Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review - The Road

The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Review by Jacqui Slaney
The Road
This book was given to me with the words: ‘you read this type of book, so I’m sure you will love it’
I looked at the reviews, it had won awards and this is what the critics were saying:
 By the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2007, this is the story of a father and son walking alone through burned America, heading through the ravaged landscape to the coast. It has been hailed as 'the first great masterpiece of the globally warmed generation. Here is an American classic, which, at a stroke, makes McCarthy a contender for the Nobel Prize for Literature . . . An absolutely wonderful book that people will be reading for generations'
Therefore, I thought I would give it a go.
It is not a long book, so I read it easily travelling backwards and forwards to work over two days. To be honest the way it is written, it is not a story that could sustain your interest over a long period.
There is no real beginning; you do not know what caused the disaster or what happened to the man and boy to get them to where the story starts. There is no real punctuation or speeches from the man or the boy, many readers compare it to a poem in style.
You do not know where the man and boy are travelling from or where they are going. They look at a map, but you are not told if there is some safe haven at the end of their journey. You follow them as they wander from place to place struggling to find food, water and shelter; you briefly meet other characters, some of whom have turned to cannibalism to survive. I found the ending to be quite expected and had been waiting for it for quite a while. There is a lot of descriptive writing, so you can visualise the world in which the two travel and the terrible things that they see. The story is bleak and the only thing that lightens it at all is the love of the father for his son, and his need to protect him against everything.
However, did I like it? Not really, I was more disappointed to be honest. I am not sure what I expected from all the hype, but probably more than what I found in the novel. I have read post apocalyptic/disaster stories before, Swan Song by Robert McCammon, Last Light by Alex Scarrow just to name two, and enjoyed them all much more than this one. To be fair you do feel compelled to finish the book, the writing is well done, and the violence is graphic and believable. Nevertheless, although I may be a lone voice, I was disappointed in this book; I think it could have been a lot better.
5 out of 10   

Friday, April 27, 2012

Book Review - The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
The Hunger Games
Normally when a series achieves such immense popularity that it dominates every book shop window for months, I stay away from the it as I don’t want to admit that I was late to the party. Some months later I finally give the series a whirl and often do not know what the fuss was all about.
For example, although the “Twilight series” has enough to it that I can see why it is popular, I certainly do not think it is amazing. “The Millennium Trilogy” is another where I thought the first book was good but not great. However, as I haven’t felt the inclination to return to the series yet I suppose this says a lot abot how much I really liked it. There are exceptions of course, I love Harry Potter and I suppose now, “A Song of Ice and Fire” falls into that category, but as I was already a massive fan of this so I discount it.
So I picked up the Hunger games on a whim not expecting much.
The blurb:
 Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.
As the blurb indicates the story focuses on Katniss, a girl who is disillusioned with the world she lives in and longs for something better. Her only outlet from her harsh life is the love she has for her sister and her friendship with Gale. The great thing about Katniss is that she is just your average Jill. Confused at the events taking place around her, afraid but also resourceful, Katniss is refreshing in that she doesn’t have all the answers and in the Hunger Games is definitely not a favourite to win.
Suzanne Collins also does a good job of keeping the reader second guessing the motivations of the secondary characters. As Katniss is unsure if the people she meets are friends or foes so are the audience. This is no easy feat as often I read a story and get frustrated that the protagonist is being so stupid in not seeing what the audience can see regarding a character’s intentions. The fact that the audience does not know Peeta the fellow competitor from her district is working with or against Kat, or whether her inebriated mentor Haymitch wishes her to succeed or not, makes for some intriguing reading. There will be no surprises in the Hunger Games but it is a well told story nonetheless.
When the Hunger Games eventually start they are well described. Although the idea is morbid and violence is involved, it never feels that way. That is not to say the seriousness of the situation is ignored but Suzanne draws attention to the conflict between Katniss and the organisers of the Games rather than the rival children fighting for survival. A lot of the deaths take place off screen and this adds to the intrigue as you don’t know until the end of the day who has been killed.
The world of Paneen is well realised without being forced down the reader’s throats. There are some nice touches that really add to the setting and the contrast between how the poor live to how oblivious the rich are is done well if only touched upon.
If you haven’t already guessed, I loved the Hunger Games. I can’t explain exactly why as the prose is hardly stimulating and the characters although good are nothing groundbreaking, but what Suzanne Collins is able to do is tell a story and tell it darn well.
My rating 9.2

