why I think that. It’s almost as though it’s written without emotion and yet that’s not true—it’s filled with it. Filled with minute detail. Skilfully written introspection. Symbolism. An interesting style of writing that I’m coming to enjoy.

An unusual book. It’s more literature than any other genre, I think.

I liked Slaney. A drug smuggler on the run. An inherently ‘decent’ character despite his crimes. Complicated and three-dimensional. I felt for him.

The story, I guess, is ‘slow’. For those who want a fast-paced, suspenseful read, you won’t find it here. I like that. But I also would have liked a bit more thrill.

I ummed and ahhhed deciding whether to make this a 3 or 4 stars. Not a huge fan of ‘literature’. Wouldn’t call it a page-turner. But I think the writing on its own is worth the 4 stars.

Book Review: Unsub (Unsub #1)

Action, Crime

5 Stars

 

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner

 

Fantastic read. Awesome writing. Had me hooked the whole way. Loved the twists and turns. Believable. Great characters. None of it felt forced or silly. I really can’t fault it. Hard to find in a genre like this. If you like psychological thrillers and serial killers, this is a great book to read.

I’ve already read the second book, so moving onto the third. Very impressed with this author. She deserves more recognition.