Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Alden Bell – The Reapers are the Angels

Temple is fifteen years old, born into a dangerous post-apocalyptic America where zombies roam. She travels alone, but when she stumbles across helpless Maury she decided to try and help him find his family. The trip in itself is dangerous and it is not helped by the fact that Temple is being pursued by a man that wants to kill her.

Temple is a complex character. She is only fifteen but seems older then that as she has had to grow up fast in order to survive. She has done things that she is not proud of and is haunted by that, believing herself to be a bad person. She thinks that if she can help Maury get to his family then that may in some way make up for some of the bad things she has done.

The book is set about twenty-five years after the zombie outbreak. This is the only world Temple knows but we meet several characters who remember the world before. The zombies seem to be growing slower and weaker but they still pose a big threat, all it takes is one bite and you will become one of them. The zombies are an important part of the story but in a way they are more of a background feature, this book is not full of blood and gore like many zombie books it is more about Temple’s journey, both physically across America and mentally, coming to terms with her past and thinking about the future.

One thing that I didn’t like about the book was the lack of speech marks. None of the dialogue has them, which I found very noticeable and odd. There was probably a reason for not having them but I don’t know what it was and I did find it quite distracting.

Overall though I really enjoyed this book. I liked the imagery of it, it was easy to picture the scenes and to immerse myself in Temple’s world. I love post-apocalypse and this is a great example of it.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Charlaine Harris - Dead Reckoning

There's a reckoning on the way . . . . . . and Sookie has a knack for being in trouble's way; not least when she witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte's, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is known to be two-natured, suspicion immediately falls on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but before she can investigate something else - something even more dangerous - comes up. Sookie's lover Eric Northman and his 'child' Pam are plotting something in secret. Whatever it is, they seem determined to keep Sookie out of it; almost as determined as Sookie is to find out what's going on. She can't sit on the sidelines when both her work and her love life under threat - but as she's gradually drawn into their plans Sookie finds the situation is deadlier than she could ever have imagined.
Synopsis taken from Amazon.co.uk.

This is book eleven in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I first discovered the series early last year when I got a box set of books one to eight and read them all in two weeks. Since then I have quickly devoured the rest of the books as soon as they were released and they are one of the few books I will read in hardback (I don't like reading hardbacks, I find them bulky and awkward and would much rather read paperbacks).

Book Ten, Dead in the Family, left me a little disappointed so I was both excited and a little nervous about reading Dead Reckoning but I'm pleased to say that this one felt a lot more on form. There was plenty of action and a good storyline and the ending has left me hungry for the next book.

It felt like there was plenty of character development in this book as there were lots of things going on for most of the main characters. It was interesting to find out more about the Fae and there were some interesting developments with Sookie and Eric’s relationship (I’ve always been an Eric fan so need the next book to see what will happen there!).

I heard that Charlaine Harris is only planning 2 or 3 more books in the series and whilst I will be sad to see the series end I think it is good to end it as I would much rather see the series end on a high rather than have it dragged out just for the sake of it.

Friday, 20 May 2011

David Wellington – Cursed

Chey is trekking alone in the Arctic woods when she is attacked by a strange looking wolf. She manages to escape but not before being bitten by the creature which she discovers is a werewolf which has passed the curse on to her. Chey must now come to terms with being a werewolf whilst avoiding being killed.

This is an interesting take on the Werewolf story. Wellington’s werewolves are ferocious creatures, hungry for blood, who turn whenever the moon is up, regardless of whether or not it’s full.

Chey is a mysterious character. We have no idea to begin with why she is trekking alone in the Arctic but her back story is gradually revealed. Powell and Dzo are also mysterious, we do learn some more details about them (more so Powell) but I would have liked more. There is a follow up book though so perhaps that will provide more.

I enjoyed the flow of the story, I thought the pacing was good and the author created suspense and atmosphere well.

I will be looking out for more David Wellington, in particular the follow up book, Ravaged.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

S. J. Bolton - Blood Harvest

Ten year old Tom Fletcher doesn’t seem to be settling into the new family home very well, he complains about being watched and followed by a mysterious, creepy girl. Harry is the new vicar in the village, he is opening up the church which has been closed for ten years. He has noticed some strange occurrences but is assured by the locals that these are normal village traditions. Evi is a psychiatrist with a patient in the village who lost her daughter in a fire three years ago but is unable to come to terms with the death and still wanders the moors looking for her daughter.