Monday, April 23, 2012

Book Review - The Parthian

The Parthian by Peter Darman
Product Details
Review by Jacqui Slaney
This is another book that I came across by accident, not an author I know, but the story line sounded interesting.
 It is a story of a Parthian prince Pacorus who fights against Rome when they start to come close to the Parthian empire. After a series of victories Pacorus and his men are and sent to Italy to live out the rest of their days as slaves. But are saved from this by the arrival of Spartacus and his slave army, the story then follows the battles they fight together towards they hope of eventual freedom from Rome.
There is certainly a lot of action in the story, and the scenes were detailed but it was a slow start and for quite a while I had to resist giving up on the story as I did not like the main character at all. But I persevered with it, and I gradually came to like Pacorus. The writer had tried to show the characters’ development from a spoilt pampered prince, to a leader of men and he did handle this well. There are very good descriptions of the friendships he made and the love that he found and all the battle scenes are graphic and well written.
On the down side of the book, there are numerous grammatical errors. This can be annoying especially when you are struggling with a slow book, as they can become too much of a barrier to get over.  Some of the continual descriptions of how good a horseman Pacorus was and what Gallia looked like is also slightly tedious and it is also not a totally accurate historical novel either.
Yes there are a few down sides to this book, but please don’t let all this put you off a good read.
 Ok so it is not historically accurate, but the writer doesn’t claim this novel to be such. The writer has researched the background to the events of the time, but has just used some licence in their portrayal in this book. Yes there is bad grammar, but speaking for myself I was able to ignore these errors in the end, except thinking now and then – why on earth wasn’t  there a proof reader for this book!
I am glad I stuck with the story, which I enjoyed in the end and have now actually bought the second in the series, so fingers crossed a proof reader was used for this one.

7out of 10

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars

Stephen King - Full Dark, No Stars
Full Dark, No Stars
As my anticipation to King’s return to his Dark Tower series reaches fever pitch, I couldn’t resist reading another of his books before hand. Many regard Stephen King’s short stories as his strongest work. Whilst I agree that he ends his short stories a lot better than his main novels (pun intended), I do not find the quality of them to be any better or worse across the board. However, one of my favourite stories by King is the Mist which is a novella. As “Full Dark, No stars”, compromises of 4 novellas, I was expecting good things.
The first novel is entitled "1921" and tells of how a disgruntled husband involves his son in dealing with the wife he no longer loves. The story deals with the darker side of human nature and the length people will go to. The husband and his son perform some pretty horrific deeds but the excellent thing about the story is that at all points, the audience feel sorry for the narrator and can see the reasoning behind their actions.
Even the supporting cast are well realised and their motivations are all logical. I found this story fascinating. It really conjures up a “what would happen if...” type of scenario. 
The second story called “Big Driver” is a good old fashioned hack and slash thriller. So often you see this in film format but not in a book i.e. in this instance a girl breaks down and then comes across just a plain bad man. The violence in this is quite graphic but King does a good job of portraying how the victim comes to terms with what has happened to her and how it leaves her slightly crazy. There is a nice twist to make this more than just your evil villain tale.
"A Fair Extension" is the shortest story in the collection. It is actually eerily similar in premise to a short story I have written. Of course, King pulls it off so much better. It centres around a dying man being offered the chance to save his life if he is willing to accept certain repercussions. What I liked most about this story is the way the man behaves following his decision is not what you would expect.
"A good marriage" is the last novel and definitely my favourite. The story is about a wife discovering a horrific truth about the man she thought she had a perfect relationship with and how she deals with it. Needless to say, it is not as straightforward as that but the psychology of the story is handled well. I wasn’t enamoured with the ending (thought it should have concluded about 8 pages earlier) but still very good.
Overall this is a very strong collection of stories. All of the stories are well above average and although some readers might find the content too dark, I personally loved it.
My rating: 8.8

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Book Review - Under the Eagle

