If like me you have been reading Michael Grant‘s terribly entertaining, but not exactly original, Gone series of books then you already know, these books are part X-Men, part Under The Dome, part Lord of the Flies but with a dash of extra weirdness thrown in to keep you interested… If you haven’t been reading Michael Grant’s gone series then you may want to look away now, or at least read my earlier review of book one.
If you have read the adventures of the boys and girls in Perdido Beach but you haven’t made it to book three than I urge you to head out to your nearest bookshop, or point your internet browser in the direction of Amazon and get a copy… And grab book four as well, (you’ll understand in a minute why) because this series just keeps getting better, and more strange with each turn of the page.
In this third installment of the series, a new element of weirdness is thrown into the mix, a bit of The Walking Dead, and as if that isn’t enough we are also treated to visions (which may be true or may be lies) of existence outside the dome, or barrier or whatever it is that have the residents of Perdido trapped inside. We also discover that there are others, near Perdido Beach but not actually in the town who have also been trapped. In fact we are given lots of information, and weirdness to ponder over… And then it just ends. It stops without any real conclusion or climax. It almost feels like Grant’s publisher called him and said “times up, give us what you got”. Which would have been dreadfully disappointing if you had read these books when they were first published and had to wait months for the next book, but is something I can live with as I already have a copy of the fourth, fifth and sixth installments.
Of course if you haven’t read any of the book in the series and decided to read this review despite my earlier warnings, I cannot urge you enough to go and seek out the books in this series. So far the first three books haven’t been groundbreakingly original, but they have been extremely fun reads, and for me that is enough to get me to work after my commute with a smile on my face.
In the week that Terry Pratchett sadly passed away, I thought I would scour the net to see how the various book sections of the newspapers are paying tribute to the man who taught us that the world isn’t always round.
The BBC has dug into the archives of Radio 4 and replayed a wonderful interview with Terry Pratchett. The interview is available to listen to on the iPlayer.
So popular was Terry Pratchett that I could fill so much more space on this blog with Pratchett news and views from the past week, but I think I will save some stuff for my Re-Discovering Discworld Project.
Tributes are being paid around the world for the renowned fantasy author Sir Terry Pratchett, the creator of the cult Discworld books, as well as thirty other novels, who sadly died today. Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eight years ago, Sir Terry reportedly passed away surrounded by his family, peacefully on his bed with his beloved cat.
My own relationship with Terry Pratchett existed in an alternative world. A world which is flat, floating in space on the back of a giant turtle.
I discovered the Discworld back in 1997, when one of Terry’s multitude of fans, sat in a black chair and was quizzed about this strange land on the BBC quiz show Mastermind. Having never heard of the Discworld novels, nor of Terry Pratchett, I sat bewildered as a series of questions were asked about this strange flat land. So bizarre were the questions, and the answers that I knew instantly Discworld was a land I had to travel to.
Over the years since that chance discovery, I have spent countless hours travelling in Pratchett’s strange flat world, although it has been quite awhile since my last visit. So today to mark the passing of this wonderful wordsmith, I have decided to make a vow to you, and myself, to go back to Discworld and document my findings. Starting after I have completed the novel I am currently working through, I will start from the beginning and read all forty Discworld novels in order, and record them in a new section, Rediscovering Discworld .(Don’t fear this isn’t going to become a Discworld blog, I will break it up with other novels.)
On February 4th 2013 Neil Gaiman embarked on a fantastic art project in partnership with BlackBerry and millions of his fans. He tweeted twelve questions to the world, one for each month of the year. From the tens of thousands of responses he received, Neil picked his favourite answers and wrote twelve short stories inspired by them. Releasing these back to the world, Neil asked people to contribute art to illustrate the stories.
If you are a fan of Neil Gaiman, good writing, art or fantasy fiction than you should definitely give this site a visit. You can read, listen or watch some fantastic tales, and there is one for every month!
If you have not read the first novel in Michael Grant‘s Gone series than this review is not for you. Hunger is the second novel in the series, and probably wouldn’t make much sense to you without the background knowledge gained from reading the first.
Of course, unless you are like me, you may have already devoured this second helping of Grant’s tween science-fiction series of books, but who knows, perhaps you have not, so I shall continue.
