Monday, August 31, 2009

Random books

Since I last wrote about a book I've read....

Robert Rankin - Greatest Show Off Earth: There are two Earths, did you know? One inside the other. One of the protagonists is left on the inside Earth (the one we're familiar with), the other is kidnapped by the outer Earth types. They want to close off the "ends" so that the inner Earth, our Earth, will suffocate. The story that follows is hilariously ridiculous. Rankin writes in the same tradition (if it can be called that?) as Fforde - very entertaining.

Jim Butcher - Death Maske. Recommended to me by my brother. One of the few of his recommendations that I didn't like. Chicago cop plus vampires plus magic - should have been good but just didn't do it for me.

Christopher Brookmyre - be my enemy. I have fallen in love with Brookmyre's writing. Ridiculous storylines, but so well written that you can't help but be entertained. Very Scottish though, so the language may not suit everyone. Excellent thriller.

J V Jones - Sword of Shadows trilogy (but is actually a quartet). The last book is not yet released so it's all up in the air.... Fantasy series that I found a bit slow to get going but find myself hanging out for the final installment. Bleak and cold describes the landscape. Interesting characters.

Caiseal Mor - King of Sleep and The Raven Game. Books 2 and 3 of The Watchers trilogy. I really enjoyed Mor's Carolan Concerto but these left me cold. Could have been great, given their basis in Irish mythology, but spoilt by simplistic, stilted writing. I got really annoyed by two particular characters - one was a "Druid", the other was "the Druid woman". Always, "the druid woman". I mean, if it's established early on that a character is female then it's established. It doesn't need to be stated again and again, every time the character appears. The male characters were just druids, warriors, servants, whatever. It REALLY annoyed me.

Ken Follett - World Without End. Finally finished this. I think I reviewed it already. Could have been great but was a tad too repetitive in the second half to be so.

Calr Hiaasen - Sick Puppy and Skin Tight. Hiaasen is probably the tamer US version of Brookmyre. Great environmental/liberal political undertones. Quirky heroes/heroines. Too many guns for my liking but a great storyteller nonetheless.

Christopher Brookmyre - A Snow Ball In Hell. Sequel to 'a big boy did it and ran away'. Simon Darcourt - the terrorist for hire - returns. Except this time, he's not a terrorist, he's just trying to make the world a better place for the son he didn't know he had till the end of the last book (a big boy did it...). So....he embarks on a campaign to rid the world of all that he doesn't want his son to have to grow up with - tabloid journalists, manufactured pop stars, reality TV "celebrities". It's hard not to agree with Darcourt's targets but his methods are somewhat beyond the pale. Excellent reading!

Sophia McDougall - Romanitas. Set in the present day except that the Roman Empire has never ended. The Imperial Family has become a target for assassins - so the 16 year old heir runs away for his own safety, meets up with a couple of escaped slaves of similar age. At first I thought this was a tale designed for teenagers, as the main characters are teenagers, but it's a bit deeper than that - super mental powers. The social/political structure is basically that of Ancient Rome but lacking the detail of someone who's done the research - therefore, the modern day setting which negates the need for real research/knowledge/accuracy. It's lazy in that sense - change the setting to cover up for the lack of real historical veracity. But, nevertheless, it's not a bad read.

M K Hume - King Arthur: Dragon's Child. Quite possibly the worst Arthurian novel I've ever read.

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