Under The Eagle by Simon Scarrow
Review by Jacqui Slaney.
Under the Eagle
This is the first in a series of books about the Roman army, in particular the second legion. The author himself started as a teacher and part time writer and now thanks to his success is a full time writer.
 The story revolves round an experienced Centurion Macro and his brand new second in command Cato. Cato is young and new to the army, the only experience he has comes from books, which as you can imagine in fights is not a great deal of good. He has to overcome a great deal of resentment from the men and officers alike as they look on him that he has only got his rank from his imperial connections. His task is helped by the fact that the legion are being sent to Britain, and so they soon have more to worry about than an inexperienced officer.
If you are interested in the Roman army and their conquests, then you will really enjoy this book. If you have never read any other Roman book then you will really enjoy this book.
 The story is well written and has humour, and you come to care about Macro and Cato and enjoy their successes.
There is plenty of action to keep your interest and the details of the army life and the world in which the characters live is well written and detailed. There are not too many technical descriptions of the weapons used, as I have come across in some Roman novels which can bog down the flow of the writing. But still the fight scenes are believable from minor fights to battles and you find yourself being caught up in the story line. There is also political intrigue as well in the story with the normal undercurrent of conspiracies which seemed to run through all Roman lives.
Some reviews that you will see on this book say that the political intrigues are hard to keep up with, to be honest I didn’t find it confusing and thought it added to the story. Others complain about Roman names being hard to remember and that they couldn’t keep up with who is who. I also didn’t find that, the characters are individual so I’m not sure why anyone would get them confused.
As you can probably tell I really liked this book, was really glad I came across it and have read the whole series up to now and enjoyed each and every one and would totally recommend this book and the series.
10 out of 10

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review - The Troupe

The Troupe – Robert Jackson Bennett.
 The Troupe
I always going to read this book anyway but I was lucky enough to win a copy over at Staffersmusing. An excellent fantasy blog I frequent. Please check it out, Justin who runs it, is a very informed and welcoming guy.
The Troupe is RJB’s third novel and the second that I have read of his (the first being the excellent Mr. Shivers). I normally like to read books in the order they were written as you get to see the author’s progression as they master their craft. However, recently watched and loved Carnivale, I couldn’t resist this.
The Blurb:
Vaudeville: mad, mercenary, dreamy, and absurd, a world of clashing cultures and ferocious showmanship and wickedly delightful deceptions.

But sixteen-year-old pianist George Carole has joined vaudeville for one reason only: to find the man he suspects to be his father, the great Heironomo Silenus. Yet as he chases down his father's troupe, he begins to understand that their performances are strange even for vaudeville: for wherever they happen to tour, the very nature of the world seems to change.

Because there is a secret within Silenus's show so ancient and dangerous that it has won him many powerful enemies. And it's not until after he joins them that George realizes the troupe is not simply touring: they are running for their lives.

And soon...he is as well.
As you probably ascertained from the blurb, the story is told through the eyes of George. A boy that believes he is owed more in life than what he is getting due to the adoration he has received so far. The sense of injustice he feels when he realises this is not how the world works makes for compelling reading. George is determined to win the respect of his new companions within the Troupe whilst uncovering a world he never knew existed. In general, George’s character is handled well. His sulks are realistic and garner genuine sympathy rather than get annoying. The small gripe I have is that l think, it is a bit silly that George cannot see what is blindingly obvious to the reader from very early on the novel and maybe the revelation could have been concealed better.
In so far as the Troupe themselves go, RJB assembles a cast of very good characters. From the laconic and gentle Stanley, the sensual Collette, the strong woman with a heart Frances Beatty and the tragic Professor Kingsley, every member of the Troupe is likeable or at least is interesting enough for you to be invested in their arc.
The leader, Harry Silenus is perhaps the best of these. Seemingly uncaring and harsh, RJB peels back layer upon layer to his character until the final pages of the novel. The pressure to hold the Troupe together and deal with a young boy coming into his life is well depicted but RJB still manages to make sure Silenus never acts predictably and so the audience is always guessing what his motives truly are.
The fantasy elements of the novel are good and feel fresh. This book definitely wins points for originality. At times I thought certain elements seemed to outlandish for the story but soon they seemed to flow naturally into the narrative which is a good sign in my book.
As soon as we meet the Troupe, RJB does an excellent job of surrounding them with a sense of intrigue and mystery. It is clear they are not just performers. When the revelation of what they are is revealed I was satisfied. As I said, this book receives points for originality and the scale of the mystery is huge. But even before the mystery is revealed, RJB’s writing is so good that I could not wait to see each of the members of the Troupe perform their act just to enjoy what they were doing.
This book is big in scale and introduces dozens of fantastical creatures. Throughout it though the characters remain grounded, as the book hurtles along to a frantic and satisfying conclusion. I for one could read another book with some of these characters and Robert Jackson Bennett is definitely climbing on to the list of my must read authors.
My rating: 9