Hunger, continues the tale of the lives of the boyz and girlz in the FAYZ, three months on from the first novel in the series. Not a lot seems to have happened in those three months; Sam is still the leader of the “good camp”, Caine and the other Coates academy crew are still the “bad camp”. Nobody in either camp is any closer to discovering why they have been zapped into a world without adults. Nobody is any closer to discovering if anything lies outside the invisible barrier which surrounds the town of Perdido Beach. Everything is still just as strange and divided and weird as when the first novel finished; except now the supply of food is running out, and everybody is suffering from Hunger, thanks to the greed and bad planning of the youthful occupants of Perdido Beach, who greedily consumed most of the towns food (hey, how were they to know they could be trapped in this town forever).
Of course this is the part of the review where I have to stop explaining what is going on is the FAYZ. Doing so would ruin it for those who have not read it. So I will tell you, just this; the search for food, has some bizarre twists, that builds into an exciting climax, but ultimately, leaves readers hungry to find out what is going to happen in the next novel of Michael Grant’s (so far) excellent book series, which may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but certainly has left hungry for more.
A couple of years ago I read Gone by Michael Grant. I quite enjoyed it, but it sort of slipped through the cracks of my mind as I attempted to shorten my stack of books to read. Then, a couple of days ago I bagged myself an unbelievable bargain. I got the five remaining books in the Gone series for a mere £4.95!
So now that my stack has grown into a tower it is time for me to begin toppling the mountain, and get reading.
Welcome to Chester’s Mill. Another small idyllic New England town, created by Stephen King. It is filled with all the elements of most of the towns in the Kingosphere. It has King’s usual squeaky clean exterior, leafy green lawns, white picket fences, and quaint little restaurants and shops. Of course, as most fans of Stephen King can tell you, Chester’s Mill isn’t all sweetness-and-light. Oh no fellow readers, in a King-town there is always something brewing, something which will expose this town and it’s citizens for what they are. And this time in Stephen King’s mammoth novel Under the Dome, the king of all-things-weird-and-spooky is going to place an entire town inside of a giant impenetrable dome (thus the novel’s title) and shake thing up like a giant snow dome.
Of course fans of King’s novels are not going to be too surprised by a giant invisible dome appearing for no reason around a town. Nor will they be surprised or shocked by the carnage, destruction or mild gore the dome creates. Even the characters trapped inside the dome: Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara, a drifter who just happens to be a soldier fresh back from Iraq, Julia Shumway, the town’s newspaper editor and Jim Rennie, a used car salesman and Chester Mill’s equivalent of Boss Hogg will seem familiar to your average Stephen King fan. And there lies the problem of Under the Dome for me. It just was too much King for one reader…. Or maybe, it was too little King spread over too many pages for me.
I have never read a book by Neil Stephenson, but has long been an author on my radar; mostly because my mate Brian raves about him, so when I saw Reamde in the Kindle Spring sale for the bargain price of £0.99 I thought it was time to give this author a go… Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea!
From the extraordinary Neal Stephenson comes an epic adventure that spans entire worlds, both real and virtual.
The black sheep of an Iowa farming clan, former draft dodger and successful marijuana smuggler Richard Forthrast amassed a small fortune over the years–and then increased it a thousandfold when he created T’Rain. A massive, multibillion-dollar, multiplayer online role-playing game, T’Rain now has millions of obsessed fans from the U.S. to China. But a small group of ingenious Asian hackers has just unleashed Reamde–a virus that encrypts all of a player’s electronic files and holds them for ransom–which has unwittingly triggered a war that’s creating chaos not only in the virtual universe but in the real one as well. Its repercussions will be felt all around the globe–setting in motion a devastating series of events involving Russian mobsters, computer geeks, secret agents, and Islamic terrorists–with Forthrast standing at ground zero and his loved ones caught in the crossfire
Firstly, let me begin by saying this is a mammoth piece of literature, which makes me glad that I have a Kindle, and didn’t have to walk around carrying a 1042 page book.
Secondly let me announce that this is the first book in a couple of years that I just could not bring myself to finish! Perhaps if it was shorter I would have continued, but after trudging through the mire of the first 200 pages and finding the plot moving about as quickly as a tortoise in a marathon I just couldn’t bear the thought of working my way through the last 800+ pages of this tome.
Of course I am not going to say that REAMDE was a terrible novel, it just wasn’t one for me.