Friday, 31 December 2010

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan - The Strain

I picked this up in the library and thought 'Oh, good , this looks similar to The Passage'.
I was wrong. Premise very similar. Plane arrives at US airport everyone dead inside, vampire virus gets loose. Whilst I absolutely support the move towards claiming vampires back to horror from romance, this was horror without substance. I notice that one of the authors is a film director and that may explain it, this read as though it was a film script. There was no descriptive text, no characterisation beyond the barest minimum - what did the characters look like, the buildings, New York? It also was very American, full of acronyms, CDC, FAA, SUV, et al, very irritating.
I notice it is part of a trilogy but I have to say vampire lover that I am I will not be reading on. I might watch the film though.........

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Jo Graham - Hand of Isis

This looked a great book, as you know I enjoy historical books and love Egypt. I was a bit sceptical when I saw it was about Cleopatra thinking what more was there to be said ? However, this is good, it really is about Charmian, her half sister and handmaiden and it is this slant that makes it interesting. I really enjoyed the first two thirds of the book, about their early life and loves, and I have to say it was less interesting when Caesar came onto the scene, as that part is so well known. The love triangle between Charmian, Dion and Emrys was sexy and kept up the tension. It also explained the ending, which I thought was novel and a good twist.

This book has reading group notes and I think it would make a good reading group choice.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Justin Cronin - The Passage

Ok this is my favourite book this year. It is not subtle but it is well written and I was totally immersed into it. Do you remember a book you have read and someone interrupted you and it was like suddenly waking up to a new world, this is that sort of book.
This is fantasy, it is big, 785 pages, it is the beginning of a trilogy, but it is amazing.

Think Mad Max meets I am legend and you get a feel for it. If it sounds derivative then I am not really explaining it well. I think the plus is that Justin makes you feel you are really there, you can see the pictures in your mind as you read.

This book starts slightly in the future, a virus is discovered in South America that can cure cancer, but it leaves the patient 'better' than when they started. Enter the military, once they have finished , the world succumbs to the spread of 'the virals'. We then jump 90 years and journey with small pockets of still human survivors. Into this appears a mysterious young woman, with interesting powers and connection to the virals, her name is Amy.........

I cannot wait for the next installment, please write and publish it soon!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Susan Hill - The Small Hand

I love a ghost story and am a big fan of Susan Hill as you will see from my reviews below. This is another good one, suitably creepy, and with a great deal of supense. My only quibble would be that I thought the end a little contrived, I really wanted to know the motivation for the incident, or perhaps some explanation as to why the person acted that way. I cannot say more without spoiling the ending.

If anyone has any ideas do let me know!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Roma Tearne - The Swimmer

This is a wonderful book. Lyrical writing and a thought provoking plot. It would make a superb reading group choice and very sensibly has reading group notes included in the back .

It is based in a long hot summer in Suffolk, you can almost feel the heat coming off the pages. Ria a poet in her forties ( I refuse to call her middle aged!) meets a young Sri Lankan refugee and this sets in motion hatred and tragedy. However ultimately this is a novel of hope, and will invoke deep discussions.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Louise Penny - Bury Your Dead

Another great book from Louise. Wonderful scenes in Quebec in winter, if you think we have had it bad with the snow recently read this!
It is a subdued Gamache recovering from his injuries and inveigled into solving a murder in a library.
At the same time Beauvoir, also on leave and recovering, opens an old case that takes him back to Three Pines and all our familiar characters.
A moving, clever multilayered plot, it will have you reading late into the night to ease the suspense of what happened as it moves to the dramatic conclusion.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Eva Hornung - Dog Boy

This is the most amazing book. It would make the most fantastic reading group book. It is set in modern day Moscow. Society is breaking down. One day a young boys mother disappears. Her lover comes and strips the flat and abandons him. He is forced to leave the flat from hunger, he follows a dog who accepts him and introduces him to her pack, bringing him up as a puppy. This is not a book for the faint hearted the life of a dog is cruel and hard, the life of survivors on the streets of Moscow even harder. I cannot say much without giving too much away, but this is a powerful 'must read' boko that will stay with you for a very long time.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Elizabeth Peters - A River in the Sky

Here we have another old favourite. This once again is a backfill novel set in 1910 in Palestine. Amelia is at her best, Emerson is rugged and Ramses is shaping up to be quite a hero on his own account. We know what to expect, it does what it says on the tin, you will not be disappointed!