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Book Review - Vagabond

Vagabond - Bernard Cornwell

Vagabond marks the second entry into the Grail quest series. Whilst I enjoyed the first entry (Harlequin), I thought it was the weakest of the 7 Cornwell books I had read so far, with too much emphasis on recounting the history on the time rather then tying it in to the story.
The blurb:
Thomas has managed to survive the battle of Crécy. Still nursing his wounds, he is dispatched by the king on a mission to look into the matter of his father's inheritance, which is obscurely connected to the Holy Grail. This most precious relic of the Christian faith is a much sought-after object, offering the power of total victory in war to its owner. But Thomas finds himself in the middle of a battle against an army invading the North of England, and other shadowy forces pursuing the grail are prepared to slaughter anyone who stands in their way. In the ruins of his birthplace, Thomas discovers more about his father, and a dangerous voyage to France brings him up against his cousin and arch-enemy, Count of Astarc Guy Vexville. The stage is set for a merciless showdown.
After reading through the first couple of chapters where Thomas of Hookton joins a battle I was concerned that Vagabond would be at the same level of quality as Harlequin (that sounds like a bad thing, it is not. Harlequin was still better than most books I read but it was a step down from Cornwell’s normal standard). However, I need not have fretted.
Thomas soon leaves the battle behind and the book moves up a notch. The whole plot has a fantasy type novel feel to it as the quest for the Grail begins in earnest. Thomas encounters many obstacles as he attempts to come to terms with his destiny and the events that occurred at the opening battle.
Cornwell does a good job of portraying Thomas’ inner conflict of wishing to be an archer and completing his assignment. Throughout, many faces from his past make welcome appearances and the new characters are also well depicted. The highlight of these new characters is Robbie Douglas who is forced to team up with Thomas – although I think Cornwell underplays the animosity between them at the start.
The villains are your typical Cornwell antagonists. As the novel progresses however, we start to see deeper motivations behind their characters rather than the usual quest for power which is certainly welcome.
As usual, Cornwell’s knowledge of the time period shines through his writing. He clearly knows his stuff and although he focuses on the battles and weapons used of the era far more than the every day life, you still get the sense of being educated as you read. If only education at school was this good!
There are still some problems with the narrative. Cornwell, once again uses multiple viewpoints in order to describe parts of a battle, so that we are treated to accurate descriptions of what went on, but are not emotionally invested in the characters, although this are far less frequent then in Harlequin.
Overall, Vagabond is a very good middle part of a trilogy, containing shocks and struggles a plenty. I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment.
My rating: 8.5