The narrative follows the three main characters, Tom, Harry and Evi and switches between their viewpoints and individual stories (which have interlinking threads). They are all interesting and likeable characters, especially Tom and Harry. There are quite a few supporting characters as well and you are able to really get a feel for life in the strange, remote little village.

The story is quite spooky in places, the author creates atmosphere well. The story really drew me in and kept me interested throughout.

I will definitely be looking out for more S. J. Bolton in the future.

Monday, 9 May 2011

P.C. and Kristin Cast – Marked

Zoey Redbird is a sixteen year old girl who thinks she is just like any other teenager until one day a tracker comes to her school and marks her. This means that Zoey is going to go through the change and hopefully become a vampire (not everyone that starts to change is able to make it and they die) and she has to go and join the vampire school “House of Night” to learn the ways of the vampire.

To be honest I’m not entirely sure what to make of this book. It was quite compulsive reading, I read it in less than a day, but I’m not really sure why as not a great deal actually happened. I think this book is the equivalent of eating golden syrup straight out of the tin - it tastes nice but it has no nutritional value and too much can leave you feeling a bit sick.

I quite liked Zoey although she was a bit irritating at times with her holier than thou attitude. Some of the other characters may prove to be quite interesting but it’s hard to tell at this stage as there wasn’t much character development beyond Zoey. This is just the first in the series though so I would hope that in future books we find out a bit more about the other characters.

The story is an interesting and different take on vampires. They are rather too light and fluffy here for my liking though. I don’t mind a bit of romanticising vampires (I love the Sookie Stackhouse books) but I do like them to still have that element of danger. The vampires in this book were not at all scary or threatening and I felt a bit disappointed by that.

I will probably read the next book but it’s not one that I am going to rush out to buy immediately.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Mark Billingham – From the Dead

Donna Langford hired a hit man to kill her husband Alan and served ten years in prison for the crime. Shortly before her release she receives a photo of her husband alive and well in the sunshine. DI Tom Thorne takes on the case to try and find out where Alan Langford is and who was actually murdered ten years ago.

Once again I have gone charging straight into a series without reading any of the previous books! In this case From The Dead is the ninth book about DI Tom Thorne. This time I felt that it didn’t matter at all, the book worked well as a standalone novel, at no point did I feel that I was missing anything as I have done with other books where I have charged straight into the middle of a series.

Tom Thorne is pretty much your usual flawed but likeable detective and there is a good cast of supporting characters. I liked the writing style and the pacing was just right. The plot was quite intriguing. I didn’t manage to work out any of the answers!

I will definitely be reading more Mark Billingham and more of the Tom Thorne series. A quick look through my to read pile has revealed that I have one of the earlier Tom Thorne books so I’ll look forward to reading that one.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Jeffery Deaver – The Burning Wire

Lincoln Rhyme is brought in to help investigate a killer who is using electricity to kill his victims. At the same time Rhyme is also involved in helping Kathryn Dance and the Mexican authorities close in on The Watchmaker.

It was nice to be back in the world of Lincoln Rhyme. This is one series that I have read in its entirety in the correct order and I always look forward to the next book. I liked that the weapon used by the killer in this book was electricity, it’s something that is all around us and so deadly yet we all take it for granted and don’t give it a second thought most of the time. I’m often wary about touching metal things because I am always getting static shocks off of things and reading this book didn’t really help!

There was some interesting character development in this book, of both a main and a supporting character which I liked. The story was good and had several twists and turns as is normal with Jeffery Deaver although I’d say there were slightly less plot twists this time.

I’m guessing there may be a bit of a wait for the next Lincoln Rhyme instalment as Jeffery Deaver currently has his Bond Novel, Carte Blanche and a stand alone thriller, Edge out (which sounds good, it’s in hardback at the moment so I’ll get the paperback release as I’m not keen on reading hardbacks) and then I expect his next book will probably be Katherine Dance (looking forward to that though as I enjoyed the last Katherine Dance book).