Saturday, 30 June 2012

Book Review May / June

Not so much reading these last couple of months, been a bit otherwise occupied.

Hollow Earth     
by John & Carole E. Barrowman
Published by Buster, £6.99

Aimed at the slightly younger reader, this is the first book in a series, a fact which I was not aware of when I started it but at the end I really did want to know what was going to happen next and I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment. An interesting concept about a group of people who are able to animate artwork, and the resulting notorious power struggles which inevitably surround a group of gifted people. This shows how the politics of a group of adults can have dire consequences for the children dragged into their power struggles. Well worth a read.

Sherlock Holmes & The Titanic Tragedy        
by William Seli
Titan Books £6.99

Sherlock Holmes & The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner
by Jonathan Barnes
Audio Book, Staring Nicholas Briggs & Richard Earl
Big Finish Productions.

Just when you thought there was only ever one going to be one Titanic Holmes adventure, they arrive in pairs. My first Holmes and the Titantic encounter came with the Big Finish audio book 'Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Perfidious Mariner', here Holmes does not actually get on board the ship but instead the owner of the White Star line comes seeking his help after the tragedy. This story takes the form of a suspected supernatural entity plaguing his life, and with Holmes setting out to solve the mystery. These stories work well for Holmes and this is a very enjoyable original Sherlock Holmes story. 

The second encounter actually put Holmes on board to guard secret government documents, although it was entertaining it did smack too much of trying to copy previous original Holmes adventures, you'll see what I mean if you read it. I don't want to give too much plot away but there weren't really many surprises you hadn't already began to suspect just by certain players being introduced to the plot. The book also has to handle the 'how do we get Holmes off the sinking ship' scenario which in their CD extras Big Finish said they wanted to avoid because it wouldn't work satisfactorily for the Holmes and Watson characters and I think I agree with them.


The Leaping
by Tom Fletcher
Quercus £7.99

I selected this as I fancied a werewolf story, but the wolf antics didn't really occur until quite late in the book. The story is presented from two first person scenarios, Jack and Francis, alternating between the two. They work in a call centre and the first part of the book is really about how crap their lives are and their jobs are. There also seems to be some attempt at demanding pity for call centre workers - I find myself wondering if the author ever worked in one. Although a long time is taken setting up the characters, we can believe in them even if we are not one hundred percent sympathetic to them.

The promise of mystery that is set around fell House only starts to occur in the second part of the story. For me it was a bit slow to start and the end seemed to try and pack in too much. I would have liked the mystery to have started sooner and have interwoven a bit more into the earlier part of the story. The title of the book 'The Leaping' again only comes into play at the very end and felt like a bit of an anticlimax. 

The Sookie Stackhouse Novels (True Blood)
Dead to the World
by Charlaine Harris
Orion Books £6.99

As I've said previously I am only going to read the Sookie books after I've seen the True Blood series that gets made based on the book. Series 4 is based on 'Dead to the World', where Jason vanishes at the start and returns at the end, almost as if he has been written out for the sake of it. In the series where we follow more than just Sookie's POV we know what has happened to him as we experience his misery and suffering.

This one introduces the witches, and we are told they are really nasty, being shifter witches stoked up on vamp blood, intent on taking over the businesses of the supernatural residents of Bon Temps and surrounding areas. There is no mention of the history of witch burning, the possession and depth that was written into the tv series. Instead these witches really seem a pale imitation of their TV counterparts.