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review - Cimarron Rose

Cimarron Rose – James Lee Burke
They say when you lose someone you experience a range of emotions, from anger to denial all the way through to acceptance. I think the process is called the “7 stages of grief” but don’t ask me to name them all. Why do I start this review on such a crazy tangent I hear you ask? Simply put, I don’t think I have ever experienced so many different emotions when reading a book and not in a good way.
The Blurb:
Lucas Smothers, nineteen and from the wrong end of town, has been arrested for the rape and murder of a local girl. His lawyer Billy Bob Holland is convinced of Lucas's innocence but proving it means unearthing the truth from a seething mass of deceit and corruption. A corruption endemic in the way it can be only in a gossipy small town where everybody knows everybody else's business. Billy Bob's relationship with Lucas's family is not an easy one years back he was a close friend of Mrs Smothers, too close according to her husband Vernon. And when Lucas overhears gruesome tales of serial murder from a neighbouring cell in the local lock up, the waters are muddied even further and Lucas himself looks like a candidate for an untimely death.
James Lee Burke is highly regarded by some of my favourite authors. If I am honest I had already read this book almost 5 years ago. I have been meaning to read the second in the series for a while, but when I picked it up, I realised I remembered absolutely nothing about the first book. Surely this was not a good sign or was it a case of my memory getting that bad?
The answer is somewhere in between.
Emotion 1 = Hatred.
I absolutely despised this book for the first third, to the point where I was going to give up on it. James Lee Burke is the quintessential example of showing and not telling. However, in my eyes, this is the perfect argument to counter all those so called experts that proclaim this is how writing should be.
The main character Billy Bob is not the problem. Through his actions we quickly realise the type of man he is. He has his own sense of justice and follows his own moral code and this is well portrayed.
That is not to say he is not annoying. You see Billy Bob is afraid to use a gun because he does not like the violence it brings and because of what happened last time he used a firearm. However, this sense of self correction is completely at odds with the character we see who has little qualms with being violent for example whilst sitting on his horse dragging someone by a rope through a bar. He is also laconic but not in a cool way. He hardly ever uses more than one sentence when speaking to someone and all too soon the conversation is over.
Herein lies my main issue with the first third of the book. Each scene only lasts a couple of paragraphs at best. Billy Bob will knock on someone’s door, tell them something, they will rant at him and Billy Bob will shrug and walk away. End scene.
Whilst we get a clear image of Billy Bob’s character through this method of writing, it is hard to distinguish between everyone else. By meeting them in very short bursts, it is very difficult to remember who they are and what personality they had. It also means their characters do not develop in anyway. There are some characters that are well done and easy to remember. Pete, a young boy that Billy Bob hangs around with is endearing but he is also easy to remember as JLB reminds us who he is (the smartest guy Billy Bob has ever met). There is also LQ Navarro, the ghost of Billy Bob’s best friend. LQ serves as the voice of reasoning and an insight into the inner dialogue of Billy Bob’s mind.
There is also a budding romance on the cards, but as Billy Bob never thinks on this, we don’t really care if it happens or not. Apart from these though, every other character just seems nasty and angry.
Emotion 2 = Indifference.
The middle of the book (call it the second quarter – yes I know I used thirds to begin with, sue me). Left me feeling like I really didn’t care what was happening in the story.
It may have been just me, but I never got a sense of where the investigation was going. Billy Bob would talk to many people but I had no idea why he was talking to them or get a feel for the case he was building. I did not know who was connected to the case or who was part of the larger picture. One minute Billy Bob would find a key witness and then they would not feature.
Emotion 3 = Investment.
Somehow though, I found myself getting a handle on who everyone was. It is not that I am slow; it is just that initially the book did not grab me enough to care.  However, as the story progressed I began to get more intrigued. It is still not a good thing when the best parts of the book is not what is currently going on, but the back story involving your dead friend and diary excerpts from your Grandfather. But gradually I began to slightly enjoy the book. The characters were still the same as the start of the book but you began to sympathise with some of them.
Emotion 4 = Enjoyment.
As soon as the inevitable trial began, the book went up a notch. The plot became a lot more focussed and the action was clear. However, I still had issues with the writing as the proceedings were summarised rather than being shown. There were times when James Lee Burke (JLB) described the cross-examining of the witnesses and these were so well done I really wanted to read more. Instead he would forward to the next day of the trial and briefly recap what went on.
The verdict hinges on a nice bit of drama that, whilst powerful, I am sceptical whether or not the incident would have been enough to persuade the jury fully one way or another. It is also wrapped up far too quickly for my liking, although with the events that follow I can see why JLB decided to do this.
Overall then, where to start? Despite my early negative feelings towards this book, I was left satisfied by the end. I can see why others rate the novel highly. JLB definitely is a skilled writer; I just got the impression that he did not demonstrate his craft to the best of his ability here.
My rating: 6.5

Friday, April 6, 2012

Book Review - Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
Rivers of London
Review by Jacqui
I came across this book completely by accident, first novel yet again. I do have a bad habit that if I like the look of the book from the cover and the blurb etc then I buy it, (yes I know that can be dangerous especially with fantasy books, but touch wood it has worked 8 times out of 10 for me).
I think it took me a day and half to read it, only grudgingly taking breaks away from it when I had to, due to inconvenient working etc.
The story is about Peter Grant who at the start of the story is a probationary constable in the Met Police. He is not seen as a ‘proper thief taker’ by his senior officers as he spends too much time wondering about things rather than getting down to catching people. As a result it looks like he is going to be sent to a paper pushing section but after trying to take a witness statement following a murder from a spirit, his life and career take a dramatic turn. He meets an Inspector Nightingale who proves to be a wizard. Finds out that the Met has it own magic branch and Peter becomes its first apprentice in years. He discovers that there are evil spirits, gods, goddess’s, vampires and just about everything strange thing possible in London. Let’s not even mention the housekeeper who works for Nightingale! There is violence and death involved due to a malicious spirit wandering across London and well described police procedure, but it is all tied up in a really good story.
 The story is written by someone who knows London and loves the city. It is brilliantly written, fast paced and is funny. I read some of this travelling to and from work, so attracted quite a few strange looks as it actually made me laugh out loud. The descriptions of the characters are excellent and you believe in Peter’s first stumbling moves in to magic.  
This is another story which is described as an urban fantasy- but don’t let that put you off.
 I won’t say that the book is perfect, it isn’t, but then what book is.  There are reviews that say that there are loads of questions and some of the story doesn’t make sense. Yes there are a few questions you are left with and you may find a few holes in the plot but nothing that detracts from your enjoyment of the book. I can say this is one of the best books that I have read in ages, and so good that I bought the sequel which I read equally fast and am now anxiously waiting for the third!
 9 out of 10

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review - The Tomb

The Tomb - F Paul Wilson
The Tomb
The Repairman Jack series is one that I have heard a lot about over the years. It appears on forums regularly, usually in the recommended sections. I have always wanted to get into the series but have been put off by the fact that the series does not begin in earnest until you have read the 6 books known as the Adversary Cycle. A series of books that Jack doesn’t always appear in.
About a year ago I decided to take the plunge and read the first of these books called “the Keep.” I loved it. Very atmospheric and well, just cool.
“The Tomb” marks the first appearance of Repairman Jack. A character I can tell you here and now, I know I am going to love.
The edited blurb (original blurb for me contains spoilers)
Much to the chagrin of his girlfriend, Gia, Repairman Jack doesn't deal with electronic appliances--he fixes "situations" for people, often putting himself in deadly danger. His latest project is recovering a stolen necklace, which carries with it an ancient curse that may unleash a horde of Bengali demons. Jack is used to danger, but he overcome the curse of the yellow necklace?
I have to admit, reading the blurb above makes the book sound like a second rate old movie (something Jack loves by the way), however, the book is anything but.
Two things immediately struck me upon reading this novel:
1)    This book is completely different in style, content and setting to the Keep. Whatever the Adversary Cycle is, the link is not immediately obvious to me.
2)    There is no “tomb” in the book. There is a temple (explained in a backstory) but of a tomb there is no sign. Apparently Paul addresses this on his website. It does not bother me enough to check it out just yet though.
If I could some up “the Tomb” I would call it an enjoyable romp. Repairman Jack is a lovable character. Pining over his ex girlfriend without beginning to pretend understand her, Jack is not your typical ladies man, although he still manages to attract the female sex.
Alongside the unfolding drama around retrieving the necklace, a well though out back-story is gradually revealed. It explains why Jack has not followed in his siblings footsteps in getting a fancy career and why he struggles with his relationship with his father.
At the start of the book, Jack is approached with a seemingly impossible task of retrieving a stolen necklace. I was surprised when it appeared this was problem was simply resolved. F Paul Wilson does an excellent job of revealing that there was more behind the initial request and how Jack gets involved further and further into the mystery.
The plot is well thought out and is revealed at a fast pace. At all times the momentum is maintained as we shift through various characters point of view. This not only fleshes out the characters involved but also creates an element of suspense as the reader is privy to details that Jack is not. It makes Jack fallible as we know he is missing vital information and just not seeing the clues.
The other characters are strong, Gia and Vicky probably the most effective but the sexy and mysterious Kolabati and the crazy but honourable Kusim are also no card board cut-outs. The supernatural Rakoshi creatures are well realised and there are several scenes that stand out not necessarily spooky but dramatic nonetheless.
The twists are good and you can see how this is a great premise to start a series on. I have no idea where the next book fits into the cycle but I am looking forward to it.
My rating: 8.7

Monday, April 2, 2012

Red Country gets its release date!!

Red Country arrives in October

Straight from the growing legend's mouth, Joe Abercrombie has announced that his latest book, "Red Country" will released on Thursday 18th October 2012 in the UK and Tuesday 20th October 2012 in the US.